Sangstories - Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional and newer songs sung by Sangschule of Linlithgow

A Dyker's Compliments To Her Neebours

By Scott Murray 

Keep yer ain fish guts tae yer ain
sea maws
Anster daws, tattie shaws
Keep yer ain fish guts tae yer ain
sea maws
Lyin amang the deid craws

An wha's acht you ma bonnie lass
That moved here in the simmer?
Ah kent yer faither at the scale
He's a torn-ersed Pittenweemer

Ye lookin at me, ye Anster daw?
Ah'll cowp ye in a dub sir
An wha cried ye a partan face
An ye sae like a lobster?

What's that ye're sayin? Ah canna tell
Ye styipit shilpit moaner
Ye're nae frae here, Ah'm shair o that
Ye're a St Minnens droner

Ye can keep yer Crail an Pittenweem
Yer Anster an St Minnens
Daft Dyker's whit ye cry us aa
Awa back hame, guid riddance

Words:
Anster: Anstruther
Cowp: over-turn
Cry: call
Daws: lazy people, slatterns (extension from English ‘daw’ a jackdaw)
Dub: a muddy puddle
Dyker: person from Cellardyke
Neebors: neighbours
Partan: crab
Partan-face: ugly, bad-tempered person
Scale: school
Sea maws: sea gulls
Shilpit: puny
St Minnens: St Monance
Styipit: stupid
Tattie shaws: potato leaves and stalks (poisonous)
Torn-ersed: with holes in the seat of his trousers
Wha’s acht you?: Who’s got charge of you?, who’s looking after you?


Scott and Anne Murray are members of the four-person Fife-based folk group Sangsters, and have often been tutors for Sangschule. They brought us this song.

There is a traditional rivalry between neighbouring fishing villages along the Fife coast, and the song uses their remembered insults and by-names.

Scott wrote “A Dyker’s Compliments to her Neighbours” in collaboration with residents of Ladywalk House, Anstruther . Scott says in CD notes “The ladies were adamant that they were having nothing to do with actual song-writing. ‘Dinna be daft, son- is that no what ye dae?’ They came out with stories, I took notes of the gallus Dyker sayings and gathered together strands.”

It was written as part of reminiscence work for the New Makars Trust, a voluntary organisation of songwriters who encourage and enable song-writing about specific communities by and with community members themselves.

 This song was a part of the New Makars project called ‘Celebrating Fife in Song.’ and appears on their CD Between The Tay and the Forth.