'OLES IN T' ROAD
by
Alan Lavercombe

I think me mam said it were great uncle 'Erbert
Wot once fell down that' 'ole in our road,
On a dark foggy night, umpteen years back,
Between t' Red Lion an' 'is abode.

As 'Erbert 'as come around t' corner,
Where t' gas-lamp weren't shinin' too bright,
It's reckoned 'e knew that t' night-watchman weren't there,
'E'd been drinkin' wi' t' fella all night.

Our 'Erbert 'ad injured 'is drinkin' elbow,
An' 'is Sunday-best suit were a mess.
'E says "I've a mind to sue t' council for this!"
Says t' night-watchman, "I'll be tha witness."

T' Judge decided 'e'd get compensation,
Me mam can remember it still,
'T were twenty-eight pounds, eighteen shillings an' sixpence,
Plus 'is one-an'-six dry-cleanin' bill.
  This nearly bankrupted the council,
They spent many long 'ours in debates
On 'ow to make up this 'ere twenty-nine quid
Wi'out slappin' an 'a'penny on t' rates.

Then this young Clerk of Works, 'e got to 'is feet,
A well-spoken grammar school lad,
An' they always listened to what 'ed to say,
T' reason bein' t' Lord Mayor were 'is dad.

This lad says "I've just 'ad a brilliant idea,
We'll give t' skivin' night-watchmen the poke,
Then we'll sell all their 'uts an' their braziers,
An' we'll save quite a few bob on t'coke."

"Now, we can't leave these 'oles unattended,
There'd be folks fallin' down 'em all night,
An' suin' this 'ere council for twenty-nine quid,
Droppin' us in very deep in... a plight."

"They could lift these 'oles onto those carts they've all got
I mean, 'oles! 'Ow much does an 'ole weigh?
An' then take 'em all back to our depot,
Where they'll not get in anyone's way."
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