In the text I was translating earlier this week, it said in Dutch ‘de aanhouder wint’ which literally means ‘the person who perseveres, wins’. As a Scot, I was tempted to translate it with the words spoken by Robert the Bruce and learned off by heart by generations of Scottish schoolchildren.

Legend has it that King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, after defeat in one of the many battles to free Scotland from the English enemy, was forced to hide in a cave for three months. His situation was so dire that he contemplated fleeing the country. In the cave, he watched as a spider tried to weave a web in the cave’s entrance. Time after time it fell but, in the end, the spider managed to build its web. Robert the Bruce took courage from that and told his soldiers “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.” Sadly, as we now all know, this motivational speech was not enough to gain independence for Scotland.

Obviously, this was a bit long for the translation, but another possibility was ‘It’s dogged as does it’. In this case, dogged should be pronounced ‘doggèd’. It means persistent and is often used as ‘with dogged determination’. I always get an image of a faithful Bearded Collie (I have two) just not giving up. Like the spider.