John Bilsborough 1970

It were advertised in't papers, asking tenders, in advance,
For digging of a tunnel, from Old England o'er to France.
Now Wimpy said '900 million'. Parkinsons said same,
And so did Alf. McAlpine, but one fine day there came
A postcard from a firm, I dare say, hitherto unknown,
As worked on roofs and grant jobs,
Up to three miles outside Colne.

'Dear Sir', it said, 'I and my Dad, are very proud to be
J.Arthur Scatterthwaite and Son, Established nineteen three
'And we,' said he,'my dad and me, are very pleased to quote
For 59 pounds ten, plus costs, (two shovels and a boat).
Assuring you of all our best attention we remains,
J. Arthur Scatterthwaite.
P.S. We also unblock drains.

The Minister for Tunnels, whilst quite happy at the price,
Thought, before he signed the contact, that he'd better get advice.
Could it be that there were factors they'd not taken in account,
That pursuaded them to quote for such a reasonable amount?
He asked them round, to see him, to explain what they were at,
And to meet the Grand Committee,
For a cuppa and a chat.

At the Meeting, my Great Uncle Jack, when called upon to speak,
Said 'We'll start on Monday morning and work 7 days a week.
The reason me and't lad can do this job so very cheap?
We used to work in't pit and we could dig holes in us sleep
We'll need a pair of shovels, as referred to, in the quote,
And we'll have to start at different ends,
So that accounts for't boat.

We'll dig towards the middle and eventually we'll meet,
Then we'll pop around to settle up and call the job complete.'
The Minister for Tunnels said 'But tell me, my good man,
What happens if things... don't go quite... according to your plan?
If you don't meet in the middle? Sithee, what'll happen then?'
'Well, you'll get two Channel Tunnels,
For 59 pounds ten.

The end