Today I set off from Ballymoney, safe in Ulster Scots country, to the village of Scarva. These were uncharted waters for me as I never drove there from the North before. I was decidedly proud of myself when I made it to the picturesque village in one piece and was embarrassed to find that after a two-hour drive to my destination, I actually got lost in Scarva itself!! This is no easy task as the village is set along one street more or less yet I managed to get on the road to Banbridge before George Patton rang me to put me right and save me from getting totally flumoxed!
When I got to the church hall where the school was being held, the kids were out playing the ancient Ulster Scots game of fitba. I sipped a cup of coffee and looked out the window as a very heavy shower of rain came on. I noticed a line of kids running towards the hall and went into panic mode as I realised that every child in Scarva was coming my way! When they all got into the hall there was about 30 of them and only one of me so I was the definite underdog!
My worries were totally unfounded, though, as George and his team were in total control and well organised. He had a good squad of leaders who were enthusiastic about the project and very conscientous in their roles. I delivered my part history/part language spiel and the audience were very very keen and receptive. They are not indigeneous speakers of the language but clearly wanted to learn. They were able to name every part of the body in fluent Ulster Scots and could translate a healthy number of words and phrases from English into our language before we packed up for the day.
My thanks to George et al for a great day and a special thanks to Ed Hanna who has knocked himself out co-ordinating the schools across Ulster.