The sea-dog’s shout
Sorry, this one rhymes, too.
“H’all aboard!” came the sea-dog’s shout
To trippers scattered round about.
“A bob a trip – an hour afloat
On ‘Erne Bay’s only pleasure boat.”
The Skylark was the vessel’s name
And every trip was just the same,
In brightest sun or chilly showers
Along the coast to see the Towers.
“Reculver,” he explained to Mum,
“The Romans called Reg Ulbium.”
For Mum it was who’d take the trip
While Dad ashore enjoyed a kip.
I always hoped we’d meet some swell
Or even have a stormy spell.
But calm it was on every ride
And often on the lowest tide
The knotted rope ne’er reached mark twain
Nor half of that, nor half again.
Aboard this boat, abaft the beam
I’d sometimes spot a puff of steam
Then point and yell at what I’d seen
“A paddle ship – the Medway Queen!”
By-inch, by-inch, its crew would gauge
Exactly where the landing stage
Afforded just the very spot
To sidle up at half a knot
And tie abeam the makeshift quay
That floated gently on the sea
Appended to a mile-long pier
In order all the shoals to clear.
As if impressed with such a feat
A little train would rush to meet
The folks from Strood and Chatham, too,
Who’d paddled down to take the view
Of Herne Bay standing on the shore
A world away from South-West Four
And Clapham, which was home to me
Save fourteen days down by the sea.