So, I’m back from a week in my beautiful Scotland! Fresh air, open space and listening to the sound of the River Earn as it both rushes and strolls past in front of the house.

And what better book to read than Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart. It’s written in the Scots of my childhood and some of the words, like smells, cause memories to come flooding back. Like ‘blootered’ which is what you got on a Saturday night, if you were lucky and could afford to. Very drunk. Or ‘bahoochie’ which is what your mother or father told you to sit on when you were running around too much for their liking. Or ‘thrawn’ if you were recalcitrant enough not to obey them immediately. And as I was reading the book, I couldn’t help wondering how the Dutch translators had coped with the language. Apparently, they invented a language that they called Standard Low Dutch which was a mixture of all kinds of idiomatic and spoken language words. I can’t help but wonder if the beauty of the Scots language (because that’s what it is, not an accent but a language) may have been a bit lost in translation.

One last word which was even new to me, and that’s ‘wersh’, meaning lacking flavour, insipid. Which luckily doesn’t describe the Laphroaig that I was enjoying as I watched the river pass by!