Document 654

Dipper: 42 - The Paddy

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg


Lines written after sharing a train joumey on the late-lamented Stranraer-Euston night-sleeper - affectionately known as "The Paddy" - with the Rt.Hon. George Younger M.P.

Ayont the station ruif, smeekit wi the reek
O a thousan trains,
The lourin mirk masks the threit
O forecast snaw. Flakes faa.

Ootby's a platform, cleanswept o fowk
By the snell Eastlin win.
'Ay, Ay!'.... a nidge an nod - 'We've company!'
A wee man arrives, briefcase in haun,
Trig in peen-stripe breeks an cuttie coat,
Smilin the smile o a Politeecian;
While twa big gairdian angels
Cairt his bags an luik aroun,
As if tae say - 'Wha daur meddle
Wi Oor Majestie's Secretary o Defence!'

Inby, forgethert, incommunicado,
The nicht trevellers sit, poe-faced,
Keppin their baggage like penned sheep,
Wi ae lug cockit for their neebor's crack,
An the tither for the Paddy.

'Is tat yew, Victor!' scowls an Irish vyce
Intae the pay-phone.
'Oi'm at Ayr Station! Pick me op!'
Slams doun the phone an leaves.

On time, "Andra Carnegie", Airn Maister,
King o the Railroad,
Drub-drubs in, draggin an endless train
That streitches back tae Girvan.
Poe-faces jerk tae life, wi searchin een
Seek oot their billets, fashd
They'll no get aboard afore the wee gaird
Blaws his whustle.

The Meenister trots aheid, his minders
Herd him tae his sleeper - Furst Class
- As we wunner wha'll tak the spare bunk,
An wha'll gaird the door.
In the neist coach doun, A1 an 2,
A wee bleck leddie ticks us aff
For tea or coffee in the mornin.
Hmm.... no bad for Saicont Class!
But.... idle thochts.... will they search
Ane-up for bombs?.... Thae Irish...!

Aicht oors tae London.... aiblins we'll sleep
An get oor money's worth
O warm wool blankets, an snaw-white sheets.
But somethin's no richt - nae clickety-click,
Nae lullaby o linkit rails
Tae send us ower.

Wi steikit een we dover, deep senses alert
Tae the hum o weldit steel;
Slid up an doun oor bunks
By G-Forces on the Nithsdale bends.
Then lang straucht miles sae smooth
Ye'd scarce ken we're movin....
Or are we - ....Keek roun the blinds
- We're sittin at Carlisle!

Coach jerks on coach, heids jerk on necks,
Then rest in sleepy equilibrium
At a hunner mile an oor doun Shap.
Mair stops an sterts, whustles, bangin doors.
A luminous watch tells us
We're at Crewe....
But the sign ootside says Wigan!
An oor late...!

Then, wi haet a chance o sleep,
It's "Deil tak the hinmaist", as we waltz
An sway throu the Hert o England,
At a hunner an twinty.
Past an Arctic land whaur, in the grey licht,
Pentit boats lie idle in pack ice,
An the dreich, ramshackle ferms
Are nane the waur o a lick o whitewash
Frae new faaen snaw.

Comes a chap at the door,
An the wee Caribbean leddie
Hauns in oor tea an biscuits
Wi perfect timin....
As we gang throu Watford Junction,
Ower the pynts,
An jaups o het tea skail ower
The snaw-white sheets!

Lichts blink by in back-kitchens,
As terraced London eats its breakfast.
We slide intae Euston,
An the Meenister glides awa
In his big black caur.

haet/not a whit of
skail/spill out

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Dipper: 42 - The Paddy. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 42 - The Paddy." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 42 - The Paddy," accessed 21 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

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


Information about Document 654

Dipper: 42 - The Paddy


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1986
Word count 572
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 101-103

Text setting


Text type



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