Take a Look at that Boat

by Johnny Handle (1994)

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"Take a look at that boat, it's the ugliest thing afloat,
The back end's like a humpy backed rat,
The sharp end just can't look like that;
How they get it moving is quite beyond belief,
A garden shed at the top, and a bath tub underneath."

When a group of boaters gather, down beside the cut,
They look at the craft that's moored,
Saying "That oneís all right, BUT..
The washers all are welded, and the tiller's not just right"
They stand around and natter, down by the watter,
And winge from morn till night.

"The colours not right at all, and look at those drunken castles,
The cabin roof is sticking out, and that motoríll give some hassle;
Have ye seen the flowers and the plantpots?
Aa'll bet it never moves right,
Ye can tell how often they move that,
'Cos the moorin's rusted tight".

Then one day, they were slagging off, to another boating chap,
He went very quiet, didn't say much, as they spouted all their crap,
And then he let them have it, right along the line,
The boat that ye've been takin' apart,
Just happens to be mine!

So don't sneer at those who don't have too much cash,
Yet love the life on the water,
They might struggle to get afloat, in a patched up boat,
For their family.. sons and daughters;
There's many a one who started out, in just the same old way,
Keeping the cuts alive for all, as we cruise around today!

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. Johnny has labelled this as 'Recitation?' so it may work better spoken rather than sung.