I actually had a request for what follows. If you're old enough to remember that celebrated monologue 'Albert and the Lion' you may welcome an addition, one which rests on the assumption that the lion did not in fact consume Albert but found him altogether too indigestible, and threw him up.

SON OF ALBERT

Now you've 'eard of young Albert Ramsbottom
And the time that he went to the Zoo
With his stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle.
And the perils that Albert came through.

Well, Albert grew up and got married;
('E 'ad to, from all that one hears).
'E'd planned a more temporary arrangement;
Elsie's father had other ideas . . .

So Albert acknowledged his offspring,
Preferring a ring to a wreath;
And the child grew the spit of his father
(Especially when cutting his teeth).

Our story begins when young Albert
Had attained to the ripe age of six;
A terror to all of their neighbours,
A right little b -undle of tricks.

It was Wakes Week in what passed for summer
And the family went off for the day
To the tropical Costa del Blackpool
In the time-honoured Lancashire way.

They'd sampled the usual pleasures,
Done all they could think of to do,
When Ma said, 'Let's all go to t'Tower !'
Pa said, 'We're not going to no Zoo !

I've 'ad some experience o' yon place,
Let's keep lions well outa 'is reach !
In't there owt as you don't ' ave to pay for
In Blackpool ?' Ma says, 'Well, there's t'beach !'

Well, that seemed a sensible notion,
But when they got down to the shore
They found about three million people
Who'd 'ad same idea just before.

Well, that wouldn't have troubled them greatly
Except that, unfortunately,
A tanker had been that way lately
And dropped half its load in the sea.

Now Albert for muck were a magnet
And that oil were as sticky as sin;
It made a right mess of his trousers
(Though it didn't show as much on his skin).

The upshot of this little drama
(As Ma said, 'Enough is enough !)
Took place in a small launderama
Where Albert was stripped to the buff.

They chucked all his clothes in the washer;
Then Ma turned to attend to her son,
But Albert, she noticed, had scarpered.
She couldn't think where he had gone.

It was Pa who came up with the answer;
A stranger sight he's never seen;
There was Albert going round with the laundry
In a new multi-programme machine.

'Ere, Ma,' he said, 'look at our Albert !
Yer've seen nowt like this, I'll be bound !
You'll admit, considering his age, like,
The lad doesn't half get around !'

'Gerrim out, yer soft 'aporth !' says Elsie,
'E climbed in not ten second since !'
'I can't !' says his Dad, 'The thing's programmed !
I can't, till he's had his third rinse !'

So they had to sit there, a bit anxious,
Till that programme completed its lot;
(A much better programme than 'Neighbours';
Well, it had a more interesting plot).

He was soaked, but they hadn't no towel,
So Pa says, 'Ere, Ma, show some sense !
Shove the lad for a while in yon drier,
It's only another ten pence !'

So if ever you're passing through Oldham
And you chance on a snow-white young lad,
Just take care you don't call the boy 'Persil',
'Cos it doesn't 'alf make young Albert mad !

* Add dialect and subtract aspirates to taste . . .

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