The Chapper-Up

Background: In the old less affluent days poor people – Well, to miss a day’s work would be tragic and everybody hadn’t an alarm clock or were too tired in the morning to hear it. So most villages employed a ‘chapper-up’. Calderbank had theirs – ‘Old Mick Morriss’

The Chapper-Up

ln the wee sma’ oors o’ the mornin’
When ye’re just getting intae yer bed
Through snaw, wind and rain he comes
Wi’ a chap that wid waken the dead
He’ll hammer and howl till ye answer
Howl tae ye switch on yer light
Tae dreamland he’s just an aul’ cancer
This aul’ chapper-up o’ the night

And while ye’re grumbling and girnin’
He’s chappin’ the wan next door.
But oul’ Micky’s no long in turnin’
Tae see if yer paddin’ the floor
Should you lie a wee while before rising
Tae jump right away you are loth
The pow’r o’ his lungs is surprising
And the whole villages kens yer sloth

As soon as he kens you are waken
The news, the weather he’ll tell
Your raincoat will hae to be taken
It’s cauld and it’s raining like hell.
Or yer strugglin’ to tie up the pieces
An near wabbit oot wi the fuss
His clarion call he un leashes
Och! Hurry up! Here comes yer bus.

Or maybe a neighbour’s been badly
Tae hospital she has been ta’en
He’ll shout in yer door very gladly
That so and so’s got a wee wean
Or wee Mrs Thingnamay’s laddie
His illness is o’er the worst
I telt them tae gie him some toddy
He’ll be fine if he’s carefully nursed


John Mallaghan