In the new spirit of constructive hilarity that seems to have pervaded this place, I thought I'd post this piece of doggerel. With thanks to my compatriot Grinch and his Open post for spurring me on. Gradely lad!
After: "Three Ha'Pence a Foot" by Marriott Edgar
(Prelude by moi)
'Twas a reet rainy night in October,
When Pa started tale of t'Flood,
As I sat on ‘is knee wi me rattle,
And gurgled when story got good.
‘E were tellin' t'part where ole Noah
Was panelling side of ‘is bunk,
And nipped down to local Ikea
For some cheap nasty melamine junk.
To say I was shocked would be lyin',
Fair gobsmacked is more like the mark,
For though I was nobbut a nipper
I guessed God's high spec for the Ark.
But Noah jumped into ‘is Skoda,
(A bucket of rust from abroad)
And set off to buy Sweden's finest,
Or at least what ‘is purse could afford.
On't way past t'gas works half dreamin'
Of nautical gear in gold plate,
‘Is eye caught a sign bold but tasteful:
"Finest Joiner Samuel Oglethwaite".
Now Noah ‘e had ‘is high standards,
But God's budget for t'Ark had been tight,
And things got much worse when t'elephants
Started making trunk calls every night.
Still, ‘e sat and ‘e reckoned ‘is fortunes,
At which many guys might not scoff,
For t'missus was so plump with manna
That ‘er sitting for Lowry was off.
One blot on t'landscape were hippos
Who'd faxed their requirements from Crete,
They fancied a berth near t'ballroom
With a warm foaming plunge pool en-suite.
All this time he'd been sitting in Skoda
Just eyeing Sam Oglethwaite's place,
And now with conflicting emotions
‘E leapt out (with his purse, just in case).
Now you folks from parts far and foreign,
(Which is all them what's not reared in Lancs)
Won't know of t'Oglethwaite family,
And ‘ow it wi Royalty ranks.
It started with great uncle Harry,
Who was cabinet maker t'Queen,
‘E were on tour ransacking Frog Land,
Carving totems while sieging Orleans.
But Queen who was watchin' proceedings,
Yelled, "Harry! yon Frogs are reet tough,
If we don't crack ‘em soon we'll miss tea time",
Said Harry, "Ee lass, fair enough!"
So settin' to work with ‘is whittler,
‘E sliced up a tree tall and stout,
‘E tacked some dried shark fins on t'bottom,
And gave it a pointy red snout.
Now Winifred Mary Delilah,
Was t'name of the Queen of the day,
And Harry carved on ‘er initials,
Which picked out in woad looked quite gay.
The moment the French saw the rocket
They quailed, their insides turned to mush,
They turned to their venerable leader,
"What next do we do Monsieur Bush?!"
The guy at the top was decisive,
"It looks like a tree painted red,
But these English are really quite crafty,
We can count on a nuclear head."
The upshot was Froggies surrendered,
And Queen made it ‘ome for ‘er tea,
Where she chinwagged ‘bout Harry's adventures,
And ‘ow he'd fooled Bush with a tree.
And Harry were reet chuffed by outcome,
For after some beef drippin' pie,
She asked: "Fancy becoming Sir Harold?"
And all ‘e could mutter were, "Aye!"
Guess now all you heathens from Yorkshire
Might see how old Sam could be proud,
For ‘e came from a famous tradition,
What had ruddy Frogs proper cowed.
So when Noah breezed into workshop,
His chest all puffed up with ‘is mission,
Sam tilted ‘is chin, and t'atmosphere sparked
With bolts of testosterone frisson.
"Can I help thee," said Sam barely glancing
From where ‘e was fettlin' a block,
But Noah just jingled ‘is wallet,
And cool like surveyed Sam's wood stock.
"I said," ground out Sam with a grimace,
"Can I help thee, you whiskered old chump",
The latter was breathed sotto voce,
Just in case God had sent Donald Trump.
Then thinking to teach Sam a lesson,
For his smart-alec sassy remarks,
Noah pulled out t'blueprints from Heaven,
And proceeded to lecture on Arks.
(And now over to the master, Marriott Edgar, to continue the story)
'E'd gotten the wood for the bulwarks,
And all t'other shipbuilding junk,
And wanted some nice Bird's Eye Maple
To panel the side of 'is bunk.
Now Maple were Sam's Mon-o-po-ly;
That means it were all 'is to cut,
And nobody else 'adn't got none;
So 'e asked Noah three ha'pence a foot.
'A ha'pence too much,' replied Noah,
'Penny a foot's more the mark;
A penny a foot, and when rain comes
I'll give you a ride in me Ark.
But neither would budge in the bargain;
When whole daft thing were kind of a jam,
So Sam put 'is tongue out at Noah,
And Noah made 'Long Bacon' at Sam.
In wrath and ill-feeling they parted,
Not knowing when they'd meet again,
And Sam had forgot all about it,
'Til one day it started to rain.
It rained and it rained for a fortni't,
And flooded the 'old countryside.
It rained and it kep' on raining,
'Til the Irwell was fifty miles wide.
The 'ouses were soon under water,
And folks to the roof 'ad to climb.
They said 'twas the rottenest summer
That Bury 'ad 'ad for some time.
The rain showed no sign of abating,
And water rose hour by hour,
'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool,
And that were on top of the Tower.
So Sam started swimming to Blackpool;
It took 'im best part of a week.
'Is clothes were wet through when 'e got there,
And 'is boots were beginning to leak.
'E stood to 'is watch-chain in water,
On Tower top, just before dark,
When who should come sailing towards 'im
But old Noah, steering 'is Ark.
They stared at each other in silence,
'Til Ark were alongside, all but,
Then Noah said: 'What price yer Maple?'
Sam answered: 'Three ha'pence a foot.'
Noah said 'Nay; I'll make thee an offer,
The same as I did t'other day.
A penny a foot and a free ride.
Now, come on, lad, what does tha' say?'
'Three ha'pence a foot,' came the answer.
So Noah 'is sail 'ad to hoist,
And sailed off again in a dudgeon,
While Sam stood determined, but moist.
Noah cruised around, flying 'is pigeons,
'Til fortieth day of the wet,
And on 'is way back, passing Blackpool,
'E saw old Sam standing there yet.
'Is chin just stuck out of the water;
A comical figure 'e cut.
Noah said: 'Now, what's the price of yer Maple?'
Sam answered: 'Three ha'pence a foot.'
Said Noah: 'Ye'd best take my offer;
It's last time I'll be hereabout;
And if water comes half an inch higher,
I'll happen get Maple for nowt.'
'Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost yer,
And as fer me,' Sam said, 'don't fret.
The sky's took a turn since this morning;
I think it'll brighten up yet.
(Epilogue - me again)
And always when Pa finished telling
I bit on my rattle in ire,
Coz the thought of old Sam on the tower top
Set my Lancashire blood all afire.
"But Pa!" I would yell in a tantrum,
With me face gettin' all flushed and vexed;
"Did Noah get maple for nowt then?
I wanna know what happened next!"
The full text and MP3 audio of Marriott Edgar's poem here:
[This message has been edited by moonbeam (03-03-2009 01:01 PM).]