Yin O’ Yon Yokes.

Burns’ Museum Alloway.

Francie, Josie, Phemie and Jessie, were having afternoon tea at the Museum. Josie was milking the history of the Bard for all that he could absorb with his very thick sponge-like brain. Francie was toddling along behind his learned pal, mopping-up all the juicy drops of dribbling drivel that Josie’s sponge-like brain couldn’t handle. 

‘Look at yon two eejits in front o’ us, Phemie, Popeye an’ his Parrot,’ said Jessie. 

‘Aye, Jessie. Popeye an’ his Parrot, Jessie, Popeye an’ his Parrot, Jessie,’ said Phemie. 

‘Och, Phemie, don’t you start repeatin’ everythin’ tae, ye’re just like yer wee man, ye’re two o’ a kind,’ said Jessie.

‘Two o’ a kind, Jessie, dae ye no’ mean that we’re yin o’ a kind?’ Phemie asked Jessie.

‘There are loads o’ seagulls aboot here,’ said Jessie, changing the subject.

‘Are we doon at the seaside?’ asked Phemie. ‘I don’t see any trawlers, Jessie,’ she said.

‘I don’t know aboot trawlers, Phemie, but I can see a couple o’ crawlers in front o’ us,’ said Jessie. ’Come on ye two eejits, let’s go for a cup o’ tea,’ she called out to Popeye an’ the Parrot.


Brig o’ Doon.


Loudoun Castle.

Janet Little 1759-1813.

She was a chambermaid to a Mrs Dunlop a friend and correspondent of Robert Burns. In 1788 Janet had acquired a reputation as a ‘rustic poet.’

Janet was put in charge of the dairy at Loudoun. She wrote to Burns enclosing a poem and hoping for his ‘favour and friendship.’

Mrs Dunlop also wrote on her behalf to Burns on the following day, saying; “Her outside promises nothing; her mind only bursts forth on paper.” 

Another source describes Janet as; “A very tall masculine woman with dark hair and features somewhat course.” 

Aware of the number of humble Scottish poets, trying to imitate his own success, Burns was at first cautious but later advised Mrs Dunlop about the publication of Janet’s poems and helped with a subscription.

Of Janet Little’s hopes for financial independence, Mrs Dunlop wrote that; “Ten guineas would make her as happy as worldly circumstances could do, since her modest wishes are placed within such humble bounds.”

Janet wrote a poem about Burns, a verse from which appears below;

“Oft have my thoughts at midnight hour

To him excursions made

This bliss in dreams was premature

And with my slumbers fled.”

The Milkmaid.

The tourists had parked up for the night and were sitting in Poosie Nancy’s pub, having a little night-cap; Phemie and Jessie, gins and tonic; Francie and Josie, drams of Drambuie;

‘Was Janet Little, a big, big, lassie, Josie?’ asked Francie.

‘Och, no, Phemie, here we go again, anither load o’ auld hoarsies dung bein’ flung oor way. We’re gonnae be here a’ bliddy night,’ said Jessie.

‘Haud on, haud on, ye two,’ said Josie. ‘The man asked a question an’ he deserves a reply,’ said Josie. ‘Aye, Francie, Janet was a big, big, lassie, she was a….noo just let me conjure up for you the proper phrase, the best way tae describe the lassie’s stature, she was, shall we say, quite sturdy, I think is the best word,’ said Josie.

‘That’s a good yin, Josie, so ye’re tellin’ me that she was quite a ‘sturdy burdy,’ said Francie.

‘Phemie, would ye just listen tae a’ this tripe?’ said Jessie.

‘Pure tripe, Jessie, pure tripe, Jessie.’ Phemie said.

Francie appeared with another round of drinks;

‘It’s funny how a man’s reputation can follow him a’ through his life, isn’t it?’ Josie enquired. ‘There’s Rabbie Burns noo, he couldnae shake his reputation off, it followed him wherever he went. The first time that he met Janet, it was in a narra alleyway between the byre an’ the fermhoose. Janet had yin o’ yon yokes aroon’ her shooders, kerryin’ two buckets fu’ o’ milk. There was nae room for the two o’ them tae pass, an’ nane o’ the two o’ them would gie way. Eventually, Rabbie asked Janet; ‘Dae ye know who I am?’

Janet said; ‘No, I don’t.’

‘I’m Rabbie Burns, the Poet,’ he said.

Janet said; ‘Just gie me a minute, Rabbie, tae I put these two buckets doon.’

Tam o’ Shanter, being pursued by the ghosties on Brig o’ Doon.

Joe Sharp.

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