The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)



It’s a sair fecht and a trauchle that’s agreed;

But it’s surely sense to tak bad times wi the gweed.


Ay, it’s a sair fecht for a half loaf as the sayin goes, bit losh faivver wid o thocht it wid come tae es, the dreidit coronaviru­s spreadin mair wyes than een takkin ower ilka news media an wird o moo aroon the warl.

Neist tae at comes isolation an losh aathing’s ill tae thole enoo tho it hisna stoppit the birr at the kitchen table as the heid gaird’ner shuvvles in mair an mair compost prickin oot the annual seedlins, an wi some ready help, the sweet pea trenches are dell’t, the dung beeriet an aa’s ready gairden-wyes. Mither Nature fairly ploos up the gweed an the bad, thinkin on the bonnie displays o blossom tae come as we warsle throwe es crisis tryin tae abide bi the stern advice ge’in.

Half loaf ? Fit price noo fin mair an mair little shoppies are bein smor’t oot bi the muckle stores fan personal service ees’t tae mean aathing. Lord forgie aa the greedyguts at think only aboot emsels. Nae only breid bit fit aboot eggs an milk tae swall the stammick? “His aa the hens gin aff the lay thegither”, I speir’t at the cheerie lass as I gaed up tae the shoppie early in the mornin for ma P&J, butteries an milk tae get the response at the coos were in isolation. Fin I suggestit at they maun hae gin eel, at fair stumpit ‘er. Fit aboot you?

Turnin tae the pages o the death notices it’s afa sad tae read time an time again on faimilies wi sair hairts haein tae decide, due tae the present circumstan­ces, that the funerals maun be private an neen o’s able tae pey oor last respects tae freens o lang standin, an kirks nae even aloo’t tae open their doors tae the soun o the bell on a sabbath mornin.

On that I think o the plicht o the faimily on the recent daith at the age o 88 o the weel-kent an respectit aathor an journalist, Jack Webster, fa wis aye prood tae ca emsel “a loon fae Maud”. Startin wi “The Turra Squeak”, syne the P&J, he wis tae mak’s mark wi’s skeely interviewi­n for the Scottish Daily Express, in spite o battlin a stammer in’s earlier days.

Stars fae the internatio­nal scene like Bing Crosby, Elizabeth Taylor an Muhammed Ali won the trust o es lad o pairts an wi patience an perseveran­ce he even got Charlie Chaplin, while on holiday in Deeside, tae come wi him tae the Tivoli Theatre far Charlie hid eence made a stage appearance.

I first met Jack in my early days o broadcasti­n, in the siventies, wi the late Arthur Argo, my first producer. Jack and Arthur were cousins an baith great-grandsons o the renown’t collector o folk sang, Gavin Greig, a teacher at Whitehill. The three o’s share’t a lowe o oor ain North-East airt an passion tae keep alive wir mither tongue. Mony a gran news we hid recaain these days. Space disna alloo me tae dauchle bit the documentar­y on Jack roupin oot the faimily fairm at Honeyneuk, will aye bide in ma memory as een o the maist popular programmes ivver produc’t on the BBC Landward series, scriptit and presentit bi Jack on the live ongauns o the day. Myn on Charlie Morrison, the ungshineer wi’s tackety beets rockin back an fore as he spak?

Jack wis tae write wi sic emotion on gyaun back tae Culsh Kirkyaird near New Deer far his folks lie at rest alang wi cousin Arthur an indeed Gavin Greig, an lookin doon ower the lans in the lythe o the fairm confessin wi aa’s hairt: “I am a Buchan man forever.” He’s comin back hame tae be aside them an his late wife Eden, the private funeral service haein already teen place at Linn Crematoriu­m in Glesca. A remarkable man and wordsmith supreme.

Tak care an see ye neist


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