The Ballad Of The Artful Dodger
J Roger Platt, insignificant chap
Had an ordinary sort of employ
But his wife was a martyr to his penchant for barter –
DIY’s what he used to enjoy
What he couldn’t do with an old tube of glue
And a short piece of string or a tack
Wasn’t worth writing down –
He was known through the town
As King Bodger – not of all trades the Jack.
Like a knight on the trail of his own Holy Grail
He’d swap bits and pieces with ardour
From a rusty old nail to a bottomless pail
All got stored in the kitchen or larder.
Then his wife got a job down the old ‘Cat and Dog’
And he found that she came home quite late
So … just to be sure she found the step to the door
He tried fixing a light to the gate.
By gluing a match to the edge of the latch
And tying to the post an old candle
He was hoping to light her way home in the night
But instead it just burnt through the handle.
Undaunted our hero (Like the old emperor Nero
To whom fiddlin’ and burns were the norm)
Explained to his mate, standing, singed by the gate,
That he’d just tried to keep her from harm!!!
Plan ‘B’ meant a grand change of tactics, our man
Used a lamp and a wire and a peg
Leading out of the door – which his wife never saw
As she tripped up and broke her left leg.
Sunk with despair, his wife in her wheelchair
Had declared now she couldn’t cook tea
He fried bangers and mash with his blowlamp ‘til – flash
One exploded and hit him in th’ eeye.
He thought I can’t fail with a simple handrail’
Which to screw to the wall he did try
But he was plunged in the dark by bad luck with a spark
As his new scheme went sadly awry
Next he rigged up a hoist to a solid wood joist
So she could bathe with her leg still in plaster
But he drilled through the plank ‘neath the main header tank
So she’d a shower – which weren’t such a disaster.
One more thing was needed our bold fixer conceded
That’s to widen the door to the hall
But it grieves me to say that he’d no R.S.J.
So he’s a doorway but hasn’t a wall.
When the dust dried away his wife’s face were all grey
That is save for the whites of her eyes
And as she washed in cold water, he thowt that he oughta
Make it up to her with a surprise.
Inspiration did lack, till he picked up some scrap
From a knackers yard just a week later
With unbridled restraint (‘cos he’d got some black paint)
He swapped his hub caps for an old radiator
He worked on his plan with much verve and élan
(He’d no brush, but an old shirt of flannel
To put paint on quite thick, yes it right did the trick)
And he’d soon got a smart solar panel.
Putting old copper tubes through a hole in the roof
He connected it up with great ease
With a gleam in his eyes he recorded a rise
Of 1 and a quarter degrees.
But he soon lost his smile when the hole in the tiles
Very rapidly started to leak
And his wife said with feeling – under most of the ceiling
“I’m goin; to me mam’s for a week!!!”
Though the ruins still stand, monument to the man
Whom his ma with great love, christened Roger
There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the kind
That should really be called ‘Artful Bodger’