Friday, 21 September 2018

Bide A Wee, Bless You!

As a child, I used to go with Mum to visit an old lady from church who lived in a little old house with the name 'Bide A Wee'. I assumed this must be some euphemism regarding her outside loo. Mum [who had lived in Glasgow whilst at theological college] explained it was Scottish for "Stop for a while". VisitScotland [aka the Scottish Tourist Board] are keen to get more people up there, and last year commissioned an Insights Team to suggest strategies. 
They came up with the Gaelic word còsagach, which they defined as snug, warm, cosy. Their version of the Scandi hygge. But I have two problems with this word. Firstly, pronunciation - hygge was bad enough, but when I try to say còsagach it sounds like I have flu. People respond with "bless you!" and second - the Gaelic speakers say the main definition of còsagach is full of holes and crevices!
However, the idea is that there are lots of good Scottish habits we can adopt in the winter months to improve our mood. 
They've modified things a little, and now talk of coorie [verb, meaning either to stoop, cringe crouch down or to snuggle up. Clearly they are taking the 2nd definition again!] Let's face it, the Romans called Scotland Hibernia - the Land of Winter. So this place should have some well established 'coping mechanisms' A new book has come out to help us manage the approaching season, just as we pass the Autumnal Equinox. Or maybe as we enter the 'heres-a-good-Christmas-gift-for-you-to-buy' season.
Let me save you fifteen quid, by telling you all the things you allegedly need to do to be as happy as a Scotsman in Winter...
1- drink whisky and hot toddies [I'll have honey and hot lemon or cocoa]
2- ambience [candles, blankets, hygge]
3- soup [comforting broths, not vichysoisse or gazpacho]
4- fresh air- get outside and stride along the beach, tramp through the forest [or even swim, kayak, cycle]
5- radio - curl up under a blanket and bond with your nearest and dearest as you Listen With Other. Try Radio4 Extra, or even the Shipping Forecast [Dogger, Fisher, German Bight...]
 6- rediscover classic Scottish Novels - Treasure Island, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Thirty Nine Steps.
7-Woollens [see also hygge] My favourite knitwear designer is definitely Kate Davies [click here]
8- Nightlife - that's natural nightlife, not clubbing. Stargazing, owl/fox/badger watching etc
9- Watch some Scottish TV programmes as you snuggle up on the sofa. Rosie is fond of that feisty redhead Katie Morag, which is not surprising. Personally, I think it is time for a revival of Supergran.

So now you know. Enjoy the winter, keep calm, and coorie on with the còsagach!


  1. Need pronunciation lessons for that word. Thank you for saving me the money - not that I would have bought the book anyway!

  2. I ADORE the Katie Morag books so I'm v intrigued to discover that they've made a programme of it! Yes to all your suggestions except the Whisky. I'll have Hot Ribena with honey, lemon and thyme instead!

  3. Well, it’s a coorie doon day the day in Central Scotland. Soup will be thawed for lunch, with oatcakes and cheese to follow. It’s blawing a hoolie so I’m away to sew. Happy weekend to you and yours.

  4. Mattman has discovered R. L. Stevenson, so I anticipate long nights of cosagach discussing dark Edinburgh doings. No doubt we'll continue on to I. Rankin!


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