Whilst the wee lass gets herself sorted

Ah Scotland, the land with language as lyrical and rolling as the Highlands themselves.

My son is studying in Edinburgh, you see, so we paid him and the country a visit. Whilst there, I enjoyed the many beautiful turns of phrase. Whilst tops the list. So much more beautiful than our hard North American while. You must say whilst softly, gently, like a calming suggestion.

Wee makes an appearance in spoken and written language more in Scotland than any other country, I’d wager. People of all ages, sizes and demographics use the word. A massive man working on a construction site might inform his co-worker that he plans to take a wee break, for example.

And in the UK, everyone strives for the state of sortedness. Hotel reservations? “Well, that’s that sorted then,” the desk clerk might say. Whilst travelling on a train or subway, one hears security announcements about unattended luggage or packages. The speaker encourages passengers who notice something amiss to “See it, say it, sort it.”

We travelled to the UK in September—a marvellous, terrible time to travel. We enjoyed prime autumn weather in the Scottish Highlands with fewer tourists than during the peak season. But then we returned to whooomp —the late-September and early-October start-up of projects and activities. So many things to do! This wee lass required some time to get herself sorted.

One by one I have checked items off the to-do list, announcing to myself, “Well, that’s that sorted then.” I’m here, somewhat more sorted, missing my son and Scotland, a place I wish to “return back with speed,” as they would say.

The peak of The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye
The mystical peak of The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

7 thoughts on “Whilst the wee lass gets herself sorted

  1. Joni

    Lovely pictures Arlene, and I love all those words too, but then I read a lot of British novels. Like their preference for a take-away, whilst we merely have takeout food.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Nice – you slid whilst in there! Another thing that made us do a double take was when our son said, “Come at meet me at mine at 6:00.” Yean, no Canadian kid is going to phrase it that way. We had to smile.

  2. marianbeaman

    How lucky to have a son in Scotland, giving you a reason to visit this fair, and craggy, land. A TV host here in the States is originally from Scotland, and uses “whilst” a lot, so I’m used to this rather quaint lingo. The same for “sorted,” which I read as “figured out” or “taken care of.”

    I try to insert “wee” into every sentence I can. It’s so quaintly cute. Thanks for sharing this language lesson and travelogue, Arlene!


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