Fishwives

 

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Fishwives of Aberdeen & Kincardineshire

 

The fish-wives of Aberdeen and of the neighbouring villages on the Kincardineshire coast rival their sisters of Newhaven in the various attributes for which these dames and damoiselles are celebrated, viz., a frame strong and well-knit, a comely face, a frank and hearty manner, and a "gift o' the gab," which often stands them in good stead in the disposal of their commodities.  And, while Newhaven has been justly famed for its succulent bivalves, in the vending of which, while in season the streets of the Scottish metropolis are made musical by the well-known cry, "Cauler oo-oo".

Aberdeen can boast of the world-renowned Finnan haddock, possessing a flavour and yielding a fragrance due, not, as the Southron imagines, to the effects of pungent wood-smoke, but to the mellowed and sublimed ether of peat-reek.  Nor will the boast exclude the tender, cress like dulse, gathered on the rocks skirting the coast immediately south of the city - that perennial bounty of old Ocean, obtainable, in like perfection, in no other quarter of the world I ever heard of.  What Aberdonian, at any distance from the "four bows," is there, with recollections dating back to the time when the "Plainstanes" formed the centre of the stir and bustle attending the Friday markets on the Castlegate, who does not treasure in his memory the cheery call, from one after another of the double row of smiling fish-wives skirting the Plainstanes, on these occasions, as they attempted to wile the passing schoolboy out of his Friday's copper - "Come awa', my bonny lad, and get fine short dilse, and pepper dilse, and batherlyocks?"  Will he not also gratefully dedicate a small chamber in his memory to the recollection of the delicious "partens," - their well-filled and juicy "taes," and the toothsome fish-roes, which, in the vernacular of the district, are famous under the designation of "raans?"

Aberdeen & its Folk
by A Son of Bon-Accord in North America
1868


Aberdeen Fishwife