Despite the Wind and Rain_edited.jpg

 

Rule of Thumb

Written & arranged by Rachel Walker

Strings arranged by Rachel Walker

 

Musicians:

Rachel Walker (Vocals, Keys)

Aaron Jones (Guitar)

Duncan Lyall (Double Bass)

Katrina Lee (Violin)

Patsy Reid (Violin)

Rhoslyn Lawton (Viola)

Alice Allen (Cello)

  •  

Rachel’s Inspiration:

Eilidh MacDougall was related to the MacDougalls of Dunollie, Oban. Hired as a ‘Ladies Assistant’ in 1905 she worked for the Criminal Investigation department of the Metropolitan Police to take statements in sexual abuse cases. She championed the cause of abused women in the early 20th century, becoming the first police commissioner for women at the Metropolitan Police in London and eventually gaining an MBE for her work. She petitioned for the law to be changed so that abused and raped women did not have to wait in the same room as their attacker in court.

 

In 1782, a judge famously stated that a man may beat his wife so long as he uses a ‘rod not thicker than his thumb’. Known as ‘The Rule of Thumb’, this was considered common law throughout the 19th Century.  During my research for this song, I was frustrated by how long it has taken for laws protecting women from abuse and harm to be put in place and upset by how often victims are let down by the people who are supposed to protect them.  This song is a plea for change.

LYRICS

Flowers on the table blooming gently in the sun

Run, run the rivers run and down the rivers flow

Things can be forgiven but can never be undone

And still the bonnie, bonnie bluebells grow

 

Flowers on the windowsill and bruises on her face

Run, run the rivers run and down the rivers flow

Another quick reminder when she didn’t know her place

And still the bonnie, bonnie bluebells grow

 

Waiting for the tide to turn

Time moves on, will we ever learn

 

Flowers crushed and broken petals strewn across the floor

Run, run the rivers run and down the rivers flow

No one would believe just what goes on behind closed doors

Still the bonnie, bonnie bluebells grow

 

Rivers run and rivers flow

Bluebells blossom, bluebells grow

Round and round in circles still we go

 

Rivers flow and rivers run

Don’t forget the rule of thumb

Nothing’s changed we’re back where we begun

 

Waiting for the tide to turn

Time moves on, will we ever learn

 

Flowers on the pavement see the candles burning bright

Run, run the rivers run and down the rivers flow

Just another girl who won’t be coming home tonight

Still the bonnie, bonnie bluebells grow