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.
Adult Literacies Coordinator
Moray Adult Literacies Partnership
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.
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
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
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
What does Scotland mean to me
c. beautiful countryside
e. fresh air
We should keep it that way and keep Scotland tidy – pick up litter
and provide bins
Scotland is …
The Western Isles
Highland cows and sheep
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
Home is where the heart is
Where you were brought up
Your heritage, your ancestors
Where you are
Right here right now
My special Mums.
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
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
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.”
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
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
Taggart, River City
My home since I was 3 years old
My home forever
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
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 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
You get familiar
children the same age as you
you grow up together
You used to go to
so they would know you
Home is my
you were poorly
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”.
Home is… where you walk in and you’re
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
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
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