performed by
Bernard Miles

Good arternoon...
I just been across to see Harry Partridge in the cottage 'ospital.
He cut 'is leg on a bit o' hold iron and that turned sceptical.
I says to him, "'Ow yer feelin' Harry?" an' 'e says, "Well," he says, "I am better 'an what I was," he says, "but I ain't as well as what I was afore I was as bad as what I am now."
So you can tell he was must 'a' bin pretty poorly.
There's one thing, he'll see a lot of changes when he comes out 'cos we've 'ad the proper water fitted in since 'e bin away.
Council water. In pipes. But I don't care for it meself.
Weell, there don't seem to be no strength in it. You can't hardly taste it. You can't even smell it.
Give me a drop of my ole well water every time. You could smell that all right. That's why they made me fill it in.
A feller come across from Luton and took some on it away to be hanalated.
"That's alive," he says. "Crawling with 'em," he says.
I says "Crawlin' with what?"
And he says, "Bacteriums and microphobes and minute hanimal horganisations."
I says, "Get away," I says. "That's only a few tadpoles," I says. "We depends on them," I says, "to help us out with the meat ration."
He had to laugh.
"Well," he says, "It might be all right for bathin' in," he says, "but it certainly ain't fit to drink."
Well, the idea. Bathin'. I never had a bath in me life. Not as far as I know. I don't want one neither.
That's why I hopes I never 'as to go into 'ospital.
Lot o' young girls a luggin' yer about and gawkin' at yer.
I've been private all me life and I wants to stay private.
I told this feller I never 'ad a bath and he says "Well, however do you get the dirt orf, then?"
And I says, "When that's thick enough that falls orf." I says. "Like it do orf a 'tater. Course, it has to be dry like."
Weell. The idea!
My ole mother never bathed any of us. She used to rub us all over with bacon fat and then sew us up in flannel for the winter.
Eleven of us; lying on the kitchen table.
We was sewed up round about Michaelmas and we wasn't unsewed till Lady Day.
She used to cut two arm'oles in this little bit o' bit flannel and put it on us like a jacket and then sew us up the belly with red cotton. Eleven of us; lying on the kitchen table.
Then 'er and my ole dad used to do each other.
Weell. The idea! Bathin'!
When I went acrorse to thin ole Miss Piggot's onions out she says, "I reckon you wants a bath," she says, "you're filthy," she says, "Why," she says, "you're dirtier than what ole Tommy Fairchild is," she says.
So I says, "Well," I says, "I'm three years older than what he is," I says, and I gets about more, " I says.
So she says "Arr", she says, "A rolling stone gathers no moss,"
So I says, "No." I says, "And a sitting hen don't grow no feathers on 'er belly.
Arr, that 'ad 'er. She couldn't answer. She went as red as a beetroot. I thought she was goin' to explode.
Weell! The idea! Talkin' to me like that!
I'd thin 'er onions out for 'er if I 'ad my way. Ridin' round on that fat little pony of 'ers, like a Tom Tit on a round of beef.
I 'ad me 'air cut yesterday.
The feller comes acrorse from Dunstable every fortnight and does the 'ole village in ole Mrs Wilkinson's scullery.
He's got two prices, eightpence and fourpence, so as you can either 'ave it cut or notched. The only difference is that when 'e's notching 'e goes faster and 'e ain't quite so careful.
'E took half inch off ole Tommy Lavender's ears last time 'e was over. I 'eard ole Tommy 'oller out, and when I went in there 'e was holdin' 'is 'ead over the sink, and this yer barber chap was down on 'is 'ands and knees lookin' for the bit 'e chopped off! 'E found it be'ind the mangle. They tried to put it on again but it kept fallin' orf so in the end ole Tommy took it 'ome in a matchbox. 'E reckons 'e's going to 'ang it on 'is watch chain.
The end