Category Archives: Scots

The Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and my part in it

The Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and my part in it

I had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents, …you see the pattern.  It is a mathematical geometric series.  Each generation ‘n’ consists of Pn (for parents) individuals and Pn equals 2 to the power of n.

In symbols, Pn = 2^n.    If you make a running total of the parents, you can calculate how many ancestors you have in total back to any given date in history. A simple way to calculate and illustrate this is on a spreadsheet as below.

For myself I have started at the year 1966 when I was 20 years old.  The interval between successive generations is assumed as an average of 25 years.  I have indicated historical events that roughly correspond to some of the generations.

So for example around the time of Napoleon’s downfall at Waterloo (1815) there were 128 people around that time that I am related to.   See how rapidly the numbers rise, at the time of Cromwell there were over 8000 of my parents living.

Let’s go back further to 1314.

The calculation shows that there were over 67 million of my parents living. In 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn roughly 8000 Scots fought 22000 English.  There is no doubt that I am of mainly the European race, neither aboriginal American nor Australian nor African, nor Asian, at least after 1314. Now the total population of  Europe in 1314 has been estimated by the experts at about 60 million.  Consequently I am related to every single one of them and therefore particles of me fought in the Battle of Bannockburn, on both sides!  And if you are of the European race so did you!

How exciting, some of your little thingummy jigs were slashing and hacking away with sword and axe doing their and your bit for the history books.

Convinced so far!

If you extend the calculation back just another 5 generations to around 1215 and the time of the Magna Carta, I had 1,073,741,824 parents alive.

Over one billion of them!  Hold on! there’s something wrong because the total population of the whole world was only 400 million and Europe less than 60 million.

Can you see the solution?  The 25 year generation gap assumption?  Each child definitely requires two biological parents. The mathematics is unquestionable.

Well it turns out that (this will be very surprising to you) I am not the first to come across this problem.  People have made academic careers out this little problem.

You can read all about it in incredibly unreadable reams of theories and mathematical formulae available elsewhere. Yes, you can Google it or I could give you references but I know you are busy and not cabin bound in the snow as I am so I will save you the bother.

Love thy neighbour

Here is the solution. We are all inbred!  Even those of us not considered members of the monarchy.   Back there through the generations some of your ancestors were taking shortcuts in finding a mate, too lazy to walk more than a few miles for a date and marrying second and third cousins willy-nilly, with no regard for the effects it has had on my spreadsheet and subsequent generations.  The barbarians.  Of course those were the days before phrases like ‘sustainable development’ were being bandied around the stable door or duck pond.   The lazy beggars were just marrying whoever was handy that could hoe turnips or herd sheep.

(This all started with that poem Joker’s Deal)

1 Comment

Filed under History, Humour, Scots, Stories

Fechin’ Eejit

overheard in a Scottish pasture

Fechin’ Eejit

But he’s sic a fechin’ eejit

Naw, that wid never dae

For him tae sit doon on oor Stane

When Lizzie gauns away


Caw canny Jenny, an efter a’

He’s nae waur than maist afore

They aye were smit wi’ puckle wit

Kept cuddies an’ a whore


The puir bodie didnae choose

Tae be whae he hais been

Tho there’s nae doot the numpty is

A scunner tae the Queen


Hunners o’ years ago ye see

Fichts ower croon or Cross

Cost mony heids for wicked deeds

An left us wi’ the dross

—————————————

eejit  (idiot)

Stane – (stone of Scone)

caw canny  (go gently)

puckle (small quantity)

cuddies (horses)

numpty (a bumbling fool)

scunner ( a cause of disgust)

2 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Scots, Uncategorized

Joker’s Deal

Joker’s Deal

I turned the top card from a pack

And placed the Joker on his back

I turned again, a King and Queen

Facing up to set the scene

Was me, the Jester of this game

With father, mother, Sire and Dame

So on I dealt and placed in state

Sires and dames, those more great

In silent rows laid by my whim

Staring faces deathly grim

Until the names and faces sank

To facedown generations blank

Row on row to times of yore

Older cards spread on the floor

Row by row by generation

A fool’s forebears took up station

Mustered for the joker’s sake

Ere top trump bids them wake

There they lie as in the grave

The honest worker with the knave

Speiring o’er the rows to glean

Wondrous deeds they’ve done or seen

Kind and loving with the cruel

All living yet now in the fool

************


Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, Scots, Uncategorized

Eelie Ohlie

Eelie Ohlie

Richt efter schule sune they gether

Doon the end o’ Tattie Raw

Fir their sairly wat amusement

A gowden ‘oor wi’ their fitba’


The ba’s nae o’ belted leather

Like the tawse they ken fu’ well

Peesy got frae Syme the butcher

Bladder that’s near lost it’s smell


Wee Billy Smith, big Matthie Weir

Eck and Geordie, Cleikie Shaw

Alec, Jim and Jock and Wullie

Hughie, Malc an’ mair an’ a’


Fir makin’ o’ intae twa teams

Noo they’re staundin’ ruind aboot

“Eelie, ohlie, dug’s toley

Eelie, ohlie, OOT “


With goals o’ jaikets, buiks an’ caps

Nae mair’s needed fir tae play

The rules are by the strong decided

And sae micht wanner day to day


Ner mind aboot the Herts or Hibs

Or sic farflung pairts and deeds

We’re Arns’on Rangers ‘gin the Star

Nitten Bills v. Square Heids


Tackits skite on schuleday shune

Sclaff an’ bauchle, less than braw

Runnin’, heidin’, dribblin’, shootin’

Stottin’ passes off the wa’


In nae time the licht is fadin’

Luvin’ mithers cry them hame

Lament thair oor o’ peace and quiet

Muckle thankfu’ fir the game


Whit an awfy state yer in!

A’ yer claes are thick wi glaur

Whitever if yer faither sees ye

He’ll be giein’ you what for


Ah’ll scrub ye raw frae heid tae fit

In tae that pail ‘hent the door

Och ye are a richt wee midden

Tell me noo whit wis the score?

**************************

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry, Scots, Stories, Uncategorized

Grannie’s Soup Recipe

Tattie Lasses

Grannie’s Soup

Furst the fundamentals

A sturdy stove for coal or gas

Or fire o’ peat or wid will pass

If weil kept clear o’ ash an’ dust

Electric only if ye must


If’ yer using wires and cable

Maist the time ye must be able

Tae haud the heat doon at a peep

For soup tae jist simmerin’ keep


As tae pot and lid selection

Muckle thick best steel or iron

Dinnae tak’ up the furst at hand

Nae muck frae China or Japan


Noo the ingredients


A guid bone or neck o’ mutton

No lang syne it’s lichts begrutten

Frae blackheid yowe, kilt tae order

On heath or moor near the border


Ingan’s frae an ingan Johnnie

Whae’s worked hard to get yer money

An’ pedalled mony miles frae France

To hear the pipes an’ jine the dance


Fresh new tatties lassies howkit

Trauchled hame in willie basket

Nane wi sproots or beardy places

All wi’ bonnie sonsie faces


Carrots that are no ower cruikit

Saft, runkled or ony shilpit

Nae green shooders tak tae hand

Seek them in East Lothian sand


Leek growd in a cley location

By pit bing or railway station

Clean it richt weel o’ coal and grit

O’ claggy glaur an’ whitret shit


A neep that’s louped up like a hare

An gi’en itsel’ intae yer care

It’s a’ the sweeter for its sin

When nipped by frost nere Halloween


Dried peas guid green no black or broon

Soaked in a bowl an’ steered aroun’

Tak ‘oot wee beastie bits that float

Ony wee stanes wid scrat yer throat


A handfu’ barlie born in Fife

Wi nae need for the howdie-wife

As bricht as ony pearls an’ listen

Rinse off stoor to mak’ it gliss’en


Add a’ wi water in yer pot

Saut an’ black pepper ne’er forgot

Enough saut tae hap half-a-croon

A puckle pepper corns crushed doon


When it’s through the bile an’ churnin’

Set the heat tae barely bubblin’

Put on the lid to keep oot stoors

Noo leave alane fir ‘oors an ‘oors

Leave a comment

Filed under Artwork, Poetry, Recipe, Scots