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All in the delivery

All in the delivery

I was chatting with an accomplished reciter of poetry last weekend. Frank is the go-to man if you need a poem delivered by a pro, but we had a minor difference of opinion on the performance of one of my favourite Doric poems: Bennachie, by Charles Murray. Frank subscribes to the view that it’s a stirring […]

Get your tongue round this

Get your tongue round this

I was bowling along the highways and by-ways of Scotland (stuck at a crawl on the A96, to be exact) the other day and listening to the radio when I heard a Radio 4 presenter say that Lord Reith had been born at STONEhaven. She was factually correct, but I felt obliged to shout back […]

Alford in the 1940s

Alford in the 1940s

Our best guess for this one is 1947. It shows the Alford Main Street looking west towards the Haughton Arms Hotel. The photographer must have been standing outside what is today the Royal Bank of Scotland. I discovered this photo in my mother’s loft. She has no recollection of how it came to be there, when […]

When thieves spoil it for everyone

When thieves spoil it for everyone

Sometimes you just shake your head. Not far from where I live, there was a wonderful little shed which sold the best of free-range eggs fresh every morning. You had to be quick because the shed’s reputation was such that if you weren’t there before 10am everyone else in the area had swooped already. The family behind […]

Wrong idea about Doric

Wrong idea about Doric

Every morning, the website people send me a digest of the search terms that Internet users have typed into Google or other search engines and which have brought them ultimately to this site. This daily list can be interesting, and sometimes a little alarming. Shortly after I appeared recently on BBC TV, someone went to Google […]

Aunt Ruth's birthday dinner

Aunt Ruth’s birthday dinner

We have just had a very sad weekend. We invited my Aunt Ruth round for her 88th-birthday dinner on Saturday evening. We were five: me, my wife, Ruth, and her two sisters: my mother and my Aunt Violet. The dinner was a huge success, but about 30 minutes after sitting down in the lounge for […]

Times gone by at Alford

Times gone by at Alford

I can’t claim to have snapped the latest photo in our occasional series of old pictures of North-east Scotland. This one comes from 1900, to the best of my researches. It shows the Main Street at Alford, looking south-east towards Aberdeen. You can just about see at this online resolution that the road has yet […]

Humour, even in the saddest situation

Humour, even in the saddest situation

EVEN in the depths of sorrow, there is always something to make you smile. After a recent interment, we went to the funeral tea or, as we say in North-east Scotland, “the biled ham”. I was chatting with various people when, to my side, I overheard a conversation between two elderly women. They were discussing […]

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