Chookie Birdies in a row...
All my lovely blip pals who follow my journal know that last year I took up painting as a hobby again after a break of around 15 years.
Fairly early into this new adventure I started painting silly little bird-like creatures that I call Wee Chookie Birdies. What you will not know (although my memory is such, I may actually have said this before so perhaps you will know!) is how I came to call them Wee Chookie Birdies. Well here's a short story made long :-)))
When I was little, my Uncle Jim (actually my Great Uncle Jim as he was my gran's brother) was like a second Grandpa to me, and I spent many hours in his company and that of his dog, a wee terrier type mongrel called Jet (guess what colour she was? ;-)
My Uncle Jim and Jet used to go for long walks every day and during the school summer holidays and regularly at weekends, I would trail along with him, often with a couple of pals, sometimes more, in tow as well. On some occasions he must have resembled the Pied Piper as he left the village with a group of children trailing behind him, to walk along the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal, head up to the Roman remains and iron age hill fort that lay to just to east of our village, or just to wander down the glen, another beautiful area on our doorstep.
It's mainly thanks to my uncle Jim that I walked so many miles in my childhood and came to appreciate the wildlife, plantlife and scenery we encountered along the way, and our local history. He never tired of my questions and was never stumped for an answer.
A lot of our time together was spent in companionable silence, no conversation necessary, as we walked and walked, stopping occasionally to take in the view or drink soft Scottish water from a cold, clear stream, before we would arrive back at his house and my Auntie Mary would open the door as I dashed to use to loo!
She would have a glass of milk and a biscuit ready too, before sending me home, watching from her gate as I walked in a straight line, the 100 yards to my house. Once in, I'd kick my shoes off and flop down on the sofa exhausted. I see your Uncle Jim's walked the legs off you again was a statement regularly heard in my house :-)
He was such a lovely man. And so talented. A retired coal miner (all of my Gran's brothers were coal miners as was my grandpa and great grandpa) and in his spare time he wrote stories and poetry and enthralled me with them. I say wrote, but I'm not sure he ever committed any of them to paper. Oh how I wish I had asked him to. He also sang beautifully, mainly old Scottish songs and verses. Which brings me to Wee Chookie Birdies...
One of the earliest verses I remember him singing to me was an old Scottish children's song that went,
Wee chookie birdie toll loll loll
Laid an egg on the windae sole
The windae sole began tae crack
And the Wee chookie birdie, roared and grat.
And it's a wee verse that's never left me. Alan loved it when I sang it to him a child so it's very special to me. And even though a chookie is technically a chicken, I knew this was what I wanted to call my wee birdies. A wee tribute to a much loved uncle.
Over the last year I have lost count of the Wee Chookie Birdies I have painted. Some on cards (birthday, new home, Christmas, get well...you name it and a Wee Chookie Birdie has been on it! :-) as well as customised ones in paintings for family and friends. I even sold a few at a Christmas Fayre back in December, but I have never painted any for me!
Well now I have! Five Chookie Birdies perched in a tree, each of them with a secret special meaning for me. I have called it The Special Branch :-))
Here's a taster of how the Wee Chookie Birdies song sounds. The lyrics are slightly different but it's the tune my Uncle Jim sang :-))