Document 539

Craiters: 15 - E Steppies

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


Files I sit in ma aal cheer - it wis mint tae be haived oot lang seen - an if I'm nae quarryin in a paper or readin a byeuk, I aye taks a teet oot at e windae. It rests yer een, ye ken. It's a gey cheer tae sit on, bit it's handy for e licht. E airms o't 's ower heich, aa at ye'd ken, sae if ye dover on't, yer elbicks on e airms, ye'll seen waaken wi cramp. Ye c'd aye try anither cushion for mair hicht, bit ach tae hell, at's wirk. E cheer wis in matchin colours o oo, e ootside greyachie, e inside blue-achie. Faar ye rest yer back, ere's dizzens o tufties haalt oot. Is wis far e cat it eest tae be aboot e hoose files sharpent its clooks, till it got a lick for deeint, bit it ay come back. A determined breet! E ooie bits his lang seen been worn aff e fronts o e airms, jist faar ye rest yer hans, an God sake fin ye sit doon for a start at bits feels caal an ye dinna jist like it, bit syne in e coorse o naiter ey warm up an a buddie jist his tae thole or en.

Es business o cushions, weel, ere is twa, bit fooiver it's nae jist richt tae sit in. Ere's a tartan cover, a faalt up traivellin rug, ower e tap o an aal cushion stappit wi hen's fedders, an begod it's aye slippin forrit in anaith e rug an e antrin fedder flufferin doon till e fleer, an e cover waachles forrit or it's near skytin aff an ye've aye e badder o liftin aathing, sortin em oot, pittin em back, powkin in e nyeuks o e rug, makkin aathing snod an it's a richt deeve, for ye ken it winna be lang till e deein o't again. Gin at wisna enyeuch, ere's anidder een ye need for e sma o yer back. It's reed, an stappit wi some kinna man-made foam squaries. Ey're ill for lumpin egither. Ye've ay tae be tit-tittin at at tee, for it's niver richt. Anither een anaith yer dock wid be mair 'n a buddy c'd thole.

Ere's nae argument aboot it, e cheer's nae a beauty, bit it stan's in e extension at wis biggit eence tae mak e room bigger, an it's easy e best nyeukie for seein fit gyangs on at e back o e hoose. It's ay best in e foreneen, fin e sin's nae roon till e sooth. Aifter denner time it's mair in yer een an it ay gets worse as it weers on till evenin, it gets kinna pooerfae an its nae sae fine tae sit ere. E later in e day, e mair it’s in yer face, till e time comes fin it's warsled its wye roon ahin e trees an draps doon ahin e rollin world. At's a fine time. E cloodies hiv a lot o colour aboot em for a file; ae nicht ey were jist like a ginger cat's belly, ey minet me on a cat we hid caad Rupert, e wid lie on eez back like a kittlin even though e wis big, an e fur o im wis jist e same's es cloods. Syne ey’d cheenge tae reed and back again, afore blue took ower as e sin span aye farrer on, an shortly e blue wid get darker till it wis richt black. In e spring at's aften e time ye hear a blaikie fustlin, full belt. Ye’d think it wis jist drawin a line at e fit o aye anidder page, ilky day anidder page, an we'll come till e hinmist een or lang.

E back yard his a thing caad a Iaan, bit I’d sweer ere’s as muckle moss as girse, an fin e widder’s richt hait, ere’s aye a broon linie slantin across't -likely ere’s a drain or some kinna a ditch in anaith. It's nae aften hait lang eneuch for at, though. Ere's an aal-farrant yalla rose nae far fae e door, at aal-farrant at it ay his a fine smell. Gin ye wheek e sheets awa wi e secateers aifter e first flooerin, as like as no ye’ll get a scatterin o blossom again. It jist ay pits aff e winter. Abeen it, up e side a bittie, ere's a hullock o raspberry canes. It wis e neeper at planted em first on his side, bit e rinners cam through an michty ye fair get a gweed crap, though e new fowk've deen awa wi em at eir side. It’s maybe a peety e canes is kinna connachin e peeny roses.

Ere's nae muckle o a plot for greens, though there’s a tooshtie o rhubarb, an a fyow tree ingins at I use files, though naebody else dis, and size fir flavourin e broth or maybe a pottie o mince, an a tattie or twa, bit tae tell ye e truth ere’s nae a lot ye can dee for a great big sycamore at spews doon sticky stuff at times an sens its propellors fleein a ower e gairden, syne come e late spring ye’ve tae gang aboot haalin oot a e sma treeikies, or an ye'd hae a gairden foo o sycamores an naething else. Ere's a big haathorn at e tap tee. Lang seen I saa’d aff ae big branch, it wis like wirkin wi a hedgehog, prickles awye, an I niver did ony mair. Bit it stans ower an aal shed at’s full o curiosities an naething o muckle eese. A squaries in e door lets cats oot an in, an e graansin’s got e idea ere’s a man in’t, so he winna gang near’t. I jist wis up at it e ither nicht an I saa at e fox hid been tryin tae dig a hole tae win in anaith, jist at e moo o e door, bit half a fit doon wis aa it managed. E grun's nae aaegidder free.

At e tap, ere's a steen dyke an a railin, an syne ye're intill e ither fowk’s Ian. At's faar is steppies is, at I wis tae be spikkin aboot, leadin up till e back door o e hoose. It's maybe nae richt tae gaap at ither fowk, bit I will admit it's a fair divert fin ye’ve naething else tae dee onywye. Ye canna help bit notice fin ere’s ony meevement. Ere wis a file e fowkies hid an aafa big dog wi a lot o foggitch aboot its dowp. It hid tae get muckit noo an aan, for ey'd oot on e steps wi't, an garr't stan ere as ey dichtit it wi a cloot an a pail o hait water. It wis a freenly beast, it widda lowpit up at ye tae spik, bit it wis at big it widda knockit ye doon an I widna likit at.

I think e faimily's grown up an awa noo, bit a file back e laddie’d heen some o eez freens in aboot. Een o em wis a sicht for sair een, for e'd een o yon apache haircuts, bare roon e eesins, wi a heich mane alang e tap, aa bonny blue an reed. I jist thocht aboot ma ain pow, as bare's e airms o is cheer I'm sittin on, an I winner't if I widna a swappit. Bit na, it wisna my style. I jist saa is lad e eence, bit I aye min on im, half wye doon e steppies ere. Is at immortality, tae be minet on stannin on steps wi an apache haircut?

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Craiters: 15 - E Steppies. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from

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Information about Document 539

Craiters: 15 - E Steppies


Text audience

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

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 1366

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