Review: ‘Oh! It’s Yersel, Ya Bugger’

Jack Kellet book review 'Oh! It's Yersel, Ya Bugger',
Jack Kellet book review 'Oh! It's Yersel, Ya Bugger',

The title of the Rev Jack Kellet’s book intrigued most and pushed one to buy it. ‘Oh! It’s Yersel, Ya Bugger’, is expected to raise more than a few eyebrows from the God-loving faithful. Or does it?

“Hilarity has been the reaction from Carlops to Caddonfoot. My reason for choosing it was to get through our Church bubbly to ‘the common people who heard Jesus gladly (Mark’s Gospel)’”, he said.

Significantly, it took Jack 86 years, a Leith Keelie, to write his first book…all from scraps of paper scattered around his house for a lifetime.

Jack, even at the age of 86, sparks his life, like his book, with humour – a canny, very likeable and ‘funny’ man whose parish ministry life was packed full of incidents – all generous and always with care for others.

“I always wrote things down and this was a chance to put them altogether,” he said. “So much has happened in my life, which pleased and disappointed me. But there is so much to tell.”

In his foreword, he writes: “What kind of church is it where an old woman can greet a rare visit from the parish minister with ‘Oh! It’s yersel, ya bugger’ and then gets a kiss in response?”

The book is packed full of true anecdotes and follows Jack’s life through his birthplace in Edinburgh to the Iona Community, Dundee, Leith, abroad, Balmoral and meetings with great people like Mike Tyson and the lyrics of the Proclaimers. Each word is deliberate and positive and also meaningful. It tells of a lifetime of surprises from more than 80 years. He still worships in Caddonfoot Parish Church, to which he travels most Sundays from his home in Walkerburn.

He speaks modestly of the Church’s gifts of faith, hope and love and advocates more ministers – and ‘so does the world God loves’, concluding that the parish ministry is a much-needed and fulfilling vocation.

The book is priced £10.99 and published by Troubador Publishing of Leicester. An E-book is also available.