Home Up Pre-History The District The Streets City Industry Family Names North East Art

The Doric Columns


Div ye mine?

It Is strange that when the colloquial language known widely as Doric is written down by its fluent speakers the spelling interpretation is wide and differing but 'ye get the gist'.

Div Y' Min'? (Do You Remember?)

Div y' min' on Cocky Hunter's 
'n' his junk on Castle Hill? 
Div y' min' on
Soapy Ogston's, 
Reid & Pearsons, Watt & Milne?

Cocky Hunters set his stall out Monday to Saturday just off the Castlegate at the top of Castle Terrace in front of the Maternity and this was a cornucopia of relics from many lives as he did house clearances and resold anything  from old Punch Magazines, to Wardrobes, Washstand and the like.  Some were much sought after by antique dealers looking to turn a shilling on a bargain.  Similar things would appear on the Tuesday regular markets salvaged from bins and town waste dumps which were normally abandoned quarries.  Colonel James 'Soapy' Ogston's Victorian soap factory was on the Gallowgate,

Div y' min' on cha'k an' inkwells, 
Slate pincils at th' school? 
Div y' min' on Copie Divis, 
'n' checks ties up wi' wool?

My first writing was with slate pencil and slate pad in Commerce Street Infants School - a stinking wet rag would be wet to clear the slate of attempted scribbles and sums - all copied laboriously from the Chalk Board.  Mrs Christie was my first teacher and she seemed in her 60's then but went on to look quite regal when recognising you outside the same school some years since I went up to Hanover School.  Inkwells were full of strange and wonderous articles dropped into your dip by fellow pupils to encourage blots - they were filled overcautiously from an air syphon corked bottle by a trusted steady handed Prefect.  Co-op Receipts were tied up in £1 rolls with a bit of spare wool to indicate the level of Dividend anticipated. Co-opie Check Number - 56098 yielded dividends of up to 12.5% some 2s-6d in the £1

Div y' min' on Bookie's Runners, 
Crown & Anchor at the Links? 
Black-leeded grates an' ovens, 
Brass taps in cast iron sinks?

Illegal Crown and Anchor schools were rife on Sunday mornings and oft raided by the police the lookouts would chase us away for fear of giving away their position to the Bobbies.  Murcar and old block houses on the King and Queens Links were favoured spots for illegal gambling with high stakes.   Bookies runners would stand in strategic places in outer suburbs all afternoon taking small bets for Bookies and ringing them through on the phone for their non-de-plumed punters - 6d Yankees, Roll ups and each way bets - all illegal in those days - but tolerated by the police.  Black leading was an awesome job on a cast iron range but had to be done to maintain or you would be 'black affronted'.

Div y' min' on wash-hoose bilers, 
An'
mungles sair tae ca'? 
An' squares o' P&J hung wi' string 
On a reed-ochered lavvy wa'?

The wash hoose biler was a copper surrounded by a kiln like fire with a wooden lid and a long stick as 'white as leprosy' after exposure to multiple boilings.  This was used to transfer scalding washing at more than arms length to a rubbing Board for finishing off and rinsing in 'wooden' sinks of a communal wash house that served the tenants as a laundry.  Aberdeen toilet paper was quartered newspapers and the the Radio Times was more favoured for size and texture than the broad sheets.  Why the drains never blocked every day was a mystery.  Toilet paper was a luxury and was more valued as tracing paper by the children.  Red ochre wa's - were normally distempered white which came off if you rubbed against it.

The watch an' chain that Gran-dad wore 
'n' Grannie's crooshied shawl? 
Div y' min' on a' these things? 
By God……….yer getting' aul'!

The Ubiquitous waistcoat with Gold Watch and Albert chain and various amusing fobs to adorn a mans paunch. The black crocheted woollen shawlie was a universal garment that served to shroud the head and shoulders of the mature wimmen in their short duration trips to the local shops for instant purchases.  The younger female element were more at home with Turbans and Pinafores and kept their stockings loose round their ankles to allow ease of circulation of blood from formerly tightly gartered thighs

Div y' min' on Lucky Tatties, 
Fin y' whiles got back y'r maik? 
Div y' min' on
Fairy Cycles, 
Solid tires 'n' just one brake?

Lucky Tatties flavoured with cassia, and steamed and covered with cinnamon powder. 
These gave way to lucky dips - to encourage one to gamble away ones pocket money on a chance edible or whimsical find.

Two Wheeler Fairy Bicycle with Missing Mudguards, Parcel Shelf and Chainguard

Div y' min' on Wordie's horses, 
'n' message loons on bikes? 
'n Bantam Sodgers on parade - 
W'd never seen the likes!

The famed Wordies Horses - Fa's 'ere - Ina - Ina Fa - Ina Wordie's Horses.  Long forgotten but there was a team of Shetland ponies stabled 'doon in the 'unks' of Virginia Street below Castle Terrace Tenement building foundations which were for beach rides and operated by gypsy Families often further related to the funfair operators.  A closed family cash business.  Bantam Soldiers were less than average recruitment height.

Don't forget John Wordie once had 2000 horses all over Scotland!

Div y' min' on boots wi' tackets, 
Itchin' combs an' han' me doons? 
Fin naebody at a' had trouble - 
Tellin th' quines fae th' loons?

Parish Boots were provided for the poorer children (The Barrackers) who would have been otherwise barefoot  - these were heavily segged and tacked with added steel toe and heel pieces to make them last for generations without possible sole wear.  Alas this was circumvented by a line of loons dragging this booted child round the playground sitting on his haunches and heels while the lads wore out the steel studs in a single play session just to make a shower of parks come out of his arse as he skited along.  Loons and Quins were segregated beyond infant school as regards playing sessions for fear of feelies or futile attempts at fornication with inadequate equipment or knowledge.  Itching Combs or 'Bean' Combs fine toothed double sided combs designed for catching nits' if ye were aye scratchen yer heid'.  A wide centre section would allow the comber a chance to 'crack' the insect or eggs with a nail - before chemicals and shampoos.

Div y' min' on gas-lit lamp-posts, 
'n' the leery wi' his licht? 
Like moths aroon a cun'le - 
Kids a' githered there at nicht!

Gas lit lamps had permanent pilot lights in my era and timed gas supply perfect for shinning up for a wee peek with cross arms we could hang our enemies from. The mantle was surrounded by a double crest of mirrors to reflect the light outwards and off the upper white painted reflector - just enough light to eat your chips by but not for reading  or warming hands alas.

Div y' min fin chunties 'neath the bed 
Saved journeys in the caul'? 
If ye admit t' minin' 'at, 
Like me……….yer getting' aul'!

Chunties were more likely a seated flushing toilet bowl but Po's and Pails were ever present as were thrown clay hot water bottles before rubber was rife.  In one of my homes was a magnificent victorian heavily crazed toilet bowl - my mother said on sight of it - hey eddie!  Kin ye nae get a new chuntie!

Div y' min' fin Woolies were busy shops, 
On' a Seterday aifterneen? 
'n' ye couldna walk on the pavement, 
Fae Loch Street tae th' Queen?

Little Woolies were in George Street - emergency exit only to Loch St and also Big Woolies in Union Street in fact but very busty with most things priced at a tanner while you walked on expensive Teak Herringbone block flooring.

Div y' min' on th' games we played, 
Wi' twa three yards o' rope? 
'n' tellin' y'r ma ye'd seen Jesus - 
On a screen - at Band o' Hope?

Lundies - Double ropes ca'd each way - only Quines could leap in and keep step without stopping the rhythm of the ropes and the chants,  Single ropes were easier for the boys to cope with but inevitably their lack of rhythm stopped that too.  The band of Hope were street evengelists always preaching on a Saturday night on a soap box.

Div y' min' on collar'd jerseys, 
Worn wi' a strippet tie? 
'n' jam jars fu' o' tadpoles, 
That ye'd gaither'd fae Cairncry?

Knitted woollen Long sleeved Collared Shirts with yellow and blue striped horizontal bar ties and inevitably an indian elastic belt with a snake hasp link 'tae hud up yer troosers'

Div y' min' fan a pal wis a loon wi' an aipple 
That aye gave you the core? 
Div y' min' on the smell o' coffee, 
Passin' Andrew Collie's door?

See's a bite o yer apple - no ye can hae the core tho' -- an older coffee house stood opposite the Citadel on the Castlegate at the top of Justice Street dispensing exotic smells.  Andrew Collie's was the upmarket West End Wine Spirits and Provision merchants backing on to Bon Accord Square.  Then there was Chivas's for the even richer community. Chivas Regal a fine Blend

Div y' min' on the things we used tae eat, 
Like skirlie, skink an' spaul? 
Will the youngster gaun aboot the day, 
Min on junk food when THEY'RE aul?

Stovies and Mince and Tatties were my fare - Skirlie - Fried Onion and Oatmeal done in dripping.

My mother, Charlotte (Lottie) Sinclair, who died last year at age 97, wrote poems, some of which were in the Doric and published in the local press. This poem was found among her papers and I assumed she must have written it. Ann B

Div ye myn o’ Andrew Collies
Wi’ its waft o’ tea an’ coffee
Div ye myn o’ Thomson’s sweetie shop
Faar ye bocht aa kinds o’ toffee

Div ye myn o’ Cocky Hunter
Faar ye got maist onything
Div ye myn o’ Reid and Pearson
Weemin’s fashions they did bring

Div ye myn o’ Ledingham the bakers
Wi’ their restaurant up abeen
Div ye myn o’ the Princess Cafe
Faar ye looked oot ower the Green

Div ye myn o’ Aberdeen Motors
Faar ye bocht an Austin “Devon”
Div ye myn o’ Isaac Benzie
Faar yer mither wis in heaven

Div ye myn  o’ Pat McGee the tailors
Faa kept ye weel turned oot
Div ye myn o’ Milne an’ Munro
Faar ye bocht a leather shoe or boot

Div ye myn o’ Matheson the butcher
Wi’ his shops aa ower the city
Div ye myn o’ the Aberdeen Savings Bank
If ye hid money in the kitty

Div ye myn  o’ Paterson Sons & Marr Wood
Faar ye got a piano or an organ
Div ye myn o’ Gordon
 &
 Smith, the grocers
Faa selt spirits named Sandeman  or Morgan

Div ye myn  o’ yon Alexanders
Faar ye bocht bikes or radio sets
Div ye myn o’ Browns in Belmont Street
Faar  ye got fishin’ rods an’  nets

Div ye myn o’ the weekly Bon-Accord
Wi’ its pages printed in green
Div ye myn o’ The Rubber Shop
Faa selt fitba’ beets an bowlers’ sheen

Div ye myn’ o’ aa the ither shops
We’ve lost — mair is the pity
Div ye myn o’ aa the pleasure
Fit wis in the centre o’ the city

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”

Meaning of unusual words: 
Div Y' Min' - Do you remember 
Black-leeded - black leaded 
mungles sair tae ca' - mangles hard to turn 
P&J - Aberdeen Press and Journal newspaper 
lavvy - lavatory/toilet 
crooshied - crocheted 
fin - when 
maik - half penny 
message loons - message boys 
tackets - boot studs 
quines - girls 
loons - boys 
leery - lamp lighter 
cun'le - candle 
chunties - chamber pots 
strippet tie - striped necktie 
skirlie - oatmeal and onions fried together 
skink - fish soup 
spaul - shoulder of meat
probably Mutton


Send mail to jazzmaster@jazzeddie.f2s.com with questions or comments about the design of this web site.
Last modified: 01/09/2013