I wake around 7am with light peeking through the curtains that I didn’t close properly. Staring at the ceiling, letting the alarm on my phone snooze twice. I summon the energy to roll myself until my feet are on the floor beside my bed. I boost myself upright and toward the windows. I open the curtains to see what Edinburgh looks like today.
By sheer luck I moved into a house that my Dad’s brother did not finish building. I have been helping him finish it and waking up in this way each day.
This is a house in an area that some people are ashamed to say they are from. In Tranent people have been shot and had their ears bitten off (information one would omit from a travel brochure.)
The old church nearest to us is a boxing gym.
I met a guy from Tranent who started 70% of his sentences with “your’a cunt”
i.e. “aye, your’a cunt, thats a nice house ya built there pal”
When a sentence begins in this way where can that sentence go? really?
My uncle Sandy almost did not build this house. He originally bought the house next door because the garden was big enough for another house. This part of Tranent is filled with people who have never moved out of the street. Not the town. The street. They grow up in one home and then buy the one next door and when “people from the toon” invade their patch they do everything they can to let them know how they feel about it.
A person from Edinburgh moving into the street would be bad enough, moving in and building a house created nothing short of an uproar. Hostile neighbours parked in front of diggers, planted trees all around his house to spoil the views and pensioners addressed my uncle in sentences filled from beginning to end with “your’a cunt’s”.
This puzzled me. Tranent is an hour on the bus from the center of Edinburgh. If you have a map of Scotland, try putting a finger on Tranent and another on Edinburgh and your fingers will overlap. It is the same place!
My bedroom window is high up and faces north over the Firth of Forth. In the morning the sun rises to the right, to the left I have watched incredible sunsets casting over Edinburgh. On the other side of the Firth of Forth is Fife (I am not making this up) I was born in Fife almost 27 years ago. Shortly after that, my parents decided that New Zealand may be a better place to live.
When I was a teenager my Mum told me it was just as well that I didnt grow up in Scotland as “I wouldn’t have been able to handle it”. An observation that I don’t think was designed to hurt my feelings, however, that, combined with Braveheart and my Dad’s ‘bar-fight stories’ left me thinking of Scotland as a place filled with harsh, drunken bruisers.
Scotland is a place filled with charming, enthusiastic storytellers. Almost any daily occurrence can be induced with animation and hilarity when told by the Scot’s. Scotland is a place that speaks “English” completely differently to most people. replacing words with new words, words that often they themselves forget the origin of. Sometimes they will replace a word with a person’s name that rhymes with it
“Scott can you pass me the Danny Mcgrain (hand-plane)”
or the Dan Dare (combination square)”
A “bairn” is a child, “Bonny” is beautiful and I am Scott Broon
If you are like me and are unsure you “do not know”, people in Edinburgh “dinnae ken”
“Aye” (iiii) can be a way to agree. “Ohh aye” is a way to really agree.
Scotland is a place I am going to miss a lot, a place I will miss more and more, the longer I am gone. I wont forget to miss Scotland, I can’t not come back.
Recently I was on the bus reading a book before being interrupted by a “Bairn”, asking his Mum one hell of a question.
“Mum, what’s eh’ rectum?”
It was a young family, four kids no older than 10.
The mum responded;
“It is the hole ya poo comes from”
I am four seats back trying not to burst.
“But then what’s your arsehole?”
“It’s the same thing, why?”
Then the brother chimed in,
“oh, cause Dad said to ‘shove it up your rectum’ and Sam dinnae ken what he meant”
I couldn’t get back to the book after that.
I leave this Thursday. Edinburgh is warm again and for the second year in a row I am leaving as everyone is arriving for the capital’s annual festival. The grandstands are being erected in front of the castle, the bagpiper’s seem louder than they usually are. Whiskey shops are being filled with people who look as though they never drink whiskey. The gardens along princess street are beautiful with spring and I am sitting on a bench. I am leaving so damn soon.
I will have to be somewhere else before the experience sinks in. I will write more as more comes to me. In many ways Edinburgh has decided my future for me. I came up with the goal to build something on every continent after getting lost on a night in the Old Town. I spent time with family members who I may never of seen again (at all, in some cases) If I hadn’t of made this trip. Almost everything would be different. I go to Spain next, I meet my girlfriend there which puts an end to the long distance relationship that kept me in Edinburgh this long.
Funny the way things work out.