Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ramblings of a World Rambler Pt. I ~ Rumastaireachd, A' Chiad Phàirt

Halò a h-uile duine,

I'm going to use this post to share with you my ramblings of this past year. I know it's been ages since I posted (didn't I say that last time too?) and I'm sorry about that if anyone has been regularly following along. I'll warn you now, some of the ramblings are in Gaelic whereas others are a mix or English. I'll try and translate what I can and I'll also try to put in them in some sort of chronological order. No promises though. Enjoy!
On Travelling... h-Eileanan Siar [the Western Isles]
'Calling occupants of interplanetary...                          
 ....cainnt mo mhàthar, Gàidhlig Barraigh!' 

I'm not sure where I was going with that first remark, but it's rather poetic, isn't it?
As for the second, it translates to "my mother tongue, Barra Gaelic!"
the closest island I've found to Nova Scotia, in more ways than one.

'Ciamar a chanas tu 'hail' anns a' Ghàidhlig?'
'Tarbert is nice, but not for 5 hours.' 

Tarbert is the main town on the Isle of Harris where the ferry docks. I had been spending my three nights at a hostel in Rhenigdale, a small village a few miles north of Tarbert, and after doing a bit of exploring around that part of the island, I took the bus into the Big City. Little did I know until the moment arrived that there are only two buses a day between Rhenigdale and Tarbert, the first at about 10:00am and the second at half-past three. Now, I say Tarbert is the main town, but the more I've been in Scotland, the more relative that term becomes. Tarbert has a pub, a fish and chip shop, grocery store, post office and a bank. Not to mention the tweed shop which is closed in the off-season. In 5 hours, you could see it all twice, and still have time left over to watch the ferry come in. 

Now, the day I left Harris to go south to Berneray and North Uist, there was also just one bus. Sitting in the waiting room for about three hours gave me lots of time to consider the rain banging on the roof. When the boat arrived, it was nice to see that the water had stopped. Minutes later, in good Scottish fashion, ice started falling from the sky...for the record the word for hail is 'clachan meallain.' Nollaig [at Christmas]
Mon. 26th Dec. '11:
A face like : a well-skelped arse.
 like it went on fire and someone put it olookut with a shovel.
 like a camel eating sherbet
like a wet Monday. 
black pudding - not too bad
Fry-up - A British word

 Jammy Dodger: "a biscuit consisting of two round pieces with jam in between. In the dialect this term is borrowed to mean someone considered very lucky." 

These are all terms from "The Patter", a dictionary of Glasgow words, that I found trying to fall asleep the night after Christmas. All except fry-up and black pudding. And before you ask, I had eaten haggis by this point in time and it too, is not too bad. 

Thachair ri daoine air a bheil mi eòlach - tarsaing 
[Happened upon people that I already know ... across]

28th Dec.
Unexpected but not unpleasant night in Ft. William (no hostel open in Mallaig)
+'s: Bank St. Lodge £15/night. Great little hostel.
Lochaber Cafe - inside train station
-2 pots tea/ £1.30
Slept above a pizzeria
Rainy day/not too bad yesterday. Apparently dry in Glasgow. Chì  sinn.
Train cancelled last night. New train coming in about an hour: 11:40 -> 3:30 arrive Glasgow. 
Saw a man; looked just like Ernie Dewing - Ft. William station - and a women like Marg Arpin. 

Bridge over the River Clyde? 
It makes me wonder when the pavement is the same monotone grey as the river it travels along.

Dec. 30th '11
-> Charlerout 
           -> cafe reminded me of days in child out-patient centre & cafe.
               -> Nice sweeping lawns, beautiful when dry. Even so, the rain brought out the green.

'Charlerout' is my terrible attempt at spelling the French name of this mansion that I visited near to Holytown, where I was spending the time between Christmas and New Year's. I think there might be an x at the end. Charlesroux?

 1d dhen Fhaoilleach 2012
So, an dràsda, tha mi a' dèanamh suidh' ann an osdail ann an Cill Rìmhinn as deidh dà latha gu math spòrsail còmhla ris an teaghlach aig Sgotaidh. Tha mi a' smaointinn gu bheil sin an adhbhar a thàinig mi gu h-Alba; airson oidhcheannan mar a' raoir.

This was the morning after my first international New Year's Eve. It was a great night filled with more than enough free food, tunes, Gaelic and good times. Now I'll finally have a decent answer to: How did you spend your New Year's Eve? 

Edinburgh Hostels
Art House - £15/night
Cowgate -  £9/night
Castle Rock - £12-14/night
Caledonian - £10/night
[I never ended up staying at any of these, but there's a decent list for any soon-to-be travellers]

7:10 to Waverley
Shotts, Shotts, Shotts, Shotts, Shotts, Shotts

I thought 7:10 to Waverley could be a good name for a song. Shotts is just a stop along the way. 
[Waverley is Edinburgh's main train station]

January 6th
So, I got on the wrong train today. Well that's not entirely true. I got on the right train, it's just headed to the wrong place. I bought a ticket to Glasgow, completely forgetting that I need to go to Holytown. The 4:30 Holytown (& Glasgow) was £12 so I went for the 5:00 - £7 - one, logically. Little did I know until the ticket was in my hand that it was an express train run by another company. (Even though I asked and was told it was a Scotrail run!) So, that in mind, I tried to phone Sgotaidh to let him know I'd just meet him in Glasgow. That's when the phone card didn't want to work. So, I bought a new one, which also didn't work. A £10 refund later, I had no way of letting Sgotaidh know and I had the wrong ticket. Since there was no way of exchanging it (it says so.) I figured I'd just call him in Glasgow and apologise profusely. That's when I remembered his parents would no doubt be worrying like mad (not to mention the bit of stuff I left at their place) So, here I am on this train to Glasgow - not Holytown - and no way of letting anyone know. And you know what the irony is? I seriously considered buying a phone today but didn't have enough time to decide before the train left!! *sigh* I guess all I can do is sit back & enjoy the ride. 

I think that one's self explanatory. Interesting day, that's for sure. =) 

Bus: Glasgow -> Dundee 14:00-16:23 (9th Jan 2012)
Dundee -> Glasgow 18:45-20:45 (11th Jan 2012)

So long as one hundred of us remain alive, 
we shall not on any condition be subjected to English rule. 

I took a day trip from Dundee to Arbroath where, at the local abbey, a document was signed in 1320 considered to be Scotland's first constitution of sorts. Those lines above are me trying to remember (incorrectly) one of the most famous lines from the paper. 73A is the bus between Dundee and Arbroath.
Jan. 11th '12
-Bookshop cafe in Arbroath very neat. 
-not many books but it's cozy, good tea and it looks like they're expanding

A funny side note about this, the owner of the cafe was actually from America. I couldn't tell you where, but we had a nice chat about living overseas...

Calder's "A Gaelic Grammar"
Sect. 6: Vowel Infection =)

Sect. 11: Metathesis
->Easbuig: Bishop
                              ->Gilleasbuig: son/servant of the bishop?

Sect. 12: Projection of Consonants
1. 'The D or T of the Article'
m.e. t-ì; tì
t-é; té

 Calder's Gaelic Grammar is essentially the original grammar book for Gaelic and I found a early 1900's copy hidden away in a second-hand bookstore in Dundee for only about £5. I think I wrote the note about consonants because depending on where you are, tì [tee] can mean tea but people will also say té [tay] meaning tea. Té [chay] can also mean a dram or a young woman so I have no real clue why I wrote it down. Draw your own conclusions.

Vincent to Queen: 15 minutes of a Friday's morning
There sure is quite a lot of busyness; 
men & women, daoine, of all shapes and sizes. Coffees too;
Veni and grande. Latte no milk, cream, sugar; just routine.
Locals, yokels, out of towners, runners, dashers, wanderers, meanderers going to places; with places to go. Seeing these strangers every day. 
Upkept; unkempt; dressed up; to the nines; down and out; up & coming. 
Measgachadh ri chèile. Good morning. 
I wrote that waiting for the early train back to Mallaig,
after walking from the place I was staying.

...ann am Muile agus an Eilean Ìdhe [in Mull and Iona]
1. I wondered why a ferry the same length as Skye was twice the size. Then I saw the # of foot passengers. A couple hundred at least. 

2. I felt like I was travelling w/ a tourist group, the # of non-Scots I saw. Then I realized I was. One of those bus tour type things.

3. I was excited by the fact that lit. every house in Iona has a Gaelic name. Then I noticed the letters 'B&B' underneath them all. Less than a 1/3 of the accents I've heard here are Scottish. I wonder how many natives are left? Was there Iona Gaelic? ..close to Tiree...

4. Calgary, Mull -> Skyeman -> RCMP -> Alberta! 

I think the only one needing explanation here is that last note. Here's the story: There is a village on the Isle of Mull named Calgary. I never made it there because I didn't have enough time, but apparently there was a man who moved down from Skye and spent a lot of time around Calgary. Later on, he emigrated to Canada and joined the RCMP. As they were out doing RCMP things, he ended up in Alberta where they were just settling a new town. Remembering this beautiful part of the world on Mull, he suggested they name the town Calgary. And guess what? It stuck. 
Also, when I say the same length as Skye, I mean the ferry ride was only just over half an hour. Not that the ferry was the length of Skye. That would be rather large. 

And with that, I am going to finish Part I of this rambling epic because sleep beckons. I still have a fair bit more including remarks on: Ireland, camping, travelling with kitchen utensils, some pretty awesome people and power outages. Stay tuned! =) 

Gus an ath thuras agus oidhche mhath!


  1. Thoir sùil anns an leabhar "Am Measg nam Bodach" (ann an leabharlann SMO) airson seanchais mu Eilean Ì!

    Tha mis' a' fuireach an Dùn Dè agus cha robh càil a dh'fhios agam gun robh leabhraichean Gàidhlig san "second-hand book shop"...Bidh mi a' dol ann!!

  2. Steafan,

    Fhuair mise Calder's Gaelic Grammar agus leabhar eile a chaidh a sgrìobhadh le Iain MacNeacail, bàrd an Eilein Sgitheanaich, ach cha robh moran ann. Cha chreid mi gur e cruinneachadh mór a th' ann.