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THE HUMBER FERRY ©

Tom Barker
Joondalup, Australia
1999

Some say it's a pity they built Humber Bridge!
now we don't get to go round by Goole.
From Barton to Hull I used to go,
on the New Holland Ferry so cool.

The Lincoln Castle would go, Ding! Ding!
and paddles would churn muddy sea.
And if wi' luck there was a good back wind,
thee could be home reet early for tea.

But sometime God would play a trick,
an' pull plug out some far distant pond.
An' watter would drop wi' alarmin' speed,
twixt 't Wash and 't Humber beyond.

It was on one of these occasions,
when I had just finished me chish an' fips.
The ferry suddenly lurched to a standstill,
as wi' a mud bank it suddenly came to grips.

Reet in 't middle o' river,
paddle wheels were suddenly chuckin' up mud,
Like kids at a ruddy fair ground fete.
an' Captain were spittin' blood.

Then one bloke ventured an opinion.
"App'n us'll be stuck 'ere till midneet"
Another suggested we'd be lucky,
to get home by dawn's early light.

Then Skipper appeared on the ferry's bridge,
and bade everywun calm down.
An' promised us all he would have us safe,
soon at pier near New Holland town.

But then it began a raining,
and land lights seemed so far away.
One bloke muttered, "Sunny Yorkshire?"
"Ah'm reet glad ah'm not 'ere ti stay."

Then a Ladies handbag fell over board
and as it began to float away.
All the Gentlemen tried to rescue it,
and on the mud the ferry began to sway.

The Captain, fearing a capsize,
fixed cap more firmly on his head
coaxed half the folk to move over,
then went and hid under his bed.

I knew it couldn't sink on mud,
that was holding it high and dry.
But t'others reckoned it were frightening,
and some kids began to cry.

There was some foot tapping and argument,
"Next time ah'll go round by Goole."
While tothers just sat and played cards,
or gazed at the watter quiet cool.

Then tide came in and we floated,
and Captain wi' grin like Cheshire cat.
Signaled the engine room wi' a Ding! Ding!
and paddles beat the tossing waves flat.

We eased off that thick mud bank real gentle,
leaving a few flat fish to boot,
Then scooted reet quick for New Holland pier,
where the ferry did the usual overshoot.

All passengers got off that ferry safe,
but some wi' nerves all a shatter.
One bloke said "If ah goes to Hull 'aggin',
ah'll wait till ah cin walk on't chuffin' watter."


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