By Lorna McCann
I remember the night well. It was dark, windy and wet and I was sat in a small village hall in the coastal town of Buckie, located on the Morayshire Coast in North Scotland.
I was surrounded by a dozen or so very weathered-looking, rosy cheeked fishermen. As a reporter, I was there of course, to get a story.
However, an hour into the conference I still had an empty notebook and was beginning to panic. These hardy men were not only talking to one another in Scottish but in Dorich — one of the hardest Scottish dialects to pick up — and their topic of choice was prawn quotas for fishing off the North Coast of Scotland. Well, at least I think it was.
I was tasked with having to file a story that night but, let’s be honest, for someone born and educated in Shropshire, I didn’t really stand a chance did I? Cows and sheep – yes. Fish- no. So, having only been in the new job at the Press and Journal for a matter of weeks I was fully expecting to get booted out before really having got started.
Luckily, I was saved from the dole queue by the then Moray MSP who had also been sitting through the conference. He was kind and understanding and when I politely asked “What on earth just happened?” he had the time to give me chapter and verse. And so, my story did get filed and appeared in the next day’s paper. Phew!
Suffice to say, I think as new kid on the block, I just about survived my initiation test into Scottish journalism. That was nearly eight years ago when I first moved to the North having spent three years working on the Newport Advertiser and Shropshire Star newspapers.
Thankfully, not everyone up there speaks Doric and since that night I have covered all manor of interesting tales and stories working for the Press and Journal and latterly The Inverness Courier. I was even fortunate enough to be invited to ride on board an RAF spy plane during a flypast of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday.
That was a little while ago and having just finished maternity leave for the second time I was fully anticipating getting stuck into writing a few more gritty Highland stories.
But, as it happens, that was not to be the case. After months of sleepless nights and endless discussions me and my husband decided it was time to move us and our boys back south of the border to be closer to our families.
And so here we are back on home turf and here I am working in PR for a wonderful company set up by wonderful friends and former colleagues. How lucky am I? What an exciting time and one I’m going to fully embrace. Afterall, it is not everyday that great opportunities come along.
And, I have to say, so far so good. The switch to the dark side, as many journalists like to refer to it, doesn’t seem all bad. In fact, far from it, I think I’m really going to like it. Once I’ve managed to get my head around all the logistical stuff that goes with a new job I will be looking forward to meeting my clients and working with Shropshire businesses. You never know there may even be a fishmonger or two out there requiring some PR!
It has of course been a life changing decision for me, my husband and our two boys to leave our life in Scotland and return to our roots and there are things I will miss. The mountains, the lochs, the sea and of course my Doric speaking fisherman friends!
But, I have to say it is good to be back.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I did manage to pick up the odd word or two!
Bosie – hug or cuddle
Dreich – overcast and miserable weather
Dookers – swimsuit
Fit like – how are you?
Affa – awfully
Aye – yes
Bairn – baby
Wifie – woman