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BLINKY IS DRIVING TONIGHT
by
Alf Ricks
[An Engine Driver’s Story]

Tell you a story? Why, Yes, sir,
I dare say I could if I tried
But it’s very dry work, sir, is talking,
Very well, sir, we’ll just go inside
I’m Blinky, sir, I drives the engine,
On the ‘Get-off-an-push-behind-line
And one night between Belfast and Dover,
We was twenty-two days behind time
The passengers started a-growling
But the guard knew them both well, by sight
So he said, “Never worry, we’re safe, lads
For Blinky is driving tonight.”
You see there was fog on the line, sir,
And straight I felt tempted to swear
For someone had shifted the stations
And I couldn’t make out where we were
So I stopped her just outside of Dundee
In Scotland - yes, that’s where it is
Well, yes it was out of our way, sir
But I went round that way to see Liz
The guard was asleep in a smoker
I shook him and he said, “All right
We’re sure to get in before Christmas
For Blinky is driving tonight.”

Of course (well, here’s your good health, sir)
But as I was saying before
I turned her on full-speed ahead, sir
For I knew there was trouble in store
Right in front we could see something moving
So the stoker he ran on ahead
And saw an old man on a donkey
Going home, as he told him, to bed.
He said, “Leave the line, we’ll be on to you”
But the man said, Go on, I’m all right
You’ll never catch up with my donkey
For Blinky is driving tonight.”
Just then came a lad selling papers
I bought one and how I did stare
For I saw there was a ten pound reward out
For someone to tell where we were
All at once the wind blew out my woodbine
So I said to the stoker, “Jump off
And get me a box of wax matches,”
But he started to grumble and cough
Said he, “I can’t get back in time, lads,”
“Yes, you can,” said the guard, “So don’t fight
Follow up on the line and you’ll catch us
For Blinky is driving tonight.”

Of course, by this time I was anxious
(Yes, I’ll just take a pipeful of twist)
You see we got run off the line, sir,
And got lost in the fields ‘mong the mist
All at once I could see a red signal
So I stopped, as of course, you’ll suppose
But found it was only a policeman
Who had signalled the train with his nose
“You are miles from your line” said the copper
“How comes it that you’re in this plight?”
Then a passenger groaned from a corner
“Old Blinky is driving tonight.”

Then we knocked up a farmer with horses
And dragged the train back to the line
(Yes, I dare say I could drink another)
You see we were pressed, sir, for time
Then I thought now we’re just outside of Dover
But the stoker said, “Here’s a fine do
Instead of lying outside of Dover
We’re only five minutes from Crewe.”
So I grabbed up my canful - tea, sir
And I drank till my waist-coat grew tight
And the wind seemed to whisper, “Lord help us
For Blinky is driving tonight.”

A crash and a roar then a whistle
I sprang off as the guard shouted, “Mind”
Then I found out that somebody’s funeral
Had run into us from behind
The what? Were the passengers injured?
Well, no, only shaken a bit
But they wouldn’t go back in the train, sir
They said they’d had plenty of it
The guard tried to coax them, ‘twas useless
He said, “jump on, you’ll be all right.”
They said, “No, we’ll go on with the funeral
Darn’d Blinky is driving tonight.”
 
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