Beach art

Bart Simpson transposed to Hopeman, on the Moray Firth coast. And with the move, he's become fluent in Scots. 'Dookers' are swimming trunks.

Who would have suspected Hopeman to be a centre of beach hut art?

I have to admit I'm linguistically challenged by 'Cafe Mouie'. My maternal grandparents spoke the Scots dialect of the fishing town of Buckie. I grew up 15 miles inland, with a different dialect again. Even as a child I knew which word belonged to which place. I was surrounded by words of Norse origin: 'host', for cough (modern Norwegian ' hoste'), 'kirk' for church (same in Norwegian), 'yirdit' for dirty (Swedish 'jord', meaning 'earth'). But what is a 'mouie'? Is it someone's nickname? Could it be Hopeman Scots for 'seagull', from the French 'mouette'? But a few miles along the coast a seagull is a 'gow'.

The Moray Firth was grey and flat on the day of our walk along the beach a couple of weeks ago, but with a deceptive swell crashing onto the rocks.

When we showed my father these photos on our return from our walk he remembered that on the outbreak of World War II the beach huts at Hopeman were dismantled. Family friends from Aberdeen had a hut there, and it was transported inland to my grandmother's house at Craigellachie. Goodness knows why the huts had to be moved - something to do with coastal defences, I suppose. Perhaps it was feared that German invaders would infiltrate the huts and pose (in their dookers) as innocent bathers. After all, German paratroopers were rumoured to be parachuting into Britain disguised as nuns. Soon after the outbreak of war many people left the cities for fear of bombing. My grandmother's Aberdeen friends came to stay with her in Craigellachie. Whether there were so many of them that the house was bursting at the seams (a substantial country house with the essentials such as parlour, drawing room, maids' bedroom), or he just fancied a change, but my father spent the first year of the war sleeping in a beach hut in the garden.


  1. Beautiful beach huts! I like the landscape in the last image as well.
    Happy new week!

  2. Great pictures. We had a great holiday in a caravan at Hopeman last year he beach hut - really loved it. The beach hut art is wonderfully kitcsh.
    Can't think what mouie could be - a local variant on mou as in mouth (e.g shut yer mou?)
    Enjoyed the wartime story.

  3. Interesting story. The beach huts are already colorful so I guess the art makes it more interesting. They had company for a long time if they stayed during the whole war.

  4. Glad you enjoyed your visit to our part of the world. Sorry we couldn't provide better weather, bet you didn't wear your dookers. The Hopeman beach hutss are great aren't they, I'm trying to imagine Germans in dookers and jackboots with helmets. OO-er!!!

  5. Pietro, we love the wide horizon at this beach, so we try to go there whenever we visit my father.

    Jacqui, I never thought of mouie as the diminutive of mou. 'small mouth cafe' - perhaps!

    Larry, I think the Aberdeen visitors went back to Aberdeen, which was bombed during the war, but by that time people were sticking things out more.

    Chris, you're right, no dookers in sight.

  6. I would like to have the Elvis hut on the beach. With hula girls like in the movie Blue Hawaii dancing in the scottish november weather. I can always dream.

  7. The beach huts are pretty cool. I bet that was pretty cramped sleeping for your father but I guess he was probably glad to have a roof.

  8. I posted about the beach huts too. Thought you might like the "dookers"

    I'm late getting here, got a lot of catching up to do!

  9. What a beautiful and creative way to show off your shells. Very nice job!!

    beach art


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