DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING INTO THE MIDDLE AGES

Vellum

It is reported that the House of Lords wants to end the age-old practice of printing Acts of Parliament on vellum and to be bang up to date by printing them on paper instead but the House of Commons disagrees and wants to continue the ancient practice.

You may not know but p’rhaps you do,
That all laws and there are a few,
Are printed not on paper but,
On vellum which is leather cut,
From calf-skin which has had a wash,
And really is extremely posh.

But now the House of Lords says, “No!
This ancient practice has to go.
Anachronism’s what we say,
So print on paper from today.”

The Commons says, “You’re thinking small,
Traditions like this suit us all;
You know that vellum doesn’t tear,
And cost is neither here nor there.”

The Lords replies,“Move with the times!
Paper is good for prose or rhymes;
To say it’s untried isn’t true,
’Cos paper’s not exactly new.

And it will show folk that we know,
What’s new in the tech. world and so,
They’ll realise, we think you find,
That we will not be left behind.”

The two houses could not agree,
So compromised to some degree,
And changed to paper, heavy gauge,
For all except the cover page.

So that’s the story, they’ve come far,
And it’s good our lawmakers are,
Emerging from the ages dark;
But listen well and my words mark,
It’s now two thousand seventeen so,
They might still have some way to go.

Image – Wikimedia commons

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CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

nativity-window

It is reported that a baby has been born in Bethlehem and attended by three kings.

I’m writing all these words by hand,
While sitting in the Holy Land,
About two thousand years ago,
But no-one knows exactly so,
Although the date is pretty rough,
I think it’s likely close enough.

I’m glad the date is out the way,
For back then on that Christmas Day,
A man and woman, so it’s said,
Were seeking, for the night, a bed.

They told the landlord they’d come far,
But when they asked him at the bar,
He said his rooms were rather full,
But round the back he had a bull,
That might perhaps his stable share,
If they would like to check round there.

The woman now looked none too sure,
About this offer from the brewer,
But if the beast were just a cow,
Well, maybe that would do for now.

The landlord said he’d go and check,
When he came back he said, “Oh heck!”
The bull, he said, had disappeared,
But as he had the stable neared,
He saw that there was not much space,
For others had now filled the place.

There was a cow, a donkey too,
Some flocks of sheep – just one or two,
And though the night was pretty dark,
Is seemed as full as Noah’s ark.

“We’ll take it,” said her husband Joe.
“The forecast is for sleet and snow.
The sheep seem quiet, do not bleat,
But have you anything to eat?”

The landlord said, “I’m not too sure,
But I’ve some bottles from the brewer;
The beer inside is dark not pale,
For it’s our special Christmas ale.”

The woman said, “That will do well,
My baby’s coming I can tell,
And after I have given birth,
Expect some changes on this earth.

But as for now the ale is fine,
Because you will find out with wine,
That although it’s as yet unknown,
From water he can make his own.”

So there they stayed that Christmas night,
They found the stable quite all right,
But next day the innkeeper said,
“I’m almost going off my head.

I didn’t sleep a wink all night,
That star up there was far too bright,
But what was right beyond the pale,
Was that some bloke the worse for ale,
At three o’clock gets up and sings,
A song that starts, ‘We are three kings’.

I really don’t know what to do,
They’re much more trouble them than you;
I’ve put them in my three best rooms,
But misery for me now looms,
With prospects that are pretty bleak,
’Cos they’ve booked in to stay next week.

They’ve all brought gifts, they say they are,
For me to keep behind the bar,
Until a fourth king should appear,
In Bethlehem or somewhere near,
And then the gifts they will bestow,
On this king that they barely know.

But I think we might play a trick,
Because these kings are pretty thick,
So I’ve a Christmas cracker here,
Just very slightly stained with beer,
It’s painted blue and red and brown,
And inside is a paper crown.

If your child will just put it on,
The kings will think he is the one,
To have the gifts as was foretold,
And one of them is solid gold.

So after that just pay your bill,
I’ll put it over by the till;
It might be big but do not bitch,
Because by then we’ll all be rich!

And as for my three guests from hell? –
We’ll all be shot of them as well!”

Image – flickr

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TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE?

mannequin-pis

It is reported that the Roman city walls in Chester are being damaged by drunken revellers weeing on them and the City Council has painted parts of them with a special paint which increases splashback as a deterrent to such antisocial behaviour.

Chester is an historic town.
Has features there of world renown,
Its city walls are really large,
Built back when Romans were in charge.

They built them high and built them strong,
So they would last so very long,
And if Welsh armies should attack,
They’d fight them off and send them back.

The Welsh are now more civilised,
As some by now have realised,
And so this famous Roman wall,
Serves little purpose there at all.

But some folk, maybe not from Wales,
Go out at night consuming ales,
And if they miss the last bus home.
They pee against the walls of Rome.

This is unsightly, also smells,
It stops them weeing on themselves,
But as they do this every day,
The mortar starts to wear away.

Romans would not know what to do,
In fact they wouldn’t have a clue,
So their solution probably,
To stop those who would have a pee,
Would be excuses to refute,
And possibly to execute.

Today this would be too severe,
For someone who’d drunk too much beer,
And so some kinder action’s right,
For people caught short late at night.

The answer’s hydrophobic paint,
Which once applied looks rather faint,
But when weed on has an effect,
The perpetrators don’t expect.

It causes foreign liquids to,
Splash back onto one’s pants and shoe,
As an incentive, makers claim,
Not to repeat the same again.

So let your watchword be, ‘Take care’,
If you are caught short in the square;
You might get wet and not from rain,
But if you must go ’cos of pain,
It’s better to be dry than wet,
So do learn to control the jet.

Image – Wikimedia commons

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THE BELL TOLLS

big-ben-clock-and-bell

It is reported that the Whitechapel Foundry, which opened in 1570 when Elizabeth I was on the throne, is to close in 2017.

The foundry in Whitechapel Road,
To which I dedicate this ode,
Has stood since ’Lizabethan days,
When Shakespeare wrote most of his plays.

It makes things out of metal, cast,
Is not concerned to do things fast,
And one commission it did take,
A century or more to make.

Its main business is making bells,
For churches such as Bath and Wells,
But its most famous bell to date,
Was cast in 1858,
It’s hung in London Town since then,
And we all know it as Big Ben.

In fact Big Ben was there re-cast,
Because the first one did not last,
It had been first cast if you please,
Up north in Stockton on the Tees.

The first one broke I’m sad to say,
And so it was then sent away,
To Whitechapel to be re-made,
And hopefully to make the grade.

It all went well, no loss of face,
And was hung in its proper place,
The hammer then gave it a whack,
And it got quite a nasty crack.

The bellman said, “Why, damn and drat!
The thing sounds really rather flat.”
The crack is still there to this day,
And that is why it sounds that way.

But I digress to some extent,
For with this verse it’s my intent,
To give you facts and figures so,
More than before you ought to know.

The foundry is the oldest firm,
In Britain just as you now learn,
And as for a bell-making space,
The whole world has no older place.

But sadly I must now report,
That orders have been rather short;
Whitechapel’s been left in the lurch,
’Cos people don’t now go to church.

So next year it has plans to close,
To sell its assets I suppose,
And then for bells you’ll have to go,
To Taylor’s up in Loughboro’

It will be sad I have to say,
To see this old firm fade away,
Perhaps some person rich and brave,
Might step in to the foundry save.

Image – Flickr

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ONE HAS THE BUILDERS IN

buckingham-palace

It is reported that the Government has approved the expenditure of £369 million for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.

“One’s home which is a tourist sight,
Has some things which are not quite right,
And such things need to be repaired,
So from misfortune one is spared.

The building’s really very old –
Two hundred years or so one’s told –
And things must really work all right,
So one can get some sleep at night.

The plumbing’s in a dreadful state,
So says young George the plumber’s mate,
And others in the know do tell,
The roof leaks like a sieve as well.

But what gives one the jitters most,
Is that thing used for making toast;
That’s electricity I mean,
Which simply had not been foreseen,
When its state was still quite pristine,
In the reign of that other queen.

So hence one’s wiring’s not too good,
The risk is greater than it should,
And it is one of one’s chief aims,
The place should not go up in flames.

These things all need to be repaired,
So from disaster one is spared;
One has had big fires in the past,
With Windsor Castle as the last,
And it would be a dreadful shame,
If this place were to do the same.

So let one’s watchword be ‘Take care’,
When one’s considering repair,
One’s Government’s more cash than most,
So one’s no need to end up toast!”

Image – Wikimedia commons

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QUEEN’S ENGLISH

language

It is reported that the difficulty some foreigners have in pronouncing certain sounds is changing the English language.

Now immigration, it is claimed,
By some folk is now being blamed,
For changes in our dialect,
Which if it carries on unchecked,
Will make some sounds just disappear,
And ’specially in London here.

English has always been a mix,
Of different types of linguistics,
Like French and German, Latin, Greek,
Which all affect the way we speak.

And also in more recent times,
The country where they pay in dimes,
And sometimes English words misspell,
Have led to changes here as well.

Specifically, some migrants aren’t,
Able to say some sounds they can’t,
And one in which they’re not fluent –
The interdental consonant.

I could quote as example ‘think’,
Which is pronounced (before a drink),
By pushing your tongue up behind,
Your upper teeth, I think you’ll find.

So if this sound cannot be made,
Then from the language it will fade,
To be replaced then I would think,
By something sounding more like ‘fink’.

Most people don’t like too much change,
And some of these new words sound strange,
So as in ages long since past,
It may be best to not change fast.

So ask your friends to try their best,
Although I don’t propose a test,
And they could help a lot if they,
Are careful how their words they say.

Image – pixabay.com

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REVOLEUTION

napoleon-cartoon

The EEC is in a mess,
For reasons not so hard to guess,
Some think their leaders just don’t care,
And there are migrants everywhere.

As well as this the euro’s not,
Done anything to stop the rot,
In fact it’s really made things worse –
The worst thing in the universe.

The Germans sit there – they are fine,
But southern states producing wine,
Can’t sell their products though they try,
’Cos the exchange rate is too high.

And ’cos of this there is no work,
For people though they do not shirk,
And finances far from the plan,
Are quickly going down the pan.

The EU leaders won’t accept,
They have done something so inept,
And this is why they’re out of touch –
They simply do not listen much.

So voters all throughout their lands,
Most used to sitting on their hands,
Are rising up now to object,
To unelected power unchecked.

They want to have a bigger say,
In how they’re ruled from day to day,
But the response from on high’s “Yes!
You must have more Europe, not less.”

If this goes on folk will rebel,
The Brits have gone, said, “What the hell!”
But if the French should start revolt,
It may come like a thunderbolt.

For they might just start civil war,
Something that they have done before;
The French are experts in this field,
Will single out the ones well-heeled,
So one precaution they should take,
Is not to ever mention cake.

Image – http://www.lancerlibrary.org

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