I LOVE MY SCOTTISH ANCESTRY… still

Scottish kitten

I know… you’ve seen it before. Don’t tell me it still doesn’t give you the right upwardly mobile wrinkles? (Translated, this means ‘a smile’)

Firstly, in this ‘born again’ version of a post from over a year ago, I must start with a serious note.

A few days ago it was the anniversary of the death of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘The Young Pretender’,  in Rome, in 1788.

After leading the ’45 rebellion,  Stuart slid into a life of obscurity. ‘Known as the Duke of Albany, with a failed marriage behind him, and his dreams of a Stuart restoration unfulfilled, he ended his days as an alcoholic in Rome‘. (Wonder if it was Johnnie Walker who finally brought him down?)

I only mention this riveting fact because my ancestors were Scottish (did I already mention that?) and Bonnie Prince Charlie was, ‘One of European history’s most romantic figures, at the heart of a tragic tale of loyalty and devotion. The Young Pretender led a futile quest to save the very soul of Scotland.’ Oh my… how noble is that?

And I believe my ancestors helped Rob Roy to help that particular Charlie to escape and fight another day. But the major point of this article is to help ‘others’ to understand a most important fallacy about those ‘braw, braw lads’ of Scotland. (translation: super brave)

Scottish people are often described as ‘dour’

(the dictionary definition says – relentlessly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance), not actually backed up by the photo above, but it certainly is proof of this characerisation –

 ‘The Scots can be dour but equally they can flash with inspiration.

They delight in self-deprecating humour.’

 For historic reasons, they (and most of their descendants)  have never stopped their ‘baiting’ –

 ‘The English only have a “stiff” upper lip because they put Viagra in their tea!

and –

 How many Englishmen does it take to batter down a castle gate?

10,000  – 

100 to hold the ram and 9,900 to move the castle back and forth.

 

The Scots devised a few droll answers, after countless years of being asked the burning question –

 

“WHAT DO YOU WEAR UNDER YOUR KILT?”

 How badly do you want to know?

How warm are your hands?

Me mother once told me a real lady wouldn’t ask…

she was right, God bless ‘er.

My Scottish pride.

Sorry, I’m a bit shy and not much good with words. Give me your hand…

A wee set of pipes.

String – I had to tie it up so it didn’t hang below the kilt.

… and to the slightly rephrased question –

 

“WHAT’S WORN UNDER YOUR KILT?”

 Nothing is worn, everything is in perfect working order.

Pardon? You still doubt Scottish humour and creativity? Aww come on…but if you insist, and only because my Scottish ancestry demands I show it one more time… (no apologies – for the humour OR my ancestry!), here are some of the top comments on Facebook way back then (last year, that is), following the distribution of that gorgeous photo.

Lyle Rich My great, great, great, great Grandfather was killed the by the great kitten of Aberdeen

Marcus Mc The only thing more deadly than a carefully aimed kitten is the fearsome Scots women. They traditionally charged into battle bare chested and wielding an 8lb baby. Impervious to harsh language and arrows, each woman would fire ladels full of scalding hot broth at enenmy combatants thus clearing the way for a charge of the main battle cat divisions.

Blair Dornan You can all mock if you like but the battle cat was a valuable war asset and is what allowed Scotland to remain independent from England for so many years until the great Haggis shortage of 1706 forcing the Scots to sell their battle kittens to the English in exchange for deep fried Mars bars eventually leading a defenseless Scotland to sign the acts of union in 1707

Mark Turner “Hell hath no fury like a kitten sporran’d.”

Eileen Wilson This was in fact the original catapult which some say was originally “cat in pelt” and others claim it came from ” a cat a pult outa ma spurran”.

Scott Gothard Everyone knows that the reason Scottish clansmen invented bagpipes, which sound like an enraged cat sounding it’s battle screech, was a shortage of battle cats in the early years of attempted English military aggression against the clans.

Leland Eiben So that is why where are 3 fur danglely things put on a sporran. So, to keep the kitten amused between battles. This tends to keep the kitten ready for battle at a moments notice.

Katie Watts No indeed. Those are cosmetic brushes — every soldier fights better when s/he’s put on a touch of blusher and eyeshadow

Todd Jackson Nothing more fierce than a Scot wielding a battle cat smelling like a cairn, hopped up on haggis with a full Sporran O’battle kittens.

Rab Murray …..it’s why Sporrans have leather backs – an improvement designed by a guy called Claude Balls

Brett Morgan Unfortunately, Battle Kittens weren’t as effective as hoped in the fight for independence from England, however, they proved more effective than the idea of the Irish ‘War Puppy’

David Mccann what was more devastating was the Scots were hurling huge vats of porridge by giant sling shots,and refusing to to add any cream or sugar.this so devastated the Sassenachs,they were forced to retreat,and were reduced to eating cornflakes on the long march home.

Ernest J Maurizi Oh those Contrarian Scotts, while the rest of the world went to battle in search of fresh pussy…..the Scotts bring their old stuff from home..

Do I detect a predominance of Scottish surnames above? (Except for my favourite – the gorgeous ‘Graham‘ clan. Ohh… did I not tell you my maiden name was ‘Graham‘?)

Oh yes, and just before I go – an old Scottish joke that a friend shared in her comments when the original post was published (she tells me it was one of her Mother’s and it’s very old) –

Q. How many canaries can you fit under a Scotsman’s kilt?
A. It depends how long the perch is.

Guid cheerio the nou!

Comments

  1. This post gave me a good chuckle. It reminded me of my uncle, who died several years ago. He was Scottish and had the great sense of humour you’ve highlighted here. I was just a little girl when my aunt first brought him to our house for us to meet her. He had a box of Smarties (candies like M&M’s but with chocolate inside) and made a big deal about being Scottish and cheap and doling them out to us one by one.

    • My mother-in-law used to that with our kids when they were small, and she was Danish! One more twist, she had to ensure each one got the same number of each colour. Think my hubby ate up any leftovers.

  2. My ancestors weren’t on his side although one of them helped to take him over the sea to Skye.

  3. Hahaha! Thanks for the great laugh this morning! I have to admit that I know little of the Scots or their traditions! But I have heard some of these jokes…fun!

    • Happy to contribute to those ‘upwardly mobile’ wrinkles Jacqui – it’s said our faces are the road map of our lives. Nice when eyes twinkle as the mouth lifts easily into a genuine smile… and the odd belly laugh must be good for the waist too!

  4. All I can think of is “that Scottish Play” in Blackadder where these actors have a ritual when someone mentions… Macbeth!
    Blackadder: By the “Scottish Play”, I assume you mean *Macbeth*.
    Mossop, Keanrick: Aahhhhh. Hot potato, orchestra stalls, Puck will make amends.
    [They tweak each others nose]
    Mossop, Keanrick: Aaahh.
    Blackadder: What was that?
    Keanrick: We were exorcising evil spirits. Being but a mere butler, you will not know the great theatre tradition that one does *never* speak the name of the “Scottish Play”.
    Blackadder: What, *Macbeth*?
    Mossop, Keanrick: Aahhhhh. Hot potato, orchestra stalls, Puck will make amends.
    [They tweak each others nose]
    Mossop, Keanrick: Ohhh.
    Blackadder: Good lord, you mean you have to do *that* every time I say *Macbeth*?
    Mossop, Keanrick: Aahhhhh. Hot potato, orchestra stalls, Puck will make amends.
    [They tweak each others nose]
    Mossop, Keanrick: Owwww.
    Mossop: Will you please stop saying *that*. Always call it the “Scottish Play”.
    Blackadder: So you want me to say the “Scottish Play”?
    Mossop, Keanrick: [shout] Yes.
    Blackadder: Rather than *Macbeth*?
    Mossop, Keanrick: Aahhhhh. Hot potato, orchestra stalls, Puck will make amends.
    [They tweak each others nose]

    • Thanks for sharing SO much Alice. I’ll never hear that unmentionable name again without thinking of this… and let’s not forget the tweaking of the noses. Perhaps Pinocchio did other kinds of storytelling as well, do you think?

  5. So maybe the dour thing is based on the weather not the people.

  6. Very cute. I for one did not find the Scottish people dour. Having said that, I was in Scotland performing in a children’s theater festival so perhaps I witnessed an especially perky subset of the Scottish population.

    • So another generation of sassy Scots is on its way, Erica? Those special ones born able to sing (and understand), before they go to bed (and when they’re old enough) –

      Just a wee deoch an doris, just a wee drop, that’s all.
      Just a wee deoch an doris afore ye gang awa.
      There’s a wee wifie waitin’ in a wee but an ben.
      If you can say, “It’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht”,
      Then yer a’richt, ye ken.

  7. Good one, Christine. My best friend is Scottish and I’ll have to share these with her. She is definitely not lacking in a sense of humour so it’s always nice to throw something like “the English only have a stiff upper lip because they put Viagra in their tea”. She would get a kick out of that one for sure, even if her dad was English.

    • Isn’t that a ripper, Lenie? I just commented elsewhere that if it wasn’t for my age and busted leg, I’d be rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. I L-O-V-E anything that gives me those upwardly mobile crinkles around my eyes and mouth.

  8. Delightful! I’m Scottish on my mom’s side–originally from the Aberdeen area. Perhaps it accounts for how the sound of the bagpipes can get into my heart, soul, guts, etc. 😉 Or maybe the bagpipes just “do it” it for some people, Scots or not.

    Thanks for the fun and enlightenment.

    • Ahh… the bagpipes! Some describe them as a caterwauling commotion (had they maybe read all about the battle cats and become confused, do you think?) Trying to remember a movie where the sound of the bagpipes issued out of a thick fog, way before the warriors could be seen, and scaring the pants off (?) their waiting foes. Was that in Braveheart? Ohh… now I could cry instead. How I loved that movie… and Rob Roy. Ahh stop it, stop it, I won’t be able to see my screen or keyboard in a minute.
      Thanks for visiting Ramona.

  9. Oh my goodness, this makes me wish I was Scottish! I’m just rolling over all those comments! Thanks for brightening my day. 🙂

    • Well Meredith, there are moments when I feel a little fraudulent – Scottish ancestry, 3rd generation Aussie, Danish by marriage. A corner of my heart will always be tartan, but it has a tough time with that fighting kangaroo!

  10. Awesome post and thanks for the LOL moments! I love Scottish accent, never been to Scotland though which is sad for someone that lives in London.
    Planning to visit during Easter x

    • My brother was there many years ago with the Australian Navy, and told me of its great beauty. He loved the wildness and isolation of the moors. Hope your Easter visit comes to fruition.

  11. Hi Christine,

    Your post left me grinning till the end. I traveled to St. Andrews a few summers ago, but unfortunately didn’t interact too much with the locals. I’ve heard that the Scots have their fair share of humor, and these jokes prove so. Thanks for sharing!

    • Probably just as well you didn’t have too much interaction, Tatia. I believe a combination of Scots, whisky and bagpipes can be overwhelming, to say the least!

  12. Oh, those are hilarious! Of course, put a cat and a kilt together, hilarity must ensue. I’ve known many Scottish people, and to a person, they had a great sense of humour. Where did this stereotype originate? Hmmm. And did you know that bonnie Prince Charlie was the great-grandson of Jan Sobieski, one of Poland’s greatest warriors? If it wasn’t for him, I might have been raised speaking Swedish. But that’s a whole another story …

    • Oh yes Krystyna (nice variation on the name, by the way), Kitties and kilts are kind of irresistible to some. A ‘Polished as well as Bonnie’ Charlie’? Now there’s a thought. Being only Danish by marriage, I came to politely say hallo and goodbye, and ask how are you, and swear in other than Scottish/Oz. And that, too, is a whole other story!

  13. This is really nice. I have never been to Scotland but after the referendum, Scotland is discussed everywhere. I have heard that their jokes are amazing.

    Thank you for a great share.

    • I truly love these jokes, Andleeb, even though some are well-known to some of my readers. I seem to have a penchant for ‘golden oldies’ (quite noticeable since I won silver… on top!)

  14. Kindly allow me to share that in all my life I have only met one native Scot, and he was only slightly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance, and not relentlessly so. 😉

    • Can you just imagine Andy, when the not so dour Scot bit became mixed up with the laid-back larrikin that is the ever-joking Aussie? Interesting, to say the least!

  15. Christine, went to the Scottish Highland Games last year. Had a blast. Wished I had Scottish blood after so I had and excuse to wear a kilt.

  16. You’re right. You provided some good laughs. A pleasant interlude! I know little about Scotland and definitely didn’t know about the kittens!

    • Pleased to hear of your laughs, Beth. Nothing an Aussie loves more than creating ‘upwardly mobile wrinkles’… and no apologies for adding Scottish kittens to the mix.

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