Richard B Gillion

There once was a family Ramsbottom
Of prodigious Lancashire fame
To Southerners they could've come from Yorkshire
To them it all sounded the same.

They had a young lad they called Albert
Named after his granddad from t'past
The one with the horse's head handle
Who gained fame as a lion's repast.

To Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom's
Superlative chagrin, it's said,
Young Albert took after his granddad -
He wasn't always all there in the head.

Like the time when he asked a policeman
If his head came to t'top of his hat
And the Elvis impersonator
If his shoes could crush beetles quite flat.

His dad displayed traits of his forebears
When his purse from his pocket he drew
He still refered to nine pounds twenty one
As "the sum of nine pounds four and two."

Now Albert liked to watch football
And his mates they all cheered for Athletic
Craved a season ticket for his birthday
And his asking got rather frenetic.

But when he awoke on that morning
Everyone else only just gone to bed
Opening th'envelope there he discovered
'Twere for t'West Wigan Whippets instead.

To console the little young fellow
Whose loud sobs woke everyone up
Hid dad promised to take him to Wembley
"When Athletic win yon F.A. cup."

'Twere a fair bet he thought and slept soundly
But they beat Man United t' next round
Then three London clubs in succession
And Todmorden Swifts, I'll be bound.

His uncle drove to the metrollopse
On the day, in a clapped out MG
With just enough room for two people
If you curled up right small - maybe three.

They got to the ground without mishap
A miracle itself, I dare say,
But Athletic needed more than miracle
And not even that came their way.

Their football was less than inspiring
Their behaviour was, for all to see,
Like that of the West Wigan Whippets -
Chucking clods at the poor referee.

They only lost seven goals to one
To Ilkley Moor Harriers, but then
'Twere a sort of Athletic club record -
To finish with nobbut six men.

So seeking for further amusement
They went to the London Eye
Grandad's stick with its horse's head handle
Were now young Albert's prize, by the by.

"How much is this 'ere going to cost us?"
Rehearsing great-grandad's refrain.
"Come on," said his uncle, "letís do it;
We've saved pounds by not coming by train."

They watched a few parties embarking
And some getting off just the same
But it seemed it would take half a weekend
For each to come round once again.

But Albert couldn't spare half a weekend
Just for a go on one ride
But before you could say, "Bob's your uncle,"
They were in - both the men and the child.

Then Albert's big chance was upon him
For a lever he saw by the ride
It were left at a setting called "normal"
With "testing" a notch to one side

Now this were a setting for testing
That the cars stayed upright all t'way round
Before it were used every morning
With no people, one minute, twice round.

With his stick with his horses head handle
He reached out through a crack in the car
Nudged the lever across one position
As the man there called out, "Right you are."

The gears took the strain up quite smoothly
Until it was moving and then
It went to full throttle and whizzed round
And then it whizzed round once again.

So they sped to the apex directly
Leaving courage and stomachs below
And before they had caught quite up with them,
Back towards t'ground they would go.

When this happened twice in succession
Then stopped at the same place again,
The people could see who had caused it
Lucky they couldn't get off just right then.

"I'll take your name," said the attendant
To go in the incident report
But when he heard that name Ramsbottom
The attendant was brought up quite short.

Not t'Ramsbottoms who came to t'metrollopse
And taught Granddad how not to fear
The ghosts of the Tower of London
Through dripping toast clapped round each ear?"

"The same," said poor young Albert's father,
"At least, Father it was showed them how,
But we never believed his daft story,
Not till you told it to us just now."

He showed them the tradesman's exit,
Gave them tickets for many a free ride.
"But next time you ride it, Young Albert,
Keep your horse's head handle inside."

Stanley Holloway
Marriott Edgar
The London Eye