Do They Know,
Do They Care?

by Dusty Miller and Dave Illingworth

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They stand so proud at their hundred grand boat
Sipping at tonic and gin
They stand at the tiller of their pride and joy
With the rope hung over the pin
Do they know of those who have gone before
The horses, the boats and the loads
Of those that lived and died on the cut
And the families that worked these roads?

As they walk through the doors of the theme park pub
Do they know how it used to be?
Concertina and banjo, dancing and song
And the girl of your dreams on your knee
The tales of the loads and working all night
The fastest down to the smoke
How you fought for your turn at each lock in the flight
But ended with a drink and a joke

They stand at the helm of their hundred grand boat
With electronics and high tech gear
They say a bow-thruster is really a must
For without it, now, how can you steer
Tell me, how would they manage a fifty ton load
With butty astern on tow
With the rain and the sleet stinging your eyes
When the strong north-easters blow?

In the summer they think, with the sun on their backs
It sure was a wonderful life
But when your pair was held fast in the ice
Then do they think of the strife
Do they know of old George, whose wife was drowned?
Working up Hatton one night
Getting ahead far into the dark
Up again at dawn’s early light

They stand so proud on their hundred grand boat
Sipping at tonic and gin
They stand at the tiller of their pride and joy
With the rope hung over the pin
Do they know of the lock-keepers, lengthsmen and all
And those that worked a pair?
Yes, those that lived and died on the cut
I wonder if they even care?

Sleeve notes : The changing scenes, the altered values and the traditions that are being "rediscovered", sometimes not always accurately, make canal life so different today and are reflected in this song. Let us not forget those who have gone before and who have left us such a unique heritage.

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