Tattie Zkowen’s Perfect Days by Angus Shoor Caan
This trilogy of short stories is written in deepest darkest Ayrshire dialect, which sadly means that its audience will be necessarily small. Of course if you are prepared to ‘learn the lingo’ (which can be no more arduous than understanding such factors as ‘rat’ means ‘that’ and ‘ri’ to mean ‘the’. Think of it like you’re working out a secret code and you’ll get into the swing of it much easier. Of course the lucky few will be able to read the stories out loud and then they’ll get the real benefit of that written dialect. You will ‘hear’ Tattie’s voice loud and clear then, believe me.
In Tattie Zkowen’s Perfect Day we find Tattie (who is a much nicer version of a Rab C.Nesbitt character) having the boon of a ‘free’ day. He’s taken the day off work for the dentist and the dentist has cancelled. Unlike Ferris Bueller in a similar situation, Tattie can think of nothing better to do than to cook the dinner early and get off down the pub. Where his ‘adventures’ begin. Don’t get me wrong, Tattie’s ‘adventures’ are purely domestic and the best of them is when he finds a stray dog. After a series of misadventures the dog ends up back at Tattie’s house and we are left on the cliffhanger of whether the kids will get to keep him.
The second story is Tatty Boaxes Clivur (that’s Boxes clever to the uninitiated) which starts off ‘As fights go, it wisnae much tae write hame aboot.’ This story is wound round Jinky the dog (football fans will get the appropriateness of the name) and his rightful owner. I don’t want to spoil the story so I’ll just say that drink and drugs are involved and there’s jeopardy aplenty, but it all turns out right in the end.
The third part of the trilogy is titled Tattie Bye and it does indeed bring the whole story to a resolution, dare I suggest, perfectly. It’s proof that even in the downbeat world of the urban underclass, good things can happen and lives can be lived to the full.
I enjoyed my time with Tattie and his wife Tina, but for me Jinky is definitely the star of the show, with Tattie’s two children running him a close second. I love their ‘kickball’ experiences and the optimism with which the stories end is joyous. Who said you can’t make happy endings that work? If you’ve ever enjoyed Rab C.Nesbitt, or indeed the Broons and Oor Wullie, this trilogy will charm and entertain you. It’s not big but it’s very clever! And it is, in the real sense of the word, authentic writing from Angus Shoor Caan. I thoroughly recommend it as a pick me up!
Reviewed by Cally Phillips
Available in Kindle format and paperback
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