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ALBERT AND VICTORIA
by
John Bilsborough

"Our resident poet", for BBC Radio 4 "P.M."
to commemorate the opening of
Buckingham Palace to the public, 1970 summat.


It were Albert Ramsbottom's birthday,
And his mam and dad asked what he'd like.
He said, "Day trip to Buckingham Palace,
'Cos' it's too far to go on me bike.

They're trying to raise cash to pay't builders
For that one as got burnt to the ground."
"Well, they should have been with the Prudential," said Mother,
"at per tuppence per Palace per pound."

So Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom and Albert
Set forth in the fullness of time,
Aboard Birkinshaw's Luxury Charabanc,
An event little short of sublime.

On they glided through village and valley,
Till they stopped at a great iron gate,
By a lawn with a fountain and cherubs,
And the driver says, "Don't be back late!"

The doors whispered open, like magic...
Albert's eyes opened wide with delight
On vast vistas of opulent splendour,
Great chandeliers, glistening bright...

And Albert turns round and says "Mother..."
And Father lets out a gert laugh
And says "Nay, is it first time our Albert
Has been to a motorway caff?"

Later, stood in the queue at the Palace,
And Guide says "Now then, follow me.
No smoking, no dawdling, no sitting on thrones,
Off we go... In twelve seventy-three..."

"And what's through this door here?" says Albert,
Struggling hard to keep up with the crowd.
"Queen Victoria's personal parlour, that's what.
Out of Bounds. No Day-trippers Allowed.

And I have heard it said that room's haunted..."
Says the guide, "meanwhile, just along here..."
And he ushered them on, as a sweet voice whispered,
"Albert, is that you, my dear?"

There was only the likkle lad heard it,
So he crept back and opened the door...
"Do come in, dearest Albert..."
"Well, all right..." and he looked round in wonder and awe...

There was nobody there, just a picture,
All done up in a fancy gold frame,
Of a lovely young lady, but then, as he looked,
He heard the voice whisper his name.

"Where are you, Dear Albert, my angel,
So handsome, so clever and kind,
My gallant, my charmer, my consort,
Our destinies ever entwined...

Albert, prince of my heart, gift of heaven,
Albert, witty and wise and sincere,
Albert, here in my...", "Albert! Ramsbottom!
What are you doing in theer!"

"Nothing, Mother, I just...", "Well, we've finished,
And we're off now to get Souvenirs."
With the words of the Queen of the Empire
Still ringing in't little lads ears,

He says, "Well, I know what I'm getting",
As he joined in the jovial crush.
"It's a postcard of that lady's picture..."
And he turned away, hiding a blush.

So now, on his wall, next to Gazza,
Is a young lady in a gold frame,
Who had once intertwined with his destiny
And smiled as she whispered his name.

 
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