by Marrott Edgar adapted by Nick & Stella Charman
for the Beech Adult Christmas Party, 4th December 2010.
A tribute to the social spirit of the people of Beech, and with thanks to Max and the staff of WKL for their steadfast support for our ongoing building project.
We’ve got you an old-fashioned story That won’t take too long to tell, Of a grand local building supplier; In Medstead, called W-K-L. In a road called Lymington Bottom, This outfit pursues its trade, Wi’ a chap name of Max in top job; To make sure big profits is made.
One day, Max were filling an order Of scalpings, when in thro' the door Came an old feller fair wreathed i' whiskers; T'ould chap said 'Good morning, I'm Noah.' Max asked Noah what was 'is business, And t'ould chap went on to remark, That not liking the look of the weather, 'E were thinking of building an Ark. 'E'd gotten the wood for the bulwarks, And all t'other shipbuilding junk, And wanted some nice Bird's Eye Maple To panel the side of 'is bunk. Now Maple were their Mon-o-po-ly; That means it were all theirs to cut, And nobody else 'adn't got none; So Max asked three ha'pence a foot. 'A ha'pence too much,' replied Noah, 'Penny a foot's more the mark; A penny a foot, and when rain comes, I'll give you a ride in me Ark.' But neither would budge in the bargain; The whole daft thing were kind of a fix, So Max put 'is tongue out at Noah, And Noah made rude sign at Mix... (sorry, Max!!) In wrath and ill-feeling they parted, Not knowing when they'd meet again, And Max had forgot all about it, 'Til one day it started to rain. It rained and it rained for a fortni't, And flooded the 'ole countryside. ‘Til Beech were cut off from Medstead, And yer couldn’t see signs on t’roadside. The 'ouses were soon under water, And folks to the roof 'ad to climb. They said 'twas the rottenest summer That Beech 'ad 'ad for some time When Noah were checkin’ is e-mails; He spotted Beech residents’ plight, For Helen had posted a message, Updating the village website. The rain showed no sign of abating, And water approached Hillside Farm, 'Til the only dry place were at Siggs’ place, With Eric, on top of ‘is barn.
T’was here Noah launched ‘is rescue Of locals, gath’rin’ there one and all. But first ‘e made room for Committee Who’d abandoned a damp village hall. Next, lookin’ round for more swimmers Nicholas Charman they see. Don’t let ‘im aboard yells Coxy He didn’t help with marquee! On seein’ Tarbutts treadin’ water, ‘Can I ‘elp yer?’ old Noah did say (Peter were down in the dumps, like- Refurbishment were all washed away!) But Building Inspector looked ‘appy ‘Til Peter wiped t’smile off ‘is face, By stickin’ a brick in ’is pocket Which sunk ‘im, without a trace. Next, Helen & Alan were rescued So then there were lots more great chat And Noah played ‘ost to Beech Social And Saman got out cricket bat. The pitch were a bit of a problem Under sea of wet leaves and mud, But other games were invented At anchor, in Bushy Leaze Wood. ‘Let’s get drinks fixed’ said Elaine & Alan ‘There’s bottles floating past boat!’ And they were fair chuffed at next moment When tide washed up missing bar float! Then leaflets were sent out by pigeon Sayin’ Beech folks were saved by the Ark, And music and dancin’ were promised With a hog roast, soon after dark. So Max (remember him?)... So Max started swimmin’ from Medstead It took ‘im best part of a week ‘Is clothes were wet through when ‘e fetched up And ‘is boots were beginning to leak.
'E stood to ‘is watch chain in water, Up at Abbey, on top of Tower, When who should come sailing towards 'im But old Noah, ‘is face looking sour.
They stared at each other in silence, With Ark alongside ‘im, all but, Then Noah said: 'What price yer Maple?' Max answered: 'Three ha'pence a foot.'
Noah said 'Nay; I'll make thee an offer, The same as I did t'other day. A penny a foot and a free ride. Now, come on, lad, what does tha' say?'
'Three ha'pence a foot,' came the answer. So Noah 'is sail 'ad to hoist, And sailed off again towards Alton, While Max stood determined, but moist.
Beech folk created amusement, 'Til fortieth day of the wet, When on their way back, passing King’s Hill, They saw Max - standing there yet.
'Is chin just stuck out of the water; A comical figure 'e cut. Noah said: 'Now what's the price of yer Maple?' Max answered: 'Three ha'pence a foot.'
Said Noah: 'Ye'd best take my offer; It's last time we'll be hereabout; And if water comes half an inch higher, I'll happen get Maple for nought.'
'Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost yer, And as fer me,' Max said, 'don't fret. The sky's took a turn since this morning; I think it'll brighten up yet!'