With the struggle to eat, the chimney sweep was sometimes “forgotten” and the resultant fire meant the occupier had to appear at Hamilton Burgh Court. William Gray failed to appear and sent this poem instead.

I got up at three the ither morn, That’s as shair as I’m alive,
Tae sort ma fire and try and hae Ma kettle biled by five

I broke the raker up and then Slipped back into ma bed
For tae try anither twa oor’s sleep Tae ease ma aching head.

I wis dreaming of some happy days.When I heard an awfu’ roar, Wi’ a sudden leap I sprang richt Oot o’ bed on tae the floor
Noo, this is true, although Ye micht imagine I’m a liar Fae the bottom o’ my he’rt I cried My God, ma lum’s on fire!

I had nothing bit ma shirt on, And ma he’rt wis achin sore,
And tae mak’ ma misery mair complete A knock comes tae ma door,
When I opened it I gazed upon Two gallant men in blue,
So I whispered tae masel—My heavens! “Wull, yer landed noo.”

Bit tae gie the men their due They hadna very much tae say;
They took doon ma name And then they baith slipped away.
I kent they wid report it tae Some yin a wee bit higher,
And I’d likely need tae suffer For that auld lum gaun on fire.

I have travelled roon the world noo For three score years and mair, And noo this is ma first offence—Nae wunner ma hert’s sair
But I hope they show me mercy, For I’d be far better deid
Than them tae send me for A wheen o’ years tae Peterheid.

Noo the nicht before the trial I wid like ye a’ tae pray,
For the sentence tae be very light On your poet Willie Gray,
And I’ll tak dasht guid care That while I live in Lanarkshire
Nae policeman will ever see Ma lum again on fire.

Written by William Gray. 6/9/1928. Hamilton Herald and transcribed by Wilma Bolton.

I can’t help but think that this is something that Hugh Hainey would have done!!