Friday 56 – two from Orkney (April 13)

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

I’m kind of cheating this week, as I’ve included a couple of books in my 56. I’ve started to sort through my books for a number of reasons as I’ve begun to realise that there are some I really don’t need to hold on to, for a variety of reasons. The two I’ve included here don’t come into that category – I like them both too much. However, if I decide which ones I don’t need to hold on to, I can take them to Bearly Used Books, in Parry Sound, and exchange them for store credit to allow me to get more used books that I actually want to have on my bookshelves.

Anyways, I digress! Here are my selections for this week’s 56:

He had long since ignored questionnaires. He agreed with one of his favourite poets, W.H. Auden:

Thou shalt not answer questionnaires / Nor quizzes upon world affairs / Nor with compliance / Take any test. Thou shalt not sit / With statisticians, nor commit / A social science.

From The Reluctant Reformation of Clarence McGonigall by Ron Ferguson. This is a humorous little book about a fictional Church of Scotland minister, the Reverend J. Clarence McGonigall, trying to deal with life and changes in the 21st Century.  It’s a fun read and is one book among many written by Ron Ferguson, who is himself a retired Church of Scotland minister, who retired to Orkney after many years ministering in such diverse places as Iona, inner-city Glasgow, and Orkney. He has a number of diverse works published and I always enjoy reading his stuff. One of his latest, which I received for Christmas, is a biography on George Mackay Brown, Orkney’s most famous writer, called George Mackay Brown: The Wound and the Gift. Other books he has written include collections of columns he wrote for the Glasgow Herald newspaper, a history of Cowdenbeath F.C., and books about the Iona Community.

My second 56 is:

My mother was a farm servant at what is now Corrigall Museum. At that time there were a number of servant men there, one of whom, Willie, we’ll call him, was a little simple minded. It was tattie hinteen time and Willie was hintan beside my mother. It was a good crop and some of the tatties were huge. Holding up a specially big tattie, Willie called to my mother, ‘My Jessie hid’ll no tak many o that tatties tae mak a dizzen.’

This is from Lamb’s Tales – Gregor’s Concert Stories by Gregor Lamb. This funny story (in Orcadian dialect) is from a collection of over 200 by Gregor Lamb, an Orcadian who has done so much for the continuation and preservation of the Orcadian dialect. He has had a number of books published, including  The Orkney Wordbook: A Dictionary of the Dialect of Orkney and Sky Over Scapa 1939-1945. The story I shared reminds me of one person I worked with in the Post Office in Orkney before moving to Canada in 1994. It just sounds like something he would say. I can give anyone a translation if they need it!


9 thoughts on “Friday 56 – two from Orkney (April 13)

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