Document 63

A fine Ham an Haddie

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Robert Fairnie


As a laddie, Geordie Jooks aye liked gaun tae the matinee o the picters on a Seturday. It wis aye 2d weel spent an this parteeclar Seturday wis nae different. For aw that he hid juist been thare hissel, he hid fair enjoyed the picter an noo he wis comin oot the front doors tae the heid o the steps.

The front steps o the Heywechts picter-hoose faced strecht on tae Brig Street an at this time o year, Geordie wis aye gey near blinnit comin oot fae the mirk intae the daylicht. He hid his een gey near screwed up ticht agin the gliff an taen guid tent gaun doon the steps till his een got yaised wi the licht. At the fit o the steps, he wis aboot tae turn aff for hame when somethin glisterin in the gutter at the edge o the pavie grippit his ee. He went ower tae hae a better leuk an jings, did he no juist see some orra kinna fish lyin thare? Geordie picked it up tae hae a guid leuk at it for it wisnae lik onie ither kinna fish he hid iver seen an, wi his faither bein a fisherman, the’r a wheen o fish he cuid easy pit a nem tae. This yin wisnae stiff as a board or ocht. It wis gey souple sae it maun hae been still gey caller. Aiblins it hid fawn aff a fish motor on its wey up fae Heymooth tae Newheiven mercat. He birlt the fish this wey an that as he gaed his wey hame, tryin tae pit a nem tae it but nane wad come. He kent it wisnae a haddie or a whitin, a herrin or a mackerel an it wisnae a crooner or onie kinna flet fish at aw.

In thae days his faither wis awa tae the war but his uncle Rob wis ower auld for gittin cried up sae he thocht he wad cry in tae his hoose an see if he kent whit kinna fish this wis. Uncle Rob wis preses o the Fishermen’s Associe sae he wis shuir tae ken the nems o juist aboot aw the fish in the sea. In nae time at aw, Geordie wis at the hoose chappin the door an it wis uncle Rob hissel that opened it.

“Och, it’s you Geordie, an whit’s this ye’v got here then?”

“It’s an orra kinna fish, uncle. A fund it in the gutter ootside the Heywechts an A wis wunnerin if ye cuid tell us whit kin it is.”

Uncle Rob taen the laddie an his fish ben the kitchen whaur he hid a guid leuk at it in the licht fae the windae. He pit it doon on the bunker, turnt it ower tae see the ither side then picked it up an leukit in its mooth but nae nem wad come tae him. In the hinneren he shakit his heid an said,

“Weel Geordie, A thocht A kent aw the fish in the sea but this yin haes got me fair bumbazed. A widnae lik tae try an pit a nem tae it. The’r juist a chance tho that auld Andrae at the tap o Caird’s Raw micht weel ken whit it is. Juist you tak it alang tae him an tell him A sent ye.”

Geordie taen up his fish, thankit uncle Rob an set oot for Caird’s Raw. It wisnae faur an he went throu the close at the tap o the Raw an up the first ootside stair roond the back. He kent fine eneuch whaur auld Andrae bidit an chappit the door. It taen a wee while afore Geordie heard the soond o shauchlin feet then the door opened an thare wis auld Andrae, a wuzzent wee man wi a gammy leg, a baldie heid, gray stibblie baird an a glent in his watery blue een.

“Ma uncle Rob sent us roond tae see if ye kent whit kinna fish this is.” said Geordie.

“Yer uncle Rob? That widnae be Stookie Rob bi onie chance?”

“Ay.” answert the laddie an, tho he kent fine that uncle Rob’s byenem wis Stookie, fae the time he brak his leg as a bairn, he wad niver daur yaise it hissel tae growed-ups.

“An wha’s aucht you then?”

“Geordie Jooks.”

“Wattie’s laddie?”


“Weel, come awa ben Geordie an oo’ll see whit oo can dae.”

The twa gaed ben the kitchen an Geordie cuidnae help takin tent o the guff o tarry raip an nets. In fack, thare wis twa an a hauf kyle o raip lyin on the bare wuiden flair ower in ae corner.

“Weel, gie’s a leuk at this fish o yours then.” auld Andrae said.

Geordie haundit it ower an the auld fisherman haed a guid leuk at it bi the licht o the windae. Efter a while he scartit his heid an sayed, “Ay, Geordie lad, this is no gaun tae be an easie yin, in fack, A hivnae come ower the likes o this afore. Whaur exacklie did ye git haud o’t?”

Geordie telt him.

“Ye mean it wis juist lyin thare on the road?”


“Weel, A’v niver seen yin masel afore but aw A can think o is that this maun be yin o thae new Highwey Coads!”

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Information about Document 63

A fine Ham an Haddie


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 3-5

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2001
Word count 906

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction


Author details

Author id 95
Forenames Robert
Surname Fairnie
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Consultant Marine Structural Engineer (Retired)
Place of birth Musselburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Musselburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Fisherman
Father's place of birth Musselburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Fishwife
Mother's place of birth Musselburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes In Germany to communicate with two grandsons
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Wherever Scots is understood