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THE BIRTHDAY CAKE
by
Ivan Bennett

During what Grandma called 't'last conflict'
And when Grandpa were in the Home Guard
Grandma said they had something called 'rationing'
Which made shopping for food very hard.

The Government, in all of its wisdom,
Decided everyone would have their fair share
Which meant, just like Old Mother Hubbard,
Ev'ryone's cupboard were bare.

In 1943 Grandma's problem were,
By way of a special occurrence,
To celebrate Grandpa's 60th birthday
She needed sugar and butter and currants.

Gran planned on surprising Gramps
With goodies she intended to bake
And rounding off a sumptuous tea
With a home-made birthday cake.

For months Grandma saved whatever she could.
The grocer gave all the help he could give.
The rest she got from a bloke called Sid
Whose trade were what Gran called 'a spiv.'

While Gramps was out on Guard duty
Gran assembled her hard earned loot.
She boiled a ham and roasted some beef
And baked t'birthday cake to boot!

She coated it lovingly with icing,
Wrote 'Happy Birthday' in blue,
Put a paper frill all around it
And stuck candles on top of it too!

Gran thought that there was summat missing.
Then inspiration came in a flash:
'Balls', thought Grandma, 'of silver
Will give t'cake a dash of panache!'

She nipped quickly round to the grocer
He shook his head saying: 'No,
Ain't seen silver balls since Churchill took ower.
There is a war on, yer know!'

It were Sid what come to the rescue
'I ain't got none, but'' he said,
'I can sell you a twelve bore cartridge
Just shake out all of the lead.

'With silver paint you can coat the shot.
The result will look just the job,
I'll throw in a kiddies paint brush,
You can have t'lot for a couple o' bob!'

So with these Gran gave t'finishing touches
To the treat she'd prepared for her spouse
And she were only just in time and all
'Cos she heard Grandpa come into th'house.

Gramps looked at the feast Gran provided,
And soon he began to partake
Of egg and of beef and of ham san'wiches
And a slice of his birthday cake.

'That were real lovely my dear!' said Grandpa
'How you managed it I haven't a clue.
The cake were a little bit rich, like,
But you put on a real splendid do!'

Gran and Gramps had had a long day
And to bed they decided t'retire.
Gramps bent over to pick up the poker
And to stir and to poke at the fire.

Despite being in t'middle of t'war
And hearing the rat-tat-tat-tat,
They never did get to the bottom
As to who shot the cat and with what!
 
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