Friday, February 16, 2007

Rob Roy

My reading's travelled from seventeenth century France to eighteenth century Scotland. Sir Walter Scott's a highly entertaining writer with some magnificent character sketches and social satire. The Scottish dialect's hard work, though. Who can translate this sentence: "he's sic an auld-farran lang-headed chield as never took up the trade o' cateran in our time; mony a daft reik he has played...a' fu' o' venturesome deeds and escapes, sic as folks tell ower at a winter-ingle in the daft days"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm...Give us the easy ones first eh!

My celtic background may not be a lot of help here, but will try a guess..

'sic an auld-farran' - such an old fashioned ?

'lang-headed chield' long headed child ?

'trade o' cateran in our time' - Hmm..something to do with cooking?

'mony a daft reik he has played' - is this something do with 'rake', as in 'Rake's progress' perhaps?

'sic as folkds tell ower at a winter-ingle in the daft days' - such as folks tell over in an ingle nook at story telling time..

I suspect 'king lear' may be of more assistance.

My literary adventures are a little less taxing. I went to Bath yesterday to visit "Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights" for a reading and chat by Tom Hodgkinson, of Idler magazine and books fame.

He wrote 'How to be idle'. I never read this, is I think I've cracked the being idle thing, but bought it for a friend. His current book, a 'Radio 4 Book of the Week', is called 'How to be free'. I am only half way through, but it is selling the benefits of a slower, happier, more chilled out life. He has some snappy ideas for each chapter, such as 'Pay in cash', 'Play the ukelele', 'Move out of the city' and 'Reject career and its broken promises'.

Given that the wonderful "Mr B's.." was started by lawyers who had quit the rat-race of London, it seemed an appropriate place to hold the book-signing. He seems as happy as a sandboy, although when he was waiting for some cash to roll in from his first book, he was 'borassic'. He tries to grow his own veg, and live a simple life, not quite in the mould of that other downshifter Hugh Fearnley - Whittingstall.

What I think is also impressive is that he actually thinks 'the old way' of having a 'Lord of the Manor' was actually better for most people as he had a responsibility to his tenants. And there was less 'debt' in those days which is a killer for many of both the working and middle classes these days.

I shan't go on about his theories of how this workaholic culture has come about, as it may offend some Protestants tuning in. But here is a link to the 'Idler' - you might think it sounds crazy, but I tell you - the guy is ten years ahead of his time. Soon people working crazy hours for zonks of cash will look just as much like 'dinosaurs' as those eejits who drive 'chelsea tractors' in the middle of London.

11:25 pm  
Blogger kinglear said...

Ahem!. I think that should be "auld-farranT". Anyway, to translate: He's such an old fashioned,crafty fellow as ever took up the trade of highland robbery in our times: many a crafty stroke he has pulled.. all full of brave deeds and escapades, such as people relate beside a winters fire during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Simple - but more magical in the Scots, in the same way as the caress of " Je t'aime" says rather more than " I love you"

11:45 pm  
Blogger Whispering Walls said...

You are brilliant, King Lear

9:31 am  
Blogger kinglear said...

WW - you are too kind.

11:11 am  
Blogger Whispering Walls said...

Thank you for the Idle and Mr B's Emporium links - they're interesting. Wish I had more time to be idle...

11:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Whisperer, but you do - you have just been seduced by the idea that having a glowing career and enough dosh will 'set you free'..

I always thought that, and that I had to be like the hamster on the wheel, and keep moving up the greasy career ladder - which can enslave one - until I very nearly fell of the wheel altogether.

No one of us can ever have enough money - and when the oil runs out we will all have to live with less.

So, perhaps you should do a post to answer a question from one of those 'Guardian' pro-forma interviews :-

'What skills do you have for a post-oil world ?'.

5:25 pm  

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