Maid in England

by Buz Collins

boat

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Well fire up the engine and bring in the lines
And make sure you coil them up neat
We're away navigating so it's all hands on deck
And the skipper's the best you will meet
The air it is fresh, the water is clear
But we've got no reason for staying round here
We'll be off just as soon as I've got me a beer
And I'm steering the 'Maid in England'

Chorus :
With the smoke in your eyes, the wind in your hair
The throb of the engine down in its dark lair
The water behind you, the tiller in hand
When you're steering the 'Maid in England'

The bridges arch over, the towpath runs past
As we bid the city adieu
Now the green fields surround us and the hedges grow free
There's herons and kingfishers too
But now a lock looms before us, someone runs ahead
To sweat with the windlass 'till they wished they were dead
‘Well I’d do it myself but I'm busy’, I said
For I'm steering the 'Maid in England'

We stride 'cross the valleys on mighty stone legs
In the dark we bore straight through the hills
Through cuttings, embankments through woodlands and moor
Past cottages, minings and mills
But there, up before us and coming our way
Another bold skipper did thoughtlessly say,
‘Do you like my boat?’, and I had to say ‘Nay!’
For I'm steering the 'Maid in England'

The sun it is setting in the fiery sky
And the darkness is drawing in soon
So we'll find a good mooring and snuggle in tight
By the light of the slow rising moon
The engine is silent, this rest it has earned
We’ll doze by the stove and we’ll watch the logs burn
But first thing tomorrow I’m back at the stern
And I'm steering the 'Maid in England'

Recorded on :

Son of Dolly Collins, nephew of Shirley, Buz Collins was a talented songwriter and musician. Working with his wife Sam, living on their narrowboat “The Maid in England”, the influences of the waterways and railways on his work were obvious. With an eye for detail and a delightful sense of the comic, he tackled social history, romance and snobbery with equal vigour and passion. Tragically, Buz died in late summer 2002.