Scottish brogue….


Dufftown: Scots saying good morning to each other in the street:
One: Aye-Aye!
Other: Aye-Aye! Used as Hi or hello.

Port Ellen, Islay: Joy Prentice our host, discussing cups of tea, coffee: What do boulders drink in Australia?…..boulders…….boulders drink??……..Oohhh!! ……BUILDERS!!….probably water till knock-off time.

Joy, describing three house guests from another EU country who confessed at breakfast that one of their party had tripped and broken a beautiful mirror just installed in the bathroom two days earlier. After they had left she showed us the broken mirror, so hard to replace on the little Isle of Islay……..we agreed…..only if drunk could that have been achieved, “Och, I knew it, they were just Lager Louts! I’ll get over it in a couple of days.”

W has been fascinated with some of the pronunciations, and keeps spotting Heelund Cooows!

Stopped at a Tescos in Thurso (for Indian Tonic Water for my evening Gin and Tonic!), and my checkout girl was sitting, not standing at the checkout. My guess is she was around 70…. no ageism here, talking to her customer in front of me……guessing she was 80ish…..I am sure the weekly gossip was being exchanged. The customer was dressed as I recall some Halley women dressing: sensible closed flat shoes, stockings, a tartan skirt descending well below the knees, and warm layers on the top. Loved it…….I do keep feeling on and off that I am IN an episode of Dr Finlay’s Casebook, that very Scottish TV series from the sixties.

Place names ( and a whiskey): lots ending with “-aig”, as in Laphroaig Whiskey, are a mixture of gaelic and norse, withe the -aig being the norse bit. E.g. : Port Askaig, Arisiag.

Via Scone Palace to Dufftown in the Highlands

My trusty iPhone 5s has lead us from Anstruther through St Andrews again to Dundee across the Tay River over The Tay Bridge. The Scots have built some beautiful, remarkable bridges in more modern times like The Forth bridge and The Tay Bridge, as well as beautiful older stone bridges, as well as amazing railway viaducts at Glenfinnan and Culloden. Of course some of the roads and bridges in the Highlands were built by that Irishman in the English Army, General Wade. I gather he is regarded as having been brilliant opening up the wild and woolly Highlands with military roads and bridges, many of which are still in use 270 years later.

Of the hundreds of castles in Scotland, I thought it was important to see Scone Palace (pronounced Scoon), as it was the site of the coronations of Scottish royalty, and original home to The Stone of Destiny (upon which stone Scottish Kings and Queens sat).

We were not allowed to take photographs within. One of the caretakers whose surname was Lawson, said he had relatives who were Lawries, and that his mother was born on the coast near Buckhaven. He said I hope you enjoy the Palace, cousin!

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To Anne and Hal….

Some 15 years ago, my mother recounted what a lovely road trip she and my father had had in Scotland, and, in particular, they had toasted each other and the trip while staying near ? at the golf course in St Andrews…. it WAS back in the Day in 1978, when , maybe it was affordable to stay there.

She then suggested that Warwick and I might do that trip one day, and to toast ourselves and the trip similarly, and she and Hal at St Andrews, then, if we made it. Well, we made it……..

St Andrew’s was both booked out and prohibitively expensive to stay in, so we have retired back down the coast to the fishing village of Anstruther for the night.

Following a lovely stroll on the boat harbour wall, we had a seafood dinner where we were staying at The Waterfront (Restaurant and Accommodation).

Anne and Hal were toasted at dinner.

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Please, click on To Anne and Hal below, and forgive the little evidence of dinner near the speakers mouth…….the camera man and producer is not aware of such things😵

To Anne and Hal

Edinburgh Castle, David another flamboyant guide…..


The spirit wants to stuff the travelling schedule VERY full, but the body is weak….. Cherries have to be picked. So, I had to choose Edinburgh Castle over Holyrood Palace. I think I would have been a Jacobite two hundred and seventy years ago…….that which is Scottish should be kept and defended against the English, or wrested back from them and held most dear. The Scots justifiably wanted, and gained, a couple of times, Edinburgh Castle, but mainly the English have held it as a fortress against the Scots. Holyrood Palace, at the other end of The Royal Mile has stayed more Scottish. Queen Mary slept at Holyrood Palace, as does QE11 when she’s in town.

Edinburgh Castle was hotly contested, especially during The Scottish Wars of Independence, 14th to 18th centuries; there have been 26 seiges in its 1100 year history.

The Castle acknowledges the Scottish heroes, William Wallace and Robert The Bruce, placing  statues of them to guard the gates. The Palace part holds The Honours: The Scottish Crown Jewels, Crown, Sceptre and Sword. We were not allowed to photograph in the room holding these. I was not ready for how breathtakingly beautiful these were………..

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A Guided walk in Edinburgh, The Old Town

Had a great walk with our flamboyant, charismatic guide, Jen, through The Old Town of Edinburgh….

The Old Town was a walled city of a square nautical mile, housing 80,000 people. Buildings were built up and down in height to accommodate this number. The wall, Flodden Wall, named after the famous battle, was a fortress against The English!

The contents of the chamberpot was thrown from upper windows calling out “Garde loo”, which was a mispronounciation of the French, Gardez l’eau. From this we have our “colloquial word “loo” for the toilet. Human waste flowed dowhill into a lake, which filled itself in eventally, now the site of the wonderfully fertile Princes Street Gardens.

Between the sandstone buildings are a network of circuitous lanes called Closes. There are courtyards behind some of the buildings in The Royal Mile road, which has Edinburgh Castle at one end (hotly contested for by Scot and English, finally English) and Holyrood Palace, the palace of Scots royalty, now where QE11 stays when in town).

Under the brooding watch of the Castle was the Grassmarket, a hurly-burly market area, also the site of hangings.

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Scottish Cooking

I think G told me that Granma Halley loved Tablet. I have bought Tablet, whiskey Fudge, and Shortbread for driving snacks. VERY rich, most will come home. We have had haggis twice and enjoyed it, and had North Sea seafood twice…..? Atlantic seafood soon. We have found the bread delicious, and also had excellent shortbread, including some from our whiskey walk guide’s mother!

The Halley family certainly produced some great cooks and bakers. This morning I asked our lovely maître d which cookbooks would the Scottish home cook have on her shelves, and she came up with the following:

Claire McDonald, Scottish Cookery, 1998

Maw Broon’s Cookbook, The Nation’s Favorites, 2008

“Maw Broon” was a famous comic strip, and Broon is Scottish dialect for Brown, i.e., Mother Brown. There is an online comment about this latter book, that the traditional style of cooking presented is why Scotland has such a high risk of heart attack! Recipes like Forfar Bridies and Clooties, containing suet!!

There is a great online list of Scottish recipes on the rampantscotlandwebsite. Warwick and I shared a Cranachan with raspberries and shortbread at The Blackfriars Pub in Edinburgh. It was yummy.

Today I bought these at the Culloden Visitors Centre.


From Favorite Scottish Teatime Recipes
From Favorite Scottish Teatime Recipes

Friday 7th, Evacuated from National Museum of Scotland

The day started with a long, getting lost walk to a Post Office, followed by walking to the National Museum of Scotland to see their current exhibition, Celts.

The exhibition was very good. I had exited the exhibit to the main museum, bought small goodies at its shop, had a cuppa, to return to exhibit area to wait for W, who was still meticulously pouring over each item, when an alarm went off. Slowly and with orderliness, and quietness, and NO general announcement, everyone in the building, many hundreds, coverged on stairways, and poured out onto the street outside. (A photos would have been fascinating, but I was in the moment…). The streetscape was already restricted by fences and roadworks. W and I had found each other with a phonecall. Having both seen and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, we decided to just go back to our room for feet-up, rather than wait to go back in. No photos of the fascinating building internal due to swift unexpected ejection. We will never know if there was a fire, a bomb threat or a false alarm. Impressed with Scottish behaviour during an alarm!

Another whole day would have been happily required and spent, to see The History of Scotland part of the museum.😕

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Wednesday 6 April, in transit

Great amenities at Heathrow Airport and Edinburgh airport. Seriously poor shops and eating at SF airport. Both SF and Heathrow did a high degree of mutiple types of security check. Brisbane and Sydney security only do random checks other than X-raying one’s hand luggage. The Australian excuse, it would take to long to do everyone, not looking world standard…..

I am always the profiled low-suspicion little aging gray-haired lady chosen for bomb and metal detection, to obscure the fact that they are profiling to some degree…

Our British Airways flight to Edinburgh was delayed due to a medical incident on the previous flight, and a wait for a wheel-chaired person. Thus when we ordered a small bottle of wine- each during the flight, the hostess gave us 2 each. W felt we should drink them both so customs didn’t take them off us (really?),  so I was moderately under some inluence at the end of the 50 minute flight, when the Firth of Forth appeared… unfortunate confluence of circumstances, as weeping started…no doubt contributed to by tiredness, but also feeling overwhelmed by the notion of return by subsequent generations, following the family Scottish diaspora of two generations ago.

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Dear new-friend Libby, looking south-east from Edinburgh, and thinking of you, and your mother from East Linton. I notice that the population of East Linton at the 2001 census was 1,774 (and that in 1881, it was 1,042). It has only one church, the Prestonkirk Parish Church, rebuilt in 1770. It formerly had a free church (St Andrews), a Roman Catholic Church, St Kentigern’s, and a Methodist Hall. No doubt your mother sat at one of these, perhaps the Prestonkirk Parish Church. Preston Mill, an old watermill, is on the outskirts. There has been a mill on the site since 1599, and it is still working.


East Linton Square
East Linton Square
Prestonkirk Parish Church
Prestonkirk Parish Church
Preston Mill
Preston Mill


Tribute to Annie Lawrie

Traditional naming patterns
Scots often named children by following a simple set of rules:

1st son named after father’s father
2nd son named after mother’s father
3rd son named after father
1st daughter named after mother’s mother
2nd daughter named after father’s mother
3rd daughter named after mother

I understand from cousin G that the naming of he and his brother in his family was in traditional Scots manner, inevitable no doubt with the confluence of two Scots families.

Mum, the third daughter in her family, however, was supposed to be named for her mother’s sister, Anne Brown Lawrie following her birth at home in Ipswich? She related to me that my Granmother, Susan, sent her husband George down into town to register her birth. By the time he got there, he inadvertantly used the familiar form of Annie, registering her as Annie Lawrie Halley. Impossible to know now how much consternation there was about this with Granma who adored the sister who had raised her, but whom she was never to see again after their separate migrations. Also impossible to know if his error was due their day to day referring to the beloved sister as Annie, or whether he had the beautiful song Annie Laurie in his mind…….

From George: I understood that Grandfather went to the registry office and told the clerk that your mother was to be named Anne Lawrie Halley. In the excitement he did not notice that the clerk wrote down “Annie”, for the reasons that you gave about the traditional Scottish song. This was not realised for some time. Grandfather was absolutely adorable when he was excited.


………….relaying my knowledge of your mother’s naming which came to me from my mother. I am not saying that it is correct. Mum would have been 7/8 when your Mum was born.

Anne herself favoured firmly being called for her Aunt.

Susan Eckford “Lawrie” named for her mother

Catherine Twaddle Dimond named for her paternal grandmother

John Mcullough named for his paternal grandfather

Annie Lawrie named for her maternal sister

Alexa Isabelle named for her maternal grandfather and  his second wife

144. Lexa Lawrie Cathy John Anne

 Other gems from George:

Did you ever go to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the wintergarden in Ipswich with grandma and him? He loved Tom and Jerry the most, any comedy with Jerry Lewis and the westerns. He would get so excited.

I may not have told you but George Tyler had an aunt, Annie Lawrie. She died at 2 due to undiagnosed influenza. Her mother never forgave herself. She grieved for that child till the day she died as did George’s mother, Susie Tyler.