Brash McKelvie – the battle of the shed

Scottish Field’s new online columnist Brash McKelvie updates you on their week.

Here are the cast of characters that share the vicissitudes of life:

Scragend – a Rhode Island Red of indeterminate age and foul nature.

Shitting Cat – does exactly what it says on the tin.

The Beloved – a paragon of virtue and a self-appointed critic of most of my thoughts and actions.

Snr and Jnr Orifice – our fledged offspring.

Scragend, that demented fowl, is exercising a zero tolerance policy regarding anyone stepping into her domain – my shed.

She’s been exercising squatter’s rights for months now and the capricious, blustering red feather despot has to be placated with a biscuit bribe in order to gain entry or she erupts like a firecracker.

Recently I had to make a sharpish exit from the seat of domesticity, the kitchen (via the biscuit tin), leaving the youth of the household doing a very passable impression of Edward Much’s ‘The Scream’, with sentences such as ‘you can’t say that’, ‘that’s just wrong’, ‘not cool, not cool at all’ wafting in my direction.

What had I said to cause such censure? Simply that I thought certain political figures were as bent as a nine bob note – that’s all. But no ..cue open mouths, hands to face, silent screaming.

As the Hen and I sat in the dim greenness of our shared sanctuary I fell to pondering how the meaning of words change so fast between generations, some words taking on totally different connotations from that which they were originally intended.

The offsprings’ moral indignation at my turn of phrase does not seem to stretch to encompass their peer group greetings of referring to them as dogs, gender feminine, followed up by asking repeatedly if ‘they are alright’ followed by reference to a garden implement – which I’m sure is all very gangsta and golden but does sound a tad ridiculous reverberating round a village in the Highlands. These are now terms of endearment and camaraderie I am reliably informed.

And in that moment, in that shared shed, my own parents inexplicable sayings came whispering back over the years – ‘All to one side like Gourock’, ‘I’ll dish yer feggie mall’ (even now it sounds extraordinary and I still do not know what it means), ‘snakey doss’ and, a personal favourite, ‘jiggery pokery’.

The list whispered on and I slumped into a happy reverie – which was a rank beginners mistake as the biscuit source had run dry and with it my visiting rights to the shed.

Scragend went into border guard mode and screeched her displeasure from the back of my armchair where she perches. Stunned and aurally assaulted back into wakefulness I barrelled out of my seat and the shed in one lunge of astonishment.

It took a few seconds to regain my composure and I watched as that damn bird settled herself into the depths of my chair. She is a dog, gender feminine, and not in an endearing fashion.