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The Broons - Scotland's Happy Family
Scotland's Happy Family . . .
. . . That Makes Every Family Happy
The Broons first appeared in the Scottish Sunday Post, published in Dundee by D.C. Thomson. That was more than seventy years ago, and ever since then there has been a weekly Broons story in the same paper and a 'Broons Book' every second year (alternating year about with Oor Wullie, of course!)
The Broons were created by the great illustrator Dudley D. Watkins. Notice his signature bottom right of the picture. Dudley D. Watkins was the first newspaper illustrator in the UK to be allowed to sign his work. Before him illustrators were simply anonymous 'staffers'.
There can be few Scots of a certain age who don't remember waiting their turn on a Sunday morning to devour the Fun Section of the Sunday Post - the weekly fix of The Broons, Oor Wullie, Nosey Parker, Lord Snooty, and the collection of terrible jokes.
For anyone who hasn't met them before, allow me to introduce you, one by one, to the family:
Maw & Paw Broon
Maw has done the impossible since day one, turning out traditional Scottish meals morning noon and night for her large family. Mostly single handed too. And looks after the 'weans', and keeps Paw in order (no mean achievement), and does the shopping and the budgeting and the mending and making do. Like most Scottish mothers, she's the heart of the family. Let's hear it for Maw!!
A hard-working man, Paw's ambition in life is to get his feet up by the fire at the end of the day. He expects his tea on the table when he gets home. He likes to think he's head of the family and is given to throwing his (small) weight around, but generally gets nowhere. His rantings are tolerated by the family who humour and respect him in equal measure.
The oldest son. Hen is a bean-pole. He has some kind of office job but it's never clear exactly what he does. But he's not a manual worker like Paw. Most of the stories that feature Hen make some kind of joke about his height. Well, there's a surprise!
Daphne is a great character. Her whole life is spent trying to get a man, but she's no beauty and is too fond of her food. She's tried every diet going, but can never stick it out. She's lovely though, and very funny - definitely a star Broon!
Tough, sporty, straightforward, and none too bright - Joe seems to have a knack of getting himself into scrapes on a regular basis. More than once he's been brought home in a wheelbarrow. When not getting into fights, you'll find him playing or watching football, or sometimes even boxing.
Drop-dead gorgeous, is Maggie, and she knows it! She gets all the attention, all the valentines. There's a lot of play made of the contrast between her and Daphne. But things don't always go her way. Fortunately!
Still at school and easily the brightest of the family (so far). Horace is slightly out of place in the family. He likes reading, studying for school. Unfortunately he can sometimes come across as a bit of a snob, looking down on poor old Paw for his lack of education. Ah, but that never lasts long. The family soon bring him back to earth.
The (identical) twins are never named. They're sometimes called the ae twin and the ither twin, and that's as far as it gets. They work as a team, plotting mischief of every description. On occasions, they've even had the same dream. They're just lively wee boys, in and out of trouble all the time.
Did I say Horace was the brains of the family? Let's rethink that. The Bairn (also never named) wraps them all round her little finger. Paw's 'wee lamb', she may be, but there's a clever head below the golden curls!
Granpaw lives apart, in his own 'hoose' so doesn't come into every story, but when he does, he's the star act. Happily retired, he's enjoying his second childhood and likes nothing better than playing in a swing park with the weans. He's best described as an aging delinquent. And of course, his number one partner in crime is the Bairn. Who else?