SURLY SHIRLEY


Surly Shirley from Surbiton disembarked from the train at Leeds.
The porter who carried her luggage got nought for his dutiful deeds,
Except verbal abuse and a back ache caused by the physical strain
Of carrying Shirley’s portmanteaux to the taxi from the train.
Laden with luggage and Shirley, the taxi limped from the rank
Backfired as it passed Boots the chemist and again as it neared
Barclays Bank.
Her destination was Otley, a town further north, slightly west
It was there that she hoped to put, her troublesome mother to rest.
She had requested that Shirley scatter, her ashes over the earth
On the banks of the Wharf, in Otley, the place of her mother’s birth.
In the Twilight Home of the Bewildered, her mother had ruled the roost
Putting her there in her sixties had given the old girl a boost.
Shirley went every Tuesday, with bottles of sherry and gin,
Her mother enjoyed a tipple and invited a few friends in.
The ‘Tuesday Club’ was the talk of the Home and the residents flocked
to her door
Many would fall off their walking frames to lie dribbling on the floor.
The Matron and staff tried to stop it but all to no avail
Shirley’s mum was much too wise and resorted to a spot of blackmail.
She vetted every new resident and had a percentage of all of the rent
As she later confided in Shirley, most of the staff were bent!
It was consumption that finally did her, she had died with a fag ‘tween her lips
A Capstan Full Strength, it was her favourite, she couldn’t abide filter tips!
Shirley had, had her cremated, it seemed apt she should go up in smoke
She already had lungs like a kipper and fingers the colour of light oak.
Once the curtains enclosed the catafalque Shirley left and went to the pub,
It was already way past lunchtime and she hadn’t had any grub!

The cremation took place on Wednesday, on Friday she picked up the urn
She was going to get one from Argos but she hadn’t got money to burn.
So, she bought a ‘weekend saver’ from that nice man at British Rail
Who said the trains were running on time and she’d arrive before noon without fail.
Then she phoned her old aunt Edna, and asked if it was alright to stay
When she came up to Otley to throw, her mother’s ashes away.
Edna said she’d prepare a room but couldn’t talk because of the door,
Apparently, someone was knocking and she was up to her eyes in washing the floor.
So, there she was in a taxi, laden down with her few worldly goods
Plus the urn, two Catherine Cookson’s and a couple of Christmas puds
That her mother had won at the bingo before having that fatal last drag
And which were now slowly fermenting in the bottom of her Morrison’s bag.
Shirley would move back to Otley, she was a Northern Girl, born and bred
There was nothing to keep her in Surbiton, now that her mother was dead.

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Author: philbo62

Retired businessman, always looking for inspiration and new ideas. Author of two books, writer of poetry.

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