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Document 446

Smootie gengs ta Lerrick

Author(s): Christine De Luca

Copyright holder(s): Christine De Luca

Text

Smootie wis a peerie cat. Weel, her name wisna actually Smootie at dat time. Shö wis jöst ca'ad 'puss'. Shö wis boarn on Bressa i da haert o a paetstack. Her midder hed brocht her up weel; hed shaan her foo ta catch mice an guddle sillocks at da shore.

'Noo at du's grown up, mi jewel, du sall makk dy mark in Lerrick.'

Foo dö I win dere, mam?

Du man stow awa apö da Leirna.

So, ee fine simmer's nicht, Smootie did jöst dat. Her midder watched her gyaan doon da rod, head prunk, tail up. Shö felt is prood is can be.

At da pier Smootie waited fur da ferryman ta turn his back, dan shö nippit on board. Der wirna mony cars fur hit wis da last ferry. Shö fan a peerie nyook ta hoid in. Da cars cam on, an a truck. Da starn wis hauled up. Da engines dundered. Dey wir aff. Smootie couldna see a stime.

Shö harkened fur da engine noise ta change. Da meenit da boo wis doon da cars med a scrit ta be aff. Shö skoited oot an took her chance. I da mirknen naebody saa her.

Smootie ran alang da Esplanade. Hit wis a boannie nicht. Da lichts o Bressa wis mirlin on da Soond. Shö tocht aboot her midder. Wid shö be missin her? Shö turned up ta Da Street, checkin da names o da lanes is shö gud. Burns Lane......Reform Lane...Pitt Lane....dere hit wis. Pitt Lane. Da een her mam hed spoken aboot. Whaar her granny hed come fae. Hit wis nairrow an dark. Perfect.

Der wis nae sign o onybody aboot. No even a cat. 'I winder if ony o my relations 'll tak me in?' Smootie tocht tae hersel. Shö fan a peerie bush in a sheltered corner o a back gairden, curled her up cosy an gud ta sleep.

Shö waakened braaly aerly an felt hungry. Noises cam fae da hoose. Bairn's voices. Shö jumpit up on da windowsill an pickit apö da gless (a trick her midder hed shaan her). Her clooers made a peerie herd noise.

Sure enyoch, hit wirkit. A boy cam tae da back door an löt her in.

'Mam, der's sic a lovely peerie cat here, wantin in! Can we keep him? I tink he's a stray.'

Eftir a lock o persuadin an checkin wi da police an phonin dis een an dat Magnus's midder löt dem keep Smootie.

'Whit sall we caa him?' aksed Freya, Magnus's peerie sister.

'Hit's a shö, no a he, bairns'. (Trust Dad ta ken.)

'Smootie!' said Freya, 'fur shö's aye smootin aboot!'

Sae Smootie hit wis, an shö settled in ta Pitt Lane jöst special.

Noo ee day Smootie's lugs prickit up when shö heard whit mam hed ta say.

'I winder whit we'll dö wi Smootie whin we geng on holiday? We'll hae tae pit her inta da cattery. An we'll hae tae tak her tae da vet fur her vaccinations afore dat.'

Noo, if der wis wan warnin dat Smootie's midder hed gien her hit wis ta steer clear o vets.

'Dey're fine for kye an sheep, but if we tak care wi whit we aet an keep wirsels clean, we hae nae need o dem. Cats is managed fur generations ithoot dem.' Or sae Smootie's mam tocht.

So da day eftir da announcement aboot da cattery an da vet Smootie tocht at shö wid tak a turn up da lane ta see if shö could lay een apön some o her cousins. Maybe dey wid tak her in. Nae shunner wis shö past twartree doors dan shö sees a cat maistlins da sam is hersel. Weel, no fairly sae boannie, but wi da sam tortoiseshall markings. Der wis nae doubt in her mind. Dey wir sib.

'Tinks du, ir we related?' Da idder cat luikit her up an doon an dey baith realised at der grannies wis sisters: dey wir second cousins!

'My, my fancy dat!' said Smootie. Dey jumpit up an doon, an hed a peerie fecht jöst ta celebrate. Da idder cat introduced himsel as Tammie.

'Come wi me', said Tammie, an led da wye tae a fine-lik cat-flap. 'Come dee wis in here. Mind dee head. Da fock'll be blyde ta see dee. Nicol an Ingrid ir daft aboot cats, an der fock tö.'

So hit wis dat Smootie settled doon tae her twa hames, an twa names. Freya an Magnus ca'ed her 'Smootie'; Nicol an Ingrid ca'ad her 'Mitten'. Although Smootie wis her first name, shö ansed ta baith names as if shö hed been christened wi dem. Magnus an Freya aye browt her hame a piece o fish fae da fishshop. Nicol an Ingrid fed her on chicken an cat biscuit. If shö fyaarmed aroond da midders dey wir aye a titbit. Life wis göd. Shö could come an geng is shö plaesed, pickin apö da window ta win inta Magnus an Freya's hoose, an using da cat flap at Nicol an Ingrids. Nedder family kent at shö wis leadin a double life. As da days gud by, shö got fatter an fatter. Shö tocht dat yon vet business wis weel past.

Foosomeivver, da last day o da scöl term cam an hit wis time fur Magnus an Freya's mam ta tak Smootie tae da vet. Da bairns wis gien ta scöl. Smootie wis curled up cosy in Magnus's unmade bed.

Mam cam in. 'Du soodna be in dere, du vagaboond! Come on, dis is dy day fur da vet! In du gengs! Du's as fat as a tystie! I can hardly get dee in.' An wi dat Smootie, half ramished, fan hersel in a wire cage, kyerried up da lane an inta a car. Der wis nae messin wi mam.

Da vet, whin dey wan dere, trivvelled aboot Smootie, soonded her, an when shö wisna luikin, gied her da injection. He med comments aboot her size at Smootie tocht kinda personal.

'My you are a heavy weight, Smootie. You'll have to cut down a bit on the biscuits.' (He wis a sooth man, an couldna spaek Shetland, but a göd enyoch vet fur aa dat.) Mam hed been struggling ta keep Smootie on da vet's table. 'This is worse than taking my children to the doctors for their injections.' Mam apologised tae da vet fur Smootie's antics.

Dat weekend Magnus an Freya wir trang fillin suitcases. Mam wis nivver dön ironin an Dad wis aye oot sortin da car. Neist mornin da cage wis hoidin ahint da kitchen door. As shön is Smootie med her entrance, dey yokkit her an stack her itae da cage.

Smootie plöted wi dem aa da wye tae da cattery. But aa da sam Dad handed her owre tae da lass an waved as he gud. Dan he picked up da family fae hame an dey drave on ta Da Nort Boat. 'Aberdeen here we come!' said Freya.

Meanwhile Ingrid an Nicol wir getting worried. Dey hedna seen Mitten - is dey wir wint ta caa Smootie- fur days. Dey aksed aroond der neebors but naebody hed seen der cat. Dey even tried Magnus and Freya's door but got nae reply. Tammie kent fine whit hed happened; he kent aa aboot his cousin's dooble life.

'Mam, wir med posters ta tie on ta lampposts aroond da Hillhead. Whit tink you o my pictir o Mitten?'

'Dat's awfil lik her. Weel dön dee! While you dö dat, A'll phone da police an da SSPCA ta see if onybody is handed in a stray cat. Your faider is checkin da oothoose an da garage.'

'Mam, we could pit a notice apö Radio Shetland. Der awfil göd aboot things lik dat.' Ingrid kent at shö hed hed a brainwave. Aabody luikit plaised.

Sure enyoch, da neist day, oot an in among da bits o news da voice cam owre da Radio. 'A tortoiseshall cat, answerin tae da name o 'Mitten' is bön lost i da vicinity o Pitt Lane. If onybody is seen her dan Ingrid an Nicol wid lik ta hear fae you. Da number ta ring is Lerrick 8987.'

Fur days eftir dat der wis braaly lang faces at Nicol and Ingrid's fur der wis nae sign o Mitten, an naebody phoned idder dan ta say 'Ir you no fun her yet?' Dey faered da warst. Maybe shö hed bön rin owre. Maybe shö wis lockit in somewye. Naethin seemed richt. Tammie did his best ta cheer dem up but wi little success. Dey hed planned days oot ta Spiggie beach an Unst an da Scatness Broch but decided ta bide hame in case Mitten turned up. Da fardest dey got wis da Clickimin Centre fur a swim an a ride on da flumes.

Afore lang Magnus an Freya's holiday wis owre. Da Nort Boat waakened aabody up wi her 'Tooooo' as she cam in da Bressa Soond. Da bairns wis on a amp ta pick up Smootie. Dey aksed der fock if dey could pick her up dat moarnin.

'Ya' said dad, 'we'll geng eftir you're unpackit. Da cattery 'll hardly be opened yet.'

Smootie wis dat blyde ta see dem at shö forgie dem richt awa fur no takkin her wi dem on holiday. Magnus an Freya couldna wait ta clap her. Smootie purred loodly aa da wye hame i da car, despite da cage. Shö kent shö wid shön be oot. Da first thing dey did whin dey got her hame wis ta get her some maet.

'Smootie's an awfil lock tinner, mam. Tink you is da cattery been feedin her enyoch?'

'Shö luiks far better fur lossing some o yon weicht I tink' said Mam. 'We'll no hae ta feed her is muckle is we wir wint tae.'

Smootie wis desperate ta see Ingrid an Nicol. Shö nippit oot as shön is hit wis decent. Shö med fur da cat flap.

'Mam! Dad! Ingrid! See wha's here!' Nicol shouted wi delight. 'Hit's Mitten! Oh Mitten whaar is du bön? Du's dat tin. Mam, shö's lost a lock o weicht. Shö's surely bön lockit in some place an no hed ony maet!'

Dey aa med a grit wark o Smootie an cöllied aboot her. Dey wir aa dat blyde ta see her hame again. Dey emptied da fridge ta fin every titbit dey could fur her. Smootie wis back tae her dooble life, an lovin hit!

Da neist nicht whin shö jumpit trowe da cat flap shö got a bit o a gluff, fur Nicol an Ingrid yokkit hadd o her an, afore shö hed time ta ken whit wis up, dey hed pitten a collar aroond her neck. On hit der wis a peerie bell an a roond tag at said

Mitten
01595
698987

I da moarnin shö pickit at Freya an Magnus's window as wis her wint. Magnus löt her in. Is shö ate her brakfast her peerie bell tinkled fornenst her plate.

'Mam! Dad! Smootie's wearin a collar! Did you get hit fur her an nivver tell me? Göd heevens, hit says her name is Mitten! Mitten?? Does shö luik lik a mitten? An der's a phone number an hit's no wir een! Whit's gyaan on?'

Wi dat, Mam phoned da number on da tag. Hit wis Ingrid an Nicol's mam at da idder end o da phone.

'Is that Lerwick 8987?'

'Yes'

Well this may seem like a strange call, but our cat Smootie has come home this morning wearing a collar and name tag with your phone number on it, and the name Mitten!'

Dere wis a peerie silence on da end o da phone.

'Your cat? But it's Mitten, wir cat. We lost her for twa weeks and tocht that we should mak sure it disna happen again.'

'Lost for twa weeks?!' said Freya an Magnus's mam. Wir bön awa in Aberdeen on wir holidays fur twa weeks an Smootie's bön at da cattery.'

'Da cattery? Oh dear, whit will we dö? Ingrid an Nicol ir baith dat fond o da peerie cat. I dunna ken foo A'm gyaan ta tell dem at shö's your cat.'

'Weel, why no come alang aboot da nicht, an hae a cup a tae, an we'll sort hit oot atween wis' said Magnus an Freya's mam, tryin ta mak her feel better. 'Come you da nicht, if you're free.'

Weel, hit's winderfil what a cup o tae can sort. Nae shunner wis da kettle on, but da twa mams hed decided at dey wid jöst carry on wi da twa families sharing Smootie.

'Hit's wirkit weel enyoch' said Ingrid an Nicol's mam.

'Ya, an shö seems ta anse ta baith names' said Magnus an Freya's mam.

Dey got da fowr bairns tagidder an telt dem whit hed happened an whit dey tocht wid be da best plan. Whin dey realised foo clever der cat wis, dey doobled up lauchin.

'Dat means shö'll no need ta geng tae da cattery fur we dunna geng awa on holiday at da sam time!' Ingrid wis tinkin ahead.

Nicol luikit straight at da cat. 'But hit'll hae ta be half portions fur dee, du peerie trooker! Idderwise du'll no win trowe wir cat flap fur muckle langer!'

Dey spak aboot gettin a new tag fur her collar wi baith names an baith phone numbers on hit. But Nicol an Ingrid decided dey likkit da name Smootie jöst is weel is, an maybe a coarn mair is Mitten. So Smootie hit wis. But shö hed baith phone numbers on her name tag, jöst in case.

Smootie wis owre weel plaesed ta get hit aa sorted oot. Luikin back, hit hedna bön aesy makkin sure naebody kent aboot her dooble life. An whit a story shö wid hae ta tell her midder whin neist shö saa her. But dat's een fur anidder day.

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APA Style:

Smootie gengs ta Lerrick. 2021. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved January 2021, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=446.

MLA Style:

"Smootie gengs ta Lerrick." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2021. Web. January 2021. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=446.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Smootie gengs ta Lerrick," accessed January 2021, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=446.

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2021. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk.

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Information about Document 446

Smootie gengs ta Lerrick

Text

Text audience

Children (under 13s)
Males
Females
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2003
Word count 2412

Text setting

Leisure/entertainment

Text type

Prose: fiction
Short story

Author

Author details

Author id 120
Forenames Christine
Surname De Luca
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Head of Assessment, Research and Development
Place of birth Bressay
Region of birth Shetland
Birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Headmaster
Father's place of birth Vidlin
Father's region of birth Shetland
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth Cunningsburgh
Mother's region of birth Shetland
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Sh
Mother's country of birth Scotland

Languages

Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work, read Scots literature

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