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This poem is about a residential school, where young protestant girls were sent, to convalesce

The girls were aged between five and twelve years, and the girls all came from Glasgow. This happened between 1960 and 1990. Many of these girls suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their 'carers'. The name of that place is Fornethy house, and these survivors have yet to receive any redress. The place lies derelict in the heart of Perthshire, near Kilry. I was one of these girls, and I witnessed many girls being punished publicly on bare skin. I was fortunate in the sense that the worse I suffered was getting throttled with a sash, because on of the girls in my dorm went to the toilet during the night. This was not allowed, but subsequently bedwetters were humiliated. Glasgow city council has obstructed these women getting access to their records. Shame on them!


The ‘holiday’


See this poor wee lassie? She disnae keep very well.

And I was thinking tae masel, she wid benefit fae a wee break,

far away fae the city and all the pollution, somewhere in the country

where she’ll benefit fae fresh air and good country cooking

Si whit dae ye think Mrs? Is it yes or no

Dae we arrange this trip, will ye let her go?


She’ll love it there, and make lots a pals, the experience of a lifetime,

if ye know whit ah mean. Long walks through fields, and caring teachers

seeing to her every need. And she can write to ye every week, and

you tae her. She’ll come back a different person, of that I am certain


Eh, naw, ye canny visit, the rules don’t allow it-she’ll be oot yer hair fur

a while, so tae speak, so dinnae fret, she’ll be looked after, the wee pet

She’ll need two sets of clothes, and Sunday shoes-fur church ye see;

the spiritual needs will be met, if she’s good of course-if not well we’ll

no talk about that, ah don’t want make ye worry


Just make sure ye send some money fur her sweeties she’ll get, if she’s

good, if no, a slapped behind will be rendered (read the small print)

Oh, did ah say that? Whit ah meant to say wis, discipline is no worse

than happens in a Christian home-well the good ones

She’ll be cleaned and fed to a high standard-efficiently and obediently


As I’ve said before (why do I need to repeat myself?) absolutely no

visits; if she’s unhappy, she can come home, but really, how can you

even ask that question? She comes fae nothing, and we’re offering the

chance of a lifetime-the last chance saloon, so tae speak.

I’m glad ye’ve agreed to take this chance, tae hand ower yer wean tae

the experts; we’ll send her hame, ready to be obedient and compliant

Nae need tae thank me, we’ll hiv payment in kind.


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