Cautionary Tales for Adolescents

Damien, who mocked his Elders, but…

That’s why he ended up in t’ Cut!


Damien had one Great Defect,

He Showed his Elders No Respect.

At Secondary School, it’s Sad to mention

How often he wor on Detention.

He hoped to get more Friends, Alas,

By being t’ Biggest Clown in t’ Class.

That Whoopy Cushion on a Chair,

On Speech Day? Damien put it there.

For Damien thought it wor Smart

To Cause our Lady Mayor to FART!


But imagine a POET, most August,

(I’ll be your Model, if you Must),

Strolling along, in His Own Time…

Antennae tuned in to t’ Sublime…

Sucking on a Haliborange,

Whilst trying to find a Rhyme for Orange…

Enjoying that Scene he Loved So Well:

T’ towpath on t’ Rochdale Canal…

When Out of Nowhere! You Know Who:

Damien Leapt out Shouting ‘WHOOOH!’

He hoped he’d make his Friends all Laugh,

Poppy, Gaz and Gorgeous Kath,

Because he thought this Frightful Din,

Would make our Bard Jump out o’ t’ Skin!

But he discovered, to his Distress,

Our Poet wor once in t’ S.A.S.!

And Damien’s Plight wor quite Precarious

T’ Poet wor Tuned like a Stradivarius.

He’d been a Soldier and then a Spy,

And that is the reason why,

Although he wor Four Decades Older,

He THREW young Damien over t’ Shoulder!

An’ Somersaulting through t’ Air he Fell,

Wit’ Giant SPLASH! into t’ Canal.

And after a few moments pause…

Our Poet’s ears Filled with Applause!

For Damien’s Mates, as Youngsters can,

Felt Great Respect for that Old Man.

Who Smiled at them and Blew a Kiss,

Then Wondered Off in t’ State of Bliss…

Could this be True? Who wor this Fella?

Why, it wor me, your Storyteller!

So Remember Damien, I think you’d better:

A little Wiser, but so much Wetter.


[Note. This was inspired by an incident on the towpath in Hebden Bridge. I was strolling along quite contentedly. The four people were actually in their 20s, so I hadn’t expected a juvenile prank, nor one guy to treat me as a disposable butt for his humour. It’s one time when the feeling that old people don’t count came home to me. …The rest of the tale is also true.]








Marjory Dexter, School’s Inspector!

(A retired Headteacher, my friend Lin, told me that OFSTED no longer give schools a ‘Satisfactory’ grade. I wondered how this would work out in other areas of life. This is a SONG! You’ll know the tune if you are au fait with the pizzicato tune from the ballet Sylvia, by Delibes…as I am sure you are.)

Richard Perkins, most parts working,/Looking for late romance,/Joined a Dating Agency/Met Marjory Dexter, Schools Inspector/She gave ratings after datings, in 5 categories!

Your manners and opinions I endorse: Grade 4s!

Your country house and cars deserve applause: more 4s!

But Sex was only satisfactory: Grade 3!

So really, Richard, don’t start boasting,

Friends agree that you’ve been coasting,

On this website, I am hosting!

If we should date again by any chance, Dickie!

You really ought to think of ambience, Dickie!

So stoke my fires down below,

You’ll never make my embers glow,

By playing tracks by Barry Manilow, Dickie!


Marjory Dexter, Schools Inspector,/ Thank you for your ratings in all 5 categories./ You say our mating was deflating/ Satisfaction calls for action,/ But you’re hard to please!


Though you’ve got charms I find hard to resist, Marjory!

Every move I made you ticked a list, Marjory!

And then you put on T’Ride o t’ Valkyries, Marjory!

And it did not increase my pleasure:

Contemplating parts I treasure,

When you took out your tape measure!

Your website says that you admire Restraint, Marjory!

But when I saw your whip, I felt quite faint, Marjory!

At bravery I’m not a champ,

I draw the line at Nipple Clamps,

In fact I’m satisfied I scored Grade 3, Marjory!





Frank’s Ramble

(I was reading about the Bloomsbury group. On a sunny day in the 1920s, at their country retreat, one of the group was reading a pulp fiction novel and wouldn’t stop to Bloomsbury about with the others. He described to them the eerie plot of the now long lost potboiler. I have moved the action to the present and the north and elevated it onto the Pennine moors.)

When Frank went rambling up on t’ moors,

His venture seemed romantic.

But then a heavy mist came down…

Now Frank wor feeling frantic.


He’d got no signal on his phone

And day had turned to night.

And mist had blanked out moon and stars.

But then Frank saw a light.


A coach lamp hung beside a door,

But t’ house wor dark and shuttered.

‘IS ANYBODY HOME?’ he shouts.

‘To ring for t’ taxi?’ mutters.


Three times he raps upon that door…

Faint echoes each recall.

But as he turns to walk away,

Sharp footsteps resound in t’ hall.


And t’ door opens to dazzling light!

Frank thinks himself inspected.

‘Who is it, my dear?’ a voice enquires.

‘It’s he whom we expected!’


Frank follows her as if in thrall,

Muttering apologies.

But as he turns into t’ front room,

He’s shocked at what he sees…


He looks at one face, then at t’ other.

Then, ‘Lord have mercy!’ he begs.

No eyes…no nose…no mouths at all.

Their faces a smooth…as eggs!


He stands transfixed before them both.

Then he hears an inner yell.

He concentrates, then hears more clear…

And t’ words are, ‘Run like hell!’


He staggers off down t’ dazzling hall,

And sprints down t’ gravel track.

And plunges into mist and moor.

And never once looks back.


But on some lonely moorland path,

Dipped headlights, at last he spots.

And Frank strides out on t’ tarmac road,

And t’ car slows down…and stops.


T’ car’s engine purrs as they set off,

Frank states his destination.

In time, his hooded driver asks,

‘What caused your perturbation?’


Relaxing then, Frank tells his tale.

And t’ driver listens intently.

Then smoothly slowing t’ car to stop,

‘No features at all?’ asks gently.


When Frank turns to his rescuer,

His courage leaks its last dreg.

No eyes…no nose…no mouth at all:

His face as smooth…as an egg!

Fiery Jack

(This story is worked up from an anecdote told to us in the 1980s by Jack Noble of Cottonstones. It features in The Bad Old Days section of Hippy Valley.)

Now after t’ War, some Posh Folks in our Nation,/ Started to install refrigeration/Freezers came into fashion,/While most folks had to ration/Thus saving upper classes from starvation!

Here’s a bawdy tale entitled Fiery Jack/ An efficacious treatment for pains in joints an’ back./ But, as every careful customer understands/After each application,/Be sure to WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

A kitchen maid with an infatuation,/Decided to take charge o t’ situation/That kitchen had some gin in,/To fortify her sinning,/A set of keys and jars of embrocation.

At dead of night, she stole into a room,/Hoping to seduce the handsome groom/But drinkers now will pardon her/That room belonged to t’ gardener,/An ancient flower of England, past full bloom!

His big white eyes stared out at her from t’ black,/ She said, ‘I’ve done a damage to my back!’/And he wor right impressed, when she lifted up her vest,/ And said, ‘It needs a rub with Fiery Jack!’

From t’ windows pale moonlight, with spinning head/ She stumbled cross his floor to his dark bed./T’ old gardener took her tub,/ An’ he give her back a rub,/But then she whispered,/ ‘Now do t’ front instead!’

Then Walter up an’ bolted out o’ t’ door,/ But not much later, he came back for more./But t’ consequence wor boring,/T’ kitchen maid wor snoring,/An’ poor old Walter cursed himself an’ swore!

Then snuggled in his bed, he held her tight,/ Waiting for next morning’s breaking light,/When round her front he reached/But she leapt up an’ screeched,/An’ poor old Walter cowered back wi’ fright!/

He said, ‘Hush thissen, or else we’ll both get t’ sack!’/She said, ‘Your hands are flaming covered wi’ Fiery JACK!’/When she saw she’d slept with Walter,/Her fury didn’t falter, she pummelled him about both head an’ back!/

Now this commotion had woken Jack, her groom,/Who padded cross to t’ door of his own room./ Where he saw a sight, bewitching,/ As Mabel ran to t’ kitchen/ Wailing like a Banshee facing doom!/

So he follows her to t’ kitchen,/Then he sees her:/Standing, almost naked, next to t’ freezer,/Showing sheer delight she’d got em,/ Frozen peas clutched to Front Bottom,/He felt a surge of passion then to seize her!/

First he’d heard her shout his name,/But here in t’ larder,/She wor using frozen peas, to cool her ardour!/ Oh, how blind he’d been!/ Such love he’d never seen!/ how much his cold indifference must have scarred her!

Jack moved towards her,/But Mabel froze!/ She said, ‘Jack, I’m temporarily, indisposed!/ Jack didn’t mean to be alarming,/ And like a right Prince Charming,/ He fell down on one knee,/ And he proposed!






Cautionary Tales for Adolescents: Michael

Michael, who always made a mess,

But now his Family are one Less!


Michael, like some other Boys,

Never tidied up His Toys!

And Outdoors, when Eating Sweets,

Threw their wrappers down in t’ Streets!


He grew to be an Uncouth Youth –

His Sweetheart Vickie wor Far More Couth.

But on a Country Walk, her Poodle

Made a Pile of Doggy Doo Doo…


Wit’ Special Glove on, Swift and Deft,

She Scooped it Up till Non wor Left.

But in a Test of Michael’s Love,

She Handed Him that Dog Poo Glove!


Now, some way off there wor a Bin

For putting Doggy Poo Bags in,

But Michael had hoped for a Canoodle,

Not a Parcel of Poo, Pood by a Poodle!


And so he reached up, Brazenly,

And Hung that Poo Bag FROM A TREE!

Well, this wor Seen by Farmer Kath,

Who muttered, ‘That Michael’s Having a Laugh!’


And on Patrols, it wor Kath’s Habit,

To take a Gun to Shoot at Rabbits.

She didn’t want young Michael Dead –

But FIRED A SHOT above his Head!


Then back Down t’ Hill ran Little Lulu –

And Vickie raced to Catch her Poodle.

But Michael ran and leapt in t’ Bin,

Where Good Folks put their Poo Bags In.


But by a Strange Coincidence –

T’ Odds on which wor Quite Immense –

Bin Men drove up, Young and Strong,

And Did Not Hang About for Long!


They’d been Parked Up, Reading t’ Sun,

And thought Kath Fired at Them wit’ Gun!

They ran wit’ Poo Bin Double-Smart,

And tipped its Contents in their Cart.


Then they Drove Off, past Dog and Vickie.

Who Shouted, ‘STOP! You’re Taking Micky!’

In t’ back o t’ Dust Cart, Michael stirred…

And Muttered t’ English word for Merde!


But in that Dust Cart, HIGH SPEC KIT

Chewed up Michael…BIT by BIT!

And at a Landfill, where they Recycle,

DUMPED: 3 Parts Poo to 2 Parts Michael!


Michael’s Parents said, ‘We’re One Child Fewer,

But at least he’ll make a Good Manure!’









(Reports suggest that a slight rise in the local birthrate

 occurs after sightings of UFOS in the Todmorden area)

Gordon had a calm demeanour,

Rarely had he been serener,

Night time driving over t’ valley,

One hand steerin’, casually.

Unaware, so he worn’t bothered,

Overhead a Space ship hovered.

But Gordon didn’t want for nowt,

Until his engine just cut out.


This circumstance made Gordon groan,

But when he tried his mobile phone,

And found that that had also quit,

He gave 3 buggers…one Brad Pitt.

When sudden luminosity,

Aroused his curiosity.

A dazzling light inspired his awe,

An’ Gordon opened t’ driver’s door.


If we’d been there we all would shout,

‘For god’s sake, Gordon, don’t get out!’

For we all know, though he forgot,

Round here’s a UFO hotspot,

An’ joggers, doggers, cows an’ cops,

Have all been rounded up on t’ tops.

But in a trance, as if instructed,

Ginger Gordon, wor abducted!


Now every Sci-Fi student knows,

Space aliens watch our TV shows.

An’ Gordon’s lot had special powers

To make their features look like ours.

An’ one that knew soap operas well –

Transformed into a femme fatale –

Stood first in line, Gordon to greet,

As Gail from Coronation Street!


What happened next, his mind repressed,

Though tabloid journalists have guessed,

That driven by some desperate need,

Gail an’ Gordon did the deed.

Despite this speculation, tawdry,

No one spoke to his wife, Audrey.

Until, at her car maintenance class,

She told her secret to our lass.


When Gordon One went off on t’ drive,

Another Gordon had arrived…

Identical in every way,

Except he asked about her day!

An’ after bleeding’ t’ radiators,

Made Coq au Vin, wi’ mashed potatoes.

But only winked when she demanded,

‘Gordon, how come tha’rt left handed?


That Gordon had his wicked way,

By use of summit called ‘foreplay’.

An’ Audrey thrilled at each sensation,

Especially use of levitation.

That night when Gordon One returned,

Wi’ stories of what he had learned

About celebrities from space,

Audrey had to keep straight faced,

For inside her, all a’tinglin’,

Wor two genomes, intermingling’!


An’ nine months later, Gord and Aud

Announced t’ birth of daughter, Maud.

Now 3 years old, wi’ auburn locks;

Pink o’ cheek an’ dress an’ socks.

An’ Gordon says, wi’ certainty,

‘My daughter’s t’ dead spit o’ me.’

An’ asks said toddler what she thinks,

An’ Maude looks at her mum, an’ winks!


So those as wor born near Stoodley Pike,

Should pay full heed to this story:

Tha might be one part Lancastrian,

One part Tyke…

An’ one part Alpha Centauri!

An’ on some world in outer space,

A child – wi Gail from Corrie’s face –

Is starting off a ginger race!























Fancy Man Stan (Song)

On a beautiful morning in Llandudno, I was sitting watching people go past and mentally working on Le Grand Depart, when the repeat line and the tunes for this song popped into my head. I’d first heard the phrase ‘fancy man’ used in the north east, visiting Kath’s family in a mining village, about a tall, skinny, trilby hatted, pencil moustached, dapper old chap who was courting a little, elderly, poshly dressed, over made up lady. The Stan in my song is more worldly and youthful. I got most of the song as I sat there. A day or two later it was finished. The plot was based on typical court cases in The News of the World in the 50s.

[I sing this song as a bawdy, humorous and rousing piece. But, I’ve wondered how it would sound sung more dramatically, in a Jacques Brel style, slowly upping the volume and the dark satire!]

I’ll tell thee a tale of a singular man,

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

For wooing of widows wor his secret plan,

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

His voice like molasses, and golden his tan,

He didn’t chase lasses, he went after grans.

And soon a rich widow wor his biggest fan.

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.


Well she gave him employment as her handyman,

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

And hands on enjoyment wor part of her plan,

For Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

And when that old dame, shuffled off t’ mortal coil,

He’d 10 grand to his name, when he laid her in t’ soil.

An’ that’s how pursuit of rich widows began,

For Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.


Now, to prove that first conquest worn’t just flash in t’ pan,

For Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

T’ next woman he courted wor Dowager Anne,

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

At t’ art of lovemaking he wor a magician,

He got parts working long out of commission.

An’ she changed her will an’ got reading o t’ banns,

For Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.


But soon after her church wedding began,

To Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

A furious woman across that church ran,

At Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

An’ her voice rang out hard, in its echoing strife,

‘Stop this charade, for I’m your true wife!’

An’ all stood like statues…except for one man:

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan!


So off into legend that bad rascal ran:

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

For wooing of widows wor his secret plan:

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.

For he had a scheme, when digging for gold,

To help women dream, they’d never grow old!

An’ that’s how he made them change their pension plans,

Stan, Stan, Fancy Man Stan.








Cautionary Tales For Adolescents: JOAN

Joan, who only had eyes for her phone and wor eaten.

Her Parents wor quite Fond of Joan,

And they bought her a Mobile Phone

So she could do her Homework Speedier,

Copying Chunks from Wikipedia.

But Smartphones have Magnetic Powers,

Joan Fiddled with her Phone for Hours.

Until one day she wor Offended,

On Facebook she had been Unfriended,

And she cried, ‘It isn’t fair,

I wor just about to Unfriend her!’

Her Parents pondered, ‘What’s to Do?’

Till Mother said, ‘Let’s Go to t’ Zoo.’

And Father said, ‘To enjoy us stay,

Put that Blessed Phone Away!’


For Joan had once LOVED Animals,

But sometimes Childhood Passion dulls.

She trudged through all t’ Best Parts o’ t Zoo,

Past Tiger, Lion, Kangaroo,

Whose Glories wor all Lost on Joan –

Who Could Not Use Her Mobile Phone!

But got revenge upon her Kin

By looking Miserable as Sin.

Until, in t’ Giant Reptile House –

Her Parents chatting Spouse to Spouse –

Through Jungle Ferns all Dank with Heat,

Joan Sneaked Off to make a Tweet!


Feeling Bored and Overheated –

‘I want my parents dead!’ she Tweeted –

Wi’ both eyes fixed on t’ Phone she wandered,

And on through Steaming Jungle blundered.

Past DANGER! Signs she did not see,

Alone at last and Feeling FREE!

By Deep Pools  – that Smelt Unhealthy –

She Paused…to Send her Friends a Selfie.

When a Hungry Crocodile – or perhaps an Alligator –

PHOTO BOMBED…then promptly Ate her!


Alerted by the Noisy Crunch

(A Reptile having Joan for Lunch),

A Zoo Keeper – a Plucky Fella –

Sacrificed his Best Umbrella.

And Propping open t’ Creature’s Jaws,

He Dived inside to Great Applause!

For Joan’s Father – a Cautious Chap –

Had bought a ‘Phone Location App’.

And t’ Reptile’s Dark Insides wor Braved…

An t’ Smartphone, though not Joan, wor Saved!


So Think On: Put Down That Phone –

Or Else you might End Up Like Joan!





Le Grand Depart (or Mrs Pomfret’s pomme frites)

Yorkshire Day tomorrow. Here’s my tribute from an offcumden!

(Sung words in italics)

Officials at t’ Tour de France bike race,/ Said they’d run out of roads around France./So our tourism chap, with a straight face,/ Said, ‘Why not give Yorkshire a chance?’/

(Chorus) Oh, When we had our Grand Depart,/On your bikes, au revoir, big Ta ra!/ Le peloton went past in a glance,/ some folks took t’ chance for a weekend romance,/ But we all said that Yorkshire wor t’ star,/ When we had our Grand Depart.

All t’ lamp-posts wor bendin’ wi’ buntin’/An’ skies wor all cloudless an’ blue./ An’ yellow bikes hung from shops frontin’/ On t’ streets where big bike race or due,/ An’ Mrs Veronica Pomfret,/Castin’ off her widow’s kit,/ Frenchified her pub menu for passing’ French men who/ Might fancy their cod piece on a bed of pommel frites!


Well he stood out in t’ crowd, bronzed an’ healthy,/ Till someone said, ‘Here’s t’ peleton!’/ Then Bernard turned round for a selfie/ But when he turned back, t’ bikes had gone!/ So he walked on to t’ pub in his beret,/ Wi’ his hooped shirt an’ handlebar ‘tache/ Though he looked like a cliche, from t’ Champs Elysee,/ Mrs Pomfret admired his Gallic panache!


That night wor our Anglo-French Ball,/ An’ we all wore celebrity masks/ T’ French DJ wor General De Gaulle,/ Alan Bennett played all t’ English tracks/ An’ we danced to La vie en Rosie/ An’ boogied to bat out of hell/No one noticed our pair as they slipped upstairs,/ Norah Batty wi’ Sasha Distel!


(Middle 8) Oh my Veronique,/ Yorkshire’s magnifique/ Across those contours,/ I would be a wanderer./I would spend an hour/ At your Lady Bower/ Those hills and dales/double entendre!

Then he drove her to une, deux, trois peaks,/ Smoked an e cigarette, an’ then,/ She lay in his arms, cheek to chic,/Saying, je ne regret rien./But after depart, he sent a postcard,/ An’ she wor surprised what he put./ He said, I’m not Bernard, from south of Dinard,/ I’m Bernard from Luddenden Foot!






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