Homecoming - Scottish Book Trust


Homecoming - Scottish Book Trust



Reflections on home for the Year of Homecoming

by adult learners in Moray


© 2009 The Contributors


Sponsors: Scottish Book Trust, Learning Connections,

Scottish Government, Learning Connections and The Moray Council

Project coordinator: Althea Forbes

Design: Liam Relph

Printing: Wm Culross and Son Ltd, Queen St,

Coupar Angus, PH13 9DF

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are those of the

authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Scottish Book Trust,

the Scottish Government and The Moray Council.


2009, the Year of Homecoming, gave adult learners in Moray the

chance to reflect and write on what home and homecoming meant to

them. As would be expected, this was interpreted in different ways.

Some chose to write about Scotland or Moray as a physical place or

situation while others wrote about home in terms of the place “where

they lay their head” or “where the heart is”.

There is a strong Scottish theme running though this publication.

Whisky, porridge, neeps and tatties, hielan’ coos, bagpipes, thistles,

heather glens and misty mountains appear and re-appear. These are

the very things which make Scotland home to many of the


Writers are a mix of native Scots and Moravians (that is, people from

Moray) and people who have settled here from other places, some

very far away, but for all, Moray is the place they now call home.

Thanks are due to a number of folk.

• Learning Connections and Scottish Book Trust for funding the

publication of this writing.

• Dundee poet Mark Thomson and local poet and story–teller Margot

Henderson who ran workshops which encouraged and supported

learners to get their thoughts on paper, including writing in and

valuing their Scots language.

• The tutors who not only supported learners with this project but

who do so on a regular basis.

Althea Forbes

Adult Literacies Coordinator

Moray Adult Literacies Partnership

Home is…Scotland

Scotland, to me

Scotland, to me, means peaceful scenery – hills, mountains.

It also means history – as far back as the Highland Clearances and big

landlords driving poor crofters out and replacing them with sheep.

Scotland means the whisky industry. There are more distilleries in

Scotland than anywhere else – as in Dufftown, the 7 hills and the 7 stills.

Balvenie is the whisky I like most. If you add ice and leave it just a

few moments, the ice will melt and add a wee bit water and take out

the flavour of the whisky.

Scottish people are more friendly in small villages than in bigger cities.




When I got into the country, my husband said it was very cold.

When I arrived in June, it was very hot!

I said to him: ‘You’re telling lies!’

He said: ‘Hold on, you shall see!’

It was just another country. It was very beautiful. The nights were

long and really confused me. I remember making tea at 9pm –

I thought it was 3 o’clock because of the light.

The only thing I don’t like is the winter.

It’s a different culture. Here there are dances and the Keith Show.

I like haggis but my husband doesn’t.

Most Sundays we drive in the countryside to look at the fields. In

summer it’s full of crops, wild flowers or animals. It cheers you up.



Scotland Is......

Loch Ness,


Heather and Haggis,


Shortbread in tartan tins,



A tourist’s haven.

My vision of Scotland was coloured by T.V. programmes, especially

‘Hamish MacBeth’ and ‘Monarch of the Glen’. These showed lovely

countryside and quaint villages with glens and mountains and their

own culture.

Now that I live here, I experience the different culture in the local

area. Where I live now, I see that the people have a strong hold on

their past heritage, for example, the fishing and the farming although

these industries do not employ the amount of people they used to

even a few years ago.




My home is with my family

We sit around the kitchen table drinking cups of coffee

Talking about what we’ve done that day

I’m proud to live in Bonnie Scotland

I love its history

The clans

I imagine myself being in the highlands

Looking down and seeing the clansmen with their kilts and swords

Fighting at Culloden for their country and their lands

I love the beautiful scenery of the Cairngorms and Loch Ness

I haven’t seen Nessie yet, but I believe he’s there

One day I’ll see him.

I go round all the distilleries having a dram

Trying out the haggis

Looking at all the beautiful tartans

I enjoy myself at the Highland Games

Seeing the highland dancers

Smelling the fresh air of bonnie Scotland

And the cold weather

I love that we have our own parliament

Being independent

Karen Hart


What does Scotland mean to me

a. unspoiled

b. rugged

c. beautiful countryside

d. clean

e. fresh air

We should keep it that way and keep Scotland tidy – pick up litter

and provide bins



Scotland is …

The Western Isles

Beautiful views

Musical people

Highland cows and sheep

Tidy farms

Goats and deer.

Moray is the Lossie, the Spey and Findhorn rivers

Distilleries, fisher towns and heritage

Woollen Mills, Baxters, Walkers, Brodie Fair, Spynie, Brodie and

Duffus Castles.

Home is where the heart is

Where you were brought up

Your heritage, your ancestors

Where you are

Right here right now

The library

In nature

My special Mums.



Coming Home

Ma Auntie and Uncle MacDougal are coming home next week. They

left for Australia thirty years ago, on a big ocean liner. In them days

jobs weren’t so good, a bit like nowadays really. So they left for the

lands of Australia, the home of the kangaroo, wallaby and Rolf

Harris’s didgeridoo.

Things in Scotland will have changed a lot over the years as they will

notice. They’ve asked me to take them to see a few highlights.

“Well, there’s satellite TV, mobile phones, big sky scrapers, Rabbie

Burns is nae the man’s man, Rab C Nesbit is.

Huge oil rigs are dotted over our North Seas. Foreigners are moving

in and tramping through the heather. The haggis is celebrated, but it

comes from factories. They’ve finally caught it, contained and

reformed it.

They put sugar in our porridge, and use oats instead of meal.

We’ve got our own parliament now! And a first minister. He can

thrash out The Rowantree and does a mean version of Rev IM Jolly.

The roads are now busy with cars and buses, nae horse and cart like

it was when you lived here.

The midgie still runs government. They scratch and bite …

all day long.


Barr’s Irn Bru is the drink, which is a shame, it rots the hell out of our

teeth and there’s no dentists now.

What’s the highlight Sitting by your ain fire, reminiscing.”



My Scotland

Lush, beautiful green mountains, lovely green hills, and purple

heather and also Scottish thistles.

Scotland has lovely bagpipes and folk music.

Gaelic, the language of Scotland, is hardly ever used.

We celebrate the poet Rabbie Burns’ birthday on the 25th January

with tatties, haggis, neeps and a wee dram.

Other traditional foods are tattie scones, black puddin’, mince soup

plus Cullen Skink.

Scotland has its own newspaper – The Sunday Post. It is a great read.

It would not be the Post without Ma Broon and Oor Wullie!

To end with, a couple of Doric sayings:

Fit like – How are you

A’ dinnae ken – I don’t know

Far div ye bide – Where do you live

Fa are ee – Who are you (What’s your ancestry)



The Beauty that is Scotland

I saw snow for the first time when I came to Scotland about 19 years

ago. I thought it was so beautiful. I saw the beauty of the Bin Hill at

Cullen covered in snow but I was not so happy walking there as I

kept falling down.

When I got married, we toured the north of Scotland and stayed in

the Black Isle and Portree in Skye. Unless you go there, it’s hard to

explain how beautiful these places are. It’s so peaceful with purple

and white heather, big green trees and hills with sheep scattered all

over them.

In Moray, there are lots of distilleries. I had never seen anything like

this before. In my walking group we often have our breaks at a

distillery if there is one in the part of Moray we are walking in that

day. It is good to see around.

Glasgow is such an interesting city with lots of history and old

buildings. Edinburgh has the great castle where you can stand and see

the city spread out below you. You have to be there to experience it.

The new Scottish Parliament is also good to see the architecture.

People in Scotland should be proud of their country. They have

everything they need and I wish that they can be happy and

appreciate and enjoy what they have around them.

Jane Wanjiru L.


What Scotland Means to Me

My family live here

Scottish beaches with seaweed and rocks, sand

Countrysides and wildlife


Kilts and thistles

Haggis, neeps and tatties

Oats, stovies, doughballs, dumplings

Whisky smell at Linkwood Distillery


Highland games, Highland dancing

Accents, love to hear a Scottish voice

Memories, history

Taggart, River City

My home since I was 3 years old

My home forever

Lisa Geddes


Elgin is my home

Elgin stands on the River Lossie. It is the main town in Moray. The

main shops are on the High Street. Dr Gray’s Hospital is in Elgin and

it is a very good hospital. St. Giles Church is in High Street and there

are shops nearby. Many of the shops are empty but Elgin has a Tesco

and an Asda, a few shops and a leisure centre.

Elgin is in the heart of the whisky country. There are a lot of

distilleries around Moray and if you go up to Rothes you will see

many of them. Commerce Street and Moss Street lead to Rothes and

you can go on to Grantown-on-Spey.

In the High Street there is a fountain near the church and water

comes out of it. A farmers’ market is held on Saturday morning in the

High Street. There is a lot of farming in Moray.

Other small towns in Moray are Lossiemouth and Forres. Lossiemouth

is north of Elgin. It is on the coast, has two beaches and a few shops.

It is a very good town to live in and it has a harbour, a marina and a

cafe. Fishing was the main occupation in Lossie at one time. It has a

golf course.

Miltonduff is a small village three miles from Elgin. There is a distillery

and a lot of private houses and a school. Not a lot of people work at

the distillery now. There are a few farms around.

I was born in Lossiemouth but brought up in Elgin.

When it was the Elgin holiday I had to go to Lossiemouth to do some


shopping for my mother and after I had finished I would go and visit

friends. When it was time to go home I got the bus.

There is a pond in the Cooper Park. We would go to the park and

play football or go on the boats. We would stay until it was time to

go home or go up Lady Hill and play till 5 pm. If you go up Lady Hill

you can get a good view of Elgin. When I went to the park to play

football or to the pictures or on the boats and play with my friends I

then went home for my tea.

On a Saturday I had to go to the gasworks and get coke. I had to

take it home on a bicycle. You could smell the gasworks all around

Elgin. When we got home we would go and play in the park.

Elgin Academy is on Morriston Road. Morriston Road is very busy

when the Academy gets out.

Woolies was in a bad way. More than thirty shop workers’ jobs were

threatened and the future of one of Elgin’s most familiar High Street

names was in jeopardy.

Elgin is growing bigger but there are a lot of shops closed. If you go

to Aberdeen or Inverness there are some new shops. You can go by

bus or car or train.

I enjoy living in Moray.



Moray is…

Moray is the distilleries, the smell of malt coming fae the buildings.

The reekie lums of the fisher village houses

The auld fishermen looking out to the seas

And remembering the rough voyages of yester years where the

skipper decided when to fish not to parliament.

Our heritage, our tradition, our language and new fangled things.

The clothes of the woollen mills. The soups and jams of Baxter’s,

auld Ena does us proud.

The smell of the blossom of the trees

The squabbling of the birds.

The aroma of Walker’s vanilla shortbread wafting through the air.

That’s what Moray means to me.




Home is …

Home is … where you were brought up

Where you were

brought up

You get familiar

with people

children the same age as you

you grow up together

You used to go to

Sunday School

and church


so they would know you

Home is my

special mum’s

Any time

you were poorly

you wouldn’t

have anyone

to see to you

if it wasn’t

for your mum.

Where I am now

doesn’t feel like home

There isn’t the same


If you are down

in the dumps

you don’t have anyone to give you a cuddle.

Home is having comfort and support.



Home is…where the heart is

“A house is made of walls and beams

A home is made of love and dreams.”


What do you do when you hate “home”

When you’re scared to go out at night

Even locking your door doesn’t make you feel safe

Drug deals go on round the corner

The street lights haven’t worked for a week

I wish things could go back in time

To my childhood home on a quiet street

Everyone knew their neighbours

Doors were never locked

Or maybe to the home in my dreams

A cottage in the country

Filled with patchwork cushions and bunting

All handmade by me

A happy house with no worries

That’s what I’d call “home”.

Rebecca Smisson


Home is… where you walk in and you’re

instantly loved...

I go home every weekend

Instant sanctuary and a deep relaxing breath

Only just in the door

A shout of hello from 6 different people

A warmth that flows

A kiss on my cheek as my children are swept away in an embrace

Laughter of my sisters

My mum and dad chatting

Moto-cross on the T.V.

Brother on the X-box

This is me! This is home

2 days not long enough

My heart sinks and becomes heavy

Only 5 days and I’ll be home again

Yvette Brown


Home is…where your family is

Home is where your family is

Where you wipe your feet

My slippers by the fireside

All kindles, burning bright

Home is where the heart is

All cuddled up and warm

My book is on the nightstand

Behind the bolted door

Home is where I lie my head

My pillows all fluffed up

In my great big bed

Ready for my head

Home is where I raise my children

With their happy faces

Laughter ringing through the house

Full of bursting love

Susan Boath


Home is…Crosshaven. Fit dos it mean tae me

Fin I first arrived in tae the world I bade in Oldmeldrum and hid mony

a guid time doon there. Helping ma granny at the chipper, playing wi

ma freens. Then we moved up tae bonny Buckie and that’s the place

I a ways bide as am noo a Buckie quine thru and thru.

Ma 19 years at Crosshaven, Land Street, hiv brought me too mony

happy memories which I’ll niver loose so ma heart will a ways bide in

bonny Buckie.



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