“I thowt I liked winter”

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Bob Leslie is a traditional singer-songwriter whose family ties in Orkney have provided him with creative material for his songs..  His father was Jack Leslie of Stromness and his grandparents were Bob Leslie of Stronsay & Stromness and Annie Skinner of Graemsay.

Land and Sea, his 2017 album,  includes his songs about Bessie Millie – the Stromness Witch, the flight of his Covenanter ancestors from Central Scotland to Fair Isle, and “Orkneyjar” about his childhood memories of Orkney.

The CD received many excellent reviews which can be viewed on his website : Bob Leslie– along with sample songs from the album.

The Barren Fig is a new album and includes an adaptation of a poem by Orkney artist Ingrid Grieve –  I Thowt I Liked Winter.

It also includes the song by Bob Leslie Lands o the Sioux an the Cree about  two young lads circa 1820 who are leaving Orkney for 5 years to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

music imageThe songs are posted here, and are downloadable:


I THOWT I LIKED WINTER (c) 2018 Bob Leslie & Ingrid Grieve

I thowt I liked winter
Bit a’m changed ma hert
The wind alwis blows fae the cowldest o erts.
There’s ice and there’s sleet there tae mak yer face sting
I thowt I liked winter
Nou I long fir the spring.

Ah’m seek o this wather
Hid’s attry and grey
Hid’s niver stop rainan fae the turn o the days
Am plitteran aboot in the gutter and weet
And I cunna mind last
I hid warm and dry feet.

Me lips are aal chappid
me nose is bright reed
I cunna go withoot a kep on me heed
Am glad o me fire
And a gless o good cheer
Tae help me git by the dark days o the year

Cunna wait fir the spring
tae git gan at a pace, withoot
being bent double wae rain in me face
Bit sat at me fire
I hear a faint bleat, at least
I’ve the good fortune that Ah’m no a sheep.

Fir the laird we wir on ca’
As the work wid come and go
Chon and me fir brave adventure hid a thirst,
Sae we signt the ither day
Wi the man fae Hudson’s Bay
Noo the laird kin go an whistle fir his hairst

Oh, pack thee fiddle, Chon,
Fir wur leavin in the morn
On the greatest exploit we shall ivver see
As the guns fire o’er the Ness
We’ll be sailin fir the Wast
Tae the Lands o the Sioux an the Cree
Tae the Lands o the Sioux an the Cree

It’s nine hunder ‘ear or more
Since wir folk first touch’t these shores
The finest sailors that wid ivver be
Guidit only by the stars
But they nivver sailt sae far
As wur gaan tae go the morn,
thee an me

Tho the watter’s wide and cowld
Chon an me are brave, and bold
Fir the salt o Scapa’s rinnin in wir veins
We kin earn six pound a year
Fir tae buy a ferm back here
Whar we’ll both tak wives
an raise a dose o bairns

Oh, Freya, dry yer eyes
Hid’s worth waitin for the prize
Five year will pass an Ah’ll be comin hame
Then we’ll maerry an buy land
An thoo’ll be prood o thee man
An he’ll nivver hae tae
go tae sea again

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Art work by Martin Laird


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