Steer Yer Own Boat

by Johnny Handle (1990)

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Easter time at Braunston, boats going up and down,
Along come two London fellers, past folks all hangin' round;
Their boats wer brightly polished, Aa was blinded with their brass,
But pride comes before a fall, ye'll end upon yer ass.

Chorus :
It's my belief, ye'll come te grief,
If ye don't steer yer own boot.

Now these two boatin' captains, left their wives in charge at the lock,
Sayin', "We'll slip into the shop here, you'll be all right, my old cock"
The wives were at their knittin’, and giving it some gob,
When the arse of the boots got stuck on the sill, it was an awful job:

Out rushed both the captains, as fast as ever you please,
The watter was low, as well ye might know, and the boats was 30 degrees;
"There's something wrong", the wives they cried, in voices loud and shrill,
"Ye useless, sackless, natterin wives, ye've jammed them on the sill!"

Well the boats were floated, the watchers gloated, te see the men brought down,
With faces red, off they fled, back to London Town;
One had a broken rudder, the other a busted prop,
All through leavin' yer boat in the lock, when you go to the shop!

Written after observing an incident at the Braunston flight 1990.

I am indebted to Johnny Handle who has taken the time to provide me with printed copies of his canal songs. Johnny has written many songs, mainly about coal mining and his native north-east of England - an area deprived of canals. More details of Johnny Handle's work can be found on his website and Pete Wood has recently (2017) written his biography.