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Letters / Can you help to shed light on an old saying?

A friend down in Oxford is a member of an epidemiology research group and was working for a time in Shetland where he came across a question ‘Wha smit dee?’ in an old book.

He is trying to find out about this phrase and wondered if any of your readers would be able to help out.

The same project turned up information about people avoiding weddings if they were carrying an infectious disease. I have not heard of this but it seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do! If anyone knows about this, or any dialect sayings that relate to the spread of infections, we would be very interested to hear from them.

Any leads can be emailed to aross@btinternet.com, and my mobile number is 07900 430 429.

We would be keen to hear from people who remember/ still use the phrase mentioned above, or can shed any light on possible sources where traditions, sayings or old beliefs about illness might be published.

Andy Ross