FAQ: Why is this website called Gruts?

To misquote my dear old mum, decide in haste; repent at leisure. What on earth possessed me to choose the name Gruts?

"What? Did you say grunts?"
"No, gruts: G-R-U-T-S."
"GRUTS? That's a strange name."
"Yes, I suppose it is."
"What does it mean?"
"It doesn't mean anything*: it's just a funny word. I wish I'd chosen something else. I seem to spend an awful lot of time spelling it out phonetically for people. It's from a poem by Ivor Cutler."
"Ivor who?"
"He was a Scotch gentleman, but it's really not that important."
"What, there's a poem called Gruts?"
"Well, Gruts for Tea, actually... And it's not really a poem; it's more of a monologue."
"How does it go?"

 

Gruts for Tea

by Ivor Cutler

 

"Hello, Billy, teatime! Gruts for tea! - Billy! Billy! Come on, son. Gruts for tea! Fresh gruts!"

"Oh, I don't want gruts for tea, Daddy."

"What? I went out specially and got them for you."

"Aw, but Daddy, we had gruts yesterday."

"Look, son, I walked seven miles to the High Wood to get you gruts. That's fourteen miles in all, counting the journey back, and you don't want gruts? I fried them for you. Fried gruts - mm - I fried them in butter."

"I don't want them, Daddy. Daddy, we've had gruts for three years now. I'm fed up with gruts. I don't want them any more. Daddy, can't we have something else for tea?"

"Oh, son! Gruts! They're lovely."

"Daddy, I don't want gruts any more. I hate gruts. I detest them. I have them every day and they're always fried in butter. Can't you think of another way of cooking gruts? There's hundreds of ways of cooking gruts: boil them or bake them or stew them or braise them - but every day - fried gruts. 'Billy, come in for tea. Fried gruts. I've walked fourteen miles. Seven miles to the High Wood and back.' Three years of gruts. Look what it's done to me, Daddy! Come here! Come here into the bedroom and look at ourselves in the mirror, you and me. Now look at that!"

"Yes. I see what you mean. Son, let's not waste these gruts. Tomorrow, I'll go to the High Wood and get something else."

"Look, Daddy, you've been saying this for three years now. Every day we have this same thing. I take you to the mirror and you say we'll have something else for tea. What else is there in the High Wood besides gruts?"

"Well, there's leaves, bark, grass, and leaves. Gruts are really the best. You must admit it."

"Yes, Daddy, I admit it. Gruts are really the best, but I don't want them. I hate them. I detest them. In fact I'm going to take this panful of gruts and throw them out."

"Oh, don't do that! Don't throw them out for goodness' sake! You'll poison the dog!"

 

* Footnote:
It would appear that the word gruts is not quite as meaningless as I once believed: not only have I received an e-mail from a woman in Holland named Ms Grut (who wondered if we might be related), but I also came across the following definition on a website that isn't there any more:

GRUTS. Groats: hulled, or hulled and crushed, grain, usually oats but sometimes wheat, barley or maize. (Glasse, 1747)

… And, more recently, I've been informed that gruts is Kiwi slang for underpants.

… And Charles Darwin temporarily employed a governess for his children called Miss Grut.

… Oh, and it's also Latvian for 'rigid'.

Cool.

16 thoughts on “FAQ: Why is this website called Gruts?

  1. Quite possibly. It turns out that the word gruts means quite a lot of different things to different people - none of them particularly complimentary.

  2. I need to find the text to
    old cups of tea
    any sources?
    thank you in advance....

    Conrad

  3. note that the bbc is currently replaying all segments of
    jelly mountain

  4. In the US, there are 'grits'. Coarsely ground and boiled maize kernels.. Sounds about as appetising as the innards of the gizzard left inadvertently in a supermarket chicken and only discovered (by its pungency) after roasting. Which is to say, not appetising at all. As opposed to what Wodehouse has to say on the Haggis, which strangely makes me want to eat all the more. (I think he had a secret liking for the secret, black and midnight haggis). As opposed to the chicken scenario, which requires a stronger stomach than that used to contain said haggis.

  5. "Scotch" gentleman? He was made of whiskey? What an ignoramus you are.

  6. I say it to wind-up the Scotch. But, as any Scotchman will tell you, Scotch whisky doesn't have an ‘e’. So it looks as if it's ignoramuses all round.

  7. But would you really find groats (or grits) along with leaves and bark in the High Wood? And why on earth would they poison the dog? I think the nonsense theory is a lot more plausible.

  8. Of course, there might be herbs/gruits that could be poisonous to dogs. (I tried a Dutch gruit beer a couple of years ago. Tasted a bit like cough drops. Having that kind of stuff fried in butter every day for three years would be pretty revolting.)

  9. Starting in the late 60s, my sister and I started to collect the entire Ordinance Survey 1" map collection more or less at random whenever I could afford it. I well recall the exitement when we discovered a little hamlet (Or something) on the southern end of an island off the west coast of Scotland, which revelled in the name of 'Gruts'.

    Danged if I can find a thing about it on this interweb thingie, and the 1" series are long gone. I'm guessing Gruts is probably long gone as well.

    Curses, I say.

  10. I wish it was that (I want to buy that big house 'cos, well, it's big and it's in Grutness, which is an address I'd love to have, besides it's by an RAF base, and what could possibly be bad about that?), however, Gruts wasn't by the sea, it was down south of the island, but still landbound (Is that a word? Do I care?). Some of the Scotch maps were printed on cloth and turned out to predate the paper versions so if Gruts was on one of those it would really have been a bit ancient.

    Don't know why, but for some reason I seem to remember the island as being 'Egg' with 'Eigg' in brackets, but bearing in mind that whatever's in my head is wired differently to most people's that may have nothing to do with it.

    I'm clearing my mum's house at the moment. That map's gotta be here somewhere...

  11. I am puzzled by this. I distinctly remember a short piece on the wireless in the 1950s entitled 'Gruts for Tea.' As I recall, it was told by a boy who was glad to come home and find that there were gruts for tea. It is not inconceivable that my memory may be at fault. I remember at least one letter (in the Radio Times?) from someone who found it silly, but I really enjoyed it.

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