THE BALLAD OF WATFORD GAP

(This sad tale is not at all apocryphal. During the famous postal strike an official car was sent from British Steel Headquarters daily to meet cars from Rotherham and Birmingham, each with their respective mail. On one occasion the car from London arrived two hours late at the rendezvous at Watford Gap Service Station. The driver had been scouring Watford for that very place. Fortunately for him, a passing Northern yokel put him right.

'Twas a bitter day in '72 the postmen went on strike.
They swore that they'd deliver no more mail
Until they got fifteen per cent (the bosses offered eight),
Or until some wiser counsel should prevail.

But the strikers hadn't reckoned with the men of British Steel;
(I mean, of course, the lads from Special Steels,
Who can always be relied upon, if someone mentions work,
To show such work a nifty pair of heels).

So one (a certain chauffeur) was chosen from their ranks
And wakened from a sound post-prandial nap,
And told to get his skates on, and tighten up his loins,
And prepare to leave post-haste for Watford Gap.

But when he got to Watford, through blinding snow and hail,
And asked a native there, 'Wheer's this 'ere gap ?'
He found to his astonishment that no one seemed to know
Until up spoke an ancient wizened chap

Whose boast it was that in his youth he'd travelled to those parts;
(He was famed through Southern England for this feat,
For the natives of that region fear the heathen of the North
With their barbarous cries of 'Ba goom !' and 'That's reet !').

And the old man told our hero how to drive past Watford Gap
And then come back again the other way,
And he did, and when he got there he found his toil in vain,
For the postmen had gone back that very day.

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