Broken Boats by Barry Skinner When I was a lad, I fished in the water Where the boats lay at the end of their days Their backs were all broken, hulls were rotting All that remains of the halcyon days Fellows and Joshers they’ve lain side by side Up to their top ends in mud and green slime Once so respected, now they’re neglected Forgotten, unwanted, it’s a sign of the times Once when the paintwork shone in winter sunshine Once when the brass-work shone like burnished gold Once when those captains spoke with affection And tales of achievements about them were told When Nurser and Atkins they painted the roses The castles they built were a sight to behold When one boat a week, it was built on the dockside All we have now are the memories of old All we have now are the old folk a-talking Talking of memories of days long gone past All we see now are those black hulls a-rotting Their paintworks all peeling and green covered brass No more the sound of a Bolinder engine Running down Braunston, on a cold winter’s day And no more the sound of the hoof-beat on towpath Or the cracking of ice as the boat makes its way For the black hulls are rotting down in the water The kingfisher dives from his perch on the bow The black hulls are rotting down in the water And this is the state of our waterways now Gone is the paintwork and gone is the brasswork Gone are the roses, the castles at the door And gone are those boatmen the once proud tradition The black hulls they rot, to go boating no more Fellows and Joshers have lain side by side Up to their top ends in mud and green slime Once so respected now they’re neglected Forgotten, unwanted, it’s a sign of the times They’re forgotten, unwanted, it’s a sign of the times When the old wooden boats ceased to be of use for carrying cargoes many were sunk and left to rot in such places as the Cheshire flashes. Recorded on :
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