Talking Point with Ron Harris

Ron Harris'Picture by Lindsay Addison
Ron Harris'Picture by Lindsay Addison

Find out what’s on our chief reporter Ron Harris’ mind this week!

WEEL, they’ve buried yet anither wan o’ mah childhood heroes and the auld Coalburn Co-op Funeral Service couldnae have given him a better send-aff.

​This latest addition tae the ever-growing casualty list o’ the idols o’ mah youth was wan Neil Armstrong, whose ancestry went all the way frae `The Muckle Toon’ o’ Langholm in Dumfriesshire tae the lunar surface, the latter a sorta Glentaggart opencast mine oan a grander scale.

Ah make nae apologies for claiming Armstrong as wan o’ oor ain as he himself declared Langholm his spiritual hame toon during a visit there a few years after becoming whit Aberdonians might term The First Loon oan the Moon.

Scots seldom, if ever, forget their heroes and, right up until his untimely demise fae the sadly typical Scottish ailment o’ heart disease, his credit would still have been good in ony pub in this land.

Sadly, the same couldnae be said for his fame in his clan’s adopted nation o’ the United States where, a few years back, a poll o’ high school pupils showed a majority o’ today’s Yank teenagers under the impression Neil Armstrong was the auld jazz trumpeter who recorded What a Wonderful World. Honest!

Onyway, at his funeral in Washington last week they had a piper there to see this modest man who made history laid tae rest. This reminded us that the Scots, for a’ their faults, dae funerals AND weddings so weel even families aroond the world withoot a drap o’ Caledonian blood in their veins are noo having laments played at their burials and full Highland rig o’ kilts, etc, worn at their hitchin’s.

Aye, for good or ill, oor wee bit hill and glen seems tae have got under skins of mony hues aroond the globe; it came as little surprise tae me, reading the label oan a bottle o’ Indian Kingfisher lager in a certain Biggar curryshop a few years ago, that the brewery that makes it was founded by –Allah forgive us – a Scot.

Onyway, perhaps because they’re oor closest neeboors and so know oor wicked ways best of a’, oor English cousins have become adept at bodyswerving oor worse influences.

Wan thing they have, until noo, guarded jealously is their nation’s greatest creation by far – the English language.

However, recently ah’ve noticed examples o’ whit some foolishly cry ‘slang’ but whit I cry Auld Scots creeping intae the vocabulary o’ broadcasters in yon last bastion o’ ‘proper’ English, the BBC.

You must have noticed yourself how even the London-based weather forecasters have increasingly employed the word ‘dreich’; it’s because there is NO better descriptive phrase in all five hunner volumes o’ the Oxford English Dictionary for a miserable, wet day.

The same could be said for other words like ‘glakit’, ‘bonny’ and ‘clarty’, all o’ which defy ony adequate translation using ‘The Queen’s English’.

The latest example cropped up during the recent UK government reshuffle when a London BBC reporter ootside No. 10 Downing Street actually said that there was “a real stushie” going oan inside.

As Mr Armstrong might have said, this was wan wee step for the Beeb and wan muckle lowp for the Scots tongue.