Gerald O'Neill
Home Up Gertie Alden Daz Beattie Thomas Blackah Ron Chipman Nellie Dockar Adele C. Geraghty Bert Greensmith Joyce Haigh Fred Hirst Sandra Mills F.W.Moorman Gerald O'Neill Kathleen Parsons Howard Peach Dennis Rhodes Doris Rogers Audrey Siddall John Stott Brenda Watson Len Wilde Benny Wilkinson Janice Witton Cliff Young Miscellaneous


Gerald O'Neill

Wife Val and I moved to Grinkle near Loftus on our marriage in July 1954. In 1998 after 44 years we decamped back to Teesside and the benefits of proximity to practical things,Shops,Doctors,Transport, Family members, all of the things necessary to sustain decrepid old age and declining mental facilities.

Ancestral Roots


Cigarettes, Gambling and mi Gran


Divas in t’ Dales

First Impressions!

Granddad's Whar


Love’s Philosophy

Musicians and others

Opera For All

Puccini and M.Butterfly reclaimed

The Land Army! (June1940)

Sitting Pretty !

Thoroughly Modern Billy



Ancestral roots by Gerald O'Neill

Ah think at w’shud sed she,
Ivveryone’s investigating,
T’family tree,
I’ cud bi a hoot,
Ef’n w’finnd oot,
At w’are reealated te t’ royalty,
Ah heeard ma ferther talkin’
An divven’t think h’war jokin’
Aboot t’greeat,
Greeat uncle lahtle Jack,
Wha tuk some money hooam,
Fra t’bank yan efternooan,
An fergot ti put it back,
Banisht te t’Australia,
Fer at lahtle mem’ry failure,
Think on aboot i’ fate,
Did e’ dee theeare intestate?
Leavin’ t’fortune i’ t’neeame,
Fer oor grievin’ fam’ly’s claim,
Er t’sheeap station
Ower theeare i’ Bungaloo?
Thin agen tha greeat aunt Clare,
Wha married t’legionnaire,
An war kidnappt
Bi t’Riffs i’ eighty two,
Sowld off in t’ market,
Ti yan Emir aboot t’ snuff it,
An became t’toast,
O’ Sidi Berani / Mersa Matru,
Awl at an mair i’towd mi,
Aboot t’ancestors worthy,
Ah’m eager fer t’mooar infoormation,
Aboot thoase diseeased reealations,
Sooa gan oot an uneearth,
Mair skellingtons pleease, pleease do!

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Cheers! by Gerald O'Neill

It’s neea good m’tryin’
Ti hide t’fact aboot flyin’
‘Cos ah just dooan lahke ‘t.

T’ very idea o’t’flight,
Gi’es raptures o’ delight,
T’t’others wha relish’t’

In t’thirst fer pleeaces noo,
An fer t’different things t’do,
Ah admire all theear tenacity,

Fer i’taks yan special feeat,
Ti sit compreest in t’seeat,
Feeacing thrombosis er t’ threeat o’t,

Ti sit as t’clock ticks by,
Wha’lst t’ blood congeals in’t thigh,
Seeam’s ti be sum yan wha’s lost it,

It maht soond lahke sour grapes,
Ti bi preeachin’ doom t’folks,
Wha’ll tak neea notice o’t,

Bud ah feeal at ah should try,
Ti warn t’customers wha fly,
Aboot awl t’dangers wi’t,

Think on ageean aboot BR,
Or e’en woorse t’car,
Y’shud want neea part on’t,

Meeanwhile tak care whin ya rooam,
Aboot t’hoose an hooam,
Wi sike constant dangers in’t,

Deean’t lose heart whin danger’s showin’
It’s beein’ soa cheerful keeaps mi gowin’
Soa think neea mair aboot ‘t

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Cigarettes.Gambling and Mi Gran by Gerald O'Neill

Mi Dad likes his fags an yan occasional bet on't GeeGees.
Mi Gran on t'other hand can't abide either and ses at they're beeath t'divils insterments.
Mi mam has strict instructions nivver ti leeave any fags on't show whin sh'visits oor hoose fer if'n sh'spies any sh's been known tae put 'em in't bin.
Trouble was at last Saturday morning when sh'made her weekly appearance oor Dad had left his betting slip on't table fer mi Mam ti put on at Reg Boyle's betting shop affooare t'first race.
T'was lahke a red rag t't'bull whin Gran saw't.
Affooare y'cud seeay 'Yorkshire Pud' sh'd torn't up an put it in't pedal bin.
Mi Mam was furious when sh'cum in frae t'shops bud couldn't remember neeames o't'hosses t'put on't bet.
Dad felt seeame bud dassn't seeay much fer he knew how t'gran felt ower t'betting.
Mi grandad had t'bug awl o't'life!
Ti mah surprise,during t'summer holidays,Dad took us all t't'York races.
E'en bigger surprise when Gran agreed tae go wi'us.
Ah'd nivver bin t' t'races affooare an ah was looking forward t't'experience.
Dad sed at Gran would bi able t'see what a good day out at w'could have.
We were awl up fr't especially when w'saw t'fair pitched up on t'knavesmire next t'course.
W'had yan gert afternoon between Go Karts t'Waltzers an watching races an horses an jockeys in t'ring.
W'placed imaginary bets on t'oor own choice an added up oor winnings an t'losses. T'deeay passed too quick an when t'wor o'er Dad had t'only grumpy physog in t'family.
He wasn't ower pleased at not having yan winner awl t'afternoon.E'en Gran joined in wi awl oor musical renditions on t'way home.
Ah expected her tae crow o'er Dad an gie'him t'usual 'Ah towd y'sooa' bud sh'nivver oppent her gow.
T'was only when w'reached home at sh'took oot t'wad o't'fivers oot on her porse an pressed it in t'Dads hands.
Then sh'confessed at sh'd put yan fiver on't last race wi't'hoss at sh'liked cos t'jockey was wearing her favourite colours.
Sh'd won at ten ti one 'Bud deean't count that as yan excuse for more gambling' Sh'said.
Ah must admit at Dad looked shamefeeaced when he accepted t'money for he'd lost awl t'week's pocket moneyat t'races.
She's a topper mi Gran!

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Dick by Gerald O'Neill

Tarll, grey, stern and terrier heel’d
Home- med stick t’hand,
Porposeful, d’rect,
Naw slackin’ he gans’
An’his this way,
T’other way gawpin’,
Tek in t’signs t’unwanted myeeak,
T’ fox’s spoor,
T’mowdy’s hill,
T’badger’s litter,
Ootside deeap dugged set,
T’ magpie’s nest,
High in’t hawthorn tree,
T’awd crows,
E’en higher still,
T’weasel, stooat,
E’en Polly’s mog,
He notes,
F‘t’future elimination,
Bi’t’gin, snare, gas,
An’t’other painless ways,
Walkin’ ower,
He gans back,
T’rose- arbour’d stone cot,
F’t’ hard boiled duck’s egg,
An’t’date pie,
T’dreeam o’t other worthy terminations.

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Divas in t’ Dales by Gerald O'Neill

Sin t’success o’t ‘opera i’t‘chotch hall, awr toon has bin shacked i’bits wi t’fooak buyin cd’s an records o’t’faamoous singers, playin them on t’car radios an singin t’well known tunes i’t ‘street. Ah’ve nivver heeard sooa monny wad bi Paavorotti’s an Nessoon Doormma’s in awl mi life beltin’ oot ev garrige dooars an oppen winders. T’has gotten ti such a state at t’steward in t’Social Club hes bannd onny mooar rendishuns ev at particler arria o’t’Sat’day neet Karaoke sesshuns an ast fer t’mooar various choice o’t tunes. At decision hes sparkt a gert deeal o’t ‘discussion an t’ committee ev decided t’finnd t’best o’ t’opera singers wi’t’ competishun oppen ti beeath t’males an t’females excloodin at yan tune. T’trooble es at t’mooast pop’ler tune at has caught t’female attenshun is frae t’M.Butterfly an us look lahke puttin’ oop wi fiffty various o’t ‘Yan fahn Deeay’. Ms Prendergast t’ yan moosic teeacher in’t’toon‘s fair gummed up wi t’requests fer t’help an hes threatennt ti go intiv hiding ef’n annywunn else knocks on t’ dooar at t’ungodly howrs lookin fer t’ lessons.

Mooar an t’hunderd o’t’beeath sexes hev entered an paid t’entry fee o’t yan-fifty –non retournable o’coourse an t’resulted in t’preliminary auditions beein’ necessary. T’auditioning panel war Mr Truelove, t’vicar o’t’St Anselm’s, Mr Angrove, t’Bank Manniger, an oor Headmaster, Mr J. (Skimpy) Ditchburn. Awl o’ them presided ower bi Lady Ringrose wha graciously consented ti present winnin’ competitor wi t’siller cup, t’fifty quid an t’offer o’ t’ standing engagement at t’club’s concert night pervidin t’repertoir war varied ivvery neet. He’s called ‘Skimpy’ fer t’sportin t’hair style wi t’ few strands plasterd ower t’bald dome. Ah thoought summwun might ask mi t’question sooa ah thort ah’d better get in fost.

Sooa much int’rest war generated bi’t’competishun at t’was decided ter howd a preliminary concert fer t’ dress reheearsal in t’ Chotch hall wi t’ finalists an nay judging. Bud at didn’t stop Ben Simpson frae runnin t’book, winnins ti be paid on t’finals neet. T’ concert war gert an we clappt an cheered oor favourite. Mine war Angie Lawson wha werked in’t Travel Agency an sang summat aboot hor Beluvd Daddy, bud then as Joe Farrell sed, ah’d vote fer her ef’n she sang ‘Ilkla Moor.. .’

T’ final’s neet war t’revallation an ah’m certain at oor Social Club had nivver experienced sike classical atmospheear in awl t’existence. T’presence o’t’such distinguished guests cut doon on t’amoount o’t colourful langwidge an rawcoous comments at normally accompanies sike competishuns, bud t’bar did t’roarin trade an Harry Dowson, t’steward had t’grin across t’face lahk t’ Cheshire Cat es mi ferther reported. Ben Simpson cud bi seean flittin aboot awl over’t pleeace wi t’bits o’t’paper an rammlin’ em i’t’ pockets o’t’ top coat he wus werin fer t’occasion.

Me wi t’few others manniged ti get oorselves on t’stairs leadin up ti t’ Concert Room an Timmy Relph, t’dooarman hed conveniently left t’dooar ajar sooa’s we cud hear awl t’proceedings..Joe Jackson wha owned t’fish shop war judged ter bi t’winner efter a clooase fought contest. He sang summat aboot t’girl’s small hond at war freezin’an brought t’hoose doon whin he let rip wi’t’ some o’t’notes. Yan o’them set t’optics shakin’ behint t’bar. We war not surprised cos he sings ter awl t’customers in’t Fish Shop at t’drop o’t’hat. Angie war judged ti bi a clooase Runner Up an although she warn’t gi’en onny money prize she received t’ big booket o’ t’fleears an t’offer o’t’month on t’ concert neets ‘at pleeased her mooast iv awl.

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First Impressions! by Gerald O'Neill

T’fosst deeay et T’noo school Tom,
Tell t’us all aboot it,
Did tha meeat onny noo friends?
Wheear’d they let tha sit?

Wos t’lunch t’tha liking?
Did tha clear t’plate?
‘Ah knaws tha doan lyke carrots
‘Ah hope tha towd ‘em straight.

‘Ow’d’tha tear t’jacket?
What’s happin’t t' hair?
I’ts all mess't up and clarty,
Wha put t’chuddy theear?

‘Ah’m sorry mi preshus doy,
Did tha sit ‘an cry?
‘Ah shud hev bin theear t’ comfort tha,
‘An tha cud hev towd me why.

‘Ah’m gahin’ wi tha t’morrow,
‘Ah’ll sort it wi t’heead
They can’t treeat t’teacher,
As thow he were t’nerd?

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Granddad’s Whar by Gerald O'Neill

‘Has-ta bin inta t’whar Granddad?
What did ya di i’t’fight?
Ah’ll bet at ya war a hero,
Lahk him at we saw i’t’film last neet?

Think on at t’part war he rescued,
His mate frid t’blown up tank,
An’all he pickt up t’gun an wiped oot,
T’rest o’t’enemy’s ranks.

Or whin t’other squaddie charged up,
T’hill war t’company was held?
An threw t’grenade inta t‘pillbox,
T’survivors ran oot an war killed.

Did ya get t’medal Granddad?
Fer t’actions lahk t’em at us saw,
Ah’d be fair capped ef ya’d tellt me,
Aboot t’things at ya did in t’war?

Well lad! Mi actions warn’t t’be seean,
Lahk deeds at deseearved onny parades,
Fer ah didn’t advance frae t’very front,
An ah didn’t carry t’guns nor t’grenades,

Ah carried t’flag at war large,
Wi’ a red cross at ah used t’wave,
Whin ah went oot inta t’field efter battle was done,
Aye ah knaws at diven’t soond sooa brave?

Fer mi task war t’laate fer t’remains,
O’t’soldiers cut doon in t‘fire,
Either t’enemy’s or t’oors ah didn’t mind who,
Sometimes ah couldn’nt tell which in t’mire.

Awl t’brave men lang sin deead,
Are noo equal fer eternity,
‘Cos medals an t’honours owevver sooa famed,
Don’t count i’t’ t’particler fraternity!

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Harry by Gerald O'Neill

He’s t’peoples champion is ahr Harry,
Wi’ t’pride his wife’ll tell,
‘He’s on’t council’ If anywunn asks?
If not they’ll be told still!

He knaws all t’ public paths, shops an’t’ Bus stops
Reckenises people in’t streeat,
“Course ah’ll see ‘bout t’ garage Betty,
By t’shelter needs some glass in’t!”

“What’s ‘at say on’t bulbs Jack,
Hasn’t streeat any lights?”
An’ off ‘e trots te’ t’Council Chamber,
T’do battle wi’ t’fellow knights,

They thrash oot t’rights f’t’ Potash,
Polish off t’Bingo plans a treat,
Yan o’t’Harry’s remarks reach paper,
T’third column, fifth page next week.

‘Course t’Council ‘s politic,
Wi’ t’Labour , Independent and sike,
Ahr Harry’s Independent ‘cept voting,
Then it’s Labour a’t’he likes.

Deliberations ower it’s t’local,
F’t’ liberatin’ pint or a pair,
Sometimes more but who blames him,
F’t’ smug looks an’ self satisfied air?

“Ah’ve scratcht a few backs there” He thinks on,
“Ah’ve done messen nae harm t’neet,
When chairman’s job comes up in’t autumn,
It’ll pay dividends arlreet”

“Sorry about t’garage Betty,
Ah’ll bring up t’case next week,
An’ street lights in summer aren’t needed so much,
In t’winter that shelter won’t leak!”

H’es a big, big man’s, ahr Harry?
An’ his thoughts are high above town,
Where they’ll stay f’t’ term of office,
At’s a pity t’chapel tummled down?

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Love’s Philosophy by Gerald O'Neill

Ah wistfully dreeam O happy t’day,
When t’venerated words, Love, Honour an’Obey,
Will bi pernounced o’er wer twa heeads,
T’seeal t’union o’t’day we’ll bi wed.

Ma love t’is thine till time doth end,
This hesitant spiel, ah inadequate send,
Ti thee an hope at tha reciprocate,
T’ smallest fraction o’ ma lovin’ prate

O’er awl t’others ah honour bud thee,
As flawless gem i’ t’peerless sea,
Nay pedestal tall need thee aspire,
Ma esteem fer thee es t’mountain higher,

Bud OBEY! Noo at’s t’rub,
Ah hope at deean’t affect t’pub,
Er footy wi t’boys t’ Sunda,
An t’snooker at t’club ivvery Monda,

Then agen t’cricket game invites,
Awl t’ balmy, lazy summer neets,
An bowling, darts an t’five-a-side,
Fill awl t’gaps at might intrude.

Sooa ti allay enny friction er t’future doot,
Pleease!T’leeave at third term oot,
Fer t’things nay brokken shud b’left as afooare,
Ey oop lass! W’can’t talk thru t’closed front dooar?

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Sitting Pretty ! by Gerald O'Neill

Ah’m speeakin fer yer aan good Lad,
Deeant tak offence t’ what ah seeay,
It grieves me ti soond sae emphatic,
Bud w’all mun pay oor way.

Tha’s bin loafin’ aboot fer t’six months Son,
Noo’s t’ tahme ti put th’self aboot,
I’ t’Job Centre or onny place else,
Ef’n ainly ti get yer lazy arse oot.!

Ah’m gettin’ awmighty tired,
Wi’ th’beein’ under mah feeat,
Hev t’ thowt aboot emigration,
Or t’Army sike’ll bi greeat.

Gow knaws at yer qualifications,
Are mahty thin on’t flooar,
Bud wha knaws th’could fooal,
Summyan blinnd wheeal gi’e ya t’goa,

‘Nivver fache thissen Ma! T’situation,
Is weel under mah control,
Ah’ve joost applied f’ t’usher’s job,
In’t’ High street cinema, Metropole,

Soa whin ah’ve getten’i fer t’sure ah shall,
Ah’ll hev neea mair chance ti rooam,
Think on aboot awl t’spare tahm ti sit,
Lahke gowin’fra hooam ti hooam’

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Musicians and others by Gerald O'Neill

Awl ev’ t’ventures in’t’opera an sike like musical activities wor mekking t’ music lesson in’t’hottest subject on’t’skeeal’s tahmtable. There wor e’en t’delegation t’t’department ti hev yan production fer ussen.. O’coourse th’wor delighted aboot sike an upsurge in’t’interest an Mr Morgan, t’Heead o’t’Department decleeared at Rigoletto bi Giuseppe Verdi wud bi t’next major production an t’wud involve ivveryyan in’t’ skeeal. Ivvery teacher wud try t’use t’operatic theme in’t’lessons. T’ Technical department wud bi responsible fer t’scenery, curtains, an t’lighting. E’en t’Maths department wud be coopted ti act as t’Stage Management. O’coourse t’English Department wud develop t’libretto ti suit oor age groups, an t’Music Department wud concentrate on choosing t’suitable cast an rehearsing t’ music.
Soa t’wor neea surprise whin efter t’debate in’t class aboot t’differences bitween t’classical Music an t’other kind, at ussen wor gi’en fer t’ homework, yan essay aboot t’seeame topic ti expand.(At means t’ flannel whin y’ doan’t hev enny mooar t’ write). T’will be neea surprise either t’yoursen at t’ first port ev call fer help wor ti mi Gran. Ah visited her fer’t tea ivvery Friday efter skeeal an allus had mah all-time favoourite meeal o’t’ Fish an Chips frae Joe Jackson’s Chippy. He supplemented t’delectable offering wiv lots ev scraps frae t’batter an added mah favoourite garnish o’t’ mushy peas. Fer ‘afters’ Gran would meeake some o’t Ma Raeburn’s pancakes obtained frae Tesco’s an smothered in Golden Syrup, ‘All t’ vitamins an virtues necessary fer t’growing lads wor contained in at repast’ shoo would seeay.
Ah towd hor aboot mah latest task an efter teea ah settled down at her kitchen table, note book in’t’hand while shoo prodded t’fire in’t’t’life an settled doon in t’favourite arm chair in’t’front an spooted oot aboot subject at’hand. Ah was determined ti finish mah homework at e’ening an leeave t’rest o’t ‘weekend free fer’t’other interests sike Football, TV an t’‘chilling oot’aroond shops wi mah mates.
Gran declared at t’wor neea sich thing as Classical Music an t’other music. T’wor ooanly music full stop, an if’t med you stop an listen then at was awl at mattered. Shoo sed at sometimes t’soa called Classical wor hard fer ‘t’ooardinary people ti appreciate on account ef neea being browt up wi’t an t’ result wor at ooanly t’very small part o’t’populace wor able ti appreciate’t wheareas ‘Pop’ music had monny mooar millions o’t’ followers
wha injoyed’t. Shoo quoted es example yan o’t mooast famoous o’t British composers wha’s neeame t’wor Benjamin Britten an wha hed t’ partner called Donald Peers. During’t’war years t’partnership wor very feeamous an Benjamin wrote monny operas whar he allus wrote t’main part fer t’Donald ti sing. Awl o’t'operas wor aboot t’seea an watter an usually hed very sad endings despite t’fact at th’wor beeath considered ti bi very gay. Benjamin wrote yan song at beceeame very well known an sung bi t’Donald i’becooam top o’t Hit Parade i’1942. It wor called “In a shady nook bi t’ babblin’ brook” an ivvery yan sung, whistled, er hummed’t during at yeear, which prooved at hi wor capable o’t’ satisfyin’ ivvery yan’s taste. T’trooble wor at hi continued ti write t’sad operas at wor ainly injoyed bi t’ few an he nivver repeeated t’ ‘pop’ success agin. I’fact whin sumyan tried ti poot his music on’t’ streeat hurdy gurdies in’t’Milano, Italy, t’monkies refoosed ti turn t’handles. Although gran did add, at was a t’piece o’t hearsay at shoo’d bin gi’en bi‘t’Mary Chilvers wha‘d visited on holiday an wha’d complerned publicly an loudly aboot t’streeat vendors wha caterwauled ‘O sole Mio’ er t’’Santa Lucia’ frae t’ivvery streeat corner ti exasperated tourists. Whin sh’towd yan ti shut his gow hi took t’opportunity ti slander oor feamoous composer yan o’t whose operas wor playin’ at ‘La Scala’
Ah wrote t’essay containing awl o’t Gran’s information an dressed ‘t up wi’ t’small additions o’mi oawn ti try t’hide Gran’s influence on mah literary efforts, fer awl t’staff had heeard aboot her an chuckled at her reputation. Ah leeaked forrard ti receiving at leeast t’B+ fer’t an wor mooast disconcerted at Mr Morgan’s remarks whin he read oot t’ contributions ti t’class. He said at mine t’wor mooast interestin’as per usual bud factually inaccurate, bud at ah deseearved t’B+ fer t’entertainment value an heartily agreead wi mi assertion, here he looked at me cross-eyed an ah felt sure at he knew wheear m’reseearch had originated, at theear wor no sich divisions in’t music.
Gran wor delighted an declared Mr Morgan ti bi yan very enlightened person.

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The Land Army! (June1940) by Gerald O'Neill

Ah saw a strange sight yest’deeay,
Well ti be ‘onest t’wor aft’noon round fower,
‘Cos ‘at’s when Jos Redman,
Comes bi t’ seat on his way’ome,
Same time ivv’ry day, reg’lar as clockwork,
Allus has time for a word has Jos?
It’s a wunner his tea doan’t get caad,
The time he teks t’ finish,
When I showd him,
He really lost his rag,
Said awd Tom Bradbury,
Would be turnin’ in’t grave?
Wimmin drivin tractors?
There were two on’t ‘em,
From that noo fangeld Land Army,
In’t’ fifty acre,
Next’t’church turnin’t’hay,
‘Doan’t ‘at tek the ceeayk’ said Jos,
‘Doan’t ask me’ ses I,
‘Tom nivver had any use,
For them combustabel engines’
‘At’s as mebbe’ sed Jos,
But there’s some o’t’ girls at Liverton,
Larnin’t’ plough wi’t ‘osses!’
The furr’s were all lahk a dog’s hind leg,
An’ they complerned all’t’time,
About’t’state o’their finnger nails,
An’ protectin’ their compleckshuns,
From arll t’dammige by wind and sun,
I doan’t think I’d hev ‘em workin’ for me,
You’d nivver get a full day owt on’t ‘em,
At leaast that’s how Morris Jackson towd it,
And y’know what he’s like?
Spends all his days roamin’
Up and down t’ lane,
Interruptin’ ennywun doin’ a job,
Who’ll stop and gab,
He said awd man Petch reckons,
They add somethin’t’t workin’ place,
They keep his young hines on their toes,
Showin’ off how they’re expert,
In front o’t’ girls,
That’s how he put it t’ Morris,
In his posh voice!’
I said t’ Jos ‘I s’pose it has nowt t’do,
Wi’t’ subsiddense,
He gets from t’goverment,
For employin’t’lasses?
Ah doan’t remember any females,
Addin’t’ower int’rest,
An’ perkin’ us up as we worked,
‘Cept mebbe Missus Dee,
When she cum wi’t’ tea at harvest,
Then she worn’t no oil paintin’
But she did meeak a good meat pie?’
Jos said ‘They’re here while t’war’s on!’
I said ‘I hope they’re not expectin’
T’ keep those jobs,
When t’lads get back from t’forces?’
‘No!’ said Jos I unnerstan’ they’re all lookin’
T’ marry farmers before t’end.
‘Good Luck to ‘em’ quoth I,
Our Bessie ses she woud’n’ marry ,
Any red face farmer if’n he’d won the pools,
I towd her she’d ha’t’stand,
In line wi’t’rest!
Then I had t’put up wi t’same awd tale again,
How she could hev married Bill Baker,
After his ferther deed at eighty nine,
And he took over a hunderd acre,
That’s why I’m sittin’ here wi’ t’others,
Misscreeants all on this here bench,
Which has rested arses galore,
Banisht daily from their homes,
F’t’ remarks injoodishus,
Anyway Jos you’d best get thissen home,
Or your tea’ll be a’t’ back o’t fire grate,
We’ll see you here again tomorrow,
Forecast is f’good and waarm,
Weather for strappin’ lads in’t hay field,
To throw away their shirts,
An’ show off their manly forms,
Who knows wi’a bit o’t’luck,
That might go for yon lasses too? 

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Thoroughly Modern Billy by Gerald O'Neill

Granddad’s t’Silver Surfer,
T’aad boy’s on’t Net,
‘He ses ‘at he’s keepin’ up wi’trends,
Efter his retiremeeant ‘an yit,
Sin tekin’up his PC hobby,
Noo he hez time ti’ burn,
Us-sen can’t get t’aad lad off’n’ it,
“Granddad Pleease gie’us a turn.

He’s talkin’ noo aboot upgrades,
‘Ses we hevn’t eneeaf gigabytes,
‘At t’modem’s nay fast eneeaf,
‘An sits in front all neet,
He’s constructed t’ personal web an’all,
T’contact all t’mates,
‘At’s gitten a thousand hits t’wick,
‘An he’s mekkin’romantic dates.

Mam sniffs “Ther’s summat wrong,
Rangin’ meetings just like that,
Dad says t’lettten ‘im alone,
‘Ah ses it’s aboot time he had a flat,
‘Ah knaws ‘at ‘ah shouldn’play hummer,
‘Cos o’t’ Granddads’ he’s t’best,
But why can’t he go t’t’ libr’y,
‘An snooze like all t’rest

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Tom by Gerald O'Neill

He weears t’awd hat like a rank,
Weean’t doff f’t Nu’ss, Chotch,
E’en t’bank,
Six deeays he warks,
An’Tuesday’s t’Mart,
Sooa puts on’t his yan and only suit,
Teks out his foadyard stain’d Jag,
An’ drives hissen smellin’
O’t moth balls and manur,
T’meeat t’other bargin seekin’ mates,
At Ruswarp.
His better hawf at home,
Bakin’ t’ Bath Buns and t’ Brawn bread,
F’t’Hinderwell Show,
Dreams o’t’ new arrival-
A flushin’closet!
T’go in’t’ awd pantry,
An’t’hound snuffles t’bits roond her feeat!

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Opera For All by Gerald O'Neill


At last meetin’o’t Parish Committee t’was announced bi t’ President, Lady Ringrose ‘at she’d gotten’ t’services o’t’Opera Company in October, t’perform in t’aad congregational chotch which serves as t’Community Centre. Most o’t people o’t’ town had nivver beean ti ‘t’opera afooare an were all leeakin’ forra’d ti t’experience, neean mooarso an messen, ‘at is until sh’towd t’rest o’t committee ‘at becos I was t’Hon Sec t’ would be expected o’t’myself t’acquaint t’audience wi ‘at particler opera sin t’was sung in t’Italian langwidge. Sh’expected me t’write  t’resumee, ‘at’s what she called it, an print oot ma version fer’t’rest t’reead ‘Ah sed ‘at ah noo nowt aboot ‘at particuler composition n’would feeal inadequate aboot sike a task. ‘Ah was nobbut flummoxed when ‘t’rest o’t’committee agreed wi’ t’her Ladyship. Sooa t’was a case of ‘In’t fer’t penny- I’n’t fer’t pund’. Ah’d nivver spent so much time at t’libries, in‘t’days afooare t’performance. T’trouble is there’s sae many different opinions as ti’ ‘ow t’story can be tawd ‘at I very sooan decided t’stick t’mi own account. at-efter ah’d read a few o’ t’other versions.

La Boheme was t’opera ‘at we were aboot t’see. T’story opens i’t’attic in Paris, France wheear fower young fellers live, ivvery yan o’t’them sackless lumps tiv ma mind, whea’ll sponge off anywunn. Yan is Rudolph t’writer. He’s nivver finished writing anything ‘an meks excuses for’t bi t’rivin up t’pages an rammlin ‘em in’ti t’stove. ‘He knaws ‘at t’keeap waarm’s more favourite t’ writing

Marcello’s just t’seeame, He’s a painter an hasn’t sowld a painting in yeears but has a treaasure o’t girl friend called Musetta. She’s best o’t bunch an keeaps ‘em all off t’breadline bi seperatin’ nobby aad  wazzocks frae t‘brass an sharin’ proceeds wi’ t’ layabouts.

Schaunard’s t’music man, he’ shakked i’bits .’cos t’only thing o’t’ value he’s gotten is t’cooat. He puts it in ‘t’t’pawnshop f’t’ few punds on a reg’lar basis an efter spendin’up he maniges t’get it oot agen, nay doot wi’t’help o’t’ Musetta.. Strange bud t’only time ‘e seeams t’ mek music’s when ‘e parts wi’t’cooat an ‘e sings t’it like t’were alive, which t’is likelins true efter frequentin’ sike a pleeace fer sooa long.

Colline’s t’philosopher an t’biggest cadger o’t’lot . He torns up on’t reg’lar basis wi’t’readies an t’only question neean seeams t’ask is “Wheea‘s bin stuffed now?”

Gie’t’em their due it’s sharrr an’ sharr alike in’t’ Bohemian Household.

They’re awl laikin aboot in’t’room singing aboot t’dreams an’ t’hopes f’t’ future afooare settin’ off ti’t’local becos t’attic’s yan miserable, nitherin’ place wi ‘nay comforts, nut e’en eneeagh coil f’t’stove. Three o’t band leave f’t’pub an Rodolpho stays behint. He’s working on t’ writing an tryin’ t’decide if’n he should write t’ story aboot t’Treasure Island or yan aboot an innocent man put in’ti t’jail fer nigh on twenty yeear an comin’oot swearing revenge. He’s just realised at they’ve bin done afooare an he’ll hev t’rack his brain f’t’nuther subject. At’s a pity f’bi noo t’fire’s gan oot an so has his cannle. There’s nowt else f’r it but t’mek t’best o’t things an go down’t pub, join t’ mates an scrounge a few pints. Suddenly there’s t’knock on’t dooar, an openning it he finnds Mimi lookin’ ft’t’ light f’t’her cannle which has gone oot also. They both ‘Cop Off’ frid t’first an efter some foreplay at involves her tiny nithered hand, both o’t’them ses ‘at they’ve bin waitin’ f’t’ moment lahk this all o’t’their lives an nowt nay neean’ll e’er split t’em up. SICK , SICK SICK!.

How’d she get theeare in’t first place? Ye might well ask? Poor lahtle Mimi’s t’new girl on’t block. Sh’earns a few coppers bi mekkin  fleears oot o’ t’paper an selling them around t’streeats. Her’s oot’n fettle at this, an suffers frae same complaint as oor fower Bohemians- Skint! I unnerstand at she left t’home efter a gert row wi’t’ferther becos she’d gotten in’ti t’habit o’ t’cumin in’ti t’hooase late an missing t’supper. Sooa she sed she’d efter gan away some wheears else and stay oot as late as she liked an miss her supper if’n she was sae minded. Sooa here she’s landed, in t’ down an oots abode an’ has misst so many suppers at she’s clemmed. If’n she’d stopped in t’country she’d ha’ bin a proper buxom wench, instead her’s sooa thin at now she’s forced t’step roond t’gratings in streeat in case she falls through    

Theeare’s t’few smaller characters in’ti t’opera like t’bum-baillie, Alcindoro, an t’layabout band run rings roond him if’n ‘e tries ti get t’rent money oot on ‘em. Then t’ various people sike t’doctor, an t’band o’t’children, figure in t’scene at t’local pub which t’ principals frequent. Here’s where Musetta meeats all o’t’er clients an sh’meks Marcello jealous bi flauntin’ ‘em in’t front o’t’im. We‘d spent ten punds on hevin t’piano tooned fer we’d bin told at t’accompanist was world famous an had only agreed t’play b’tween engagements fer his friend t’director. Believe you me he cud certainly mek t’ivories twinkle. Ah’d nivver heard oor aad piano perduce such music as on t’neet! 

O’coourse we can all imagine t’rest o’t story ‘Lovers meeat- lovers fall oot’ an so they go on unhappily e’er after. Trouble is at Rodolpho’s such a wazzock at he doesn’t see till’t’s too late at she’s in mortal danger of deeath bi livin’ such a starvationous life, an she’s in danger o’t’disappearing altogether. Truth t’tell was at t’fleears had nivver reached t’sales target? Musetta brings t’two lovers together before t’end but alas! Too late! An in spite o’t fact o’t cooat beein browt in ‘ti t’play t’ purchase t’ last medicine fix, Poor Mimi dees!


Ah printed oot three hunderd o’t those resumees an sowld t’lot at twenty five pence a throw. All ti go t’wards parish fund. Ah reckon’t at ah wouldn’t need but a hawf o’t’ nummer bud t’thowt o’t’oor town playing host ti t’famous opera company seemed ti have tickled everywunns fancies. O’ coourse ah got a few snidey remarks from certain quarters. Yan o’two o’t clever clogs said I hadn’t stuck ti t’reeal story an ‘at I’d med some on’t up. Sooa I towd them t’best thing ti’do was ti’ buy a ticket an see f’t’themselves. Ben Simpson stopped me in t’street an said he wished I’d put in more aboot at girl Whatsherneeame – Mosehetta? an what she got up to! Bud he was lookin forward ti’ t’show an seein’ her in reeal life. Lady Ringrose said it wasn’t t’usual version o’t project but nivver mind, fer all t’tickets were sowld a good month afooare t’performance . On t’neet o’t show there was a queue ootside up ti’t’ butcher’s shop an half on t’em were lookin’ for returns. We’d hev started a riot if’n we hadn’t oppenned up t’gallery which was only used fer t’big meetings at t’election times an vote countin,’ an sike as that, t’take t’overflow.

Me an’ t‘Missus had a seat in’t front row and whin‘t show openned  ah still didn’t knaw how ah was goin’ti tek t’sight o’ grown men and wimmen tellin’t’tale to yan another while singing at tops o’t’voices an acting ther awn parts. Ah mun seeay at ah wus rather put oot te finnd at Rudolph wus aboot three stooans ower weeate an short wi’t. Mimi wus a gert big strappin lass, at leeast a head taller an him an looked ower healthy ti be goin’ dan’t nick! Musetta med up fer all that an ah cud see from Ben Simpson’s face at he was fair capped wi’ his idol. He took ti whistlin’ ivvery time at sh’ cum on an insisted on t’clappin ivvery time sh’finish’t. It took a seveear look fra Lady Ringrose an t’dig in’t’ribs fra George Jackson sittin’ next t’him t’mek ‘im geeoer, Ah foond at ef ah closed mi ees whin‘t ‘principals wer singin’ at ah could enjoy t’ wunnerful music e’en mooare’ As t’ final act cum aboot ah swears at ah’d nivver heard sae many sniffles an seean sae many hand clouts bin used. E’en Maude Haskins wha’s normal feeaters would trip a cuddy  wus finnding it hard t’turn off t’tap.

When t’cast cam oot fer t’final call, t’cheering could be heeard in’t’Thripton two mile away. Oor fust venture into t’opera had bin a gert success an Lady Ringrose has already bookt t’next yeears performance. It’s called Traviata or t’Fallen Woman. -Ben Simpson’ll be fair chuffed ageean!     

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Puccini and M.Butterfly reclaimed by Gerald O'Neill

T’interest spread ter skeeal an oor music teacher fer t’homework ast us t’choose t’name o’t’famoous opera composer an write aboot yan o’t’operas at he composed. He promised at he wud gi’e yan prize fer t’most original effort an when ah foond oot at it was t’new CD o’mah favourite group ah was determined ter gi’e‘t ma best shot. Mi Gran as y’all knaw is mooast knowledgeable o’ sike subjects an she was mah first port ef call fer awl t’right information. She towd mi awl aboot Pucchinni an t’opera Madamm Butterfly which she sed was t’most sad story at she’d ivvver heard an proved what she allus thought aboot men at they wor t’most untrustworthy, twa faced hypocreets . Mi Gran hed bin known as yan o’t’them soofragettes in her younger deeays an nivver seeamed ter hav her head oot o’t’books an spouted oot aboot almost enny subject under t’sun although mi dad said she’d offen got t’facts wrong. Mi Mam allus sed at mi Granda had a lot ter put up wi’ when he married t’her, bud sh’allus had a lot o’time fer us kids an was always oor fust contact when we were in trouble.

I had ter tak notes because she war sooa enthusiastic aboot t’topic an ah foond oot at Puccini was t’famoous composer wha lived in Japan an that yan o’t’ Au Pairs war Butterfly wha had cum doon in’t world. While workin’ theer she met an American sailor called BF Pinkerton wha wore a Lieutenants uniform fer t’pullin’ purposes. (Gran was convinced at he was neean t’ officer)T’girl was nobbut fifteen yeears awd when he married her wi t’help o’yan o’t American officials at he bribed (Gran’s Words)He left fer t’States soon after because he wert afeeared at he wud be persecuted fer underrage sex (Gran’s version). He tuk her in summat rotten an she fer t’her part cudn’t beleeave what t’terrible cad at he was. (Here Gran fair exploded as she towd her story) Ivvery deeay Butterfly sang t’seeame song. It was called summat lahk “Ivverything’s Cummin’ Up Roses” T’Japanese version war aboot him retoornin’ “Yan Fine Deeay”an he wud explain t’long absence an mek up fer his shortcomins in’t marriage stakes.Her neearest an deearest tried t’torn her awa fra thooase optimistic outpourings e’en finndin her t’ respectable an rich partner wha’d tek on beeath her an t’babby at had bin born in’t’absence o’t ferther. Sh’stootly refused t’offer as she’d allus fancied hersel’ as t’All American Hoosewif’,buyin’ t’ready med meals in t’ supermarket, drivin’ her awn stashun waggin an joinin’ t’ PTA in yan o’t’them American High Skeeals, besides wha wud want t’marry t’man wi’ t’name o’ Bonzo?

BF returned three years later. She war noo eighteen an awd enough ter mek up her awn mind aboot things an beyond t’risk o’t’persecution. When she was informed o’t’returning husband she sang her sad song e’en more. She war devastated when he arrived at t’hoose an tawd her at he cud only get t’ visa fer t’babby an wished ter tak him back t’t’States alone.

Naw there has bin monny interpretations o’t initials BF, bi fair minded citizens es applied ter Pinkerton’s neeame, Some o’t’them extremely obscene.T’simple yan cud be “Big Fibber” fer he was hidin’ his floozy in t’ garden while he was talkin’ tiv her. Butterfly cud see awl t’ dreams o’t’ beein’ an extremely boarin’ American hoosewife gooin’ doon t’pan, Sooa she then stabbtd hersel’ wi’ t’sword an sad ter tell she expired at his feeat. T’sword was t’yan at her Ferther used t’kill hissen some years previous ter save his awn honour.

(Gran was certain at he was up ter no good at t’t’time an affeart t’ go home an face t’wife o’er some dastardly deed he’d committed)

Ah was most put oot when mah effort worn’t read oot at t’Assembly forst as t’winning offering an saw Gordon Simpson walkin’ off wi’t’cherisht CD. Ah knew he’d just gone t’t’library an copied oot t’relevant chapter fra “Abridged Version o’t’ Opera Stories” Ah was e’en mair surprised when ah war called forrard an presented wi’t’prize fer “T’ Most Original Version o’t’ Topic”an gi’en t’identical CD. An fra‘t’ big smiles on’ all teachers’s faces as mah composishun war read oot ah cud seea at ma Gran had trioomphed agaain!

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Volcanoes by Gerald O'Neill

What’d ya larn aboot i’ skeeal tidaay Tom?
Miss Brown larned us aboot volcanoes Gran!
Noo wi hev te write it oot,
Wheear th’are an what th’r aboot,
Ah’m reealyin’ on ya t’keeap m’streeat,
On t’subject excitin’t’t’errupshuns sooa greeat?

Volcanoes Lad? So’ think at th’r neeat,
Bud ow’d’ ya like yan oop tha streeat?
Sike as’t war in t’Pompeei lang agooa,
Awl war sittin’ doon’t t’lunch ( or was’t’ t’teea,)
Ah ferget noo, annyways just lahk thoo an me,
Sooa t’nasty tempert thing begun t’blow.

T’happent awlmighty fast,
When t’ash begun te blaast,
An t’ lather, molten t’lather begun te flow,
“Ah thinks t’werd ya wants is t’Lava Gran?”
Whatsumivver it war, some people ran,
An t’others followd efter, far too slow.

Frae t’heeart o’t’Moount Vesuvioous,
Cum t’ noxioous effluvioous,
An at subterranean vommit,
Cooverd awl at chanced upon it,
Petrifyin’man, bird, beeast, friend an fooe,
In at t’splendid city o’t’ Italy lang agooa.

Worldwide, t’hunderd active moounds,
Still rumble grumble t’ plooms inta t’sky boound,
Divn’t bi fooald bi t’lahtle inactivity,
Stay away frae t’vicinity,
Fer t’Stromboli, t’Etna, t’Popocatepetl,
Ar oot te test t’climmbers mettle.

What’s t’ point t’scalin’ those,
Ef’n bi chance t’crater blows,
Better te practice yer climmbin instincts,
On Chotch walls er t’shoppin precincts,
Fer t’teease thooase sleeapin giants.
Could pervoke reeactions violent?

Sooa beweeare ef’n y’are ascendin’,
T’Fraebrough Hill er t’Roasb’ry Toppin’
Just think on at t’theease two moonds,
Might conceeal t’monster undergroond,
O! sooa deeap an quietly slumberin’
Wha’ll cum forth forth flamin’ an thunderin’,
An lather an t’ashes belch an spew,
O’t’unsuspectin fawk lahk me an thoo!

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“O the youth of the heart and the dew in the morning
You wake and they’ve left you without any warning”
                                                            Old Song.

 by Gerald O'Neill

He gi’es her scant praise,
Allus calls wi’oot t’flooers,
Endeearments sooa sparse,
Ignores her fer t’howers,

She chides i’quite gennle,
He shows neea remorse,
“Th’ spects mi t’be lahke,
T’other boys o’coourse,?”

“T’dingbats wha gi’ee awa,
Gifts wi’oot strings,
Sooa t’girls can sport,
Them gewgaws an rings,”

Yan deeay ah’ll adorn tha,
Thoo’ll just hev ter wait,
Ma ship’ll come in,
Abaht twea thoosan an eight!”

T’note sent fra Oz ,
Hit home straight an true,
T’life here’s greeat “Tha left i’ late,
Tom sends t’greetins too!”

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