Travelling up to Town

Cartoons by Ann Holland

“I’ve landed a job”, I hear you say

“What, not another!” I cry in dismay

“Are you finally giving the others up?”

“Oh no, not at all.  I’m just topping up.”

“But won’t it rather get in the way?”

“Of what?” sighed he with a mystified sway

“Your main job!” I cried, seized by disgust

“The one in which your constituents trust!”

“Oh that!” laughed he, sipping his drink

“I’d quite forgot” ….  with a nod and a wink

“You see, old boy, ‘though a man about town

My wife yearns for this glorious new gown

And though our girls are quite grown up

They clamour with glee when I bring a new pup

There’s the horses to stable, the hounds to run

They get through their grub and hay by the tonne

The pond needs new liner, the duck house a roof

Garden cottage re-wiring, the lodge damp-proof

The boat needs re-keeling, just wear and tear,

When I add it all up there’s not a penny to spare

The lad’s up at college, he likes to keep smart

To refuse him his tailoring, well, I haven’t the heart

The land rover’s a sink hole, the Daimler a drain

And the horse truck’s gearing has just gone again

It’s not as if I can’t juggle it all –

And my girls look magnificent when they go to the ball

I like seeing the young ones carefree and glad

There’s no calling their old man a miserly cad!”

I must admit I was taken-aback

As we rolled through a junction with a clickety-clack

What had become of the old judges’ son

Who’d waxed political-lyrical when we were young

Achieving that seat was his heavenly dream

Doing right by his betters, keeping steely and clean

I’d listen enthralled by his melodious song

Of justice-excursus; the right over wrong

His maiden speech, forceful, with loud ‘hear, hear’ cries

Winged his flight by and by to ministerial skies

But red puckering before me was an alien face

Talking the alien language of an alien race

I couldn’t help wonder how the rot had set in

When with thundering horn blow he set off again

“The box needs re-shaping, the yews, the lime

Since Jenners’ retired he won’t give of his time

I’ll have to find someone as soon as I can

The season won’t wait, I’m no gardening man

I hear that old what-not’s selling his place

Best take a look; might do for our Grace

I wonder if they’d sell their landie as well

Could do with another, one giving less hell

My club fees keep rising, well, the one I like best

As you jolly well know, a man needs his rest

We’re down at the others for Christmas this year

Can’t possibly turn up without the usual fanfare

I see by your look, you’re not terribly keen

No doubt you’d prefer I lived tightly and lean

That’s all very well when you’re not of my class

But peers of my group would call me an ass

If I don’t keep on rowing, I’d utterly sink

So I took the damn job … with a nod and a wink”

I think that this was about three years ago

He’s still up to his neck as far as I know

I rarely now see him, I’m levelling down

Relieved and unburdened as I travel to town