WHEN YOU'VE 'AD YER CHIPS
by
Gary Hogg
There's a chip shop on Amblethwaite High Street
That's owned by a bloke called Jed Craddock
I was in t'other night on me way from the pub
I forget what I got - probbly 'addock

As usual it weren't ready so I just had to wait
So I sat and got talking to Ted
He says "Taters have gone up to a shilling a pound,
Oh, and Joe Pringle the milkman's dropped dead"

I was shocked I said, "Never!" he said, "Aye" I said "No!"
I had to sit down, I said, "When?"
He says "Starting today they're a shilling a pound"
I said "What price'll four pennorth be then?"

"They'll have to be sixpence by my workings out,
And that's still eating in to me profits"
I says "Well I'll have to cut down to just five nights a week,
Cos when I tell our Mary she'll go off it"

It was next morning I remembered Joe Pringle
When I was raking the back of the grate
And how Jed had said as he'd snuffed it
To be fair, I had been in a state

He was a lovely old lad was Joe Pringle
The sort of man you don't meet every day
Unless'n of course he's your milkman
Which he was, so you would, I dare say

They weren't regular churchgoers, the Pringles
Not cos they were heathens nor nowt
Just they never seemed to get round to it
Well not until Joseph pegged out

The Minister called round the day after he died
"Ah, your Worship, come in" says Irene
And she showed him through into the parlour
Where Joe was laid out all serene

She'd lit a few candles, she didn't know why
She'd seen it one time on TV
And the vicar said a prayer and blessed him and that
And then she poured him a nice cup of tea

He had a sip, then he says "What hymns did he like?"
"Well I don't really know", says Irene
She thought for a while then she says with a smile
"The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen?"

The Vicar, Mr Harvey was a miserable sod
And he thought it an utter disgrace
And he gave her a look like she'd farted in church
Like they'd dropped a stitch when they knitted his face

That's not really a hymn", he explained with a sigh
He could see that she hadn't a clue
But she wouldn't be phased, "He liked 'Songs of Praise',
She says, "The Old Rugged Cross, that'll do"

"Why don't you let me pick the hymns" t'vicar says
"Well if you're sure you don't think it's a cheek,
And do you mind if we have him cremated,
I can't be on wi' visiting each week"

Then he gave her a lecture about dying and that
And he talked for three quarters of an hour
All about life and death and resurrection and that
And God and his almighty power

He said God had made everything on this here earth
And she agreed that he probably had
Well that's all excepting the shed in't back yard
It were Joe that built that with his Dad

He said that though Joe was still here in body
His spirit were in far nicer place
And she thought right enough he'd be up there
Just starting to unpack his case

And she wondered a while how he was settling in
And if he'd be feeling okay
She thought "That's the worst of being dead, sort of style,
You must feel a bit stiff the next day"

And right enough at that time, Joe was sat on a cloud
Having a crack with some of his mates
Them as had died a few years afore
He were bringing them all up to date

Wi' the 'appenings of Amblethwaite since they'd been gone
They wanted to know all the gen
And a few of em got a bit homesick
Hearing who'd been doing what, where and when

But despite all their tearful reminiscence
His stories just served to compound
A general consensus they were in the right place
Specially wi' taters at a shilling a pound!
The end