#01848
The Boarding House On Federation Square
(Joan Morrissey) videos
#2083: YouTube video by NLTreasure
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

I took the bus from Carbonear
and landed in St John's,
To buy a shirt for Uncle Dick
and myself some new put-ons;
I thought I'd stay a day or two
as long as I was there,
So I took the room at the
boarding house on Federation Square.

My friends, now what a place to stay,
you've never seen the like,
There were thirty-two on welfare there
and seven more on strike;
Eleven cats and three big dogs
and old Jack Cluney's mare,
All stayin' at the boarding house
on Federation Square.

Salt beef and new potatoes
was for supper there that night,
I was dyin' for another spud,
but I was too polite;
"Go on," said Mrs Cluney,
"Love, sure no one here is strange,
Go help yourself, there's always more
in the pot out on the range."

I went out to the Waterloo
and took up the kitchen fork,
To spear another tater down
amongst the hunks of pork;
And as I stirred around a bit,
I let out three big roars,
For in the bottom with the spuds
was Mrs Cluney's drawers.

"I'll hook 'em out, me dear," said she,
"and throw 'em in the sink,
I'll hang them on the line tonight
and hope that they don't shrink;
I cooks 'em with the spuds," said she,
"and then I lets 'em drain,
For the peels they beat the Javex now,
for knockin' out the stain."

Well, they had a game of Forty-Fives
that night at half past eight,
Three tables and the priest was there,
we all sat up till late;
Three hours was as quiet as
the grey before the light,
Then on the stroke of midnight
there they all began to fight.

Mrs Cluney told a welfare man
he cheated on her ace,
And he picked up a damper dog
and stuffed it in her face;
His wife she grabbed a boiler full
of partridge berry jam,
And began to glaze her partner
like a fancy Easter ham.

I jumped into the bed at last
to get a good night's rest,
How foolish was I then to think
at last I passed the test;
I went to turn out on my side,
but the mattress it was soft,
And a spring shot out from underneath
and pinned me to the loft.

I was hanging from the ceiling
like a bell on Christmas eve,
When I looked down upon the sheet
and what did I perceive:
A bedbug big as Morey's cat
was waitin' on the scene,
Just flickin' his antenna
like a trouter on the stream.

"Come down." said he,
"You've had your feed
and now it's time for mine,
The Lord looks after every
little creature in his time;
Come down." says he, "Your lovely legs,
they look so nice and large,
Come down, you bloody coward,
and I'll show you who's in charge."

I hardly have to tell you
that next day I left a wreck,
But kindly Mrs Cluney
she refused to take the cheque;
"No charge the first time here," says she,
"I always says to Jack,
But once a person stays with us,
we know that they'll be back."

My friends, now what a place to stay,
you've never seen the like,
There were thirty-two on welfare there
and seven more on strike;
Eleven cats and three big dogs
and old Jack Cluney's mare,
All stayin' at the boarding house
on Federation Square.
All stayin' at the boarding house
on Federation Square.

####.... Tom Cahill of St John's, NL [1928-2006] ....####
Home Brew was a satirical revue produced by Tom Cahill first in Corner Brook in 1958 and performed by the Playmakers. After ten revues in Corner Brook, Cahill moved to St John's and began an east coast version.

This variant was recorded by Joan Morrissey (Home Brew, trk#7, 1973 LP, Marathon Music Inc, Toronto, Ontario); and on a compilation album of various artists (Newfoundland's Greatest Hits - 14 Solid Gold Songs - Original Artists, trk#4, 1980 LP, Tapestry Records, Toronto, Ontario); and on a tribute album two years after her death (Memories, trk#11, 1980 LP, The Great Canadian Music Company, Toronto, Ontario).


See more songs by Joan Morrissey.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Damper dog - pancake made of a flour and water mixture and cooked on top of the stove; flacoon.
Partridge berry - low creeping plant producing small tart red berries; the berry of this plant harvested on the barrens in the autumn; mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).
Waterloo - brand of cast-iron kitchen stoves popular in the 19th and 20th centuries which would take a birch billet probably two feet long and was often the only source of home heating.

From John McLeod's Rules Of Card Games:
Forty-Fives - descendant of the Irish game Spoil Five. It is much played among the Irish population in the New World - especially in Nova Scotia - the most popular version being one with bidding, technically known as Auction Forty-Fives, and also sometimes called One Hundred and Twenty, which is more logical given that 120 is the target score and the number 45 has no relevance to the game.


#333: YouTube video by xxeebbk
©2008 ~ Used with permission ~


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