AN INNOVATIVE new Ulster-Scots ‘Mens Sned’ project has just emerged tops in the all-Ireland CCE (Community, Culture and Environment) awards.
‘Mens Sned’, the brain child of community activist Shughie ‘Tartels’ McClatchet, has been running in the Donegal village of Mongavlin for the past two years, with the help of a grant from the National Lottery.
Project co-ordinator, Mr McClatchet, expressed delight at receiving the commendation on behalf of the 20 men in his group who come to ‘Sned’ at the old Castle site in the village several times a week.
Not to be confused with the popular ‘Mens Shed’ ‘Sned’ is the Ulster-Scots verb for ‘chop’ ‘lop off’ ‘prune’ or ‘trim’ and it is this shared bond that has brought the men together.
“Some men, retired or oota work sit at hame an dae naething – that’s nae guid, best tae get them oot an daen stuff, an that’s where ‘Mens Sned’ can help,” Shughie said.
He showed the TGL reporter around the old byre the men had renovated and painted themselves, now a hive of activity and equipped with tables, chairs, cups, plates and a kettle.
“Since we started twa year syne ‘Mens Sned’ has gan doon richt weel,” Shughie said, “mair nor 20 men come alang ay Tuesday an Thursday.
“Tis great crack a thegeither, what wi’ cracks banter an tha odd cup a tae alang tha way, it’s wile therapeutic,” he added, “what’s better than a mornin’s sneddin wi’ smeddum, then awa hame furfoughan an heppy!”
CCE judges were impressed by the great range of activities that ‘Men Sned’ offers.
As well as gardening, the men now do wood and stone carving, vehicle maintenance, as well as a whole range of arts and crafts.
“We tak a broad view o’ sneddin,” Shughie said, “whittlin, sandin, scobin, snokin, even happin or slipein are a’ a form o’ sneddin, looked at frae a particular perspective,” he added with a glint in his eye.
“Some boys ‘sned’ toys for thA granweans, ithers ‘sned’ wee Christmas gifties for tha missus.”
Shughie took the TGL reporter outside to ‘Duke Aboot’ corner, the sizeable allotment and garden area, that particularly pleased the CCE judges.
“What started as a wee gerden plot has sna ba’d, wi’ muckle members dukin aboot wi’ spaeds an grapes, keepin ilka flower an vegetable bed weel happed.”
“Tha latest is tha the ‘dinnae mow, let it grough’ sned free zone whar nettles docks an benweeds can dae their thing unmolested.”
Back inside a vintage car gleams after a polish.
“Nu how dae ye sned a 1952 Morris Minor, ye might ax?” Shughie asks with a grin, “lik I say, we hae an apen min aboot sneddin.
“What is a sned, but a ruch scobe an what’s a ruch scobe but a hard polish, an’ what’s hard polish but a saft scobe which, when ye add wax, is as near tae a gentle shammy as you’ll get.”
“An just lik this motor, we aye keep the place as if oore great poet Jimmy Orr o’ Ballycarry himsell would be pappin roun tae visit!” Shughie concluded with pride.
©Ten Grand Leo