Fifty Years Ago

 

When the summer day is over
An’ its busy keers hev flown
I sit me on the promenade
An’ think of summers thar I’ve known.
I min’ it, ya, lek it was las’ year,
It stan’s out in me memory so clear
The way how Douglas looked that time,
As merry as a j’yful weddin’ chime,
With air as sweet as roses’ scent,
An’ shinin’ lek the firmament,
An’ houses clane an’ quite as snow –
But that was fifty years or moore ago!

That time no buses filled the air
With sufferkatin’ fumes.
The moty-car was not seen avarywhere,
No lorries, vans, nor tankers rolled
To belch their curlin’ smook
In thick an’ stinkin’ black volumes
Lek things all manners hev forsook.
But where the happy tripper strolled
With fear of nawthin’ worser far
Than horse an’ trap an’ cable car.

Aw, yis, b’y, the jings that was going’ then,
With ferries full of singin’ folk,
An’ stroogin’ fiddlin’ men,
Crossin’ lek bumbees over the Croke,
An’ hollerin’ out an’ dancin’, too,
An’ jokin’ with the sweatin’ crew
Of ‘Rose’ an’ ‘Cushag’, ‘Thistle’ true;
The fiddles trillin’ over the water
With moosic sweet an’ sof’ lek Cainy’s daughter.

The paddle boats were at the pier,
The ‘Mona’s Isle’ an’ ‘Queen’ was theer;
The oul’ ‘King Orry’, ‘Ben-my-Chree’,
The ‘Ramsey’, ‘Peel Castle’, ‘Snaefell Three’,
With yaller-funnelled boats from Wales,
An’ fishin nickies with purple sails.
An’ all a helter an’ skelter
With nowheer on the pier for shelter
If it come on to rain, but no one keerin’,
An’ a coverin’ of romberellas dthallure
Sproutin’ up from the floore
Lek big black musherooms
Glistenin’ in the summer shower.

An’ then the rides to Douglas Head
Up in the thram that climbed so steep
Ye wondhered quat in the worl’ would hap
If th’oul steel cable should chance to snap
An’ ye’d lan’ at the bottom all of a heap,
An’ some of us’d be killt stone dead.
Aw well, theer gorn now, pierrots as well,
Purt Skillion Baths, an’ who can tell
But ones lek me of the gamman we had
A-ridin’ in style to lil Port Soderick
Along the windin’ Marine Drive
On top of thrams of the Sourthern Electrick
Over the bridges an’ turrble chasms,
An, havin’ fits an’ sickenin’ spasms –
Them times, my song, ‘twas middlin’ jesh to be alive!

An’ now they’ve got these toots of things
Lek lil black boxes, an’ some on slings,
Thou’d reckon was han’bags, black an’ shiney
An’ all yowlin’out tinny an’ whiny
Houlin’ them up to theer hairy ears
Lek as if they were sea-shells.
Wha’s this they’re callin’ them, the dears,
Le’s hev it, aye, transistors;
Enough, begob to give ye blisters.
An’ what with all the fritlagh curls
Ye can’t tell misses from the misters.
B’ys once were b’ys, but now theer girls.

Them was the times the people could sing,
An’ avary song hed a tune an’ a swing
Far better till any have today.
An’ the singin’ rooms in the street, wharra sight!
Feldman’s was it, an’ Lawrence Wright,
An’ avaryone with a lass on the pianner
Goin’ fit to bus’ with the driss theer was on her;
An “Beautiful Ohio” an’ “Romany Rose”,
An’ “I’m for avar blowin’ bubbles” –
Them was the times, aw, goodness knows,
When ye could have a holiday to forget ye woes,
An’ all yer lil troubles.

But all is gorn. The Derby Castle
Wheer Florrie Ford would sing a passel
Of songs for all the family.
The Palace Groun’s an’ the Villa, free
An’ any amount of variety.
I’m thinkin’ to meself that times has changed,
But truth to tell I’m wonderin’ maybe
If afther all it’s only me;
Gerrin’ on, I mane, not a sthugga now,
An’ hevin’ to submit to bein’ ranged
Among the squares an’ senior citizens.
But somehow, ya, when all’s said and done,
I think we had the bes’ of things, moore sense,
An’ spite of what ye’ll say, I vow
We hed a dale moore hones’ fun.

12.8.1972