The Gaffer at the Tourist Trophy Races


T.T., is it? I axes; aw, well now,
Tha’s the way to be, isn’t it?
Tha’s the rale comeallyer;
Tha’s what we’re wantin’ these days
What with all them cocktails an’ such lek,
An’ swillin’ an’ guzzlin’ an’ full to the neck,
An axidents on the highways,
An’ being tuk an’ made to blow up balloons –
Wha’s that thou are sayin’? not that surt
Of T.T.? Aw, aisy now, aisy now!

Thou were avar a bit of a dirt
Hevin’ a fella on, by heck –
Tooriss Trophy? An’ wha’s that, for all?
All them lil fellas with big eyes lek moons
Or the Buggane himself in a carnival,
Roarin’ away lek they were tuk
Roun’ the countryside,
Not havin’ a sensible aisy ride,
Aw no, but goin’ arrit an’ arrit,
Till ye’d think ye were driven kie
With the n’ise an’ the smell, an’ the speed,
Yis, yis, aw yis indeed,
As tho’ a whole army was out chasin’ the enemy –
So they say it’s a kind of boghned, is it?
My song, yessir, but I wouldn’ miss it.

I’ve follered them fallas in all kind of w’ather,
Settin’ out under umbrellas or all out in a lather,
An’ waitin’ an’ watchin’ for the fus’ fella roun’
An’ perched up high, feet well above groun’,
An’ the talkin’ an’ singin’ an’ laughin’ go quiet
When we h’ard the maroon,
Then navar a soun’
From the folks on the hedges;
But maybe a cow
Would look up at the sky
An’ give a sad moo as if axin’ why
All them pink human animals were lookin’ so close
Up a road emp’y save for a telly way pos’.
An’ maybe the train would pass by
With a squale from her whistle
An’ a puff of white stame,
Through the darnel an’ thistle
An’ the hawthorns that bristle
In an uncontrolled riot
Along the rail’s edges.

Then at las’ theer would come
Jus’ a faint lil hum
An’ a kin’ of a whine
Lek a faraway bee
An’ the heads in a line
Would go up, an’ the pencils got ready
An’ watches come out –
Then a cheer an’ a shout
An’ a wavin’ of han’s.
Wha’s happened to one?
Wha’s happened to two?
For this one tha’s passed is number three.

But the way he was goin’ so fas’ an’ so steady
It was aisy to see
He would pass all he could
If the power was theer, an’ so he should,
An’ thou would too.
No waitin’ for others to see what they’ll do,
But all out, me b’ys, catch me if ye can,
Chase me aroun’ the mountains of Mann;
Theer’s no time to be dawdlin’ an’ loafy
If ye are aftha a trophy!

Times is changed tho’, an’ changed for the wuss,
For the int’res’ is gorn with the use of machines
That are jus’ built to win,
At l’ase for the spectator.
Now a couple of men will be battlein’ ahead of the res’ for fus’
An’ the others trailin’ along in the teens
Jus’ hopin’ to finish not too much later.

I remember the times when Dixon was in,
Langman an’ Simpson, Twemlow an’ his twin,
An’ Davies an’ Bennett an’ Pa Appleby,
An’ the msather himself, Stanley Woods – aw, my gogh,
An’ the Rudges an’ Indians an’ Sunbeams an’ Scotts,
An’ Levises, Enfields, an’ Cottons an’ Dots.

But the Norton’s still theer
An’ it’s worth a great cheer,
For a super four-cylinder cycle is only a bogh
When thou think of the British machines that have kep’
These Races alive.
So here’s to them hayroes who yearly strive
For the glory of Britain
That they be not forgotten,
Unhonoured, unwep’!

Mona’s Herald 9.6.70