Document 626

Dipper: 14 - The Communication Gap

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg


Frae the stert, the warst bother the byllies had whan gairdin puils at nicht wis puir communication. There wis nae wey o tellin whit the lads were daein a hunner yairds doun the watter, an for aa ye kent they cuid be fechtin for their lives, drount, or juist awa hame!

Walkie-talkies were the answer, an no lang efter they were bocht there wis a spell whan we were tormentit wi pub-talk that the village gangs were giein us the rin-aroun, nettin the Big Boose watter yae nicht, then the puils ablow the village the next.

Sae a wheen o the lads foregethert yae Friday nicht an we split intae twa groups. Wee Alec, Jim an Wull, Dougie, Hughie an Franco the Belgian byllie, wi twa walkie-talkies, heidit for the Big Hoose, while we tuik the ither yin twa miles ablow the village an stertit tae walk back. Crossin fields at deid o nicht is aye a chancy business - ye niver ken whit ye micht rin intae - an this nicht wis nae exception! Jock, Tam, Big Mick an mysel were hauf-wey across the meedow whan a dizzen or mair muckle bleck sheddaes loomed up oot o the mirk. Hauden still for a meenit, we cuid hear the souch o their braith an the crump o teeth chowin on gress.

‘Ach, it's only kye!' said Tam. 'C'moan!'

'Mebbe they are only kye,' I craikt, pyntin tae a muckle shape lyin doun forenent us, twice the size o aa the lave an wi shouders like an elephant, 'But whit's that!'

'Bluidy hell!' gasped Tam, an wi that we aa stertit walkin backwards an sidieweys till nearhaun the fence - aa, that is, except Big Mick. Mick workt the ferms an kent a thing or twa aboot beasts -

‘Awa ye go, ye big fearties!' he jeered. 'It's only yin o thae big Romagnola bulls frae Italy; they're big saft bruits an as quait as lambs. Ye can even gae up an scart their backs. See!' An wi that he disappeart intae the nicht towards the muckle beast. We aa held oor braiths. The daft bugger, I thocht tae mysel, will get himsel killt. The saiconts passed an naethin happened - then oot o the darkness cam Mick, no quite as cocky as he had been a meenit syne.

'Whit happened, Mick, did the bull no hunt ye?'

'Hunt me?' gruntit Mick. 'It wis only a bluidy tree trunk!' We it nearly wat oorsels lauchin!

An sae relieved, in maur ways than yin, we walked up the watter wi niver a sicht o poachers, till we saw the lichts o the village.

'We suid be in radio contact nou,' I said. 'Come in Delta Bravo Two, do you read me?' We kennt aa the richt jargon by this time. There wis nae reply. I tried again, an again - still nae reply. - Anjuist as we were aboot tae gie up, there wis a creckle, an a faint furren vyce cried, 'Dere eez anodder yin! Bliddy Mary, dees eez no real!'

'Come in Delta Bravo two - do you read me - whit's up?'

But there wis nae further message, an there we were left, in whit ye caa a radio black spot, no able tae help oor mates - an them up tae their een in poachers!

Whan we met up an oor later, a quick heid-coont showed nae prisoners.

'Whaur's the poachers? Whit happened? We heard an awfy curfuffle on the walkie-talkie!'

'Poachers?' lauched Wull. 'There wisnae ony poachers, but whit a tare we had! Me, Hughie, Jim an Dougie went up tae the Tap Puil, an Wee Alec an Franco sat doun by the gairden…..'

'Aye,' Wee Alec chipped in, 'we were nae shuiner settlt whan the gairdner an a guest frae the Big Hoose cam doun tae fish for seatroot. We let them ken we were there, an aff they went tae fish the Gairden Puil. Tae Hell, they hadnae been doun mair'n hauf an oor whan we heard thir twa comin alang the pad, an were juist aboot tae lowp them whan we heard their vyces. It wis the twa wives doun tae speir hou their men were daein! Jeez, we cuid hae been had up for raip!'

‘An ven dere twa dugs started sniffin aboot oor erses,' said Franco, 'I had jost aboot bliddy enoff!'

'So wad the dugs, sniffin aboot you!' cracked Hughie.

'But wait tae ye hear whit happened up oor en,' said Wull 'Dougie an me were hidden in the busses at the fuit o the Tap Puil, wi Jim an Hughie lyin at the heid o the puil, whan we heard the splash o a whusky bottle hittin the watter. Ah nearly lowpt oot ma shurt! An then comes alang this young thing - ye cuidnae see her weel, but her scent wis smashin - wi her laud trailin fower yairds ahint her cryin - "Darlin, do you luv me…. do you luvvv me…. do you luvvvvv me?" She didnae say ocht, but gied a wee giggle an a wiggle nou an again, tae lead him oan, as they daunert up the pad. Jim an Hughie hadnae a radio an didnae ken whit wis comin.'

'Ye're tellin me!' said Hughie. 'Aa we saw wis thae twa poachers comin tae us, an thocht Wull had let them by so as we'd nab them atween us. Sae we waited till they were abreist o us, then jumpt them. Whae got the biggest fricht I'll niver ken! Aa ye heard wis this lassie scraichin her heid aff as her an her man skelpt hell for leather across the field tae the road. We had tae rin efter them shoutin - it's aa richt, we're byllies - an managed tae stop them at the brig.

'It tuik a wee while for the lass tae caum doun, but at the hinner-en she saw the funny side o it - tho Ah don't think they'll be coortin doun the Big Hoose wids again!'

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APA Style:

Dipper: 14 - The Communication Gap. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 14 - The Communication Gap." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 14 - The Communication Gap," accessed 21 July 2024,

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


Information about Document 626

Dipper: 14 - The Communication Gap


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1991
Word count 1013
General description Anthology of prizewinning and other Scots poems, and short stories in Ayrshire Scots.

Text medium

Other Audiocassette

Text publication details

Publisher Luath Press
Publication year 1991
Place of publication Barr, Ayrshire
ISBN/ISSN 0946487227
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in The Dipper an the Three Wee Deils: Tales and Poems in Ayrshire Scots
Editor Authors: Dr. J. A. Begg and J. Reid
Page numbers 29-33

Text setting


Text type

Short story


Author details

Author id 623
Title Dr
Forenames James
Initials A
Surname Begg
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Medical Practitioner
Place of birth New Cumnock
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerical Officer, NCB
Father's place of birth Sandbank
Father's region of birth Argyll
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth New Cumnock
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Danish No No No No A little
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Holidaying in France
Norwegian No No No No A little
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work