Document 536

Craiters: 12 - Glory Hole

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


Gweed kens faa pat it in – ah weel, no, Gweed kens an I ken, an it wisna me, bit gin I tellt ye, syne ere’d be ower mony maisters, as e taid said till e harra. Weel, ere wis nae dogs an nae cats aboot e hoose, an nae ither kins o beas tae ait it, an ye couldna mak porritch or brose wi’t – nae unless ye wis ready tae pick caff oot o yer chowdlers for e rest o e day. I niver speert faar it cam fae, bit intill e glory hole it geed, a plastic baggie o bran at mith ay a come in handy for something.

It’d been ere a lang time. A glory hole’s nae a place ye min tae keep snod. If ye’re needin something oot o e road, in it goes, an gey lucky if ony reddin up’s deen eence a ear. Files I’ve gotten scunnert masel an I’ve teen oot e irenin byeurd, siveral pairs o sheen, boxes at hid been teemt bit niver trampit on an tied up for e scaffie, newspapers – God! newspapers, Scotsmans, wik-eyn Observers, a fyow aal Sunday Times’, a pucklie People’s Journals an People’s Freens at hid got wachlet doon fae e Northeast, Sunday Expresses at e dother brocht roon fin she cam for er Sunday denner an didna ay min tae tak awa again, colour supplements, wifies’ papers at tellt ye aa aboot Charles an Diane an geed ye yer horoscope as weel’s e latest cure for breist cancer, nae tae spik o heapies o cut-oot re-sipes an squaars o faalt-oot sweetie papers an choclit vrappins-, tinnies o pint an a baldie-heidit brush at nott a new wig, teem biscuit tins at some o e trock cd a been stappit intill, twa coal shovels in ‘perfeck condeetion’, as ey say in e adverts, twa ir three great big boxes o washin pooder, een o em half skailt ower e bit o aal linoleum at didna richt cover e fleer, fire irons an a cowpit imitation braiss stand o best weddin present quality, a plastic pyock full o plastic pyocks, an aye, e best bittie o aa, at wis e nyeuk I’d teen ower masel. I’d gotten haad o a timmer box, pat dowel rods intill’t, up an doon an across, an made a fine rackie for e wine I bocht be e dizzen bottles fae ma freen Roddie, gettin a bittie aff for bulk buyin. I likit fite wines mair’n reed, bit nae aabody his e same tastes sae I tried tae cater for ither fowk tee.

Ah weel, eence aathing wis oot ere wis a kinna teem styooie smell – funny, doon by here fowk wid say ‘stoory’, ir raither ‘stooray’ – bit I niver likit tae spile e wye I wis brocht up tae spik. I ken e word ‘stoory’ fine, bit ye winna get ma sayin’t. An I winna say ‘it’ll no dae’ fin I’ve aye said ‘it winna dee’. E queer bittie o’t is, it’s ither wyes o spikkin in ma ain country I’d raither nae folla, though I scutter on fine wi ither fowk’s languages. It’s jist at I wint tae stick tae ma ain dialect, an I’d like ither fowk tae dee e same. Onywye, even aifter gettin in e lang spoot o e Hoover, ye’d aye get at styooie kinna atmosphere, sae naething for’t bit tae pit aathing back in again, ir maistly aathing.

Though I used e glory-hole for ma wine cellar it wisna aa at caal. Een o yon nicht-storage heaters wis in e passage aside e glory-hole door, though iv coorse ye daardna turn’t on in e simmer. It wis bad enyeuch in e winter files makkin sure e heat wis on. Niver min at, though, it’s nae winter I’m spikkin aboot.

Eence e warmer days cam – es wis last ear – an ye cd keep e back door open, I noticet a lot o little beasties comin in. Fin e licht geed on at nicht, ey’d bizz aboot it. Haad awa fae e bottlers, though, naebody peyed attention till em. Noo an aan ye’d get a bite at raised an reedent e skin, bit ere wisna much o at. It’s jist aboot e eyn o e simmer at ye daarna gang up till e heid o e gairden for fear o gettin bitten. If ye pick a flooer ir twa, or hae a hagger at e hedge, neesht mornin yer cweets’ll be aa up, gey sair, an yer wrists, like enyeuch yer back an, warst o aa, in anaith yer oxters. Fit ondeemous beasts es is ye canna ken cis ye canna see em, though ere mn be a lot aboot. Onywye, ey’re amon e girse an e flooers an e leafs o e beech-hedge, an ey bide ere as lang’s ey’re nae disturbit. I dinna even like tae cut e green at at time. Fin I div, nae tae be black-affrontit be e linth o e foggitch, ere’s nae question bit fit it’ll be intill e eyntments tin afore bedtime.

Ere cam a time fin I noticet at ere wis an aafa lot of mochs aboot e hoose. In e extension at e back, faar ey cam in fae ootside, ere wis e odd mochie, smaa eens wi licht broon wings. Ey took a fyow turns aboot e place, got a bit o a scaam on e electric licht bulbs, an syne ey jist disappeart. I wisna neen bothert aboot em.

Bit in e wall o e stair, ere wis fit lookit like anither breed aaegither. Ye’d notice em on e curtains o e stair windae, an on e waa, an on e grey-pintit widden uprichts o e bannister, an some got intill e dinin room, an e rooms up e stair. I happent tae mention es mochs, an oh, ey were jist normal for es time o ear. I didna jist agree, bit ye niver won be conterin; aa e same, a fyow days later e plastic baggie wis haalt oot o e glory hole. E plastic wis holet in a curn places, an ere wis nae doot it hid been a great hame for God kens foo mony maives amon e bran, as lang’s bran wis. Bit fit wis teen oot wis naething bit sids, as I saa fin I cairriet it up till e heid o e gairden an haavert e pyock wi ma knife tae let e birds an ony ither hungry craiters get at fit wis left. Ye ken, it lay for days an naething touchet it. It wis e rain an e win in e eyn at did awa wi’t, an maybe it wis o some eese for muck, though fit wi e big sycamore in ae nyeuk an e haathorn in e idder, ere wisna air an licht enyeuch for much in e wye o vegetables, an fither e kitchie-gairden bit got muckit or no made little odds.

Noo, es mochs fae e brodmel in e glory hole wis big. Ey hid lang kinna bodies, an a rich, dark colour at fairly garrt em staan oot on a licht waa. For a start ere wisna aa at mony, an though I knackit e odd een or twa on e wye up till e bathroom – ey ay cam oot fin it wis jist comin on tae gloamin – I thocht little aboot it for a file.

In e middle o es, I got a fortnicht tae look aifter e place be masel, a job I ay likit, though I hid tae min tae keep tee wi fool socks an sarks an hankies, bit at didna hinner lang. I ay managet tae mak mait tae masel aa richt tee, an I cd get vrocht awa at ma bitties o writin withoot e television dirlin in ma lug. I aften sat lang intill e evenin wi e back door open, lettin e air blaa aboot e place, an listenin till e chirps an fustles o e birds as ey sattlet doon for e nicht. Be es time e cats at stravaigit aboot hid geen inside, nae forgettin e rent-a-cat at aften cam tae sleep in e hoose, an syne held on eez roons. Gweed kens faar e cam fae, bit e wis weel fed, an a freenly breet, an it wis ay a bit o company if ye nott at. It’s a fine time, e gloamin.

Ay fin I geed up e stairs ere wis mair mochs. I began tae keep e kitchen door shut tae haad em oot o e sittin room. Fin I pat on e passage licht, I’d look aroon an spot e broon shapies. At first it wisna sae hard tae connach em wi e pint o ma finger, an fin I’d cleart e stair as far’s I cd judge, I’d hae a scan roon e spare room an ma ain bedroom. Half-a-dizzen wis a laich coont, an even though e baggie at bred an maitit em wis geen, ey seemed tae hae an aafa pooer o appearin. Fit wis mair, ye’d a thocht ey kent ere wis something gettin at em, for aifter a fyow nichts ey didna bide still in e wye o moths, bit gin ye made a meeve ey’d be up an awa. A lot o em got ontill e heich bit o e ceilin, oot o ma reach. I took an aal paper, faalt it intill a cudgel, an let lick at em wi at. Still ere wis mair farrer up, an I’d tae start haivin e paper abeen ma heid fae a step on e stair tee till e riggin, an files I got een an files I didna. I’d feenish up pechin, an aifter half a dizzen close misses ye’d fairly get yer danner up an start at em withoot takin richt time tae aim, an at’s nae ma usual wye o wirkin. Anither queer thing: ony ye knockit aff eir perch wi e win o e paper wid wheel, wheel aboot yer heid, till ye begood tae be confoonnit, an ye’d start haddin yer breath for fear o sookin een in. It didna maitter foo hard ye triet tae keep yer ee on em tae see faar ey’d licht, ey meevt at quick an quairt ye’d seen loase em.

Es geed on for a lot o nichts. Fin ye wis oot o e hoose be day, ye’d think o em in e stair wall, an tryin tae sattle e question, I bocht some packets o Mothaks an sprayt em aboot e hoose, hingin em up amon clyes, drappin em in ahin byeuks, layin em on shelfs an peltin a hanfae intae the glory hole itsel till ye’d a thocht aa livin beasts wid a smoret. Did it mak a difference? Did it hell. E mochs dreeve on as afore, an I doot ey startit tae spread mair aboot e hoose, for I got a fyow in e dinin-room.

Aifter a file, I wis thinkin aboot em near aa e time. I geed roon ilky room mair’n twice a nicht, feelin ay mair like e Kommandant o e prison camp at Belsen as I poppit een, syne anither against e waa. I wid dream aboot em. E first think I did in e mornin wis tae see if I cd spy ony o e buggers, afore I scrapit ma phisog an gied masel a gweed dicht doon wi saip an watter as I ay dee. I’d shak ma clyes tae see if ony mochs fell oot o em. I’d heist e valance o e bed – weel, it wisna a valance exactly, jist a cover at hung doon a roon – tae see ere wis neen ere. At ma wark in e office, or at meetins, nae maitter foo I wis catchet up in maitters o ootstannin importance (ey ay were for a meenitie), ony dark spot aboot e place wid draa ma een an e thocht o moths wid flit throwe ma heid like e eident stabbin o a coorse conscience. An hame I’d gang an intae the slachter again.

I wid a shut ma bedroom door, bit a waa-tae-waa carpet ‘d been laid, an ye’d a deen damage tryin tae reemish e door tee, an mair haalin’t open again, sae I jist left it open a crackie. It’s fine tae streek yersel oot on yer bed if ye’ve been scoorin on aa day, an es nicht I wis glaid tae lie doon an steek ma een, though nae withoot a hinmist look aroon for ony o at naisty broon craiters. Nae sign o onything. Aa richt, let e inhibitions o e day slip, forget aboot es ‘ferocious work ethic’ at North-east buddies is blamet for haein, even if ey wirk in e sooth, stop thinkin, dream a bittie aboot yer freens, an aff ye go tae sleep.

Aye, I did. Bit I wisna aaegidder easy. Ere wis a droll kinna feelin in e air, an though I’d seen nae mochs ey werena at far oot o ma thochts. Ye ken at queer eemer a buddie gets intill files, fin e kinna slips oot o e clay mool, an floats aboot lookin doon at imsel, hooseless in a wye, bit tied tae the bleed an muscle an been tee? Weel, at wis e wye o’t at nicht. I cd see e room fine, an e bed an me on’t. An throwe e crack in e door cam a fyow broon bodies, ey begood tae swarm like bees, ay mair comin in, an niver a soon fae ony o em, keepin in a ticht, roon baa, maybe nae at ticht for ye cd see throwe’t, bit still it wis a gey solid like collection.

I’m een o es fowk at likes tae start sleepin flat on eir stamach, ae airm stracht doon, e ither at an angle, an ma niv half steekit aside ma chin. Though I start at wye, I’ve ay noticet at be mornin, I’m ower clean e conter road, flat on ma back, wi ma hans up tae ma kist like a corp waitin for e trump tae soon. As lang’s I wis on ma front, e moths jist hovert, e hale birn swyin back an fore a bit, bit ere wisna a lot o meevement, at least neen ye cd jist see, though eir wings man a been wafflin up an doon jist enyeuch tae haad em floatin. I meeved fae e richt till e left side, swappin airms, bit e pilla wis a bittie heich ir aan e cover wis lirkit, I dinna ken fit, it wisna richt comfortable, sae I furlet roon wi ma face oot abeen e blankets, took a deep breath ir twa, syne sattlet doon again.

Noo e swarm cam tae life. It driftet ower jist abeen ma face. For aa at ye’d ken, it startit tae split up, till ye cd see twa smaa pucklies an a big een. Ey cam hoverin ower’s an as I breathed oot ey raise a bittie, an as I breathed in ey cam ay a bittie closer, like a balloon balancet on e tap o an updracht. Es geed on for a wee filie. Syne, in es aafa quairtness, ma moo opent a bit as a sleepin man’s moo dis. Wi at, e mochs meevet. E twa smaa pucklies geed for ma nose, an e bigger een for ma moo, a kinna cheenge o a glory hole.

Some stray eens geed on fleein, back an fore. I shut ma moo, bit e mochs wis in. I drew in air throwe ma nose, bit hit wis blockit, an draain in blockit it mair. I tried tae hoast, bit ma throat wis steekit, an fecht as I likit, nae breath cd I get. In a meenit ir twa ma nivs lowsent. Ma e’en hid niver opent an ey niver wid. E fyow moths left hovert a meenitie mair, syne vanisht fae sicht. Fae e bed, ere wis nae meevement. Fae e left-haan wick o ma moo cam a thin trail o broon stuff, like e slivers at ran doon e chin o aal Hatton at hame, fin e cam tae help ma fadder tae brak muck, ay chaa-chaain at eez tebacca, an ere wis a sprinklin o darker specks tee.

Fin I wakent e neesht mornin, ere wis a weet spot aside ma heid on e pilla. Bit ere wis nae sign o mochs aifter at, it wis jist a clean toon.

A lot o months later, I wis kirnin amon carboord boxes an books in een o e rooms, knockin aff styoo, an giein some files o paperies a dunt on e fleer. Fit fell oot o een bit a moch grub, fite wi a black neb, an e biggest I’ve iver seen. Ere’s an aafa books an papers aboot e hoose. An aa es waa-tae-waa carpets, ye canna see fit’s in anaith. An e glory-hole’s as fu as iver it wis, an e smell o Mothaks his worn aff. I’m nae lookin forrit tae simmer.

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Craiters: 12 - Glory Hole. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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Information about Document 536

Craiters: 12 - Glory Hole


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 2953

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Tuckwell Press
Publication year 1995
Place of publication East Linton
ISBN/ISSN 1898410739
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in Craiters. Or Twenty Buchan Tales

Text setting

Other Putting the dialect on record, Aberdeenshire

Text type

Prose: fiction
Prose: nonfiction
Short story


Author details

Author id 27
Forenames Alexander
Surname Fenton
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic/Writer/Editor
Place of birth Shotts
Region of birth Lanark
Birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Father's occupation Shoemaker
Father's place of birth Aberdeen
Father's region of birth Aberdeen
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife\Crofter
Mother's place of birth Keith
Mother's region of birth Banff
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Bnf
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes At home and wherever possible