Monday, 29 March 2010

Identity crisis looming.....

Bonnie hit the nail on the head (see comment on my previous post from Scraps of Me).

This sharp-witted little Scottie pointed out that a wire-haired fox terrier is just a bit....ummm.... Sassenach. English that is. Not a Scottish terrier at all.

Well we are wading into deep and murky waters here, truly.

With Hamish there was no question. The breed, the birthplace, the permanent home, the names. Even his official (and wholly appropriate) name, 'Independent Laddie'. No taint of the soft southerner there.

As for his owner. Meaning me. Now I've lived in Scotland for more than eleven years, I work here, all the property I own lies North of the border, I have degrees from the University of Aberdeen. An ancestor who came from St Monans, Fife, bequeathed me my Scottish surname. My complexion is pale and a bit freckly. I look like I fit in.....

Until, that is, I open my mouth. Pure and unmodified BBC English vowel sounds are what you hear. The 'r' in Bertie will not be rolled. The 't' will be sounded crisp and clear.

Need we worry that young Bertie will suffer from an identity crisis? When England play Scotland at football or rugby, which team will the new pup be cheering on? An English terrier born to a Scottish family in NE Scotland. With a Scottish (Gaelic even) names on his official papers, but in everyday life going by the rather English-sounding 'Bertie'. Soon to be living in Aberdeen with an Englishwoman.

Will he bark in Doric? Or will the other dogs in the park laugh at his affected English tones?

All this is for the future. I am reminded of a time eight years ago when Hamish and I met up with some English friends for short break staying in a cottage near Ben Nevis. The football World Cup was in progress. My godson Ben, then eleven years old, had the previous week apparently painted a red cross on his ash blond hair to signal his support for the England team. This was at his home near London. England were scheduled to play again (I think it was Sweden?) during our little holiday. Ben was ready with the red dye, but his mother and father sensibly persuaded him that the St George's cross hairdo would not be considered a good look in the Scottish Highlands...

Undeterred, Ben looked over towards my fluffy white Westie and piped up "I know Gail, we can paint Hamish instead!'

I am sure that you know me well enough by now to guess that I did not permit my dear wee Scottish laddie to be subjected to this gross indignity..


Mango said...

Oh dear. I had not thought of that. Maybe Bertie will need to wear Scottish outfits as a show of country loyalty.

BBC accent. Hehehe. We listen to the BBC news on the radio. They sure talk funny.


houndstooth said...

I'm guessing Bertie will learn to be happy as a transplant, just as you did! At such a young age, he might even develop a brogue to his bark as he grows up in the Highlands!


TwoSpecialWires said...

Oh dear. We supposed you could have a dilemma, especially when Bertie reaches his teenage years of identify formation. One good and very important thing, the communication between dog and human translates the same, not matter what the language. Kind of like a smile is culture and language barrier free. Our suggestion: invest in a variety of collars and leashes, and enjoy an international flair. He is going to be so much fun!!

So excited for you...
Jake and Fergi xxoo

Fiona said...

When you revealed his name the first thing that popped into my mind was Bertie Pollock from Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street. Bertie is a mischievous and energetic little boy who is most definitely Scottish, I couldn't think of a better name for a new puppy.

Martha and Bailey said...

We have always been half and half in this house!
There has always been arguments between the humans but never the dogs!
Martha, of course is English and Bailey is Scottish - we haven't had too many problems!
The good thing about dogs is they really don't mind!
We reckon Bertie will be proud to wear a kilt and learn the bagpipes!
We are getting so excited about Bertie coming home!
We are taking a wee break over Easter but hopefully back in time to wet the puppy's head!
Of course we will be turning to Hamish's favourite tipple!
Martha & Bailey xxx

MAX said...

Hey there Gail.

Now!Now!...IDENTITY, especially NATIONAL IDENTITY is a big issue for us/me! I know that you are going to wear the cap of conviction in this one...for Bertie's sake!

You see, don't let them tempt you to follow the rule of Africa...i.e...."Go back to the place from where you originate!" ...rather, let Bertie morph into his true Scottish Nationality, irrespective of his geneology - that is his right, since he will be living there - permanently!

(I know Im becoming political, but I hate it when others(here where I live) imply that because of my skin colour I am not an African!)

Poor Bertie...thank goodness he will accept his lot with doggie-dignity!

Love you lots...and so looking forward to Bertie's arrival...Im sure you can't wait either!


Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Wooos! We agree with Max, but a nice family tartan might help a wee bit!

~husky kisses~
-Kira The BeaWootiful

scotsmad said...

Oi! We're scottish terriers and one transplanted Virginian living in Australia. And mate, we're all aussies--but, actually we don't care......we have a schnauzer friend down the street named Glasgow. How's that for multicultural!

Can't wait to read more about Bertie!

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

Joy said...

Whatever or whoever Bertie decides to be, I will be anxiously awaiting his posts.

Stella said...

I am very much looking forward to the arrival of Bertie as well and think its a dandy name for the little gent. Wasn't one of the English royals known as Bertie, like maybe Elizabeth II's Dad? Here I thought you named him after him!

We aren't much into dividing lines, so English or Scottish, it can't matter to us at all.

Cheers and hugs,
Jo, Stella and Z

TwoSpecialWires said...

We have a little something we'd really like to send for you to have when Bertie arrives ... maybe even before ... but we need your address! Would you email us and send it to us? Our email is on our blog ... on the sidebar ... please?

Tail wagging,
Jake and Fergi xxoo

Jake of Florida said...

You know, we're two wire fox terriers who were born in the U S of A -- and even though we know we have a lot of English history in our genes, we consider ourselves to be Americans -- or what is more politically correct, North Americans. That's what happens to most immigrants. Acculturation.

So, we think that wee Bertie will be a Scots dog and occasionally look fondly into his English history -- but never give it a mind. Just don't go the hyphenated route, OK???

Wirey love,

Jake and Just Harry

Angus said...

Ah, you've rightly learnt to beware of the tartan duggie syndrome. It's not the outward signs that show a true teuchter but those inner reserves of loyalty,courage,humour and devotion.That's why Scots always make the best soldiers. I have a feeling that with a family like yours to support him Bertie will more than live up to Hamish's high standard and strengths.

Sarah said...

You live in Aberdeen, an English accented bark won't be noticed amid the Dutch, Norwegian and American ones.

As for barking in Doric - the idea that a dog might say 'foof' rather than 'woof' tickles me...

ScrapsofMe said...

Scotties bark in Doric! Arrrrrrooooooo....we defintiely burrrrr our rrrrrrrs!

Bonnie, the wee Aberdeen Terrier!

Petey said...

I say you send wee Bertie over to visit his Scottish uncle Petey in New York and I'll teach him how to bark like a New Yorker. Then in May, we'll head down to South Carolina where he'll learn to draw out his bark..."wooooof, y'all!" By the time he returns to your plummy vowels and the Aberdeen dogs, he'll have such a unique accent that will be all "Bertie!"

Your pal,


ScrapsofMe said...

Hmmm. First a double post, then a double delete. Is that like a double negative?

Anyways.....what I posted was...we Scotties ARRROOOO in Doric. We rrreeally burrrr ourrrr arrrrroooos!

Bonnie, the wee Aberdeen Terrier!

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh my...we have giggled our way through this post and comments...

We think dear Bertie will look adorable in a wee kilt and will bark a proper sweet puppy bark however he does it!!!

When he is coming? Must not be long now!