Document 246

The Gem

Author(s): Anna Blair

Copyright holder(s): Anna Blair


There was...
Miss Anderson that mothered us
Miss Brodie that amused
Miss Callum wi' her adenoids
Jock Donald who confused
Miss Esk that ruled the corridors
And Mistress 'Sad' Fedor
(Not a 'Miss' because she was
A widow from the war)
Ned Graham with his sarky taunts
Miss Hogg wi' dangly jewels.
Kaiser Isa belted us
For never-heeding rules
Miss Johnson in her spotty frocks
That taught us how to parse,
We'd Lanky Kerr and Paddy Linn
(Who couldn't say his 'Rs')
You'd Martin, aye, and Nicolson
And Irish Tim O'Toole
You mind he ran the football team
And tried to run the school?
We done wir seams for 'Thimble' Pearce
Wi' grubby thread and pin
And never done a stroke of work
For gormless Mister Quinn
Ross and Smith (the faceless kind)
I scarce can mind at a'
But Miss Thom wi' her long hair-braid
We used to call 'The Squaw'
Big Urquart first, then Jerry Vonn
Was Heidie at St. Mick's
Ma Wills, Miss Cross and Patsy Young
We roasted wi' wir tricks.
Then Tony Zavaroni too
(That's father kep' a caff)
He jouked into the corners with
The Biddies on the staff.

Teachers! Och beyond the rest
The one that topped the lot
A wee wee smout, the plainest Jane
Was magic Miss McWhat!
Of maybe fifty through the years
You loathed some; some admired.
Some bored you, some taught well-enough
But Miss McWhat inspired.
She Wheedled, urged and kep' the heid
A dandy, rare wee gem
She was, without a word of doubt,
The creme, aye, de la creme.

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APA Style:

The Gem. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 19 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"The Gem." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 19 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Gem," accessed 19 July 2024,

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 246

The Gem


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1998
Word count 272

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 127
Forenames Anna
Surname Blair
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Teacher/author
Place of birth Giffnock
Region of birth Glasgow
Birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Business
Father's place of birth Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Business
Mother's place of birth Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Visits to France, correspondence
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes