A rogues' gallery of mountebanks, charlatans and scoundrels
Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay
Friday, 2 July 2010
Bumpety-bumpety-bump - a true story
With apologies to the incomparable Flanders and Swann Another example of a Council's left hand not knowing what the right is doing. I've availed myself of poetic licence to telescope the timescale, but this has all been happening recently in a street near me...
‘Twas on a Monday morning that the sorry tale began;
The locals were complaining so the Council sent a man.
He stood there with his clipboard and eventually he said,
“We shall have to put in speed bumps or someone will wind up dead”. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do.... ‘Twas on a Tuesday morning that the workmen brought their tools,
They shut down all the bus stops (which upset the local schools),
They put up lights and barriers as far as you could see
And set up a diversion, then went home to have their tea. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
On Wednesday they were back again, they worked from morn till noon,
They drilled and dug and shovelled busily and pretty soon
We had half a dozen speed bumps lined up all along the road
And the merry sound of squealing brakes as all the traffic slowed. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
But on the Thursday morning the ambulance cried 'foul',
Every time they met a speed bump they could hear their patients howl,
And it turned out every time a driver hit one in a bus
All his passengers got whiplash and they made an awful fuss. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
So on the Friday morning, the council sent some men
And they filled the road with barriers and traffic lights again;
They turned the solid speed bumps into hummocks four feet wide
So the wheels of public vehicles could pass on either side. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
On Saturday came lorries, ‘twas the workmen back again
Armed with lots of council orders for resurfacing the lane;
They put back every barrier and every traffic light
And then they went off home again – they wouldn’t work at night. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
On Sunday they were there again, all working on the street
They laid down lots of tarmac, left the edges clean and neat,
And when the job was finished and the surface nearly dry,
All those useful brand new speed bumps were a centimetre high. Oh it all makes work for the working man to do....
Once again the road's a rat-run and the residents complain
So the Council's just about to send the clipboard man again.
Macheath, the notorious highwayman, has retired from a life of crime and can now be found behind the bar of Peachum's Tavern, favourite haunt of the rakes, rogues and vagabonds of 18th century Newgate and setting of 'The Beggars' Opera'. Visitors are always welcome; help yourself to a virtual tankard of ale and read on...