Friday, December 03, 2004

No Reason For this. . .

. . .I just can't get the melody out of my head this morning. "Nicky Tams" are leather straps, or often just pieces of twine, used by Scottish farm labourers 150 or more years ago to tie up the legs of their trousers below the knee. It kept them out of the mud and had occasional other benefits as the penultimate verse indicates.


A Pair o' Nicky Tams

Fan I was on'y ten year auld, I left the pairish schweel.
My faither he fee'd me tae the Mains tae chaw his milk and meal.
I first pit on my narrow breeks tae hap my spinnel trams,
Syne buckled roon my knappin' knees, a pair o' Nicky Tams.

It's first I gaed for baillie loon and syne I gaed on for third,
An' syne, of course, I had tae get the horseman's grippin' wird,
A loaf o' breed tae be my piece, a bottle for drinkin' drams,
Bit ye canna gyang thro' the caffhouse door without yer Nicky Tams.

The fairmer I am wi' eynoo he's wealthy, bit he's mean,
Though corn's cheap, his horse is thin, his harness fairly deen.
He gars us load oor cairts owre fou, his conscience has nae qualms,
Bit fan briest-straps brak there's naething like a pair o' Nicky Tams.

I'm coortin' Bonnie Annie noo, Rob Tamson's kitchie deem,
She is five-and-forty an' I am siventeen,
She clorts a muckle piece tae me, wi' different kinds o'jam,
An' tells me ilka nicht that she admires my Nicky Tams.

I startit oot, ae Sunday, tae the kirkie for tae gyang,
My collar it wis unco ticht, my breeks were nane owre lang.
I had my Bible in my pooch, likewise my Book o' Psalms,
Fan Annie roared, 'Ye muckle gype, tak' af yer Nicky Tams!'

Though unco sweir, I took them aff, the lassie for tae please,
But aye my breeks they lirkit up, a' roon aboot my knees.
A wasp gaed crawlin' up my leg, in the middle o' the Psalms,
So niver again will I enter the kirk wi'out my Nicky Tams.

I've often thocht I'd like tae be a bobby on the Force,
Or maybe I'll get on the cars, tae drive a pair o' horse.
Bit fativer it's my lot tae be, the bobbies or the trams,
I'll ne'er forget the happy days I wore my Nicky Tams.