Charabanc on the run 1900


Racing now, well out of control
the charabanc rushed away down the hill
the man from in front who was carrying the red flag
ran after it with a powerful will
but the old charabanc had a full head of steam
and was not going to stop on its own
the driver it seems had left off the brake
and he too chased along as he moaned.

The speed limit set for this new kind of bus
was just four miles an hour at the most
but the speed it had gathered as it fair raced along
would easily get it first past the post
but this old charabanc was running on steam
so its boiler was pushing out clouds
and eventually all of the water ran dry
when it stopped in front of the crowds.

The driver caught up, the flagman caught up
as it happened there was no damage done
so they filled it with water and started it up
and sheepishly drove away from the fun
with the flagman in front with a frown on his face
as he listened to the charabanc’s hiss
for he no longer trusted the driver and his brake
and he was sure he’d not signed up for this.

©Joe Wilson – Charabanc on the run 1900

I dedicate this to my late grandfather-in-law, Norman, who as a boy carried the red flag. He later went on to own the company and I was very fond of him.

The sound file is inserted just for fun. If you read this aloud with as broad a Lancashire accent as you can manage you’ll get the idea I’m conveying. 🙂

I Remember The Mallard

As boys we sat atop a bridge
And saw the trains rush by
Steam flying out of funnel stacks
We watched them pass with a sigh.

The Royal Scot was a favourite
The Flying Scotsman too
But the biggest thrill we ever got
Was when The Mallard raced right through.

Such a beauty she was in livery
All blue and shining and bright
And to children like us in the fifties
She was such an amazing sight.

She was the four four six eight
And she ran on four six two
You couldn’t see her funnel stacks
For speed they were hidden from view.

They’d built her up in Doncaster
Through a wind tunnel she had passed
And when she flew along the tracks
You caught a glimpse and gasped.

Steam trains of course don’t run now
Except on heritage lines
But smelly and dirty as they may have been
They were a glorious sight in their times.