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Sin I Cam By Johnshaven



We felt it essential to find out if any traditional Scots rhymes or games were still in use in the playground at Johnshaven Primary. We found a few only, and none that used Doric speech.

Cops and Robbers was played in the playground, and ‘Crocodile Crocodile’.

In this game ‘they say a colour, and if you are wearing that colour you have to run across to the other side.’

We were shown several clapping sequences that incorporated pointing and other movements. Two very widely known ones spoke of sailors

A sailor went to sea sea sea, to see what he could see see see

And all that he could see see was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea.

Did you ever ever ever in your long-legged life

See a long-legged sailor with a long legged wife?

No I never never never in my long-legged life

Saw a long-legged sailor with a long legged wife

Tic tac toe, give me a high give me a low

Give me a three in a row

Criss cross, lollipop

Fly to Spain, back again

Bunny got shot by a UFO

Don’t break the window, don’t break the window

Upstairs, downstairs, and next door

Back in the classroom we asked for more, but were instead given vigorous action songs learned at Scouts. One, to the tune of The Saints Go Marching In, said ‘Oh fluffy sheep, oh fluffy sheep, oh fluffy sheep are wonderful, Cause they are kind and they are fluffy, oh fluffy sheep are wonderful.’ The other verses were mildly insulting about members of the Scout troop staff.

A second song sounded American in origin, ‘Don’t give me no pop, just give me some fresh milk,’ with much repetition of the letters that spell MILK.

A third song, or rather chant, said

‘Hands up chilli chilli, chilli chilli chilli

Hands down chilli chilli, chilli chilli chilli

Turn around chilli chilli, chilli chilli chilli

Touch the ground chilli chilli, chilli chilli chilli

Oh (a participant’s name), show us how you boomerang

(Then the performer called on demonstrated their dance moves.)

The small group also knew a rhyme known throughout the country, but always applied to the local place. Each line is repeated

Everywhere we go

People always ask us

Who we are

And where we come from

So we tell them

We come from [some members said Bervie, others said Johnner)

Mighty mighty (Bervie / Johnner)

And if they canny hear us

We shout a little louder.

The whole sequence is repeated twice more, on the final time the last line changes to ‘They must be deaf’.