The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #115448   Message #2472086
Posted By: Ross Campbell
21-Oct-08 - 03:44 PM
Thread Name: Old Man (K. Rusby) - bits I don't get
Subject: RE: Old Man (K. Rusby) - bits I don't get
Check out "John Grumlie" (in the forum here:- thread.cfm?threadid=41847#606182

The farmer thinks his wife's work is easily done. She challenges him to swap for a day. She, of course, sails through his work effortlessly while he makes a pig's breakfast of everything he turns his hand to. The hens would normally be kept close to the farm and encouraged to lay in nesting-boxes where the eggs could be readily collected. Their natural instinct would be to find somewhere quiet, eg under a hedgerow, hence "laying away". Can't speak as to the other lines. Perhaps they're misheard?

I sang this (the John Grumlie song) as intro and outro for a school play of the same title in about 1966, learned the song under the tutelage of Mr Couper and Mrs Jessiman at Balfron High School, where folk music was seriously encouraged. Somewhere I still have the published script of the play, purloined for me some years after by the late Calder Oswald, my former science teacher.

The thread linked above has some very interesting contributions, including American versions from kytrad and others. I've just realised that the version I sang was in even broader Scots than that listed. I'll try to dig it out.