It’s The Giddy Limit

Orkney has its own dialect and its own pet phrases. ‘It’s the giddy limit’ means the thing is almost beyond belief. And for the past five years the phrase has been the title of a comic strip in the local newspaper, the Orcadian. Those first 262 cartoons have been published in book form, and while I should be packing boxes I have been sitting going right through the book. Twice.

Readers of this blog (thank you!) will remember that a while ago I bought the original of the cartoon one week, showing a knitting group. You will need no more introduction to Alex Leonard and the characters he portrays so well. Others just need to see a single page of the book, chosen with natural fibre people in mind:

You can get the book online from the Orcadian Bookshop (where I got my signed copy this afternoon) or from Amazon (who haven’t got their stock yet). For those of you overseas, remember there is no VAT (tax) on books.

Meanwhile, I really must get back to the boxes… I move on Monday… I hope to post once more before I go, but if BT do what they did last time they will cut me off early. So if I don’t appear for a while, you know exactly who to blame: BT (which does not stand for British Telecom but B*^&$%£^& Terrible). They have already told me they will not even think about giving me a line in my new house ‘until the snow goes’ – and THAT is the giddy limit.

So I might not be back until July…

16 thoughts on “It’s The Giddy Limit

  1. “It’s the giddy limit” is also used here in South Australia – which is, I suppose, an indication of where some of our ancestors come from! (Mine come from Caithness.)
    The cartoon strip is great.

    1. Hi Janet,

      We moved up here to this house in 1995, then out to Wardhill 2 years after – Nick then had this house. I moved to Flotta in 2002 and then back to the’Hope when Nick was ill in 2003. It will be exactly 8 years since I moved last time – also the Tuesday about 7th December!!



  2. Liz
    You certainly brought back memories with that saying – the giddy limit – I was brought up with it here in New Zealand and use it myself. My mother used it a lot – must have been her Orkney ancestry – Leask, Dunnett, Corrigal!!!!

  3. I use the phrase ‘Oh my giddy aunt’ which probably isn’t related. Thanks for featuring the book, Liz; I’ve just ordered a copy for Mark for Christmas.

    1. I am from NZ originally – and also have used the expression “My Giddy Aunt”. Don’t have any Scottish ancestry, but lots of Scots went to NZ so might have some connection back to Orkney.

  4. I love the Giddy Limit but part of that is that I knew Jimmy Leonard, Alex’s grandad, who the character of Davo is based on. The “after the County Show” strip is one of my favourites. Wonderfully understated and so spot on 🙂

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHA Have you heard the forecast? I am banking on the fact that they have got it quite wrong…!

      Good job the couple coming in here have been living in Norway and understand such things.


  5. I think that the staffs at the Orcadian and Amazon UK are going to be surprised at the number of overseas orders they get for this book.

  6. When I was very young, I worked for Alberta Telephones– — the equivalent of BT for the province of Alberta .

    We tried hard to get service fast to everyone. But Canada is big, and goes way far north, as you know. So from about September on, for new services up in the Arctic areas the best we could ever quote for a service date , unless there had already been a line run to the house was “six weeks after ground thaw” That was before satellites and mobiles and internet. People generally took it quite well, and existing customers were great about sharing their lines with neighbours. I’m guessing that in some areas, the ground never thawed.

    Can you skip a ground line altogether and go mobile only?

    1. Unfortunately mobile reception is terrible!! All the infrastructure for both th land line and broadband is there, it is just that BT’s system are so awful – the engineers are only allowed to do what they have been ‘told’ to do, so if they find something slightly different is needed, they have to go away and wait to be told to do it bfore coming back. In my case some idiot on a computer didn’t write down that the line had to be broadband enabled (despite me telling him 100 imes it did). The engineers rang in and asked to be allowed to do it (5 mins work) only to be told they couldn’t. That means they will have to come back again, taking a minimum of 6 hours including the ferry trips and waiting, all for 5 mins work… That is BT for you….

      Orkney wanted stalite… One day I will tell you the story… It is a good one…!!

      finally on line at her parents’ house

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