Unmoveable, dependable
And a fixture to behold -
Nothing beats a slopstone
From the days of old.
Forget about the modern sinks -
With fancy taps and chrome -
Without a slopstone in it
A house was not a home
An earthquake couldn't move one
And the plumbing modest plain
With an inlet for the water
And an outlet to the drain
There's nowt you couldn't do in it
The laundry - dishes too
And even put your feet in it
When a scrub was due
And when a house had crumbled
After ninety years or so
The slopstone was, without a doubt,
The last thing to go.
That's why there's plenty still around
Today along the line -
They're virtually indestructible
And stand to test of time
No curves or fancy colours
Just plain porcelain white
Gleaming in the daytime
And in the dark at night.
Robust and everlasting -
They watched some families grow
Sat there in the corner
Two feet above the floor.
Harder than the hardest steel
And tough as granite stone
Without a slopstone in it -
A house was not a home.

Up & Down the Country.

Up and down the country
They laughed at us in Ince
In the days of pies and pickles -
Pig's feet, tripe and mince.
All I got was - ee by gum
And put wood inth hole -
There's trouble at the mill lad!
And where do you keep your coal?
Have you been up wooden stairs?
And icky thump and such
But I took it in good humour
And didn't bother much
For I was just amused by them
To hear them roll their r`s -
Accentuate their aitches
And mouth their lah dee dah`s.
It didn't bother me that much
For deep inside I knew
Without the coal from Wigan
They'd be not well to do
And up and down this land of ours
Without our anthracite
They wouldn't have a fire to burn
Or a light outside at night
There'd be no locomotion
And trains upon the lines
And the progress and prosperity
To modernize the times.
Twas coal that made this nation strong
And the fish around our seas
So they could learn Queen's English
And live a life of ease -
Coal from Wigan and the north
Which made them debonair
So they could look back down on us -
The folks from Lancashire.
So it didn't bother me at all
For I was born to smile -
And laugh at life's adversity
And spot a sham a mile
So I didn't let it get to me
When they tried to condescend -
I took it with a pinch of salt
Cos I knew that in the end -
It wasn't brains and manners
And the pride and pomp of state
But the coal our fathers mined for
That made our country great!

Variety's the Spice of Life.

Variety's the spice of life
To make the choice we like
But there's not much variation
In the good old pedal bike.
Throughout the generations
The bike remains the same -
Two wheels, some cogs and pedals
Fixed upon a frame -
Push it, pull it, pick it up
And carry it about -
Nothing beats a pushbike -
Absolutely nowt !
Uphill, downhill, on the flat -
Cruising, fast or slow
It take us round to places
No motor car can go
To anywhere and everywhere
Or just the local park -
Put it on the shoulder
And take it for a walk.
From China to the Hebredes -
In every latitude
It's faster than a pony
And don't rely on food.
It don't need any petrol
Or a service M.O.T.
And the bike is still the cheapest way
To get from A to B .
It don't need much attention -
A push start or a jump
And the only tools required
Is a spanner and a pump.
It saves us miles of walking
And blisters on the toes
And the finest way of exercise
As far as training goes -
Thin wheels, fat wheels
Big or small -
Whatever size you like -
There's nothing in the world can beat
The good old pedal bike.

Way Back in Ince.

Way back in Ince
A swill was a rinse -
And a haircut then was a crop
Elbow grease
Was the pressure to increase
And a rubbing rag was a mop.
A pan was a pon
And a man was a mon -
To fettle meant to fix or repair.
A floor was a floewer -
A door a doewer
And a cheer was the name for a chair.
Hond was a hand -
Stond was to stand
And goowin for a wark was a stroll -
Cold was cowd
And hold was howd
And an old fashioned howl was a hole
A watch was a whatch
And a leet meant a match -
And being in lumber was the lurch
An eye was an een
And nowty was mean
And a chapel was the name a church.
A seck was a sack -
A clout was a crack
And being very tired - dead beat.
To stare was to sken
And a blacklead - a pen
And teyt was something to eat.
Unweel wasn't well -
Flog was to sell
And an eyeful - a portion very small
A smook was a smoke
To jest was to joke
And 'doings' could be anything at all.
Wants was whants
And trousers were pants -
A kiss on the cheek was a peck
Wash was a whash -
A decca was a bash
And what a surprise - crinny heck!
Mum was mam -
A con was a can
And a teet was a dummy in a cot
Slutch was mud
And carry on I could
But this is getting silly - that's your lot!

We All Believed in God.

We all believed in God in Ince -
Every single one.
Three we had - the Holy Ghost -
The Father and the Son.
Catholic or Protestant -
Mass or Sunday school -
We kept the Ten Commandments
As a general rule.
But then again twas easy
In Ince along the way -
We didn't have temptations
Like we do today.
Thou shalt not steal thy neighbour's coal
Or give his wife the eye
And never kill or murder
Except a pint or pie.
The rest did not apply to us
To fuss or fret about -
They had to do with money
And nobody had nowt -
Except to tell no porkies
But then there's just one more -
Not to mention Jesus Christ
When anybody swore.
The rules were so straight forward -
Don't do nothing bad -
Do't use lip or backchat
And look after mam and dad.
Lust was hard to conjure
For what the eye could see -
All the women covered up
To well below the knee
And the only thing we saw of sex -
Such naughty thoughts to yield -
Was two hot mating mongrels
Or a couple in a field.
So it wasn't very difficult
The Lord our God to please
And we didn't spend a lot of time
In prayer upon our knees.
Protestant or Catholic -
Henry Tudor or the Pope
We all got by together
With simple faith and hope.
With little disagreement -
In slightly different ways -
Believing was a doddle
For Incers in those days.

We All Ran Out of Bread.

We all ran out of bread in Ince
And room upon the line
And sometimes we ran out of coal
In the winter time.
We ran out to our friends outside
To pal around and play
And often we ran out of words
When lost for things to say.
Of many things we all ran out -
Of patience, wind and steam
And we ran out of pennies
To buy a big ice cream.
We ran out in the street to see
Our fathers coming home
And to our mothers in the house
When we were all alone.
Soap and matches, jam and tea -
Decent shoes and clothes
And money for the food and rent -
We ran out all of those.
We all ran out of everything
That we could run out of
And when the times were really hard
We scarce ran out of love
And we ran out of faith at times
In finding ways to cope
But seldom out of humour
And never out of hope.

We Bought Them For Pleasure.

We bought them for the pleasure
And bought them for the fun
Flags from all around the world
With a slice of chewing gum
They cost us only tuppence
And the gum was pink and sweet
But more than being spearmint
The pack contained a treat -
All the countries of the world
With their national ensign
From a card inside the packet
We got to know in time
It's size and population
It's origin and birth
It's latitude and longitude
And where it was on earth
They sold them at the corner shop
At the front with sweets and toys
Because they were so popular
Among the local boys.
We sent off for an album
With the wrappers that we took
And every time we bought a flag
We stuck it in the book
Every country in the world
In time we got to know -
It's language and it's capital
And what they make and grow
They gave us a lot of knowledge
And endless hours of fun
All for the price of tuppence
With a tasty slice of gum

We Cannot Carry On.

We cannot carry on today
Where we left off yesterday -
The world has changed a lot since then -
Today we rise and start again.
Each day's a life that lives and dies
And vanishes before our eyes.
Our life is one big library -
Each day a book's activity -
Each chapter being just one stage
And sunrise turning o'er each page.
We cannot read the same book twice
And being read it must suffice,
For there are many books ahead
That we must write before we're dead.
There's beauty in the book and print,
That is the author's fingerprint -
Unique and written such a way
That makes him author of the day.
No two books can read the same
And solely bears the author's name -
Indexed, stamped by only he
And there for all eternity.

We Didn't Have a Clock.

We didn't have a clock in Ince -
We had a man instead
Who rapped the window with a stick
And got us out of bed
And another man came round at night
Just as darkness fell
And he turned on the gas lamp
With a stick as well.
The teacher in the infants
Used a stick to shut
And latch the classroom window
When the wind got up.
Everybody had a stick,
Or seemed to have those days -
A policeman or a bargeman
On the waterways.
We often had one in the school
To teach us some respect
And the ragman kept one handy
To keep his horse in check.
The grocer had a canopy
Above his little shop
And he used one to open it
And stretch up to the top.
We used a stick to whip the top
And a stick for archery
And if we didn't have one
We'd get one off a tree -
Long ones, short ones, thin ones -
Bent ones, straight or thick -
We always seemed to have one -
A good old fashioned stick!

We Didn't Stay at Home.

We didn't stay at home all day
In Ince - the days of old -
Our parents wouldn't let us -
We did what we were told.
We didn't have the fancy games
That keep us in today
And life was more exciting
When we went out to play
Especially in the summertime
With a world at large to roam -
The last thing that we wanted
Was to hang about the home.
"Go and play" my dad would say
"And get from under`t feet -
And so we took the exit
And played out in the street.
There was no traffic in those days
Except the odd pushbike
So we could go out anywhere
And do just what we liked.
The world was one big playground
And the pace of life was slow
With very few restrictions
On where we couldn't go.
From time to time we'd pop back home
For a buttie or a bite
But then we'd soon be out again
Till afternoon or night -
Playing on the cobbles
Or playing in the fields
With fresh air all around us -
Young and full of beans.
Who would want to stay inside

We Got Our Telly.

We got our telly from Ron Leigh's,
Facing Smithy Green,
In the early days of black and white,
When the world was bright and clean.
It had a meter on the back,
Which took a bob or so,
And lasted for four hours,
And then we put in more.
The only channel that we had,
Was local BBC,
Sent each day from Winter Hill,
Just in time for tea,
And there we'd sit each day and wait,
For Zoo Time and Popeye,
Which started not long after school,
And kept us home and dry,
But the first was Andy Pandy,
And the flowerpots Bill and Ben,
Which started in the afternoon,
And then closed down again,
Along with naughty Snooty,
Who had a friend called Smudge,
And once in front of the telly,
We sat and didn't budge.
They used to play some music,
Before the programmes ran,
With pieces from the classics -
Like Schubert and Chopin.
And then came what we waited for,
All day - and not too soon -
Tweety Pie - Tom and Gerry,
And our favourite cartoons,
And after that was serious,
With action fast and true,
With Tonto - Long John Silver,
And The Lone Ranger too -
Robin Hood and William Tell,
With the apple on the head -
Exciting stuff and family clean,
And nobody got dead,
And after that it closed again,
For a couple of hours or so,
And carry on the evening,
With a few short programmes more,
And then five hours later,
Transmission ceased to be,
Until the next day afternoon,
Just in time for tea.

We Had a Mobile Phone in Ince.

We had a mobile phone in Ince
We used to call a mouth
And we used it to communicate
When we travelled north and south -
"Tell mi mam and tell me dad
I'll be home in a bit" -
Charlie, Delta, Bravo -
That's the end of it!
A phone was for the scrapman -
Press button A or B
A doctor or an ambulance
And such emergency
From a red, old-fashioned Tardis
On the new estate
Where four big copper pennies
Dropped upon a plate.
We didn't send soft, shallow texts
To circulate the facts
But messengers and errand boys
And shouts across the backs -
"Tell him to be doing" and
"Ask him this and that" -
And "say I'll see him later on
So we can have a chat"
We didn't finish off with lol
And crosses for a kiss -
A quick "reeto" was man enough
And never went amiss.
Life's all too impersonal
In the way we talk today
With mamsy-pamsy mobile phones
Getting in the way -
We've lost the art of being straight
And talking face to face -
It's nothing but a silly game
And a cultural disgrace -
Our parents would be mortified
And they'd all have a fit
So Charlie, Delta, Bravo -
That's the end of it!

We had a Revolution (1964).

We had a revolution
In nineteen sixty four
The likes of which the changing world
Had never seen before
And it didn't come with marches
Banners, flags and guns
But amplifiers and guitars,
Microphones and drums
When the young boys got together
And sang with melodies
Songs of love for all mankind
In bands of fours and threes.
The Beatles and the Beach Boys,
The Kinks and Rolling Stones
Led the revolution
Into our hearts and homes.
It was a year of magic,
And harmless manic fun
And that was just the start of it -
The best was yet to come !
Twas the start of the Swinging Sixties -
Of groups and catchy tunes
And rhythm, beat and harmonies
In all our living rooms
With The Searchers, Troggs and Merseybeats -
The Byrds and thousands more
With Top of the Pops on Thursday night
And Ready Steady Go.
And the revolution came to all
And made our island swing
With a new-found joy and freedom
That made us dance and sing
And it didn't rise by subterfuge
With orders from above
But by the youth of sixty four
And tender teenage love
And it rattled the establishment
And made the elders frown
But they couldn't keep the music
And the revolution down -
Everyone was happy
And we couldn't ask for more -
Twas a privilege to be alive
In nineteen sixty four.

We Kept Coal Beneath the Stairs.

We kept the coal beneath the stairs,
To keep it save and dry,
And zebrite on a wooden shelf,
Out of arms reach high.
In the corner stood the squeezers,
By the pantry door,
And a heavy home-made hearth rug,
Spread upon the floor -
Whitewashed was the ceiling,
A shade of greyish white,
In the centre hung a twisted flex,
And a sixty watt bulb light.
The stairs were steep and narrow,
And only wood alone,
And on the floor were paving stones,
And that's what we called home.

It wasn't a lot to look at,
And not much light of day,
But it had a great big chimney,
To take the smoke away.

We had a hearth and fender -
A cast iron fireplace,
With a poker and a shovel,
Each in it's own space.
In the coal hole hung a metal axe,
On a nail just to the right,
Used to chop the firewood,
To get the coal alight.
In the pantry was a standpipe,
And a white enamelled sink,
With cold running water,
To wash, eat and drink.
And to the left an iron stove,
With four small jets on top -
Below a little oven,
And that was the lot.

It wasn't a lot to look at,
And not much light of day,
But it had a great big chimney,
To take the smoke away.

On the back wall was a kitchenette,
Coloured green and blue,
Where the bread and jam was kept -
The milk and sugar too.
Beneath the window - a chest of drawers,
Where sat the radio,
And a stout old diner table,
In the middle of the floor,
Facing which a couple of chairs,
And two small-sized settees,
Where we squeezed together,
And sat down for our teas.
The bedrooms had two beds in each,
And a pail for nightly calls,
With a little fireplace apiece,
And green distempered walls.

It didn't have a garden,
Where we could plant and play,
But it had a great big chimney,
To take the smoke away.

The front room was the parlour,
With a sideboard paned with glass,
And a cupboard in the corner,
For the electric and the glass.
The backyard had a fence around,
And the toilet stood outside,
With a bench beneath the window,
And a downspout at the side.
The roof was old and twisted,
But fed the gutter and drain.
And in the eaves were sparrow`s nests,
Sheltered from the rain.
We got all the sun in summer,
And saw the world from there,
Upstairs from the window,
The time that we spent there.

It wasn't a shining palace,
Sumptuous, bright and gay,
But it had a great big chimney,
To take the smoke away.

We Learned a Lot.

We learned a lot outside of school
From a quarter of Typhoo Tea
When they put cards in a packet
With every purchase free.
Flowering plants of the British Isles
Freshwater fish and birds
Each in a glossy photograph
One side - the other words.
Telling all about them
Their origin and strains
Their history and geography
And all their Latin names.
We put them in an album
Which cost us two and three
Complete with post and package
Direct from Typhoo tea.
And we would save them up each day
To do what we intend
And if we had some twicers
We'd swap them with a friend.
Some times when we had plenty
And one or two to spare
We'd gamble them at 'face or blank'
And toss them in the air
On the rare and odd occasion
A packet would have two
A sort of little bonus
From Typhoo tea to you
And we'd be much the wiser
And brighter as a rule
With all this general knowledge
We didn't get at school.
So Typhoo tea taught me a lot
And made me - in a way -
With all that information
A wiser man today.

We Only Had One Law in Ince.

We only had one law in Ince -
'Go and hit him back'
And if we went complaining
We got ourselves a crack.
The rest were used for posh folk
For testaments and wills -
Writs, divorce and property
And such financial ills.
We didn't need a policeman -
We got our Bob for nowt
And if somebody hit us
He went to sort them out.
Burglary did not exist -
Everything was free
Including pears and apples
Off someone else's tree.
'Thou shalt not steal' we stood by
Be then we had no choice -
Everybody knew our name,
Our parents, face and voice.
We'd never do it anyway -
We had too much respect
And even if we thought of it
Our dad would wring our neck.
We rarely saw a constable
In Ince along the way-
There was no crime or traffic
To violate the day
And when we saw an officer
We thought it was our Bob
Who hit somebody on the nose
And did a proper job.
'Go pick on your own size'
And 'Who do you think you are'
Were the only two offences
For which we used the law
And if we kept our mouths shut
And tried to hit them back
We rarely got in trouble
And never got a crack!

We Put Them in a Cardboard Box.

We put them in a cardboard box
Or a small potato sack
Manna sent from heaven
Shiny smooth and black
Spilled upon the Whelley line
As the buffers clashed and jarred
We'd gather up from wagons
And hide them in the yard
Often when the stars were out
And the moon was shining bright
We'd comb the track for anthracite
To keep our fires alight.
Sometimes with a flashlight -
In pairs or just alone
We'd scramble down the slippery bank
And hump it off back home.
Manna sent from heaven
That kept our hearths aglow
We`d find up the embankment
Among the frost and snow.
It came as sweet, small mercy
And gave us heart and soul
In the cold dark nights of winter
When we ran out of coal
And as we lay awake in bed
Huddled, warm and snug
We'd listen to the engines
And wait for them to tug
For when they hit the incline
And dithered at the top
Coal fell on the trackside
Like pepper from a pot
And then we knew tomorrow
There's gold along the way
Up upon the Whelley line
Not too far away.

We Put Carnation in our Tea.

We put carnation in our tea
The day the sterry died
From a little tin in the pantry
For emergencies aside.
It tasted sweet and sickly
And took it's time to pour
And when we finished drinking it
We couldn't drink no more.
But when the tin was empty
And all the bottles dry
We'd catch a bus to Wigan
To get a fresh supply.
Millgate was the place to go
For National Dried Milk -
It made a cream for porridge
And tasted smooth as silk
As well as for the babies -
They could drink it warm
From the teat on a Guinness bottle
Against the mother's arm.
We'd scoop it from the clinic tin -
Three spoonfuls at a time
And mix it with hot water
And let it stand a while
Then pour it on a slice of bread
Broke up upon a plate
Then add a bit of sugar
And mix it up and wait
And if the porridge was too hot
We'd wait a little more
And when the porridge was just right
Then - spoon away we'd go.

When I Meet my Maker.

When I meet my maker
I want to be prepared.
Somewhat apprehensive
And perhaps a little scared
Like going for an interview
I'll tried to do my best
And tell him that I'm sorry
If I failed him in the test
That I always tried to live my life
In a way I thought was right
And thought about him constantly
Every day and night
I'll say how sorry that I am
For not being strong
And ask for his forgiveness
For the things that I did wrong
And if after hearing this
He doesn't let me through
Then I don't want to know him -
He's not the God I knew !

When I Moved Away From Ince.

When I moved away from Ince
I got a little tense
When someone took me for a meal
I lost my confidence.
I'd never used a knife and fork
Ever in my youth
And I didn't know how to do it
And that's the honest truth.
I used to sit there frozen numb
And look around with dread
I'd never had a meal before
Without a slice of bread,
I'd never used utensils -
I'd always used my claws
For eating chips and pies at home
Upon a chest of drawers.
So it made me most defensive
And nervous of my food
And scared to death of starting
For fear of being rude.
That's not the way to do it !
I always felt inside -
Surely the fork to eat
Should be on the other side
For I was not left handed
And I couldn't get a hold
To eat the damn stuff quick enough
Before it got too cold.
And a bowl of soup for starters ?
That was a meal at home
With half a loaf of Rathbones
Would suffice upon it's own.
The peas were always difficult -
They wouldn't stay in place
So I didn't bother trying
Just to save my face
And the little cobs they gave us -
You can't put chips on them
So I watched what other people did
And tried to copy them.
But now these days I'm quite adept
And use the tools I should
But you just can't beat the fingers
For making food taste good.

When I Was Young.

When I was young, bashful and small,
I lacked self-confidence cunning and gall,
So much so that I would shy,
Away from girls who caught my eye,
And there was one specific girl,
Who made my tender feelings whirl -
Little Maureen was her name -
Six years old and I the same.
The daintiest little chick, and cool -
And princess of my junior school,
And she was such a heavenly sight,
I dreamed about her every night,
But she had not a care for me,
In my young foolish ecstasy.
She'd pass me with a casual air,
As if my presence wasn't there,
And never gave me one short glance,
At the kindergarten dance.
Maureen was the girl for me -
Full of grace and mystery.
She was so pretty, trim and neat,
She swept me off my little feet.
Then I was a reckless six-year old -
With other classmates brazen bold,
With unkempt hair and grubby knees,
Through scaling walls and climbing trees,
Which non-impressed the fair Maureen -
Sweet damsel and the classroom queen.
It seemed I wasn't good enough,
Being wayward, wild and rough.
She seemed to like the gentle boys,
With brylcream quiffs and fancy toys -
The clever type with a nonchalant sigh,
With clean fingernails and collar and tie.
But they didn't love her the way that I did,
Though I was just a scruffy young kid.
I felt like a knight on a trembling steed,
Out to assist a young maiden in need -
Strutting around in full battledress,
And waiting for my chance to impress.
But all she saw was an infantile fool,
Trying to assert his place in the school.
Maureen was my original love -
My plastacine baby sent from above,
And so she remains for poor little me -
My very first love that never could be.

When I Wore Trousers Above My Knee.

When I wore trousers above my knee,
There once was a stamp on a packet of tea,
In a quarter pound packet - red and green,
With a picture of an Indian girl in cream,
Carrying a basket of leaves on her head -
The stamps peeled off and the stamps were red.
Brooke Bond dividend tea it was -
A little bit for them and a little bit for us.
We stuck them down in a little white square,
On a card with a hundred spaces spare,
And when the room on the card was nil,
We got half a dollar in cash from the till,
Which mounted up at the end of the year,
And made the dividend tea less dear.
We bought these packets from the Co-op store,
In Belle Green lane in sixty four,
But buying that packet of tea was hard,
Twas a fight who put the stamp on the card,
Cos they fit so snugly in that square,
When the stamp was licked and we placed it there,
And when there was only one space to go,
We didn't need the tea but we bought some more.

Where Did All the Skylark's Go?

Where did all the Skylarks go,
That soared to heaven sweet and slow,
To pour down music from the sky,
In Higher Ince in days gone by.
What happened to their rising shrills,
Above the roads and grassy hills,
As they ascended one by one,
And disappeared into the sun.
Their cherry melodies and tunes,
Did liven up the afternoons,
And filled the lazy loitering gaze,
With silent wonder in those days.
I haven't seen one for some time,
Perform it's steady upward climb,
In mesmerizing graceful leaps,
Above the fields and slaggy heaps,
To rise and take position there,
And reign as manarchs of the air -
I'd love to see the Skylark soar,
But we don't see them any more !

Where do you want it missus ?

Where do you want it missus ?
The coalman used to shout
Peering through the open gate
And looking round about
With his cap and shoulders greasy jet
And his visage smudged in grime
Trudging through the ice and snow
In a bygone winter time
With a woodbine hanging from his lip
And bent beneath his load
Humping sacks of anthracite
To houses in the road.
He was a welcome spectacle
When times were cold and hard
And to see him coming round in Ince
Was like the Coming of the Lord !
A saviour and black angel
Who brought us hope and joy
And saved us all from perishing
When I was a boy.
In the throes of a long, cold winter
When all the fuel was gone
He brought us warmth from heaven
And the will to carry on.
When the dismal grate empty, clean
And the coal-hole swept and bare
It was a most angelic sight
To see him standing there
Stooping in the doorway
Weary, cold and wise
Clutching on a crumpled bag
With coal dust in his eyes
While the wind blew down the chimney flue
And the singing fire was dead
Heading for the stair-case
With his cap cocked on his head.
Yes, he brought us joy - the coalman
And I can see him yet
Striding to his wagon
All smeared in dust and sweat
With his apron worn and shabby
And his jacket old and torn
Battling with the elements
To keep the people warm...
Our incognito coalmen
Blackened in disguise -
All we really ever saw
Was the whites of their eyes
Their faces still escape me
But I remember what they did
They brought us coal from heaven
When I was a kid.

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you're talking to
And who do you think you are ?
Because you live in Buckingham
And I'm still on Ince Bar -
Because you are a lady now
And I'm a common serf
Don't mean you're more important
Than I am on the earth.
The rain that fell on our house
Fell on your's the same
And we both got up to mischief
Up and down the lane.
We both were poor together -
Haven't you forgot ?
We shared our pop and humbugs
And everything we got.
We sneaked into the pictures
Upon a Saturday morn
And we both played ball together
From the day that we were born
So remember where you came from
Or I'll give you just what for !
Who do you think you're talking to
And who do you think you are ?

Who Were the Heroes?

Who were the heroes of the past
In all our yesterdays ?
Who nurtured and supported us
In many different ways.
It wasn't the Queen or country
Or the generals of the war
Who never really knew us
And the things that we lived for.
It wasn't the politicians
With dreams and visions grand -
Of substance and ambition
Or the men who ruled the land.
Twas the men who worked the coal mines
And the women of the mills
Who laboured for us day and night
To pay the rent and bills.
The working class of yesterday
Who fought against the odds -
Twas they who were our saviours
And our little demi-gods
Who struggled in adversity
With the pressures of the day
To put food upon the table
And help to pay the way.
The folks who came from nothing
Through anarchy and strife
Who worked and pulled together
To make themselves a life.
They were the heroes of our lives -
Unnoticed at the time
Who put all selfishness aside
And their bodies on the line
To fight for our survival
And keep our country free -
To save our generation
And the likes of you and me.

Who dust think tha talkin to ?

Who dust think tha talkin to -
Altelthi what owd mon
Thar askin for a bob ont nose
The way tha carries on.
Ive geet a mind to githi one
Bur I'm not in fettle yet -
I've pood a muscle in mi back
And I caunt work up a sweat.
I'll fotch our Harry to thi
Then thal get what for
He was a boxer inth army
And a good one and ah.
So tha better watch thi step owd lad
And by the bloody hell
And if I were ten years younger
I'd sort thi eyt mi sel.

Who's that New Couple?.

Who's that new couple who's moved intert street -
Hast sin um ? - well I have today -
I'm sure they're not from reynd here -
Tha con tell that a good mile away.
They don't talk to nobody
And they're always wearin nice cloowers -
The little lad`s geet a two-wheeler bike
And they've oilcloth deyn on their floowers.
They look a bit posh for my likin -
He caws his wife darling and dear
And the little lad caws um daddy and mum
Which doesn't seynd reet fur reynd here.
I caunt see um stoppin too lung tha knows
Just mark mi words if it's true -
They've geet too much money to live in our street -
They're teet to bi just passin through.

With Christams Getting Close.

With Christmas getting close again
I feel a bit depressed
Not for the kids and parents
But the fit and youthful rest.
Twill be sad to our youngsters
Getting drunk as mops
Acting daft in nightclubs
And taking ' you know whats '
Raving till the daybreak
Dicing ill and harm
When they should be tucked in bed at home
Snug, safe and warm.
We had some double diamonds
In Ince at Christmas time -
Some fish and chips or a take-away
And that went down just fine
And we'd be back in bed at home
Before the midnight bell -
Perhaps a little worse for wear
But safe, sound and well.
Our parents wouldn't worry much -
When I lived up there -
Closing time was twelve o'clock
And they all knew where we were -
Jiving to the juke box
And sipping babychams -
Playing darts and dominoes
And drinking black and tans -
Enjoying every moment
And happy while we could
Not roaming round the town at night
Up to no good -
Collapsing in the gutter
And staggering round the bars
And walking on the wild side
In the early hours.
Back in the double diamond days
Youth was ready and rough
But we knew when we'd enjoyed ourselves
And when we'd had enough
And so to bed on Christmas Eve
Everything was fine
And we'd climb beneath the duvet
To dream the happy time -
Safe, content and satisfied
We'd soon be well away
Happy just to be alive
And well on Christmas day.

Words Never Die.

Words never die - it's said -
Of that there is no doubt
So we must be careful what we say
Before we start to spout.
A strung and ready arrow
Sitting in the bow
Once released cannot return
To where it was before.
That's what we didn't see in Ince
When troubles were afoot
And verbal confrontation failed
To keep the cake hole shut
For the words are weapons of the mind
And In such cases true
And cause us greater injury
Than blows can ever do -
'I put him straight on everything'
And 'I left him nothing short'
Means he struck his mind with words
And hit him in the heart.
Unlike the wounds of flesh and blood
The scars of words don't heal
Though Nature's kind - she's painful slow
To change the way we feel
For words live on for ever
Especially if they're wrong -
There's no way of revoking them
Once they've left tongue
No way to stop and turn them round
And catch them in their flight
And pull them back and start again
To put the wrongs to right
So we must be very careful
With the words we use today -
Writing them or speaking them
Can be fatal either way
Bur if we're sorry quick enough
And to repentance come
Then all can be forgiven
And no great harm is done.

Work is a Curse of the Drinking Man.

Work is the curse of the drinking man
So Oscar Wilde once said
Before he went to Reading Jail
And they later found him dead
But booze was not a problem
For us while growing up -
In Ince we couldn't get none -
Not one little sup.
Not until we'd come of age
And then it was a job
In case we sneaked into a pub
And bumped into our Bob
Who'd go and tell our mother
And she would tell our dad
And we'd get castigated
For being a naughty lad.
The corner shops sold Guinness,
Makeson and stout
And there wasn't any lager
Or special brew about
Until one day upon the shelf
A bottle did appear -
Tall and green with a label - brown
Which didn't look like beer.
Twas Ye Olde English cider
A drink we thought was pop
Until we took a swig or two
A short walk from the shop -
The old ones hadn't tried it
And didn't know the score
And wondered what was happening
As we staggered back for more
Of Ye Olde English cider
From the corner shops -
It turned us into monkeys
And made us drunk as mops
In the days of prohibition
For under twenty twos -
It looked and tasted just like pop
With a bigger kick than booze.
The sparkling wine from Somerset
Where the cider apples grow -
Once we got the taste for it
We just went back for more.


I`m goowin wom - it`s womtime -
Wom is a house in a street -
A bungalow, flat or a cabin -
A place of social retreat.
It`s a den of escape and a refuge
Where we feel happy and free
Away from people and worries
Where only we have a key.
Wom is a lock-out and castle
Built of mortar and stone
A haven of rest and asylum.
And a place for being alone.
I`m gooin wom - it`s womtime -
Wom is a comforting word
It`s a place to put a big sign up
` Don`t bother, annoy or disturb `
It`s quarantine, cell, isolation,
Removal and somewhere to flee,
Hideaway, lair or a chapel -
Whatever we want it to be.
Wom is a warm destination -
A bosom of comfort and rest
Of all the friendly places on earth
Surely wom is the best.
` I`m gooin wom - it`s womtime`
Is just the same as to say
` I`m weary, confused and I`m tired
I`ve had enough of today `
Wom is the finest word ever
It glows of warmth and delight,
Breakfast, dinner and supper -
A bed to sleep for the night
And when I get old and exhausted
And lack the strength to go on
If I could choose my place to expire
No doubt it has to be wom !

Wounded to the Heart was I !!!

Wounded to the heart was I
And hurt beyond repair
One fine September day in Ince
Whilst walking to the fair.
Cocky Joe was with me
Like glue stuck by my side
As we walked along together
To take a waltzer ride
But we never reached the fairground
With all it's sights and thrills
For we had an altercation
On the land besides Owd Bills.
He'd been niggling all morning -
And had something on his mind
As he tried to bump my shoulder
And trip me from behind
And it came a mighty shock to me
And it made me very sad
When he said his dad beat my dad
When his dad was a lad
And he said it was so easy -
He bopped him on the chin
With one hand tied behind his back
He wiped the floor with him.
Then thrice around he swung him
And tossed him in the air
Then threw him on the chippy step
And left him lying there
Defeated and bewildered,
Lost and in a daze
He sent him crying to his mam
And went their separate ways.
Now I'd been injured in my time
And suffered many harms
Being nettled to the eyeballs
And torn to shreds by thorns -
Stung by vicious horsefly,
Wasp and bumble bee
But none did ever hurt me more
Than the words he said to me.
So my mind was in a pickle
That sorry Autumn night
To think my dad and hero
Was humbled in a fight
Especially to my best mate`s dad
Being lanky, meek and tame
Who had a small allotment
At the bottom of the lane
Where he grew his prize tomatoes
Sprouts and artichokes
And sold them at a profit
To all the local folks.
Harvest time in Higher Ince
Should have been a gracious time
With good things all around us
From the bounteous Divine
But my mind was in a pickle
And my thoughts were dark and grim
As I wrestled with my conscience
To take revenge on him
And before the lark's fist melody
At sunrise in the morn
I made off to his cabbage patch
Enraged and full of scorn
Where I pickled on his cucumbers
Turnips, swedes and peas,
Broad beans, sprouts and artichokes
All in lines of threes -
Beetroots and onions,
Spanish, local spring,
Lettuces and melons -
I covered everything -
Carrots and asparagus
Radishes and cress
In a rampage of destruction
That left it in a mess
Then later on that morning
Proud and feeling good
I called upon my granddad
With a pile of fire wood
To find him cross and weeping
And stomping in his yard -
Whatever had affected him
Had hit him mighty hard.
Youll never guess what's happened '
He yelled out in despair -
' Someone's watered all my plants
And I wasn't even there ' !
And the moral of the story is
When offences stab and sting
Take a leaf from my book -
Revenge is not the thing
It leads to gross calamity,
Grief and double woe
That leaves us in a far worse state
Than we were before
But if alas we weaken
Through unbearable duress
Make sure that no one see you
And get the right address.

You Can't Predict Them.

You can't predict the way they feel
From one day to the next -
It only takes the slightest word
To make them cross or vexed -
They say they'll keep in touch with you
And after all they don't
And always seem to let us down
After promising they won't.
You just can't weigh them up at all -
A woman or a bloke -
Of all the creatures in the world
There's none so queer as folk.
Sometimes they're all over us
And want us more and more
Then when we really need them
They just don't want to know.
They change their colours overnight
And minds so much each day -
Always want a thing for nowt
And never want to pay.
You just can't trust in them at all
And I'm sorry that I spoke -
Of all the creatures in the world
There's none so queer as folk.
They're only ever interested
If there's something to be got
Least concerned with what they have
And most with what they've not.
They never quite can understand
Exactly what they mean -
Oh so sweet and genuine
But are never what they seem.
They tell you not to bother
And call you when you don't
And ask you not to do a thing
And wonder why you won't.
It's best to just give up on them
And treat them as a joke
Of all the creatures in the world
There's none so queer as folk.

You'd Never Find an Incer...

You'd never find an Incer
In a white collar job
The days he called his sweetheart wench
And a shilling piece a bob -
They couldn't understand him
Up in Wigan lane
And the way he spoke and said things
Was more or less to blame.
Instead of saying can you please
He'd simply ask you 'cont'
And another word he used was 'wilt'
For a favour he may want
And in place of saying have you got
The term he'd use was 'hast' -
An archaic word from long ago
Way back in the past.`
Do you - 'dust' and were you - 'wust'
Those were ancient too
And here's more stranger ones than that
To mention just a few -
A dowter was his daughter
And his mother was his mam -
Childer were his offspring
And his babby had a pram -
Long was lung
And strong was strung
And his fayther-in-law was his dad -
Thought was thowt
And sheyt was shout
And fain was feeling very glad.
Break was breyk
And speak was speyk
And a coowert the name for a coat
And often he'd be 'miles away'
When he seemed a bit remote
Heyt was height
And breyt was bright
And the following day - int morn
First was fust
And worse was wust
And pop was to pledge or pawn
Cheek was chelp -
A juvenile whelp
And a feyt in the yard was a fight
Told was towd
And old was owd
And a ganzy a vest in the night
A pound was a peynd
A ball was reynd
And goowin up war was a fit -
Four was foower
And there's monny moower
But that'll keep you going for a bit

You've Never had it so good.

" You've never had it so good
Living here in heaven "
Said a kind-faced young Macmillan
In nineteen fifty seven
And his words proved most prophetic
When I was ten in Ince
For though we'd nowt to shout about
It's never been better since.
We didn't have a motor car
And the luxuries of home
But we had life abundantly
And a spirit never known.
All the world was thriving
With music in the air -
Life was optimistic
And work was everywhere.
Twas a glorious time in history
To end the pre-war glums -
The earth was spinning gaily round
And the heavens had two suns.
We never had it so good
And we partied in the street -
We had a change of clothes at last
And plentiful to eat.
War, death and misery
No more could ever be -
We'd fought the war to end all wars
And we were safe and free.
We never had it so good
Though money we had none -
The country started booming
And the best was yet to come.
The welfare state was founded
And pop was close at hand
With a new, exciting culture
Sweeping through the land.
The nation was rebuilding
From the ravages of war
And they built a little cenotaph
To the fallen at Ince Bar.
We never had it so good
And the time was ripe to sing
In an age of few possessions
When no one owned a thing.
We bopped and rocked around the clock
In a frenzy of delight
To see the new world dawning
As darkness turned to light.
The trappings of material
To us were yet unknown
As we reaped the joyful harvest
In blood by others sown.
We never had it so good
And we never will again
Relive the booming fifties
Like it was back then.
Twas the greatest era of mankind -
A joy to be young and free
And a special time in history
For the likes of you and me.

Copyright 2018 Kevin Holcroft