The poetic memories of an unknown WWII soldier from Keith (most likely a farm worker or maybe just a friend of the family) serving somewhere in the MiddleEast. It has been hoped and assumed that the soldier returned to Keith – any update on that will be posted here.
|In Original ‘Doric Language’||A Prosaic Translation To non-Doric English|
|As I lie in my dug-out o’ sandbags an’ san’,
I’m thinkin’ o’ days gan lang syne
O’ peace an’ contentment faun time were sae gran’,
An’ a’ een had peace o’ the min’
|As I lie in my dug-out of sandbags and sand,
I’m thinking of bygone days
Of peace and happiness when times were so good
And everyone had peace of mind
|That three-pair place jist oot o’ the toon,
Ayont the Kincain in the howe,
Faun sallyin’ forth tae visit the loons,
An’ Mistress McKay o’ Montgrew.
|The farm with three pairs of horse (Growies)
Beyond the Kincain in the hollow,
When wandering down to visit the boys,
And Mrs McKay of Montgrew.
|Roger an’ Jock, aye keen for a lark,
The Bylie – a big strappin’ cheil,
Young Bert Ettles, an’ fyles Willie Clark,
Wi tricks ‘it wad ootwit the deil.
|Roger and Jock, always keen for a laugh,
The Bailie – a muscular chap,
Young Bert Ettles, and sometimes Willie Clark,
With antics that would outwit the devil.
|For sport then I wight that neen wis gamer
Faun simmer gyas lang o’ its licht,
We’d hae a bit bung o’ the wechts an the haimmer,
An’ faith fyles the margins were ticht.
|For sport then I’d swear that none were keener
When summer gives long daylight,
We’d throw weights and hammer (as in Highland Games),
Honestly, sometimes the competition was close.
|Or tak a bit stroll doon Isla-side green,
Wi’ a bamboo an’ preen for a hook,
In the hopes wi the Bylie we widna be seen,
An’ feenish the nicht wi’ a dook.
|Or take a walk by the banks of the river Isla,
With a cane rod and a pin for a fishing hook,
Hoping the Bailie wouldn’t see us,
And finish the night with a swim.
|Faun winter sae cauldrif cam sweepin’ the howe,
An’ the frost gya sweet Isla the stammer,
The dykesides blown fu’ tae the e’et-most knowe,
We socht the bricht cheer o’ the chaumer.
|When cold winter swept over the fields,
And the river Isla was frozen over,
The stone walls were covered with snow,
We sought the cheery warmth of the bothy.
|The beds for the men, aye two ilka side,
Forsooth there was room in the middle,
Whaur wi’d dance tae a tune o’ some lively Strathspey,
For Roger hid knack o’ the fiddle.
|The beds for the men, always two on each side,
Made sure there was room in the middle,
Where we’d dance to a tune, a lively Strathspey,
For Roger could fairly play the fiddle.
|Sometimes the fiddle wis playin’ its lane,
An’ fu’ we enjoyed the aul’ waltz,
Syne sum’ane wid fish oot the paper an’ caim,
An’ vamp tae a braw Scottish march.
|Sometimes it was the fiddle on its own,
And how we enjoyed the old waltz,
Then someone would bring out paper and comb,
And vamp to a fine Scottish march.
|At acht o’clock or a few minutes bye,
We’d roll up the nicht wi’ a sang,
Syne mak’ for the kitchie o’ Mistress McKay,
For oor usual tae, breid, an’ jam.
|At eight o’clock or thereabouts,
We’d finish with a song,
Then head to the kitchen of Mrs McKay,
For our usual tea, bread, and jam.
|An’ a smoke by the fire, aye burnin’ bricht,
An fyles a wee chaff wi’ the maids,
Syne ane wid bid ither a cheery guid nicht,
An’ we’d a’ mak’ tracks tae oor beds.
|And a smoke by the fire, always burning bright,
And sometimes having a laugh with the maids,
Then we’d bid each other a very good night,
And head away off to our beds.