The Mystery Load by Dusty Miller Back in nineteen fifty nine When boats worked the Union Line, Thru’ tunnels, bridges, aqueducts and locks From Midland wharfs to ocean docks. The boss called John to his side, “There’s a load to catch the tide It’s a run that’s just for you A job that only you can do”. “Mr Morton Sir, if I be so bold, I need to know what’s in ‘me ‘old”. He cupped his hand around John’s ear And whispered so only he could hear. “Now I’ve let you know the secret Promise me you’ll never speak it”. John nodded his head and gave his word “From these lips it’ll not be heard “The ship is waiting , you can’t be late, For this job you’ll need a mate Tied to the wharf’s your brother Ron, Now get fuelled up and be gone”. Ron untied both fore and aft And pushed the boat to deeper draft Engine starts and into gear Wind the speed-wheel, get out of here. Off they flew along the pound Braunston to Dudley’s smoke they’re bound Thru green fields and country wide, Till factories closed on every side. On they went thru fiery ‘oles, The landscape huern from iron and coals When to a hidden arm they neared, Into its satanic depths they steered. “Get those crates in me boat, We’ve no time to stand and gloat We must wind this motor round And head back south to London Town”. Ron said ”We’ll take the bottom road, We’re in a rush with this precious load ‘Cos once were down the Curd’th flight We’ll carry on throughout the night. So on they sped till rose the dawn Atherstone in early morn, Up the locks and through the top On again to Sutton’s Stop Braunston turn, the locks and then The tunnel Bugby locks go down again. Without a lock for fifteen miles They took turns to rest a-whiles From far and near you’d hear the sound As they raced along the Bugbrooke pound, Blisworth tunnel, black as night, The flames and sparks glowed up the pipe Then the locks at Stoke Bruerne Jack James was there to help them thru-em. Cosworth, Finney, Stoke ‘Ammond Three, Leighton, Maffers, Winkwell, Fishery, Nash two and passed the mills Climbing down the Chilton Hills The locks were coming thick and fast Under Bull’s Bridge, they turned at last. And dropping down at Commercial Lock Finally reaching Regents Dock. Now the load is aboard the ship It’s time to get some well earned kip. When e’en to this day you ask What they carried on that task John winks an eye, scratches his chin, Looks at you and gives a grin. It’s a story He has never told What was in those boxes in the hold It’s a secret which will not be heard Because a boatman gave his word From the DP&N Song Book. Kindly provided by Dusty Miller.
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