In Drumley Hoose there was a flea
As tame as ony flea could be
Nae viscious beast, for she was canny,
An’ so the patients ca’d her Fanny.
She was a gorgeous -looking’ beast
The thoosanth o’ a pun at least,
Her back was hard an’ high an’ smooth,
An’ doon it ran a spinal groove;
Her legs a’ muscle-bun an’ hairy
Had dimpled knees like ony fairy,
As beauty fares, she had the chassis,
Was weel trusted among the lasses,
For tho’ she liked a wee bit nip,
She concentrated on the hip;
An’ never wance did she disgrace
Wi’ bitin’ ony ither place.
An ‘as she louped frae bed tae bed,
The puir wee beastie aye was fed;
The reason for the bulk she carrit
Wis jist because her diet varied.
Or so it seemed till ae thrang day
When Fanny on a pillow lay,
In slumber deep an’ at her ease,
Far mair content than mony fleas.
The Sister walkin’ roon the ward
Wi’ a he’rt that must be hard,
Swiped puir Fanny aff the pillow,
An nearly knocked the creat’r silly,
She landed on the polished deck,
An’ thocht she’d broke her bloomin’ neck.
But no! Her loupin’ leg was broken,
She couldna jump, the pain was shockin’,
A’ the papients he’rts were sair;
Yin lifted Fanny aff the flair,
An’ wi’ a surprise she couldna smother,
Discovered anither expectant mother.
The sister met wi’ wild distain,
Tae cause an insect sae much pain,
The leg was view’d wi’ trepidatin,
It warrented an operation;
The patients sent doon for the Matron
Tae come an’ see her injured patron;
When she surveyed the fractured limb,
Her views on nursing’ Sisters dim,
Some urgent care was maist deserving’;
She packed puir Fanny aff tae Irvine.
An’ splintered her before she went,
Wi’ a tenderness fae Heaven sent.
No’ for her reputations sake,
But Drumley’s guid name was at stake.
Within’ twa days o’ this disaster,
The flea cam’ back , the leg in plaster;
Was laid doon by the fire curb,
Wae a notice, “ Don’t Disturb”,
Below her bulk a bed was made,
An’ every comfort was purveyed.
Bedtime saw a backed-up fire
Before the patients wad retire,
Switched-off lichts had lost their glare
When eerie noises rent the air;
A constant tappin’ through the room
Cast ower the inmates fear an’ gloom;
But courage superseded fear,
A licht was switched on bricht an clear,
There at the hearth in crooked poise
Was the thing that made the noise.
‘T was Fanny wi’ her plastered peg,
Tryin’ oot her brocken leg.
Fleas can be but seldom seen
But rarely ever heard I ween,
Yet here the ghost o’ Drumley Hoose
Was up again an’ cutting’ loose;
On Fanny’s back for a’ tae see,
Deep in the grove, a new-born flea.
Drumley Hoose was a rest
home for expectant mothers in 1958 when this poem was sent to
me just before the birth of my first baby. I believe it was located
in or around Annbank. (Anne McCrindle)