A Band on Ship

Our Billy and Powder Keg Aemot, (formerly of Keighley)

Here follows the tale of our Billy,
He’s a conkerer-nut lunatic,
That’s the conker, you know, them round brown nuts,
Like you knock down from trees wi’ a stick.

Now Our Billy had conkered for ages,
To find the right nut for his task
He held ‘em, he felt ‘em, he squeezed ‘em,
With his face an inscrutable mask.

That is until one day he found one –
A conker to conquer the rest
A nut so sublime that he hugged it,
And clasped the brown orb to his chest.

Our Billy could only imagine
The force that he held in his hand
But he knew it were sommat outstanding
And the feeling it gave him was grand.

He gently placed t’nut in his pocket,
And he felt it pulsate ’gainst his leg –
He knew he had found sommat special,
And he thought up a name – Powder Keg.

He could sense he was on to a winner
‘Cos this nut had ambition, and pride.
Not for this nut a soak in malt vinegar
Or matt varnish brushed around it’s outside.

No, this bloody nut were humungous,
One that Nature alone could design
It fair made Our Billy go rigid
Just to think to himself “It’s all mine!”

When he got home he went to his bedroom
Shut the door tight and locked himself in.
T’were just him and the nut on the mattress –
Powder Keg and Our Billy McGlynn.

He held it and checked every contour,
Undecided at first but then sure –
Then he took a wood block out o’tert cupboard,
Placed both it and the nut on’tert floor.

Now the block was an Our Billy Special –
He’d designed it with one job in mind
With a scoop in the middle fur’t nut to lie in
So he’d make conker piercing refined.

He’d worked out the angle of dangle
Both for optimum strength and wind flow.
Like a jeweller cutting a diamond to shape,
He’d pictured just where’t string would go.

As he solemnly placed Powder Keg on the block
He could sense that the nut wouldn’t mind
He turned it around so Our Billy could feel
The small lump on the conker’s behind.

For this was the place he’d decided upon,
The nut surgeon, Our Billy McGlynn –
Would perform the incision with style and aplomb
Through the bum, coming out at the chin.

Our Billy then took out his nut-pricking nail
T’was one he’d designed for the job
And he also produced a small hammer as well –
( It were one that broke toffee fur’t gob…)

The nail came down ever so gentle,
Placed precisely on Powder Keg’s back,
Our Billy, nut surgeon, proceeding at pace,
Like a vet who’s castrating a cat…

In a second or two he had finished
With the conker completely unmoved
The hole through the nut was perfection itself
And Our Billy knew ‘Keggy’ approved.

He picked Powder Keg up and, with feeling
Carried it gently back onto his bed
Where he laid it back down on the mattress,
Right way up, on its bum, not its head.

Then Our Billy went into his wardrobe,
And took out an old wooden box.
With a lid made of papier mache…
And a lining made out of old socks.

Now this box had a secret compartment –
And contained strands of horse mane and tail.
He’d cut them from Dobbin, a dray horse,
Whilst Old Albert, his driver, supped ale.

He’d been keeping the horse hair till such time,
That a Powder Keg came on the scene.
He’d prepared them in ancient, traditional ways –
Having soaked them in soft margarine.

Taking strand after strand from the box lid,
Slow and patient, he wound them together,
He created a length of horse-hair string
Which he KNEW had the strength of thick leather.

Going back to the place where the nut lay,
He sat down on the edge of the bed
Picked Powder Keg up and proceeded at once
Pushing hair through’t nut’s bum via t’ head.

In an instant the task was accomplished,
And Our Billy then knotted one end,
Of the twine to stop’t nut coming unstuck,
Accidentally – a nut round the bend.

Our Billy surveyed his achievement with pride
He imagined the headlines unfurled
“BILLY AND POWDER KEG TRIUMPH!”
They were ready to take on the World.

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