Wednesday, 3 June 2020

"The Roman Invasion of Marple"

By Jack Turnbull, published in "Verse and Worse".

"Yer'll 'appen have heard about t'Romans
Who went about conquering folk,
Invadin' and rapin' and pillage
Then killin' all t'men fer a joke.

Well one day Caesar were studying th'atlas
He stood there, 'is 'ands on 'is 'ips.
He said he were fed up wi' red wine and pizza,
And fancied some Vimto and chips.

So his legions advanced towards England,
And landed on t'shores close to Rhyl.
They marched up the A6 to Stockport,
And stopped for a pint at Rose Hill.

"This seems like a good place to conquer."
Said th'Officer. "Best that we've found."
Then followed his lads into t'Railway
And ordered chip butties all round.

The landlord of t'pub he were beaming.
It were t'best trade he'd had for a week.
Ten thousand Romans all wanting a drink,
(And five thousand wanting a leak).

But the folk of Rose Hill were right grumpy,
What wi' so many Romans around.
They moaned 'cos the bus queues were seven miles long
And crisps had gone up to a pound.

The news soon spread up the village
That t'Romans had come for a fight.
But the good folk of Marple weren't worried,
'Cos the village had shut for the night.

The Romans assembled next morning,
Presenting a fearsome sight,
But they'd all had a skinful of Robbies,
So they weren't feeling much like a fight.

They marched up the road towards Marple,
Passing t'Bowler and t'Jolly en route.
While the villagers booed and chucked insults,
Not to mention half bricks and bad fruit.

The Romans advanced through the village,
And stopped at the Navi' by t'Cut.
"HAIL CAESAR!" the officer bellowed.
"SOD OFF!", said the landlord, "WE'RE SHUT!"

The officer got quite aggravated
At not being served at the inn.
So he gathered his soldiers around him and said,
"Righto lads, let t'fighting begin."

The captain of t'Romans were Brutus,
And Albert were in charge of us.
Now Brutus, he came in a chariot,
And Albert .... he came on a bus.

So t'battle kicked off Monday morning,
A bit of a one sided do,
'cause t'Romans had ten thousand archers,
And Marple could muster ... just two.

Now both of our archers were bakers,
But that day they'd shut up the shop.
They said, "If yon Romans are comin',
They'll have t'get their bread from t'Co-op."

The fighting raged all over t'village,
Through High Lane and onto the Ridge,
Wi' cavalry charges through Compstall,
And punch-ups around Possett Bridge.

"We'll only be warrin' five days a week."
Said t'Marple Shop Steward, Alf Platt.
"Five days a week, and if tha' wants any more,
It's time and a half after that!"

So t'battle were halted come Friday,
And everyone stopped for a brew.
There were racin' and snooker and darts on the telly,
So our lads took t'weekend off too.

When t'fightin' restarted on Monday,
Both sides faced each other in t'mud.
It hadn't stopped rainin' since Friday,
And t'forecast weren't lookin' too good.

The Romans had set up a rest camp,
Wi' a stall sellin' pizza and cakes,
And a pond so the soldiers could paddle,
At a place what they called t'Roman Lakes.

The fighting went on for a fortnight,
Wi' rapin' and pillage on t'side,
And most of it done by our own lads,
(Plus a couple of fellas from Hyde).

But the weather weren't kind to the Romans,
The rain turned to ice as it fell.
It rusted their swords and their armour,
And shrunk all their togas as well.

It weren't much fun being a Roman,
Wi' yer toga all soggy and wet,
Wi' rain comin' down like big stair rods,
And wellies not invented just yet.

The captain in charge of the Romans,
(Seeing things were not going quite right),
Called a meeting wi' t'leader of our lads,
Which was held at The Hatters that night.

"Let's call it a draw", said the Captain,
(Who was missing all t'sunshine in Rome).
"Let's call it a draw, and on Friday,
The lads can all bugger off home."

"I'll settle for that", said our leader,
"Our lads don't like fightin' in t'rain.
Besides, that reminds me, next Friday,
It's Wakes Week and we're all off to Spain."

So the Romans packed up their equipment,
Their weapons and all t'other stuff.
They'd been and they'd seen, but not conquered,
So they marched off to Rome in a huff.

There's not a lot left of th'invasion,
No statues or castles on t'Ridge.
Nowt at all to remind us of t'Romans,
Just The Legion, The Lakes and The Bridge."

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