The Fray Bentos Tinned Pie

by Ian H Bruce (2008)

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Chorus :
Fallen trees block your way
The propeller’s stuck fast
Or the pound it has simply run dry
There're no pubs close at hand
Fresh food’s sell-by’s long past
So get out the Fray Bentos tinned pie

Some ideas of a British canal holiday
May be gleaned from a glossy Blakes guide
The reality offers experiences new
Like the famous Fray Bentos tinned pie
Every boat on the system carries these pies
Some use them as ballast I’m told
They are useful because they never get used
For emergencies only they’re stored

When provisions are low and there’s no food left fresh
There’s a desperate search for some ‘eats’
We could eat the tinned pie some wag suggests
With puff pastry and its dubious* meats
You can’t eat the tinned pie, comes quick the retort
For emergencies only it says
We may have no food but we will not starve
There’s a take-away ten miles that way

The emergency comes and the pie must be ate
We’re marooned just before Tixall Wide
Though the circular tin looks so inviting
With no opener we can’t get inside
When I throw the tin overboard Dame Fortune smiles
I just cannot believe my good luck
To go with the store-cupboard soy sauce and rice
We can now add one crispy dazed duck!

* This may be replaced by 'delicious' depending on your point of view or fear of prosecution.

Since writing this I have been amazed by the number of fellow boaters who have admitted to having out-of-date tinned pies on their boats.