Posted by: christinelaennec | November 23, 2010


I am an inveterate eavesdropper.  In coffee shops, on buses and trains, I’m the person with “lugs a’flappin'” as they say here (ears flapping).  Here are three things I’ve recently overheard that made me smile:

Male student coming out of a psychology lecture:  “crystal meths is a woman’s drug.”  (I had images of labour wards full of women on crystal meths…)

Man on a train, speaking to business colleagues about someone he works with:  “Aye, he’s compassionate – but he’s nae fiel.”  (but he’s not crazy)

At a garden centre, elderly lady to woman (plaintively):  “You should have phoned me.”  Reply:  ” Well, I saw you sittin’ in your conservatory, so ah kent ye were nae deid!” (so I knew you weren’t dead)

Feel free to add to the list!



  1. Brilliant…love these. Wish I had better hearing…maybe it’s old age, but I never seem to catch enough of other people’s conversation….do you think it would be rude to sit on a bus with an ear-trumpet?

    • That’s very funny. As an alternative to the ear trumpet, you could just turn around and ask people to speak more clearly!

  2. I loved this post. I love to sit and listen to people, especially Glaswegian…it sounds very much like Amsterdam slang…..

  3. Eavesdropping. Love it.

    Alas, my two favourite overheard conversations came to me but second hand.

    The first was heard through a window above a bus stop in Steenhive at the end of what had been a warm summer day.
    Grunnie announced to the world in general:

    Ye gie them cresps, ye gie them sweeties, ye gie them ice cream – and fit dis he dee? Swallies his mithers lucky bingo pincil!

    Overheard on a bus in Aberdeen.
    Mother to small child, obviously unhappy about its uncouth manner of speech:

    Dinna say EH. Say FIT.

    Are you acquainted with Jack Webster, Scotland the What and Douglas Kynoch? They all write (or have written) beautifully observed pieces which make me hug myself with glee because I recognise the characters so clearly. It’s the next best thing to eavesdropping.

  4. Dear Erna and Teuchter, I’m glad you both liked the eavesdropping! Teuchter, I particularly love the “Say FIT” quip. (For those not familiar with Doric, “fit” means “what”.)

    I know Scotland the What, and Douglas Kynoch’s Teach Yourself Doric, but I hadn’t heard of Jack Webster – so thanks for that tip! I remember once watching a Scotland the What skit about being in an airplane that had me weeping with laughter.

  5. […] few months ago I wrote a post about things that I’d overheard, and some of the contributions in the comments were […]

  6. I keep a little book of things that my family and friends say. It’s mostly filled with quotes from my dad, who is a bit of a wag, but I should do as you do and write down what I hear out and about because it often amuses me. My mum and I are sometimes sitting quietly in a tearoom not saying anything because we’re both enjoying the chatter of a couple of wee ladies at the next table. I’m going to do that from now on, thank you for posting about it!

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