Pythagoras and Albert Ramsbottom
Wigan is visited by a famous family
Albert and Pythagoras
Richard B Gillion

One fine summer day the Ramsbottoms
Went into the town for a spree
For you, that'd cost happen a tenner
For them, about eight bob and three.

To keep the expense within limits
They didn't take Albert round t'shops
They left him alone in the library
Where they'd books piled on all t'table tops.

"We'll just go and browse round the market,"
Said Father, "and see what we find.
You read about mathematics
And happen it'll improve your mind."

So Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went down to the great market hall
Where they'd tripe and cow heels and pig trotters
And half pints of dripping and all.

They'd jumpers and scarves, socks and wellies,
Piled high on long lines of stalls
And every conceivable confection
Including Uncle Joe's Mint Balls.

Now Albert had read all the primers
On arithmetic and geometry
Till numbers and lines and angles
Were all that his poor brain could see

Then getting a great book on Pythagoras
He propped it up open, tha knows,
So no-one could see little Albert,
Who thought he'd have time for a doze.

He didn't think much to Pythagoras
The man - he was ancient and Greek
Which meant he were a long way from Wigan
And Albert didn't know how he'd speak.

"Ey up, Albert lad," said Pythagoras
Invading the lad's reverie,
"Draw a square on each side of a triangle
Just like this here, does tha see?"

Now Albert had drawn a great triangle
Between two sides the angle was square
If it was a left angle a right angle or a wrong angle
Albert didn't much care.

Pythagoras spoke about areas
And musical scales - good and bad
The next voice he heard was his Father's
"Come on, now waken up lad!"

"Don't make us late for t'bus home
We've spent more than we meant to pay
This jaunt cost us eight bob and fourpence
I hope you've learned summat today."

They hurried down to the square circus
A thing Albert never could get
They'd buses and taxis, not clowns or trapeze
Or at least they never had yet.

"Oh look!" said Father despairing
At the opposite corner o't'square,
"Our bus will move off in two minutes
At six knots we'd never get there."

"Oh yes we will," said young Albert,
"If we cut across diagonally.
It's t'square root o't'sum o't'square of each edge
We'll be there in two ticks - just you see."

It turned out just as Albert had promised
And Mother said, "Ee, fancy that!"
But all that his Father could say was,
"By heck, I shall now eat my hat!"

... And he did!

Stanley Holloway
Marriott Edgar
Uncle Joe's Mint Balls