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Sin I Cam By Johnshaven

From Joann and Douglas Beattie in their own home, 3rd January 2019


Sade the haddie tae the fluke

Foo dis yer moo crook?

Ma moo’s never bin aven

Sin I passed the toon a Johnshaven

Keep a fire burnin in yer hearth, even though yer cupboard’s empty

Folks see the reek comin oot yer lum, but dinna see yer cupboard

Though ye’re sodger clad, be major minded

Keep yer head up, though yer arse should trail

A seagull – in Gourdon they say a plean , in Johnshaven a guu

Gourdon or Gurdon? It’s a moot point.

Eileen T says somebody came along and changed the name from Gurdon to Gourdon.

They would say loons [here], but they wouldn’t say quines – loonies and lassies.


Skipping rope – one one way, another, backwards and forwards, you skipped over it

Christopher Columbus was a mighty man

He sailed to America in a tin can

The can was greasy, so he sailed easy

Christopher Columbus was a [marvellous] man

We sang that in the playground here [in Johnshaven]

I am a man before the mast as you can plainly see

One simple question could you answer me

These things to you we bring, why call us common things?

Don’t call us common sailors any more

[This song is only located so far in a 1928 book, Manavilins, a Muster of Sea-songs as distinguished from Shanties, written for the most part by Seamen, and sung On Board Ship During the Closing Years of the Age of Sail, 1890-1910]

The wind the wind, it blows high

The rain comes pouring from the sky

[So and so] says she’d die for the lad wi the – roving eye

]Some man] says he loves her, [someone else] is fighting for her

Crack the whip and away we go, all the way to Jericho

Entie Mary had a canary up the leg of her draars

It whistled for oors and fleggit the Boers and won the Victoria Cross

Oh Entie Mary, Entie Mary, Entie Mary noo

Entie Mary, Entie Mary, Entie Mary’s fu

Templars are gathering from [near/here] and from far,

The conflict is raging, [they call] for the war.


Alexander #, everyone called him [Soudjee?] Quite a funny little man.

Stanning wi his mates, a posh lady came up to him, said ‘I’ve got tar on my hands. My Good man, can you tell me how to get it off?’

He said ‘Fat removes tar.’

She replied, ‘That’s what I’m saying, what removes tar?’

‘Fat removes tar’. This went on for about ten minutes. At last he decided to let her off, and said ‘Lard removes tar’. That really happened.

Doon the [cothie?] at the bothy, mendin nets wi tarry [line / wine?]

Auld Jock Farrell, Tarry Barrel, Jeck Young Clementine

Then ye sing Oh ma darlin, oh ma darlin, oh ma darlin Clementine

That was the bothy, the man in charge of the bothy was John McFarlane – that’s Old Jock Farrell. Jeck Young was John Young who was married to Clem [Edeasil?]. Bothy was a salmon fishers bothy, and they had nets hangin up all along the shore there. I used to play in them, I discovered words I had never known when they caught me playin in the nets. My father went and complained to Jock Farrell, he said ‘Keep her away from my nets and she’ll no hear ma language.’