Posted by: christinelaennec | January 19, 2011

Overheard (2)

Union Street, Aberdeen, the week after Christmas 2010

A few months ago I wrote a post about things that I’d overheard, and some of the contributions in the comments were priceless.  I thought I would write a new installment in the series, having been eavesdropping as always.  I think the snippets one overhears can create a kind of portrait of a particular time and place.

  • A few weeks before Christmas, a woman with a Highland accent talking on her mobile phone in a shopping centre:  “Aye, I’m standin outside that Hawkins Bazaar.  And they have fake poo!  Did you already get some for John?”
  • The week before Christmas, a woman speaking to a friend on the bus:  “The doctor telt me tae be careful o’er the holidays, but ah’m too bloody sair tae dance aboot!” [I’m too bloody sore to dance about]
  • Irate woman in Edinburgh, on December 29th, shouting down her mobile phone:  “I am not buying you another thing!  You’re just an overindulged, adolescent, [missed the noun]!!!!”  This might have been one of the mothers of the 14-year-olds receiving laptops and £200 for Christmas that Roobeedoo blogged about during that same week.
  • Just after the holidays, a teenage girl sitting behind me on the bus, talking on her mobile:  “How old was the guy who knifed you?  Facebook him!”  This made me wonder if perhaps being knifed, in certain sections of society, is now quite a casual event?!  Or does the phrase “to Facebook someone” now have a sinister meaning?  I didn’t really want to know…
  • Lastly, a few days into the New Year, a cheerful man in his thirties, greeting a (male) friend on the bus:  “How ya doin’ wee mannie?  Gie’s a kiss!”

Please do add to the list!  (And, what do you suppose the missing noun was that the irate woman used?)



  1. Just before Christmas, at the supermarket checkout, an elderly lady took a tissue from her pocket and blew her nose, “I’m not so bad today dear,” she whispered to the assistant, “yesterday, I thought I was dead.”

    I’ve resisted opening a Facebook account. Maybe I’ll hold off a while longer!

  2. Once again a lovely post, I love to read those Scottish words…

  3. Facebooking is a fate worse than the knife.
    Have you heard about the “I survived the Hillhead bomb” facebook page? 760 people “like” it apparently. SIGH.

  4. too funny! oh, what we hear….I’ll be listening a bit more closely when I’m out.

  5. Oh dear. My daughter was hit with a bottle over christmas and after returning from the hospital and cleaning herself up she and her sister decide to “facebook” the attacker. Apparently they just wanted to see what kind of woman she was……
    You have a very lovely blog by the way, so pleased I stumbled across it.

  6. Dear All,
    Thanks for all the comments – I’m glad you didn’t mind a second installment. I’ll keep taking notes!
    Martin, what a funny and touching thing to overhear. It reminds me of what my darling elderly neighbour said to me: “My dear, you have *no idea* what it’s like to be 93.” Towards the end she had some bad days too. Old age is definitely not for the faint of heart, but I hope I get to experience it!
    Erna and Lisa, thanks so much. Yes, aren’t human beans funny creatures!
    Roobeedoo, I don’t think I want to know what fate worse than the knife can be wielded by Facebook! Like Martin, I’ve steered clear so far. In my case, it’s that blogging causes me to fall down the internet rabbit hole often enough, so I need to limit my online life!
    Rebecca I do hope your daughter is okay now. That is not a nice thing to have happen. I’m so glad you like my blog, do stop by again!

  7. Aberdeen is the best place in the world for these overheard conversations. I used to love taking the bus to Old Aberdeen when I was a student just to listen in to the chat around me.
    Edinburgh conversations tend to the genteel. I was in a church in a ‘refined’ area of the city and heard one elderly lady in the pew in front saying to her friend, as she passed her a Bible, “Here’s your large print”. “What’s that?” asked the friend. “I said” (bellowing now) “HERE’S YOUR LARGE PRINT”. I did wonder if the next thing offered was going to be an ear trumpet.
    Scotland the What used to capture the cadences of North East life beautifully. My favourite was when the twa mannies met in a supermarket. On noticing that one had a trolley laden with toilet rolls, the other asked him ‘abody fine?’ (is everyone in your family quite well?)

    I don’t do Facebook and hope never to, so its ways are a mystery to me.

    • Dear Linda, how great to know that I live in an area of rich eavesdropping possibilities. I’ll definitely keep “luggin’ in”. Funny story about the Large Print! I haven’t watched Scotland the What for a while, and should do so again soon. Last year we took my mother to lunch at the exceedingly posh (for us) Marcliffe at Pitfodel Hotel, and there was a discreet buzz in the dining room because one of the Scotland the What guys was there as well. So they are still revered celebrities here.

  8. that is such lovely rich conversation … thanks for sharing. i’ve just started reading “The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club” and she was saying that if you hear a conversation with something marvellous in it, you should write it down.

    • Dear ajb47, Well it’s good to know that I’m in excellent company in my eavesdropping (and note-taking)! Thanks.

  9. I’m glad I’m not the only one who eavesdrops, I think it’s wonderful that you recorded these things for posterity!

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