Saturday, 24 August 2013
'What a dreich morning' I thought as I opened the curtains to reveal a blanket of grey drizzle hanging bleakly over the roads and houses around me here in Bishopbriggs. Having made a cup of hot water with lemon I decided that it really was about time that I got myself in gear and wrote a post and 'dreich' provided a useful opening.
It's apparently the Scots' favourite Scots word (as voted for in a Scots Government survey) and a word you are unlikely to hear uttered much in England although, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it is of Middle English, of Scandinavian origin. However the other dictionaries seem to place it fairly and squarely as a Scottish word.
What does it mean? Weather where at least four of the following apply in combination: dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable.
The example of the use of the word given in the Urban Dictionary is: Historically regarded as a dreich corner of Britain, Scotland's very name comes from the Greek word for “dark”.
That reminded me of the story as to how, in New Zealand, Dunedin (the Scots name for Edinburgh) came to be colonised by the Scots and so named. It is said that a group of Scots arrived in the north of the North Island of New Zealand but, realising that it was hot and sunny set of south down the eastern side of the island stopping at various places along the way but always finding the climate to warm and sunny. They then crossed the Cook Straight and set off down the east coast of the South Island. Having passed the temperate lands of Marlborough and discovered that a little England had been established in Christchurh they hurried on down the coast. When they arrived almost at the southern tip of the country they realised that they had stumbled upon a place which much resembled the north of Scotland in so many ways: not least the fact that its weather was so often dreich. There they stayed and when one is in Dunedin it is just like being in a little version of Edinburgh.
I'll leave you with a photo I took on the east coast of Harris a few weeks ago on a dreich day: