Tag Archives: Puff-a-Box

The Story of “My Poor Old Mk 1 Eyeballs”

My Poor Old Mk 1 Eyeballs

Every April the Glenfarg Folk Club holds a festival called the Folk Feast. I have only missed three since the early 1990’s so you can tell I enjoy them a great deal. There are ceilidhs, concerts, singarounds and sessions and it is a great gathering together of old friends from the world of folk music.

There is a chance to take part in the World Puff-a-Box Championships to see who can blow the inner tray of a match box out of the outer section of the box the furthest distance. The competitiveness of the event is only matched by the hilarity it generates.

The other event which is hugely popular is the Original Song Competition. Each year a theme is announced, and song writers are invited to compose a song relating to that theme but with a strong emphasis on entertainment and humour. All money raised at the competition goes to charity.  It remains one of my favourite parts of the Folk Feast and has played a big part in making me write outside my comfort zone.

This year, 2020, the Folk Feast had to be cancelled because of the outbreak of Coronavirus. The theme for the song competition was, because of the year, 20-20 vision and matters related to vision and eyesight. I composed my entry just before the news of a new virus being found in China was announced. So, there I was with a song entry but no competition to take part in.

I fret and worry each year that the puns, jokes and humour I put into my entry will be used my some of the other competitors. Worse still, if they get to perform before me and spoil all my punch lines. I have been entering the competition for many years and, so far, nobody has tackled the theme in the same way as myself or used any of my gags.

This year however I was 100% confident that my entry would be nothing like any of the other songs in the competition. I did not even have to spend ages trying to find an unusual and funny way to address the theme. I instantly knew what I would do.

The song tells a true story set back in 1978, when I was still a young sailor in the navy.

I had accumulated about four weeks leave and rather than laze about for a month, I approached a farmer friend, Ian Smith, (who incidentally owned a sheep called Nijinsky) and got some paid work on his farm, called Crosswoodburn.

One day, we were working in the fank with sheep, when a large black cat sitting on top of a dry stane dyke caught my eye.

I had never seen a cat around Ian’s farm before, so I said to Ian, “When did you get a cat?”

“I’ve no’ got a cat.” He replied

“Well you’ve got one now. There’s one sitting on top of that dyke.”

“Where are you seeing a cat?” said Ian as he scanned the length of the dyke.

“Down there,” I said. “On top of the dyke.”

“I can’t see any cat on the dyke.”

I pointed out the exact location to him.

“Duncan, that’s no’ a cat. That’s a shadow where a coping stone has fallen of the dyke. If you think that is a cat, then there is something seriously wrong with your eyes”.

I climbed out of the fank and jogged down the slope to where the cat was, confident that I was right.

Oh… It was a shadow. Crest fallen I returned to the fank. Ian suggested that when I got back to my ship, I should get my eyes tested and that is exactly what I did.

The rest of the story is covered in my song, and improbable as it may seem, the tale is absolutely true.

Check it out on YouTube at:

My Poor Old Mk 1 Eyeballs


My Poor Old Mk 1 Eyeballs

  1. When I was in the Navy, I headed off to sea

But I couldn’t see the sea the way that others see the sea

My poor old Mk 1 eyeballs weren’t working well for me

So, I went to see the medic, to see what he could see

Just to see what he could see

  1. “What seems to be the problem?”, the medic said to me

“I’m having problems with my eyesight!”, the medic said, “I see.”

“There’s a chart of letters on the wall, could you read them out to me”

“I can only make out the topmost  one – I think it’s the letter C”

I think it’s the letter C

  1. Well we seem to have a problem, of that there is no doubt

An Ophthalmic Surgeon is just the one to sort your problems out

I’ll make you an appointment, to find out what is wrong

But your days not wearing spectacles, I fear they’ve nearly gone

I fear they’ve nearly gone

  1. Well I attended at a military hospital, sat down in the waiting room

There were two other sailors sitting there, their faces filled with gloom

And one by one they were summonsed, by a rather scary nurse

I thought, “Och, just an eye test, it could be so much worse.”

It could be so much worse

  1. And then at last it was my turn and the nurse called out my name

I was excited at the prospect of seeing well again

“If you go behind that screen” she said, “and take off all your clothes

You’ll find some gowns are hanging there, so put on one of those”

Just put on one of those

  1. Now I was trained to follow orders – but this one went too far

To strip off for an eye test, that seemed a bit bizarre

I couldn’t see the logic of taking off my clothes

When the bits that needed checking were both above my nose

They were both above my nose

  1. Well I turned to the scary nurse and said “I really do object”

But the scary nurse said sternly, “Well what did you expect?”

“There is no point in you just standing there looking all surprised

Of course, you take your clothes off when you’re getting circumcised!”

When you’re getting circumcised

  1. “Haw hang on just a minute! I’m here about my eyes

And I won’t see any better if I leave here circumcised

There is no ophthalmic surgeon going to lay his hands on me

If he thinks no’ having a foreskin is going to help me see”

Is going to help me see

  1. Well a few weeks later on my ship I was talking to a mate

And a fascinating story to me he did relate

He said, “I was having problems with my foreskin, so I went to see the doc

But the thing that happened next left me in a state of shock.”

Left me in a state of shock

  1. I attended at this hospital in pain and feeling sick

And prayed that a circumcision would quickly do the trick

But imagine my confusion when the doctor said to me

“There’s a chart of letters on the wall, could you read them back to me?”

Could you read them back to me

  1. Somehow there’d been a mix up – they’d got our names both wrong

                But my shipmate’s pain and foreskin are happily long gone

                And I’m delighted with my spectacles and it surely is a fact

                I’ve got 20 20 vision now but I still remain intact.

                Yes I still remain intact



Hopefully, we will all survive this dreadful Covid-19 virus and the Glenfarg Folk Feast will be up and running again next April. Whatever the theme of the next original song competition, I’ll be there, scratching my brain and writing a new song, this time without the drawbacks of circumcisions.