The Gaffer at the Laxey Wheel

 

The fus’ time I seen Laxa Queeyl
Was sixty year ago or more,
When I was tuk in a moty-car –
(Red it was, lek the sun at Peel,
With a pull-up hood an’ a fine chauffure,
An’ a bonnet that shone lek the averin’ star!
Aw, deed, ys tho’, a soncy machine,
The lek before I’d navar seen).

Well, away we went with a fine oul’ roor
An’ puffs of smook an’ a toot of the horn,
Along the prom an’ up Onchan Head,
An’ me settin’ up to the manner born,
Me aunts in motorin’ veils
Fillin’ out lek schooner sails,
Aunt Lizzie an’ Betsy an’ me Uncle Ted,
Who sat in the front an’ cracked his jokes,
With a deer-stalker hat upon his head
An’ ear-flaps to keep out the win’, he said,
An’ smookin’ a fat cigar
That scented all the breezes.

We passed a station in the trees,
An’ then along the road we flew,
Me, the driver, aunts an’ uncles too,
An’ twisted an’ turned
Pas’ a hollow I learned
Was called by the name of Garwick Glen;
An’ roun’ another curner, an’ then
Come down the hill to Laxa Town
Settin’ nice an’ snug below a broo
That was green an’ gool’, an yella an’ brown.
An’ aback of it all,
Lek a great big bell,
The mountain they call
By the name Snaefell.
An’ tho’ it’s so long ago I can still recall
The fus’ sight I got, I remember it well.

Goy hei, I thought to meself, wha’s that
Coloured red lek the car,
An’ so high, so high,
Goin’ up in the sky?
An’ I gazed an gawped till me head was dizzy,
So I turned an’ I axed me nice Aunt Lizzie
An’ she ses to me, “My lil’ fella,
That theer is the Lady Isabella;
Tha’s what they’re callin’ the Laxa Queeyl.”
An’ I ses to me auntie, struck all of a hape,
With me eyes lek moons an’ me mouth all agape
At seein’ the turrble size it was,
An’ the tower an’ the framin’
An’ the bit on the top,
Was it real?
Because
I thought I mus’ ha’ been dramin’
An’ when I woke up it would stop
An’ disappear.
But no fear,
It was theer.

I’ve been up times an’ time since then,
An’ climbed the windin’ stairs.
I’ve stood an’ looked up the Sweezer Glen
An’ seen the coortin’ pairs.
The people down below lek ants,
The cars lek lil’ toys;
Tha leafy trees lek potted plants –
An’ a world of lil’ noise.
An’ when thou’ve struggled to the top
An’ leant upon the rail,
Ye’d like a parachute to drop
A floatin’ down the vale.
It’s lek bein’ in an airyplane
Tha’s comin’ in to Ian’.
An’ it could turn thee head again,
The scenery’s so gran’.

It’s stood so proud a hundred year
An’ moore till that, an’ I wouldn’ trus’
But what it’ll outlive the res’ of us
An go on turnin’ with no moore fuss
Than a fine ou’ lady
With her head held high,
Takin’ a stroll in a hollow shady
An’ smilin’ on the passers-by.

Theer’s some have said she’ll fall one day,
An’ etten by rus’ will crumble away;
But that’ll navar happen, I say.
They’ve tride to hide her by buildin’ near
A sprawlin’ bungalow, but navar fear,
I tell ye
They’ll not dismiss Lady Isabella
Until Snaefell himself flat
An’ all the fiel’s is houses an’ streets,
An’ Point of Ayre an’ Langness meets,
When dried up are all the lil’ strames,
An’ all the worl’ goes up in flames –
I can’t say moore till that!

13.11.1974