I grew up on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland, but moved away for 10 years. Those 10 years were spent in affluent multi-cultural cities that I loved, but they always felt temporary. I missed my sea and my people and never felt like I was ‘home’. The pull of my hometown grew stronger and eventually I settled back home where I belong.
Sadly, research has shown that the area I love so dearly is the Worst Place in Britain to Raise a Family. This is due to factors such as high crime, low pay and less time spent with loved ones. On paper it certainly reads like an undesirable location, but statistics don’t tell the whole truth. Statistics don’t describe the people and why they may have less time with family. I know those working long hours on minimum wage who don’t have much free time. However, they’re doing the best they can to benefit loved ones and put a dinner on the table. Community spirit is rarely mentioned in these studies either. In my experience, peoples belongings are passed down to friends, neighbours and even friends of friends aunties neighbours two doors up. Their purses may be empty but their hearts are full.
Here is a little poem about a child who wants a Christmas Tree, but his mum can’t afford one. It’s written in Scottish slang, the way many children around here speak. Translation below the poem:
Can we huv a tree mammy,
a Christmas Tree?
It disnae huv tae be huge –
jist a nice wan, but wee
Oh come oan mammy, please.
Jist a wee tree
It disnae huv to be dear –
we could get it fir free
Oh mammy, how can we no?
Jist a wee, free tree
Nothin that fancy –
but wan fir pals to see
Hiy mammy, wit’s that yiv gote?
It’s somethin fir me?
Ah cannie believe it!
It’s a big, fancy, dear lookin tree!
Scottish to English Translation
Huv = have Mammy = mum Disnae huv tae = doesn’t have to Jist = just
Wan = one Wee = small No = not Nothin – nothing Fir – for
pals = friends Hiy = Hey Whit’s = what’s Yiv gote = you’ve got Cannie – can’t
Dear lookin = expensive looking