In the Country

In the Country

“An’ what do you fin’, Mrs Cottier,
To do in the counthry?” says she
With an edge on her vice like a knife blade!
Fancy talkin’ so condescendin’ to ME!
As though she’d navar even heard o’ the counthry!
An’ her reared down the North here! I’s thrue!
In that crof’ theer with Alfie-Bill-Gobbag’s;
Ay! some o’ Neddy-Nell’s lot they were too.

 

An’ that shif’less, with the place like an auction,
But they’d git all the newse that was goin’,
An’ be livin’ on wake tay an’ biscakes,
For they’d no time to be cookin’ an’ doin’!
Aw! ay! many’s the bunloaf an’ bonnag
Me mother handed in on a plate;
An’ the clo’es that she made that them childher
Wouldn’ be runnin’ stark roosh roun’ the gate!

 

But the things seemed to git a bit batthar
When the gran’mother went theer to live,
An’ ye’d sometimes smell herrin’ or broth theer,
Though they’d still grab up all yer would give!
Then wan night I come early from Chapel,
An’ it gerrin’ dark with the win’ an’ the rain,
When I come on owl Granny-Bill-Gobbag
Skeetin’ out o’ Tom Cunyer’s li’l lane.

 

An’ a fine load o’ priddhas an’ termits
In a wheelbarra at her an’ all,
An’ I seen a fowl in her coorse wraprun apron,
An’ some eggs by a can ‘gin the wall.
My! my! but the wumman was purrout though,
An’ she lapped a big shawl roun’ her head
An’ pertended theer was nothin’ amis, gel!
But “Y’re a bit early for the Harves'” I said!

 

My lawse! that purra dhriss on the owl wan!
Ay! an’ she gripped up the barra an’ ran
With a git on her takin’ the corner
That jerked the handles clane arruv her han’!
An’ the priddhas fell out – an SHE fell too;
But she forgot about the milk an’ the eggs,
So she lay threshin’ theer on the flure, gel,
With Yorkshire pudden all over her legs!

 

Goy hi! but I laughed I can tell yer!
An’ to think her gran’daughter looks down her face
At her owl neighbours an’ all them that lives here,
When she comes over to purra sight on the place!
An’ is she here, did yer say, with the Homecomers?
I can tell yer, me gell, she is not!
For that wan navar set fut off this Islan’ –
Aw! naw! – Douglas is as fas as she got!

 


roosh = naked
priddhas = potatoes
dhriss = agitation

(source: ‘Where Curlews Call’ Manx Poems by Kathleen Faragher (1959) artwork is Frederick Daniel Hardy ‘The Little Soldier Boys’)

Bernadette Weyde

Bernadette Weyde

I'm a web designer, amateur historian and keen gardener and I enjoy bringing Manx history, folklore and poetry to a modern audience.


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