|(Contributed by Gary Storer, who accepte responsibility for the content! and with apologies to Marriot Edgar )
Gary recalled the original author (Marriot Edgar) had produced a mightier tome titled 'The Battle of Hastings' and like the 'Albert and the Lion' works it was often performed by Stanley Holloway ( Gary says his parents may have had a recording or it was often on the radio in the 60's . )
I'll tell of the Battle of Hastings,
as 'appens in our letters page,
When Joywood held tha Ol' Town to ransom
an' started a terrible rage.
It were this way - one day in a meeting,
the council folk started to fret.
As the year flagged close to its ending,
tha brass hadn't all been spent yet.
Tha leader stood up to attention
an' stole a deep breath 'fore he spoke.
"By eck we'll be shot like poor 'Arold
if this news gets aroun' to townsfolk!"
"Should we splash-out on Baths or St Marys
but then there's t' old bathing pool,
an' tha pier as become just an eyesore,
so let's bounce some idea's of t' wall!"
But realising those at tha table,
were all fresh out of nouse an' ideas.
"reet I'll pull in a flamin' consultant
'fore this brass just all disappears!"
Suddenly all tha 'ands went skyways.
A consultant then called at Town Hall.
" I've a GRAND plan for your lovely seafront
-in fact a 'undred an sixty in all!"
A day or two passed at the council
'fore the consultant came rushin' down.
"Why not stick a gallery on tha coach park
an' put 'coaches at wrong end of town!"
"A Gallery will draw in some posh folk,
an' repel all those daytrippin' slobs,
An' with investment of several million,
you might create a half-dozen jobs!"
Then he skipped outta town with our banknotes
an' tha council let out relieved sighs.
"reet that's all our problems now over
..but what did he say about price?"
Tha treasurer said, very shyly
" I think it's just eight an 'alf mill-
A bit more than we 'ave at t' moment!"
then mumbled- " an' more than we ever will!"
"So we stick all our brass in this project
and ask government to chip in wi' theirs,
The townsfolk will obviously luv it,
t'is the answer to all o' their prayers!"
A lone voice then coughed in the shadows
an' asked for a moment or two
" are we forgettin' the Stade's held in trust, guys?
Though 'tis a fact only known by a few!"
Tha leader looked fluster'd and mither'd
" We can't let this get in our way!
So we'll gloss over this trifling issue
when it comes time to give folk their say!"
The phone then rang in the corner
" We're Joywood!" the plummy voice said
"We wanna put an art thing on your Stade,
Nay! we won't take St Mary's instead!"
The leader came close to exploding
"T'is the best news I ever 'ave 'eard!
how much can you pay towards it?"
-"We're a charity! Don't be so absurd!"
"Were offering you our unique collection,
tha bestest known names that's in art!
We have photos of prints by Wayne Lowry
an' a postcard that's signed 'Tony Hart'!"
"In that case you're welcome to our brass,
along with some land an' some bricks!
We'll pay all your vat and your rate bills
if you let in our townsfolk for nix!"
" We hope to give free access to townsfolk
if they wanna still walk on the Stade
But we 'ave to make money from somewhere
so they'll pay to come in, I'm afraid!"
"Well that's nowt but reasonable I guess,
cos there is no such thing as free lunch!
We'll just spin the good news to the townsfolk,
cos they're mostly a gullible bunch!"
So the plans got spread on a table
An' townsfolk were invited to view
and told about cost benefit analysis
though it wasn't necessarily true!
An' the great an' the good from all Hastings
gave hearty applause to the stance
An' hailed the council's new genius
upon who they rely for their grants!
Then T' Observer got reet behind it,
though most readers think its a joke
So it just goes to prove the old adage;
there's nowt as kweer as newsfolk!
Then tha council got back aroun' table,
to laugh at the townsfolk's concerns.
There were comments 'bout wasting money
an' where tha charabang turns
"They can drop at the boating lake bus stop,
at least for a moment or so,
we'll 'make sure our wardens are waitin'
to cash in if they're a tiny bit slow!"
Tha leader was chuffed with his cunning
but a new thought soon took it's place,
so he slowly took out his blue hankie
an' wiped the smile from his own face.
"Don't foreign ones have doors on t' wrong side
an' set down in middle of road
Foreigners steppin' out in our traffic,
oblivious to our green cross code,
it'll be carnage on bank holiday weekends
and it'll cause such a terrible row
though I'm all for personal responsibility,
we're no longer at war with 'em now!"
The council folk got out crayons an' paper
to draw up alternative maps
While most just stared outta windows,
one said "I think I might just 'ave it chaps!"
" Put coaches on top of t' East Hill!"
though tha leader's condemnation was swift
" That might be a plan!" said tha leader
"If we'd bothered to fix that damn lift!"
"We can park them all up along Sea Road
and the residents probably won't care,
They'll 'ave more than enough disruption,
when we start building houses down there!"
But a murmur spread round tha chamber,
an elderly member took to the floor
"Older visitors can't walk from Sea Road,
most would drop by that cowshed Uzur!"
Then a young whippersnapper offered
"I doubt anyone can walk to and from,
cos those blighters running the cowshed,
have just gone and stolen our prom!"
"Is that true?" asked leader to planner,
"aren't they asking permission too late!"
"they have in a roundabout fashion-
roundabout a year after they put up t' gate!"
"Oh! Won't diners get knocked down by cyclists,
but I guess that's their diners lookout.
But you've inspired me!" said leader to planner,
"can we fit in a new roundabout?"
"Aren't they're whingin' again 'bout boy racers,
those residents of Rock-a-Nore!
We could give 'em a lovely big roundabout,
give' em something to really cry for!"
Tha planner rubbed 'is chin wistfully
" Good 'eavens you've just hit the mark,
We'll let the coaches go round there,
then they can b*gger off elsewhere to park!"
So tha meeting got called to an ending
and they all were allowed outside to play
But they all got called back rather quickish
when a CAB firm phoned through to say.
"We've taken a gander at your plans,
now are you backwards or 'avin' a larf?
This project is less viable than Woollies
so we're cutting your fundin' in half!"
Tha leader slammed his fist on the table,
sending Hob Nobs all over the place.
" Ti's a corrupt and nonsense decision,
we'll lose brass but even worse, face!"
Then tha press bloke spoke with faux-passion
"No need to take on so, I guess
coz we can spin this to our advantage
by saying we can build it for less!"
"Accordin' to my latest calculations,
you're a numbskull!" the treasurer said
An' tha press bloke promptly stopped grinning
when the abacus bounced off his head!
Tha leader then pleaded for order
"you're just making this calamity worse!"
But then tha phone again interrupted
with next chapter of Joywood's curse
" You what!" tha leader panicked,
" you threw out tha coach-turnin' scheme?"
Old Towners had had their pennyworth
and spent penny on roundabout dream.
So Leader crawled under tha table
and sat sobbin' in a chronic malaise
Til press guy with head freshly bandaged
, said "put coaches up by Falaise!"
"They can park reet up on that steep bit
where the advantage is obviously clear
If one should leave off t'handbrake,
it'll roll down and demolish tha pier!"
"T'is a cracking plan!" , said tha leader
But then planner said with a frown
" but we still aren't closer to solving
where coaches pick up and set down!"
Tha press guy said with impatience
"Did you hear what our consultant said?
We keep poor folk away from the Old Town
So they can picnic on the Oval instead!"
In deference to Marriott Edgar,
though in jest this poem is meant
'tis clear what he'd say about Joywood
' t'is neither use nor ornament'!