Dr James Begg on Writing in Scots

Maist folk fin it awfu hard tae talk aboot theirsels withoot soonin like a richt blaw, but Jimmy Begg, the doctor and writer, disnae come ower as fu o hisself at aw. When he talks aboot the books he has tae his name and the things he’s din, he’s disnae get wan bit cairrit away wi hissel. A real man o pairts, Jimmy has tales tae tell o his days doctorin wi the air sea rescue brigade when it wis based at Gannet. He wis the maistermind ahint the project tae bring the Ayrshire coastal path tae the notice o ordinary folk and it turns oot his guide-book was treasured by oor ain President, Nigel, long afore he ever kent wha Jimmy Begg wis. A’ve mind o ma mither-in-law bringin a poetry book tae the hoose when ma weans were wee and readin tae them fae it. The dipper an the three wee deils was published by Jimmy an his pal, an gethert ower eight thoosan poun fur the Hospice. A lot o money in thae days. Jimmy read oot a poem aboot a hedgehog tae let us hear the Scots word fur ‘itchy’ that nane o us kent. Some o thae poems are recited by weans aw ower Ayrshire nooadays in the annual Burns competition.
Dr Begg took us on a wee trip back in time and aw roon Europe as we learned how the Scots language came to be. Ye’d be wrang tae think o it as jist slang or some inferior form o English for the ill-educated. Scots is a language in its ain richt an wha better tae convince us than the author o The man’s the gowd – the first book published in twa hunner year tae be written aw in Scots.
Jimmy’s passion for Scots is nae less noo than when he wis a boy growin up in New Cumnock an he shares that passion wi sic enthusiasm that a wheen o us were laith tae gae hame at the end o the nicht. We could be sittin there yet listenin tae Jimmy read fae The Man’s the gowd. A weesht a could get it oan a CD.
Like the best o speakers, Jimmy gave us a laugh.
‘Gin I wis cried oot tae a hoose wi twa folk deein o the flu, it wis aye the wummin that answered the door!’
Pat Young

One comment

  1. Love it Pat.
    Ah aye kent you wis a linguist an guid at French an aw that but Ah didnae ken you wis as fluent in New Cumnock. Even folk fae the Valley ken whit yer talking aboot. Weel done – guid description of a braw nicht.

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