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Albert tries bowls

Now Albert were fed up wi’ drinkin’
an’ ’e thought ’e’d try summat new.
So ’e took ’imself off down t’seafront
to see if there were owt else ’e could do.

There were some owd folk decked out in white
wandering about on some grass,
and Albert thought “That looks excitin’,”
so sat down to let the time pass.

It must be bowling, our Albert decided,
it looked easy once you’d got t’ knack
for t’ balls were trundling quite slowly
over t’green to stop close to t’ jack.

So ’e took ’imself off to t’pavilion
and asked if ’e might ’ave a try.
“Oh aye,” said secretary, man name of Arthur,
 “I’ll gi’ thee some training by an’ by.

“But thi boots thee’ll ’ave to change,
“and wear these rubber-soled shoes.”
“Them’s effeminate,” said Albert protesting,
“’aven’t thee ’ob-nailed boots I can use?”

“Good grief,” commented Arthur,
“Yer surface wouldn’t be flat,
“an’ yer woods’d be goin’ all over,
“an’ members’d never have that.”

Then Arthur gev ’im a wood.
Said Albert, “Ee, this is a weight,”
an’ ’e practised swinging it carefully
wonderin’ if ’e’d get it right.

“You do it like this, Sir,” said Arthur,
and the wood touched the grass with a kiss.
But when Albert bent over to bowl
’is breath came out in a hiss.

"Me back’s gone, me back’s gone,” ’ollered Albert,
an’ ’e couldn’t get ’is spine straight,
so Arthur propelled ’im off t’ green
an’ draped ’im on t’pavilion gate.

“Just ’ang on there, Sir,” said Arthur,
“You’ll be right in less than a tick.”
And wi’ that ’e poked Albert near t’bottom
wi’ t’ end of a sharp-pointed stick.

“By ’eck,” said Albert, “thou’s cured it!
“I can stand up straight like a pole!”
“Yer can ’ave that for free,” chuckled Arthur,
“but thou’ll still ’ave to pay for thi bowls.”

“’alf a minute,” said Albert, crestfallen,
“I’ve ’ardly set foot on thi green.”
“Aye,” said Arthur, “that’s true, lad,
“But yer can tell where thou’s bloody well been!”

An’ Arthur, well, ’e weren’t lyin’,
’cos sportin’ a number three wood,
were a damn great crater in t’ surface
just where Albert ’ad stood.

“I’ll ’ave to charge thee for t’ damage,
an’ bowling’s nigh on four quid,”
An’ Arthur ’eld out ’is palm,
as ’e waited to see what t’ chap did.

“I’m not payin’ thee that!” shouted Albert,
“It weren’t my fault after all,
“I don’t mind paying for t’ bowls,
“But I’m damned if I’m off to buy t’lawn!”

Mike Wilson 2005


Mike Wilson