In ma younger days, A warkit in the shipyairds, baith in ship design an in management. Howanever, ther cam a day at the back end o the 1960s whan it leukit like ma shipyaird wis on its wey oot an micht be gaun tae shut doon. The ootcome o this wis me an ma faimly sailin oot tae Sydney, NSW, tae tak up a new job as Senior Drafting Officer wi the Australian Shipbuildin Board. Oo wurnae lang in settlin doon an endit up bidin in Campbelltown, an oor an a hauf fae Sydney bi electric train.
Ma youngest dauchter wis juist five year auld whan oo first got thare an gaed strecht intae the primary scuil whaur she suin got tae be guid pals wi twa sisters. The youngest yin o thaim wis in her cless. In nae time at aw she wis speakin braid Strine, whit ye micht cry Australian Standart English. A didnae hae ony bother unnerstaundin Strine masel an cuid aye mak masel unnerstuid excep whan oo war in the shops on a Seturday an A hid tae spell ma name oot. The assistants aye got the spellin wrang an A aye hid tae get ma dauchter tae spell it oot tae thaim.
Aboot a year efter oo arrived in Campbelltown, ma wife an masel wis doon the street yae Seturday mornin an oo bumped intae the mither an faither o ma dauchter's twa pals. Oo war haein a guid blether an the lassies' mither telt us aboot the time they cam hame aw excitit aboot a new lassie in the cless an she cam fae Scotland. They hid telt thaim that she cuid speak guid English but her Mum an Dad cuidnae.
No lang efter oo hid sattelt in Campbelltown, A hid been speirt tae tak up a pairt time job lecturin tae sea gaun marine engineers aboot Ship Construction at Sydney Technical College. This wis for ilka Wednesday nicht fae 6pm tae 9pm. The only kinch wi this wis that the electric trains tae Campbelltown stopped rinnin at 7pm sae it meant A wad hiv tae get yin o the diesel "country" trains leavin fae the Central Station at 9.15pm. It wis a guid job the Central wisnae aw that faur fae Sydney Tech but it wis still a bit o a rush, parteeclar on the first nicht. Whan A got thare, A seen aboot five pletforms sae A gaed strecht tae the first yin an speirt the ticket lassie whit wis the pletform for the Campbelltown train.
The ticket lassie wis in her twenties an bonnie wi it an, efter A speirt her, she gied me a smile as braid as Sydney herbour an said, "Noo hou wid A ken a thing like that Jock?" Efter she seen ma mooth drap, she eikit, "If A wis you A'd try number fower." A juist smiled back an said, "Thanks hen!" Sae, thare wis me. A'd juist gien a lectur on "Ship Construction For Marine Engineers" in whit A thocht wis ma best Strine an yon Scottish lassie hid fund me oot nae bother at aw.
It wisnae lang efter thon that yae denner time A wis haein a keek throu yin o the Sydney buik shops an cam ower a buik cried "Let's Talk Strine!"
"That yin wad dae juist the dab." A thocht.
A got torn intae thon buik tae see if it wad mak me soond mair Strine in ma lecturs. Whuther it did or no, A nivver fund oot but A ken that A nivver hid ony o ma students girnin aboot no bein able tae unnerstaund me. Onywey, A fund thon buik gey interestin an A mind yin bit whaur the author wis tellin the story aboot an English author that wis ower in Sydney tae sign copies o his new buik. He wis sat at a desk in the shop an thare wis a lang queue o customers waitin tae hae thair buiks signed.
This wee auld wifie got tae the tap o the queue an pit her buik doon on the desk. Athoot leukin up, the author speirt, "Name please?"
"Emma chizzit?" the auld wifie reponed.
Sae, the author stertit tae screive, "To my good friend, Emma Chizzit."
"Naow! naow!" said the wifie, "Emma chizz e beuk?"
"Jings!" A thocht, "Even A kent that yin!"
Oo hid sailed oot tae Australia fae wast tae east an, efter three year, oo decidit tae sail fae wast tae east an see the ither hauf o the yird on oor wey hame tae Scotland. Whan oo arrived back at the Waverley station, ma brither an some o the faimly hid arrived wi the fishin boat's mini-bus tae tak us an oor luggage hame.
Ma youngest dauchter wis aicht year auld bi noo an wis hingin on tae ma haund as oo war aw sclimmin up the Waverley steps haein a guid auld crack. She stertit pouin at ma haund an speirt in braid Ausie Strine, "Dad! Dad! What does 'Ah dinnae ken' mean?"