'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.'

So at night, t' council took all their 'oles back to t' depot,
As their young Clerk of Works had ordained,
An' made sure each one 'ad been turned upside down,
So they'd not all fill up when it rained.

But they found there were 'oles goin' missin'
'Cos security weren't all that strict.
They'd an idea t' grave-digger were 'elpin' 'imself
An' Gawd knows 'ow many 'e'd nicked..

An' one of the council's own workmen,
To 'im, pichin' 'oles weren't that 'ard,
'E'd used two six foot lengths out of t' high street
For a goldfish pond in 'is back yard.

An' that time t' football pitch 'as got flooded
By some young lads, just 'avin' a prank
Wot got fed up wi' 'umpin' this big 'ole around
An' then dumped it on t' canal bank.

But, gen'rally speakin', 't were workin' quite well,
Till one night, a force nineteen gale hit,
An' these 'oles all got blown into t' corner of t' yard
An' formed one enormous great pit.

It were thirty foot wide an' some twenty foot deep,
Right be'ind Ernie 'Igginbottom's cart,
An' 'e 'ad a shockin' 'angover.
When 'e's come in t' next mornin' to start.

'E's fetched 'orse from t' stables, backed 'im up between shafts,
Wi' 'is collar an' 'arness an' stuff,
An' then nipped to t' canteen for one more mug o' tea,
Seein' as 'ow 'e were feelin' dog rough.

'Is eyesight at t' best of times weren't all that good,
T' wind an' t' rain in 'is face made it worse.
'E climbed up on 'is cart an' 'as said 'Giddyup!',
But forgot 'e'd left t' 'orse in reverse.

That's why they stopped takin' their 'oles back to depot,
An' you're findin' 'em all over town.
'Cos they're leavin' their 'oles where they dig 'em,
But this time they're nailin' 'em down!
The end