Document 543

Craiters: 19 - Liptovska Teplicka

Author(s): Alexander Fenton

Copyright holder(s): Alexander Fenton


We'd gaithered in Bratislava, an ere wis a gweed load in e bus fin we set aff, full o students fae e University ere, eir teachers an half a dizzen fowk like masel fae e west at hid been invitet. Een o e quines in e bus, in e seat jist in front o's, hid teen a sair heid wi e heat an e motion, aifter an oor or twa's traivel. I fished oot a Disprin, and passed it up till er. Janko noticet is an pat oot eez haan for e fite tablet. E held it up for aa e bus tae see -

'Ah! Anti-baby!'.

We cried wo aifter a lang day's drive, lichent wi sic fun an e odd waterin stop, ootside e hotel in Liptovska Teplicka, faar e students wis tae be bidin. A mannie wis howkin a hole in e road, sortin some watter works, an wir first view o e fowk in e village wis e croodie roon im, lookin, newsin or offerin advice, tae neen o fit e birkie peyed ony attention. E size o e crood didna cheenge aafa much, bit ere wis fowk comin an gaan aa e time, young bairns an eir grannies, mithers cairryin bairns on eir backs in sheets o fite linen, weemin passin throwe e throng wi enormous burdens o hey on eir backs, lookin fae ahin for a e world like beetles walkin upricht weerin ledder beets. We drappit e students at e fit o e hotel steps, an e lave o's, guests fae e west, were cairted e hale 30 kilometres till e fancy Interhotel Grand Praha in Lomnica Tetranska faar we wis supposed tae sleep an dine and drink wir wine an sip wir becherovka like e gentlemen we wis officially supposed tae be.

I min e bedroom wis aafa hait wi a thick downie on e bed, an we'd a lang wait tae get saired wi wir brakfist, bit aa things come tae them at waits an in due coorse we wis aboord e bus again, on e road tae jine e main troop in e village. It wis jist tremendous scenery we wis passin throwe, is laich Tatry slopes. Aa e same fit wis maist strickin wis a quantities o fowk oot wirkin in e parks. Ere wis craps o maize, feed for man an beast, raas o vines rankit een abeen e ither as ey ran up e hillsides, wee patches o tatties, an corn an barley. Bit e feck o e wark wis in e hey parks, scythin wi lang sneddit tools, sledgin e dried hey on poles, an biggin coles roon widden hairtin frames. Hey wis a main crap. Ilky speck wis saved, an if ye'd mentioned e wird 'hairst' tae een o e fairmers ere, he’d a thocht aboot hey first an foremost, bit nae aboot corn.

Weel, we got tae wir meetin places, an ere e students were gaithered, an e offeecials, an wirsels, an we hid tae thole awa throwe e wirdy speeches o welcome, e promises o iverlaistin freenship, an syne a lecture ir twa, made twice as lang as ey nott tae be due till e translations intae German. A gweed job naebody bothered aa at much wi translations eence we wis clear o offeecials, an we wis left tae wirsels tae get on wi a bit o decent investigatin, fit ey caad field research.

For masel an ma Danish freen Ras, ere wis an important development. Baith o's hid heen enyeuch o e Grand Praha, wi wintit tae be in e thick o things wi e students. Sae we hid a wird wi Janko, e first quairt chance we cd get. E upshot wis at though we wis supposed tae bide in e high class hotel as distinguished guests, an wir room wis tae be peyed for as if we hid been bidin ere, still we managed tae fin a freenly fairmer an e twa o’s got set up in e spare room. E fowk wis aafa kindly, an fin e fairmer saa at likit tae tak photos, he wid bring in aboot freen fae roonaboot tae get their picters teen, some bonny lasses amon em. I did sen em copies aifter, bit it hid tae be deen throwe e university in Bratislava, sae I’m still hopin ey got em.

We wis ere tae wirk an wirk we did. E job wis tae look at ivery side o life in e village, at e fairmin an e crafts, e hooses an e mait fowk ate, an jist tae see tee foo fowk vrocht in e wye o neeperin. Aifter a kinna orientation day, we hid wir supper in e wee hotel, an seein ere wis aye plinty o licht twa ir three o’s at hid an interest in ploos geed tae veesit a lad at wis supposed tae be an expert at makin em.

E took's intill eez kitchen. It wis gey plain, nae frills, jist e twa bits o decoration - twa cloths tackit ontill e widden waa an streekit oot in sic a wye at ey were lirkit till e middle fae e tapmist neuks. At e sides ere wis sprays o flooers an leaves, an ere wis blue letterin wi wirds o comfort in Slovakian at Patience Strong wid a been prood tae mither:

‘Him at his nae freens at hame winna fin em in anither Ian'.

‘E sin likes tae shine intill e hoose faar ere's likin'.

We sat on hard cheers roon e table, an spak till e man o e hoose aboot eez wye o livin in es smaa village. Magdy wi er wide spaced teeth an braid smile, licht hair an blue een, wis wir interpreter. E lad bade im leen; eez mither hid passed on. It wis her at pinned e cloots till e waa, an noo ere wis naebody tae dee e things at weemin dee aboot a hoose, or mak mait for im. He didna look as if e took much time tae mak or tak mait. His cheek beens wis kinna heich an eez face wis gaant. Eez hair wis thinnin, showin pale patches o skin at niver saa e sin, an I doot e only took aff eez bonnet for e veesitors, for it wis aye held on eez knee as e spak, e same's it wis a biggit-in pairt o e man imsel.

Eez main job wis on e railways, sae he wis awa fae hame a lot. E jist hid tae wirk eez parks fin e cwid, at holidays an atween shifts. Es bein a kinna run-rig village, e twelve patches o grun at e vrocht wis scattered amon e patches held be eez neebers. At busy times an him on e iron road, e hid tae get a lot o help fae neebers tae get e seed saan an tae shear an mow e ripe craps, an seein es wis fit ye micht describe as an exchange economy, it wis up tae him syne tae help em fin he wis able till. Sae fit e did at free times wis jinerin, makin wheelies for e wagons at e oxen pulled, as weel as widden ploos. Wir pens bizzed alang e pages o wir notebyeuks an we thocht we wis deein fine.

Fit struck me wis at eez hail life wis wark. I've kent lads e same at hame, an ey got great reeze for bein 'gran wirkers', bit it wisna jist sic a maitter o force as it wis here. As a modren man, e helpit tae keep e railways goin; ey were freedom's road for mony countries, bit here e wis catchet in a system an ere wis nae gettin oot. E wis catchet in anither wye tee. Bein pairt o a community system at hid been ere for unkent centuries, an nae haein got clear o't in spite o e industrial age, e wis duty bun tae wirk wi neebers an reciprocate wi wark for em. Fither e likit or no, ere wis nae divallin, an nae road oot. E wis a richt maitter-o-fact chiel, spikkin o eez wye o life as gin it wis e road e’d been born tae tak, nae self peety .Bit e wis like an aal man. I speered foo aal e wis - 39. I jist noddit ma heid. At e time, e wis 10 months younger'n I wis masel.

Twilicht cam, an e darkness, an we left, stannin at e kitchen door till wir een got eesed till't. We geed ben e lang, nairra close, me minin on e dark o northeast fairms at I’d at likit, throwe e widden gate at opent ontill e dark street, nae tarmacadamed bit jist made o hard yird. Be day, is wis a widden world. E hooses, e heich, wide gates at wis big enyeuch tae let in a loadit wagon, e reef overhangs at geed shelter tae piles o winter logs an till aa e tools o e fairm - wagon-beams, ox-yokes, ploos, scythes, heaps o widden reefin shingles - aa e trock ye nott for e daily darg, an a e sotter o bits an pieces at fowk kept (like fairmers an crafters awye), in case ey mith come in handy. Aathing pintit back till e wark o fellin trees on e mountain slopes abeen e village, trimmin an draggin e timmer wi horses, saain an adzin an shapin logs intae wallin timmers. E fowk lived amon wid, it wis eir servant an eir maister, it helpit tae shape eir lives. Ye cd niver get awa fae e smell o wid smoke an rosit, an God ere wis nae hairm in at. It wis richt pleasant, an I min on’t yet.

E village wis quairt. E fowk beddit early an raise early. We passed a man peein against e gale o eez hoos, as e wis ay in e wye o deein afore e geed till eez bed. We won back tae wir fairm, an got wir wye in e dark back tae wir room, an got e licht goin. Ere wis an enormous bed wi an enormous, thick lookin downie, bit it turnet oot nae tae be ower hait, for ye cd shuffle e fedders aboot an mak it as thin as ye wintit abeen ye. E room wis a richt mixter o aal an new. Abeen e bed on e waa wis releegious picters, some ahin glaiss, some in relief, some in plastic. Ere wis a table wi a tray haadin symbolic hospitality jist, for ere wis siveral glaisses o imitation plastic liquid in different colours - a richt chate. Alangside wis a great, upricht stove, nae nott on is warm July nichts, an opposite, a big, new television set at wir hosts, Jan an Sofia, were jist richt prood o. On tap o't, hallowin e programmes maybe, wis a figure o a saint. Is wis e first ear o Husak's reforms – nae tae laist - an e signs an symbols o e modren world – fither gweed eens or no wis anither maitter - were startin tae mak an appearance.

E village lay in a halla in e mountains, wi a dark forests aawye aroon. It wis a richt fairm-toun, o e kin we eest tae ken at hame, jist a collection o fairms wi a kirk mair or less in e middle, an e barns at held e craps o corn an barley aa set at ae side. E grun lay on e lower slopes o e valley, neen o e patches wi palins, craalin in lang strips an hill terraces awa up till e fit o e trees, wi grazin stretches jist abeen e parks. Heicher up, oot o sicht amon e trees, wis e mountain pastures, faar e beas geed for e simmer grazin. Bit e milk kye were nearer till e hooses, or some o em, an ey got milkin em richt early, an ey hid tae be gin ey werena tae be shamed be e horn o e herd laddies at were aboot shortly aifter five, blastin awa e same's it wis e last trump, an gaitherin e kye fae ilky fairm tae drive em aaegidder till e grazins for e day. E soon o e horns, e clankin o e bells roon e necks o e kye, an noo an aan quairt voices, wis e meesic o e village mornin.

It michna be like meesic if ye're sleepin soon as we wis, bit e excitement o seein fit wis happenin got's ontae wir feet an intae wir clyes an we wis seen oot wi wir cameras watchin e kye makin eir slow wye throwe e trailin edges o e nicht's mist up till e pastures. We made wir brakfist in e open air, a bit o breid saved fae e nicht afore, an soor geens pooed fae a tree hingin full o em, an a howp o water oot o a wallie. We thocht wirsels richt adventurers.

As we cam back tae wir fairm, it wis still early. E road we followed throwe e village wis wide, wi heapies o coo sharn here an ere, an a gweed gaan burn rinnin alang ae side. Here, be day, e weemin wid wash eir clyes, beatin em wi a widden beater eir men made for em. Bit at is time in e mornin, ere wis a different eese for e rinnin water. As we cam in aboot, stoot ladies in eir wide, skyrie skirts wid come oot o e hooses at lay across e road fae e burn, ilky een cairryin a pottie wi a cloot ower’t. Fitiver euphemism ye use, chantie, dirler or fitiver, its job is ay e same. Ey teemed em intill e burn, syne gied em a gweed sweel, an shoutit oot eir greetins till's as we geed by, nae shy aboot it as wir ain fowk wid a been. Ere wis nae

‘Oh michty, fit'll fowk say?'

Ere wis a mornin ootin in e bus tae some museum or idder, an we got a look at een or twa ither villages, bit oors wis hard tae beat. As we drave back in e evenin, we cd see it wis jist bizzin wi fowk wirkin aroon't in e parks. Ma crafter's fingers wis yokin tae get in amon em, an maybe try oot e scythe, even though wi its lang stracht sned it wis different fae fit I’d been eest till.

Ere wis an aafa skwyle o brakes as e bus wis forced tae draa up faist ahin a car at stopped in front o't. We were half a kilometre fae e village, near e first hooses faar e dark-skinned gypsies bade. Fae ere, a motor-bike hid come, revvin up an gaan at a gey lick. Ere wis a brig jist in front o's, an as e bike come on till't, it wis slidin an sprayin graivel aff e lowse tap, an es wis fit hid garrt's stop, tae gie room. Bit e laddie didna mak it. E hannlebar touched an iron stanchion, an e bike jist took aff, an ower e parapet an intill e water anaith, throwin e rider. E landit in e middle o e brig, flat on eez back, simmery in an open-neckit sark, bit ere wis reed aboot e collar. E front wheel o e byke ay span in e water. E machine didna look muckle touchet. In e closer parks, fowk hid put doon eir tools an were startin tae meeve. Farrer aff, wirk wis stoppin bit fowk ay hid eir tools in eir hans. E ripples hid harly yet gotten till e ooter edges. A man startit tae rin till a hoose for a blanket. Anither got some branches tae mark e line o e skid.

E bus coudna get bye till aathing hid been sortit oot, sae we took wir gear an walkit by e quairt young lad lyin ere, haadin on till e village. As we got nearer till't, fowk wis startin tae come oot fae't, in twas an threes, young an aal, anxious, een ir twa greetin. Gweed kens foo e news hid flown. We keepit quairt an intill e side o e road, nae tae disturb em at sic a time, bit even sae, they pit's at wir ease, greetin's wi a ‘Dobry den’ as ey walkit by.

Ere hid been a weddin in e village at same day. It wis aye goin on. We passed e fairm faar e gypsy fiddlers wis makin meesic furl an spin an e fowk wi't, a soon at wis heich an wild, excitin an nae tae be forgotten, existin for itsel for itsel, carin naething for past an present, death an life, nor for e theoretical discussions o veesitin scholars.

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Information about Document 543

Craiters: 19 - Liptovska Teplicka


Text audience

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

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1994
Word count 2855

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