A lum do

It’s starting to get a bit cooler now here and I need to get ready to keep the fire fit for lighting of an evening.  So if a “rum do” is an expression to indicate something of an occurrence that can be surprising and distasteful, well this is going to be a lum do.  For I need to sweep the chimney and I just know it’s going to be unpleasant.  First thing is I have to find the ruddy brush with the screw in poles.  Oh wait, you probably don’t know what a lum is, well from my life in Orkney I grew to know that lum is a hole in a croft roof to serve as a chimney.  There was a stick from the floor up to the hole, with a panel of wood to turn at the top in the hole and thus aim the wind.  That way the smoke went out instead of staying in and filling the room like a cloud.  This was before chimneys went into fashion and a bygone age.  Another old tradition was that if you kept the fire going, no one could turn you out of your home, that also if you came into a house abandoned and lit the fire, you could stay as long as the fire was kept lit.  So from the Scottish dialect “Lang may yer lum reek” I’m literally saying ~ “Long may your chimney smoke” and now you know the meaning ~ May you live long and stay well (enough to tend to your fire and have enough fuel to put on it, so no one can come in to claim your house and put you out!)

house near green trees
Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

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