Jackbit time in Irish Town
Was an ungracious, swift affair
For a child at second sitting
With a head of knotty hair.
It was a time of sore relief
For the fain and clempt alike
Was spare-ribs, shank or trotters
Cow's heart, tongue or tripe
But there was no sweet to follow
And starting soup was out
And if we didn't like the middle bit
We ended up with nowt.
We only had two kinds of spoon
And just two types of knife -
A small one and a big one -
Each for it's own device
For slicing bread and cobs we used
A blade of any kind
And for spreading jam or margarine -
The first thing we could find.
A little spoon we used for tea
Or any big enough
But we had to use the larger one
For eating stew or broth.
Grace was never said in Ince -
We took no time to pray
The whole idea of feeding was -
Get in and get away !
No serviettes or napkins -
Twas make do and mend
And the cure for greasy fingers was
A towel at the end.
For jackbit time in Irish Town -
The clempt could not decline
And with lobbies on the menu
It was over in no time.
With a pile of bread and butter
And ready for the off
We didn't hang around too much
Until we'd had enough.
We didn't faff around those days
And had no time to wait -
It was a case of take or leave it
And we didn't hesitate
For jackbit time in Irish Town
Was a scramble for a chair
And we had to have three sittings
When I lived up there
Chips and pie or pie and chips,
Or just the chips alone -
No one pulled their noses up
When I lived at home
For still the saying goes today
That no one can decry -
You'll eat owt if you're hungry
And drink owt if you're dry.

Jimmy Galvin.

Big Jimmy Galvin
From York street
Higher Ince
Across the backs
From Wood's shop
Just below the Prince.
Polly was his mother
And Jimmy was his dad
And they both had ruddy faces
When he was a lad.
Born and raised up Belle Green lane -
Jimmy's first-born son
Everybody knew him
And he knew everyone.
He had two jolly sisters -
A couple of brothers too
In the rough and ready family
Of the Galvin crew
Whose neighbours were the Bambers
And the Fishburns next but one
And further up the Naylors
With William and son.
He played for Kirkless rugby
Being big and strong
He was always full of mischief
But never did much wrong.
His demeanour was misleading -
His brash and confident,
Imposing, broad exterior
Hid a modest, caring gent
In whom was no deception
Or vain, conceited wit -
He spoke his mind whatever
And said what he thought fit.
Easy-going Jimmy -
Ince's very own
Man's man, family man
And man made for home
Respectful and respected
And rooted in the good
Who'd stop and talk to anyone
And help them if he could
Just like his father
Jimmy used to shout
And everybody always knew
When he was about -
Playful and rumbustious
He was always full of fun
Everybody liked him
And he liked everyone
And the reason he was popular
And here's the rarest catch -
He was big in name and stature
And he had a heart to match


There was not a dry eye in the house
As all the family cried
With heartfelt true emotion
The day our budgie died
For he was no ordinary bird
Was our chirpy Joe -
He flew around the yard outside
And he knew how far to go.
He was an open resident -
His door had fallen off
But he always came back to his cage
When he'd had enough.
He'd walk along the cornice
And flutter round at will,
Perch upon the kitchenette
And on the window sill.
He'd follow me to the toilet
When I was a kid
And fly upon the pantry roof
And on the dustbin lid
But the charm and confidence he bore
Did not enhance his life
And his trusting affability
Came at a a heavy price...
I never did get over it
What happened to our Joe -
It's fifty years ago today
And I still miss him so.
And it wasn't quick and peaceful -
He lingered on and on
And fought for every breath he had
Till all his strength was gone.
Twas on a May Bank Holiday
On a Walking Day in Ince -
( We used to have a lot back then
But I haven't seen one since )
I can still see the banners flowing
And the children dressed in white
As the brass band played Jerusalem -
Twas such a lovely sight
I had a premonition
As I watched the Boy's Brigade
With their bugles, bass and little drums
And the racket that they made -
Joe was in deep trouble -
He was lying on the floor
Battered, bruised and helpless
On the step of our back door
So I scrambled home without delay
And found him in a heap
Bedraggled, dazed and twitching
As though he was asleep.
The sparrows and the starlings
Had turned him over good
And left him lame and close to death
In a pool of crimson blood.
Twas sad to see him suffer
In the days which then ensued -
His chirping days were over
And he wouldn't eat his food.
He just sat there in the corner
Subdued and traumatised
Waiting for his final breath
With sorrow in his eyes.
I did my best to nurse him
But alas it was in vain -
He was too far gone in injury
And overcome with pain
And on a bright and early morning
As I arose from bed
I found him curled up in his cage
Stiff and lifeless dead.
But he had a happy burial
( Now this is getting hard )
And we placed him in a little grave
In the corner of the yard
And every May Bank Holiday
We would commemorate
And say a little prayer for him
Outside of our back gate.
And if you still believe all this
Then you've been truly caught
And like we used to say in Ince -
' You're dafter than I thought ' !


Joy is for the poor alone
And comfort is it's crown
And joy and comfort was the gift
Of a grateful hand-me-down
And none more welcome than the bed
Of a lady, old and sweet
Who gave us a big straw mattress
From further up the street
Complete with springs and bedstead
Which creaked with the weight and strain
With four brass knobs on the corners
Of an antique metal frame.
And it kept us snug in the winter
In the nightly damp and chill
And the searing blasts from the Arctic
And the moors of Winter Hill -
The three of us together
With a foot of space to spare -
We'd never known such luxury
All the days of living there.
I'd worn some cosy cardigans
And soft and comfy shoes -
A little worn and frayed perhaps
But always welcome news
From nice and caring relatives
And neighbours - just the same
Of mercy and compassion
Who lived upon the lane
But the old straw bed was special -
It was lofty, high and wide -
It made us feel like royalty
And mighty good inside
And thanks the kind, old lady
From further up the street -
She left us with a legacy
Of a priceless Christmas treat -
A lovely old straw mattress
Sent from up above -
A truly special Christmas gift
Handed down with love.

Judgement Day.

Judgement day was every day
Back at home in Ince
And we didn't need to ask the Lord
For a sneaky glimpse
In fact we didn't need the church
To teach us right from wrong
We had a thing called Nature
Who knew it all along
And should we disobey her
And go against the grain
Our dads would help our souls along
With a healthy bit of pain.
Twas not the fear of God in us
That kept our youth in check
But a big thick pair of maulers
Wrapped around the neck
Or a swift, clean right
Of hardened palm
Slicing through the air
Heading for the cranium
Just beneath the air
That's what made us tow the line -
Of that we were afraid -
Swift and final recompense
For the errors that we made
So judgement day was there and then
And it wasn't from above
But just below - a dad's right hand
Delivered quick with love.

Just Before Smiths Dairies.

Just before Smiths Dairies
On the left up Belle Green lane
The Co-Operative Society
Had another name -
The 'Cworp' was not a corner shop
But a friendly local store
Where customers from Higher Ince
Would daily come and go.
The manager was smart and clean
And all the staff wore white -
With two assistants and a boy
Who rode the order bike.
The front had two large windows
And a gate across the door
With red and white ceramic tiles
At the entrance on the floor.
The counter there was wide and long
And narrowed to a bend
With a big red bacon slicer
Sitting on the end.
One slice - two ounce of anything -
Pressed beef, tongue or spam -
Nought was too much trouble
For the Co-Op man.
He'd place it in the Avery scales
With careful, loving grace
Which had a heart-shaped pointer
That moved along it's face.
And there we'd queue from day to day
Pulling up our socks
To get the family shopping
With a basket or a box.
Stacked outside was fruit and veg.
Against the window pane
Sheltered by a canopy
Against the sun and rain.
Along with rows of hardware -
Shovels, mops and brooms
And windowlene and table cloths
For the living rooms.
It served the generations
Of grateful humble folk
Who lived along the cobbles
And daily grind and smoke
Of Higher Ince and all around
Wherever hardship swayed
And let us strap the groceries
Until our dads got paid
And the 'Cworp' was an establishment
You'll find along the way
Overgrown with shrubs and trees
Up Belle Green lane today.

Kevin's Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Be with us this day,
Keep away the conmen,
And help us pay our way.
Teach us not to be afraid
Of each knock upon the door,
And the scary white envelopes,
Lying on the floor.
Keep us warm in winter,
And keep us off the street,
Send us clothes from Oxfam,
And just enough to eat,
And we will always love you,
If you do this for us -
Give us a bit more money,
So we can catch a bus.
Teach us not to fall apart
And fret ourselves away,
At the cost of gas and lecky,
And the price of things today.
Be with us in times of need,
When thugs and burglars strike,
And please forgive the scumbag,
Who stole my mountain bike.
Keep us safe from shingles,
And other such disease,
And this I ask in earnest,
Upon my bending knees,
And we will always love you,
If you put a bit aside,
For someone else to bury us,
When we've finally died.


I learned a lot of lessons
How not to play the fool
At little Belle Green primary -
My local infants school
Where Mister Barnes was headmaster -
In his cupboard was a cane
With which he whipped my fingertips
And made me wince with pain.
He always wore a pin-striped suit
Of navy blue and grey
And came to school on a motorbike
At half past eight each day
He had big knobbly knuckles
Which like his face were red
And when he caught me slouching
He'd rap them on my head
But thank God for our teachers
Without them - heaven knows -
We cannot like them all the time
But that's the way it goes.
Mister Ball was deputy
A little bit detached,
Bright, smart, good looking
With a cockiness to match.
He took us out for gardening
And marched us to the plot
Up at Baron's farmyard -
I liked those days a lot.
Mister Winward was a case -
Somewhat cool, remote
He wore brown leather patches
On the elbows of his coat
And he was in his glory
When he did what he loved best
Drawing on the blackboard
Knights in battledress.
He was no obstacle to me
And easy to get on
And I never saw him get uptight -
Not with anyone
But Mister Fearnley, clean and stout
Would stand no idle play
And pushed us to the limit
At lessons every day
But thank God for our teachers
They always have their way
And if they hadn't done so
We'd be much less wise today.
And how about Miss Perrin?
She had short curly hair
And had the cutest, warming smile -
I fell in love with her
Her face was always in my dreams
I took her seriously
Until my mother told me
She was a bit too old for me
And dear old Missus Major
So comforting was she
To the fretful new beginners
Who sat upon her knee.
She played the old piano
To raise our spirits higher
Then took us to the rocking horse
And sat us by the fire.
She made us treacle toffee
Which had the sweetest smell
And dished it out at playtime
Before she rang the bell
And so to Missus Cheetham
Sexy and serene
With a regal air about her
She looked like the Queen.
Yes, lovely Missus Cheetham
To all the boys and girls -
She smelt as sweet as lavender
And wore a string of pearls.
She nurtured red geraniums
Upon the ledges there
And closed the windows with a stick
While stretching from a chair.
Thank God for our teachers
They came through sweeping rains
From the posh side of Wigan
To educate our brains.
We take them all for granted
And realise so late
How hard it is to discipline,
To teach and educate
Until we have a family
And children of our own
Running recklessly about
The limits of our home.
They drive us close to breakdown
Just the one or two
While they can handle thirty
And still come smiling through
Yes, thank God for my teachers -
I remember them so well
And if you went to Belle Green school
These names may ring a bell.

Life is full of injustice.

Life is full of injustice
But that's no reason to cry
As long as the body is healthy
We always seem to get by
Some times are harder than others
But we're only here for a while
And then our journey is over
So bear it all with a smile
For we keep on getting a buttie
Back in Ince we would say
So keep on going wi yed down
And be proud at the end of the day
For the hand that feedeth the ravens
Doth feed the sparrows the same
Have faith in the Lord and creator
And just play along with the game -
This game of human survival
In which we all play a part
And it's not for the weak and bemoaning
So play along with a heart.
Keep on going wi yed down
And walk with a confident stride
Though the soul be heavy with worry
And troubles are many inside.
Stiffen the shoulders and marrow
And bolster the mind against care
We keep on getting a buttie
And it always comes from somewhere
So keep on going wi yed down
But mind the peepers don't shut
Or the journey could lead to disaster
And you may end up in the cut.

Life is what we Make It.

Life is what we make it
And that's entirely true -
No one can make it for us
That's for us to do.
We cannot take or leave it -
It's either do or die
And it's up to us to make it work
Or do our best to try.
No one asks to enter life -
By Nature we appear
But live me must - we have no choice
Now that we are here.
Life is what we make it
And the world can be severe -
Full of doubts and heartache
Uncertainties and fear
And if I can find along the way
Some beauty, peace or joy
I strive to spread it where I can
For others to enjoy
That's why I write my verses -
I do it to escape
The harsh realities of life
And my own impending fate.
It is my way of coping
To try and make life rhyme
And lend a smile unto the world
While I have the time -
To enter a communion
With fellow humans dear
And share the goodness I have found
In my struggles to get here
And if I can along the way -
By verse - some good impart
Then life has been worth living
And gladness fills my heart.

Little Fish.

Oh little fish that wriggles in my hand
How cruel I must be
To be so sly and underhand
And have you here with me
Gasping in a world unreal
I must have gone insane
To pierce your tender lip with steel
And cause you so much pain.
What kind of beastly play is this
Which I perform on you
To bait your innocence and bliss
With dread you never knew.
How sweet and swiftly how you swam
Before this monster came.
How can I call myself a man
To see you shocked and lame,
And helpless on a line of death -
Your tiny ribs so frail
With bulging eyes and struggling breath
And all to no avail.
Where is all your family now -
Your loved ones and your kin.
While you have suffering on your brow
And a hook beneath your fin.
Oh little fish I meant no harm
I only meant to play
And if I caused you great alarm
I'm sorry for this day.
And little fish it won't be long
For soon I'll let you go
And someday you'll be wise and strong
And play with me no more.

Long Dark Nights

The long, dark night are coming
Prepare ye for the gloom,
The everlasting twilight
And night by afternoon
The drab, unending darkness -
The cold, damp roads outside
And the neon-lighted doldrums
Of a Winter's eventide.
The restless hours of boredom
With the kids trapped under feet
The shadows in the alley ways
And the spooky, misty street.
The sallow, dismal house lights -
The pavements wet and dim
And the chilly fog descending
On a scene that's dark and grim
It's a good job we have Christmas
To look to up ahead
Or else there'd be no reason
To get up out of bed!

Long John Silver.

I was watching Long John Silver
Last night on our T.V.
The one with Jim Hawkins
And Miss Purity
With Blackbeard the pirate -
His nemesis and foe
The same we watched in Higher Ince
Some sixty years ago
And it made me stop and wonder
And it filled me with dismay
To see the violence round us
In this world today
Long John fired his musket
And so did Robin Hood -
He shot his deadly arrow
But we never saw no blood.
Cowboys never bled back then
And voices didn't bleep
And nobody got slaughtered -
They just fell asleep.
Robin was a gentleman
As far as outlaws go
And although he was a villain
Long John never swore.
Roy Rogers beat nobody up
And didn't swear and shout
He either shot them in the arm
Or just knocked them out.
The Lone Ranger and Zoro
Were heroes of the task
Each had a weapon
And both wore a mask
But we never saw no trails of blood
Or mangled, severed limbs
Just dented pride and ruffled garb
And bruises on their chins
Yet look at what our children see
From the cradle in this age -
Violence supernatural
And unmitigated rage,
Murder, rape and carnage
Disturbing scenes of fright
With gross and obscene language
On Telly every night
But now I'm getting angry
And sick of the thought of blood
So I'll call it my rant over
And nip it in the bud.
I'm watching Long John Silver
And then I'm off to bed -
Maybe Long John and Miss Purity
Will finally get wed !


"Take these down to Lygoes"
My father used to say -
"And ask for half a dollar
To get me on my way".
So off to Lygoes I would go
With a big brown paper bag
Inside - a suit and pair of shoes
Which the man put on a tag
And placed upon a dusty shelf
In a creepy dark back room
To stay there till the weekend
Or Friday afternoon
And then I'd meet him on the Bar
And pass the two and six
And he gave me a threepence
To buy a box of tics.
Then off he went to Tommy Walsh
Who ran the Jolly Crow
With a couple of bob - the entrance fee
To get him through the door
And there he's stay till evening
And forget about the job
As Tommy Walsh the landlord
Loaned him another five bob…
It was another dreary Monday -
And the choice was - work or play!
With half a dozen pints of mild
There was no pit today
And maybe not tomorrow -
It really all depends
If he could get a few more bob
Or a sub from certain friends.
In the meantime he would cherish
His freedom while he could
As long as the mild was suiting him
And his credit rating good
And maybe Tuesday or Wednesday
He'd make it down the mine
And do a couple of days of work
And a bit of overtime -
Just enough to get us by
And just enough to eat
To get us over the weekend
And to the following week
When we'd get the family allowance -
And quite a bit at that -
With nine kids and a budgie -
A dog and ginger cat.
Which took us up to Friday
And if he hadn't played
He'd send me down to Lygoes
With the extra that he'd made -
"Go to Billy Lygoes" -
He'd say with face alight
"And get me back my suit and shoes -
I'm going out tonight"!

Many Places.

Many places have I been -
In situations too -
And many people have I met
Before I came to you.
I've been an agent wild and free -
A restless rolling stone
Searching for that little niche -
A place to call a home.
Now from my little niche I see
The jungle whence I came
Hoping never to return
To that place again.
My world is now a fortress
A few square metres wide
Where I can safely stow away
And from the jungle hide.
This tiny plot upon the earth
Is where I pass my days
Away from mortal danger
And the jungle's godless ways.
I choose who I may speak to
And who may speak to me -
I'm master of the universe
And my own company.
And so I thank the one above -
And my very dearest wife
For giving me the best of love
And this precious niche in life.

Mi Budgi !!!.

Mi budgie deed this marnin -
I font him stiff and cowd
He seemed all reet this time last neet
Bur he was gerrin owd.
Twenty years we've had him -
I bowt him off a chap
I geet him cheep for the wife a treat
For one and six plus vat.
Thas never sin out like it mon
It was only a budgie - but
The missus started skrikin
And I were fillin up.
It's just like losin a chilt tha knows -
It knocks thee off thi feet
Alafter gerrer another
Or we'll never get sleep toneet.

Mi Mam Said...

Mi mam said can you serve me with
Two big tins of peas,
Five pound of potatoes
And half a pound of cheese.
A quarter packet of Typhoo tea,
Half a pound of of spam,
A block of Echo butter
And a jar of strawberry jam.
Half a dozen new-laid eggs,
A thick-sliced loaf of bread,
A two pound bag of sugar
And a jar of salmon spread
Six slices of corned beef
Or if one's in - a tin
And six ounces of boiled ham
And can you it cut it thin.
And she sez she's got no money
And will it be all right
If we pay you when mi dad gets home
From work on Friday night.

Mr Moss.

Now Mister Moss could tell a tale
In his shop that faced the Prince
As he stood around for customers
And trade in Higher Ince. A kind and easy-going chap
To those who knew him well
He sported brown-rimmed glasses
With frames of tortoiseshell.
Witty, quick - with greying hair
With a sort of innocent look
He'd tick the items of the list
In our little red shopping book.
He had a fair-sized corner shop
With the things that children liked -
Such as toffee, bulbs and batteries
For our torches and our bikes.
But he was not a grocer -
Not by any means,
Apart from selling odds and ends
Like Acdo and baked beans -
He was an entertainer
For the kids around that way
And told them tales and stories
To pass the time away
When he didn't have the customers
And most the time he'd not
He showed us tricks with cards and string,
And how to tie a knot.
He never got annoyed with us
And never blew his top
And God knows how he made it pay
Serving in that shop -
Behind a big wide counter
Over which he'd lean
To do his tricks and magic
While serving in between.
He had a funny sort of lisp
And wore a mid-brown coat
With a pen clipped in the pocket
To tick the shopping note.
He had a musty dark back room
Where certain goods he'd hide
Like paraffin, wicks and candles
And other things besides -
Firewood wrapped in bundles
And little bags of coal -
Bleaches and detergents
And broom-heads with a hole.
Crates of pop and toiletries -
Potatoes by the load
And a window full of kiddies sweets
That faced the outside road.
But he was not a grocer
Like his brother - Moss, the same,
Who ran a little corner shop
Further down the lane
He was a friend and joker
In his shop that faced the Prince
Who brightened up our childhoods
In the days of Higher Ince.

My Brain.

My brain was scrambled in a morn
When I got out of bed
And I felt a bit like Lazarus
Risen from the dead
But now I've had my treacle
And it's sailing through my blood
It's changed my life for ever
Like my dad said it would.
I'm much more energetic
And risen with the lark
And I've started doing flips again
And running in the dark.
What a stunning turn around
From a couple of weeks ago
When shopping made my feet ache
And all my fingers sore -
It's says in town No Parkin!
And the shops had all sold out
And I couldn't find that magic cake
Anywhere about
But I've found a new supplier
And a secret it must stay
Should anyone get wind of it
And filch my stock away
For I've never felt so fit and trim
And totally alive -
My wits are keen as razors blades
And sharper than a schythe
My body is so fit - it floats
And every job's a sinch -
I'm tireless as a work mule
And happy as a finch.
Like I was in Irish Town
In the house by the Rabbit rocks -
I could shin up Longsworth's chimney
And jump across the locks -
Do a flip off Stoney Bridge
In style and without fear -
Swim right up to Adlington
And back to Wigan Pier
Such is the metamorphosis
That Parkin's had on me -
I feel so resurrected
Wealthy, good and free -
It's filled my life with vigour
And so improved my health -
I'd tell you were to buy it
But I want if for myself!

My Dad was in the Yard.

My dad was in the back yard
Kneeling on the floor
One fine autumnal morning
In Ince some years ago.
I thought he may be praying
For he looked up to the skies
And mentioned Jesus Christ a lot
With tears in his eyes.
I'd never seen him so distraught -
He was rattled - I could tell -
The air was blue with F words
Which all ended with hell -
Like flipping and flittering
And another I won't say
But it made my mother very cross
To hear him curse that way.
He had a bike in front of him
Turned upside down -
The one he got from a jumble sale
For the price of half a crown.
He was trying to mend a puncture
And started off serene -
He never lost his temper once
And it all went like a dream
The tyre was up in a jiffy
Without the slightest strain
But five minutes later
It went back down again.
He thought he may have missed the hole
Which he covered with a patch
So he took the wheel back off again
And started off from scratch.
He seemed a bit deflated
As he tried another one
And glued another patch back
To where the other should have gone
Then he pumped away with vigour
Till it was hard once more
And tidied up the spanners
That were lying on the floor
Then to his consternation -
Five minutes after that
He pressed his thumb upon it
And the tyre again was flat.
That's when it all went pear-shaped
And he began to swear
And went to kick the dustbin
But the dustbin wasn't there.
He went and lit a woodbine
And sat upon the step
Cross and agitated
And moistening with sweat.
I remember he kept looking round
To blame who he could see -
He put the blame on God at first
And then my mam and me,
And then he settled down a bit
And had another go
But the outcome was exactly
As the time before.
Twas a lovely Autumn morning
That started off the day
And it was sad to see my dad
In total disarray
Pacing up and down the yard
And bordering on despair
Defeated by a rubber tube
That wouldn't keep it's air....
That wouldn't keep it's air because
As he later found
There was a tack stuck in the tyre
And the hole went round and round.
And there's a moral in this story -
If you don't want it to burst
When looking for a puncture
Check the tyre first !

My Eyes.

My eyes were getting heavy -
I'd stayed awake for hours
Propped upon my pillow
Looking at the stars.
Irish Town lay fast asleep
Each house on every lane
As I gazed out to the universe
Waiting for a train
On the edge of sweet oblivion
And final swift repose
I succumbed to the peaceful night
As both my eyes did close.
It was a train from heaven
Due at any time
Just like the ones that ran outside
Upon the Whelley line
In a box with tracks and carriages
Painted black and gold
In the early hours of Christmas day
When I was eight years old
But I never saw the train arrive
Or Santa steal away
But there it lay upon my bed
For me on Christmas day
Twas the magic of the waiting
That kept my soul alive
And the dream was in the waking
When it did arrive.
Complete with lights and signals,
Viaducts and trees
And a little village station
With folks in two and threes
All laid out before me
In coloured bright array
And it brought me wide-eyed wonder
And joy on Christmas day
But it wasn't just the train alone
Or the hope that it was due -
Twas the magic of the waiting
That made the dream come true
For though I couldn't stay awake
To see my faithful friend
I knew that Father Christmas
Would bring it in the end
And that was the most exciting bit
And still it makes me smile -
Twas the magic of the waiting
That made it all worthwhile.

My Little Desk.

My little desk at school was mine -
It all belonged to me
For my ruler, books and pencils
And things of privacy.
It had a groove along the top -
A place to hold my pen
And a little well in the corner
To dip my nib again
Before the days of biro
We used a metal scribe
And a sheet of blotting paper
Kept handy at the side.
It's where I kept my conkers
And paper aeroplanes -
My rubber bands and pellets
And little tricks and games.
It's where I sat for register
And stood for morning prayer
And glanced round the classroom
At other children there.
My little varnished box of oak
Scratched and stained with ink
Is where they made me go each day
To sit and learn to think
With it's squeaky metal hinges
And creaky folding seat
Just around the corner
At the bottom of our street.
It's where I kept my catapult
With a thick elastic band
And the two leg from a bedstead
Bent to fit the hand.
It was my little office
Where I learned my stuff
And came back from the playground
Hot and out of puff -
Where I watched the teacher
Chalking on the board
And copied from my little chum
From further down the road.
It was my seat of study
For a year or so -
My bureau of conformity
From whence I'd learn and grow -
Oh how I'd love to be there
With my ruler, books and pen
Singing All things Bright and Beautiful
At my little desk again!

My Record Player.

My record player had two knobs
And that was quite enough -
One for bass and treble
And one for on and off.
It plugged into the main supply
And the socket of the light
And had a speaker and two valves
That both lit up at night.
It folded like a suitcase
And had a cloth surround
Complete with handle at the top
To carry it around.
Halfway to Paradise
Is all that I would play
First thing in the morning
And every single day.
I bought it from Fred Grimes's
And seven and six I paid
Near the top of King street
In the small arcade.
It slotted on a spindle
In the middle of the case
And dropped upon a table
Which turned around apace
Then upward crept a plastic arm
Which lifted on the move
Across towards the record
And settled in the groove.
Then it hissed and crackled
Just before the start
And then young Billy Fury -
Sang it from the heart -
Halfway to Paradise
So near and yet so far -
They heard it on the slagtip -
They heard it on Ince Bar
In the days of forty fives
When I was young and free -
Halfway to Paradise
Was the song for me.
I wiped and cleaned it every day
And treasured it with joy -
The first single that I bought
When I was a teenage boy.
I never seemed to tire of it -
It lodged into my soul
And made my world a happy place
In the days of rock and roll.
Halfway to Paradise
Was heaven in the sun
Sung by Billy Fury
In April sixty one.

My Wife has Given me the Push.

My wife has given me the push
For the second time this year
Filling me with tremblings,
Anxiety and fear.
Last time she showed me mercy
Because I wasn't well
But this time it's for certain -
She means it - I can tell.
The whole thing`s gone on far too long
And, plead how much I may -
She's really put her foot down
And now I must obey.
I feel a nagging helplessness
But I know it must be done
I'm weary of resisting
And now the hour has come.
My mind is in such turmoil
And my nerves are in a state
And my stomach churns in anguish
As I realize my fate
To be forcibly uprooted -
I know too well the strain
Of the painful journey back from scratch
And starting clean again.
I was happy while it lasted
In my comfort zone
Secure and happy in my skin
Settled in my home -
At peace with my surroundings
In the warm and peaceful glow
Of the pure, unstimulated bliss
In the territory I know
But now alas it's over -
It's a tragedy and shame
And the cosy world that I have known
Will never feel the same
So here I go reluctantly
Up the dreaded path
With my towel, trunks and rubber duck -
I'm off to take a bath !

My Wife has gone to Manchester.

My wife has gone to Manchester
To her sisters once again
She caught the bus to Wigan -
And then she'll get the train
I'm sure she can be trusted
For after all I care -
She hasn't got much make-up on
And hasn't done her hair.
Not that I did notice much -
By chance it caught my eye
And she didn't seem too sheepish
As we said goodbye.
Its nice to get her out the way
Rocking down the line
But this time I am more prepared
Than I was last time.
I've got some things called Pizzas
From the bargain shop -
The stuff that tastes like cardboard
With spices on the top
And the chips won't take a minute
If I can find the fat -
They're frozen in a plastic bag
Prepared and under wrap
And the dog's got beef and chicken
From the market hall -
Freshly trimmed and in a bag
And cheap because they're small
So that should keep us going
Until she gets back home
Ad if there's any problems
I've got my mobile phone
And when she gets back home today
She'll get a mighty shock
When she sees an envelope
Stood behind the clock
And an even bigger one than that
When she reads this verse on line -
She thinks I had forgotten
But I remembered all the time
So happy birthday other half
And many more to come -
You've made my life so easy
And every day is fun.

Copyright 2018 Kevin Holcroft