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.


  1. Your story made me laugh and also inspired this poem:

    It seems to be the best stories in life are true.
    For nigh, only the workingman can heed and do
    and please society of its ills.
    For without the steadfast pace of workingmen,
    what would we do?
    Most assuredly, we’d be left questioning life’s insecurity.
    Alas, thank goodness!
    For pen in hand, its clipboards to guide man’s way in life:
    speedily over bumps, pitfalls, and barriers alike.
    Most of all, thank goodness for man’s resilience,
    who is steadfast through it all.

    Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author
    www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Mommy, would you like a sandwich?

  2. Suzanne, I'm glad to have provided inspiration.

    However, might I suggest that, when commenting in a private capacity, you lose the 'Published Author' tag?

    Quite apart from the tactlessness it displays towards the many unpublished authors in the blogosphere (most of whom aspire to literary excellence rather than 'Mommy's writings'), it does make you look rather desperate.