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Tam’s Gateshead Granny and Memories of Summer ©


Or, Ode to a Dunny!

Tom Barker
Joondalup, Australia
2004

Sixty six Northborn Street, Gateshead,
wuz weer me Granny lived.
But ah wudn’t stay theer aggin,
if anuther ‘oliday ah wuz gived.

Uncle Billy liked ti think ‘e were a toff,
but ‘e wer also a ruddy pain.
‘cos ivvery time ah used their lavvy,
ah fergot ti’ poo the chain.

Wha Billy wud grab ‘is ‘anky
wi’ embroidered initials en at.
An’ wen ‘e pointed a finger at me,
ah held me nose an’ pointed’t cat.

Ah wuz glad wen that ‘oliday wuz ower,
an ah got back ti me Lincolnshire ‘ome.
An’ Uncle Billy can shove ‘is watery loo
complete wi’ toilet paper an’ blue foam.

Cos in the counry farms o’ Lincolnshire,
aw the watter comes oot the pump.
But ony if yuz stand theer an pump it,
then it comes oot in a ruddy great lump.

A brick dunny at bottom of oor gardin,
wi’ saw toothed edges on’t door.
Cut newspaper tied ti a rusty nail,
an’ red bricks laid flat in the floor.

In winter the ice covered woodwork,
would melt to the contours of a bum.
An’ the reek wud waft oot the door saw cuts
cos the roof wern’t fitted wi’ a lum.

Me Dad allus lit his owd pipe,
afore goin’ in theer tu sit.
An’ sometimes got caught wi’ his pants doon,
cos ‘is pipe were stoked but not lit.

Wun day wen sun wus ‘ot an’ shinin’,
an’ me Mam sed tu me Dad.
“It’s time thee emptied yon bucket,
afore all oor apples turn bad!"

Dad up ended full bucket at sunset,
when all the birds had gone ti bed.
Cos one summer when he emptied it at midday,
wild geese were honkin’ overhead.

They wuz flying in perfect formation,
like a spear wi’ point at the front.
When the aroma from the dunny bucket,
rose like holy water from a Church font.

Some wild geese stopped in mid honk,
spiraling to earth as if wi’ sudden cramp.
But others just put on a spurt,
leaving behind the manure-filled swamp.

Cabbages died that were near new dug hole,
and our cat would not even cut across it.
And wild geese now fly three miles to the south.
an’ me Dad now regrets buryin’ that deposit.

But wen the wind blows warm in summer,
an’ me bedroom winder is slightly ajar.
The aroma of Grimsby fish docks,
beats all the other foul smells by far.


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