Selected monologues and.., p.1
Copyright 2014 Olive Sweetman (Text)
Vicki Trowler (Line drawings)
& Ken Sweetman (Photograph)
Olive Sweetman’s interest in monologues and poems began as a 10-year-old schoolgirl during World War 2. At local concerts she would recite well known monologues such as ‘Albert and the Lion’ by Marriott Edgar and famously performed by Stanley Holloway. She then started to write her own and having been born and brought up in Maghull Liverpool she found it natural to write in the Lancashire idiom.
After moving to North Wales, Olive served for many years, as a Community Councillor and Youth Leader in Gwernymynydd.
In 1981 she was employed by BBC Local Radio based in Mold, as an interviewer and presenter on the BBC Radio Clwyd morning programme. She retired in 1993.
The Amazing Adventures of the Brown Family
Good Lad Les
The Haunting of Fred Platt
The Sad Saga of Annie Fat and Sally Tall
The Last Performance
The Amazing Adventures of the Brown Family
A family lived in Postlethwaite
A northern English town
There was Mother, there was Father
And their young son Bertie Brown.
Quite a normal little family -
Or so you would have thought,
But all their lives were altered
By some breakfast food they bought.
Father wanted cornflakes -
And Mother,' Shreddy Tops'
"But Mother", little Bertie wailed,
"I want them Wheaty Pops!"
At the grocer's Mother said,
"It's waste o' brass is that,
You only want the Rocket that's inside
So no! That's flat."
The shopkeeper assured her that
Far from being a waste
"There's a contest he can enter
And besides - he'll like the taste."
"Our Bertie", grumbled Mother
"Is exactly like his Dad,
I'm fair fed up with both of them
They've gone Space bloomin' mad!"
At home, Bert opened up the box
And scrabbling with his hands
Unearthed a plastic rocket
And some strong elastic bands.
And then he read on t'packet
What the makers had to say
About a prize they offered
Of a trip to U.S.A.
With gathering excitement
He decided to take part
He found the contest easy
For young Bert was pretty smart.
They posted off his entry
With the minimum delay
And anxiously he waited
For the postman every day.
At last, there came a letter
With the most exciting news
That Bertie and his family
Were invited please, to choose
If they’d rather have the money
Or the trip to Houston base.
"We'll take the brass", said Mother
With a firm look on her face.
But simple weight of numbers
Won the day for Bert and Dad
And soon, all three took off by plane
For t'rocket launching pad.
A meal was served up right away,
Ma said,"I never thought
They'd feed us - what a wicked waste
Of sandwiches I've brought!"
On landing at the Rocket base
They were met with much ado.
A big brass band was playing
And they'd hung some flags out too!
A film star straight from Hollywood
Met Father with a kiss -
Said Mother,"Ee well what a cheek!
We're 'aving none of this!"
"Oh don't take on ", said Father
"It's just the Yankee way
An' any road, I like yon lass -
She's made my bloomin' day.”
Meanwhile, young Bert saw nothing-
But the Rocket standing there,
Its motors ticking over
And its nose stuck in the air.
The Astronauts were all aboard
The countdown twenty four
When little Bertie chanced to see
A partly opened door.
The little lad, unnoticed
Up the gantry quickly flashed
And shot like streak o' lightening
Through the door - and shut it fast.
'Midst cheers and yells the Rocket rose
And headed for the moon
And Mother said,"Thank Goodness -
I'd 'ave been fair deafened soon!
Said Pa,"By gum, I'd like to go
T'moon - and that's a cert,
I fancy being an Astronaut.
'Ere Mother - where's our Bert?"
The uproar was immediate
And a search was soon in hand,
With road-blocks and publicity -
Even t'President took t'stand.
"This British subject must be found
The blame for it is ours."
And no-one guessed that Bertie Brown
Was halfway to the stars.
So Ma and Pa went home
And left a message that they'd gone
For Bert, in case they found him -
That he'd got to follow on.
Said Mother, "See, a lump sum
Would have been the best by far,
We could have bought a washer
And a carpet, and a car.”
A chap came out from 'Wheaty Pops'
And said they'd like to give
All t'Wheaty Pops the Brown's could eat
As long as they should live.
"Ee well, it's very fair is that
And generous", Mother said,
"I s'pose you wouldn't care
To make it 'Shreddy Tops' instead?"
Well next, a message was received
From Astronauts on t'moon
They'd had a good look round there
And would be returning soon,
And by the way - they'd found a lad
Who'd stowed away inside,
He said he wasn't going back -
And thanked them for the ride.
He'd met a Lunar family
Who'd invited him to stay
And he'd promised that he'd take them
On a trip to earth, one day.
"The cheeky little begger",
Mother said, "It's your fault Dad!
You always were too soft with him,
I said you'd spoil the lad."
Well gradually the fuss died down
In Britain and the States
Bert, losing all news value
Was abandoned to the fates.
The months and years slipped by
And Ma and Pa were getting on
But often, they would sit at night
And talk about their son.
Pa was rather thin on top
And Ma was getting fat -
For years of eating 'Shreddy Tops'
Had had effect like that.
One evening Father said to her
"I wonder if tha knows
How old our Bertie would be now -
'Round twenty I suppose.”
"Now let me think", said Mother
He was ten when he took off -
I hope them Lunar folk
I reckon that he's twentythree -
No, more like twentyfour.”
Just then they heard a noise outside
And banging on the door.
"Now what the heck's the matter",
Pa said, rising with a grunt,
Outside a crowd was standing
With a Bobby at the front.
The policeman with his notebook
Eyed Pa sternly up and down
"I've 'ad a strong complaint", he said,
From t'neighbours, Mr Brown. "
"Oh aye", said Father, bridling,
"And what's it all about?
It best be good young Jackie,
I'm sure as I've done nowt.”
"Please Mr Brown, on duty
My name is P.C. Coates", the Bobby said
And there and then
Proceeded to take notes.
"There's something on your premises
That's causing great offence
I'll ask you to explain it please"
He said, "It makes no sense!"
And when he looked, poor Father
Found it hard to trust his eyes,
For standing in the back yard
Was a craft of wondrous size.
Father called for Ma
And as they stared at it - they saw
It had a lot of windows
And an aerial, and a door.
"Stand back!" the Bobby ordered
"Everyone keep out of t'way!"
"I'll not", said Ma,
I only planted out that rhubarb yesterday!"
Indignant - up she marched to t'craft
You couldn't hear a sound,
"Just get away from here", she shrieked
"It's not a parking ground!"
The growing crowd stood paralysed
And gazed at Ma with awe,
And then they gasped,
As all espied, the slowly opening door.
A ladder sprung from nowhere -
Giving everyone a fright,
And from the open doorway
Shone a brilliant Cosmic light.
A figure then descended,
The suspense was getting great -
Till "Ello Mother", Bertie said,
"By 'eck, you've put on weight!"
"Our Bertie", cried his Mother,
As she clamped him to her chest
"You never did like rhubarb
So I s'pose I should have guessed!"
Said Pa "I'm pleased to see you,
It was nice of you to call,
Your Mother's got a hot-pot on
And suet pud an' all!"
P.C. Coates stepped forward
Bent on sorting out the mess,
"I've reason to believe you're Brown,
And late of this address.”
"Well bless my soul", said Bert,
"It's Jackie Coates. And on the Beat!
Why when you were a lad
You were the naughtiest in t'street!"
The Bobby was offended
And he took it most amiss
"Eh lad", said Bert
"They'll make you up to sergeant after this!"
"Now Bert", said Pa, we'll have to hear
The story of your life."
"Well 'alf a tic", said Bert,
"I'd like to introduce the wife."
Unnoticed in the fuss, a Being
Had stepped outside the door,
And weakly, Mother said
"I'm very honoured Miss, I'm sure."
But Pa , who stood astounded
By the creature standing there
Completely lost his manners
And could only stand and stare.
"Her Mum and Dad", said Bertie,
"Have decided not to come,
They didn't like the look of Earth
They thought it rather rum!"
"Well as for that ", said Mother
"I've never in my life
Seen anything much rummer
Than that thing you call your wife!"
Bert told them not to worry
That she didn't look quite real,
They'd just dropped by for now,
And wouldn't stop and have a meal.
"Well thank the Lord for that", said Ma,
"I don't like sounding rude,
But seeing THAT for very long
Would put me off my food!"
So after the departure
Of young Bertie and his Bride,
The crowd dispersed -
And Ma and Pa and t'Bobby went inside.
And eating hot-pot, Jackie said,
"You'll not be pleased I'll bet,
To see your little Grandchildren,
They'll look the queerest yet!"
The Browns agreed , to see them go
Had been a big relief,
And that they were quite happy
That their stay had been so brief.
"For sure as eggs", Ma said,
"I would have rather sunk through t'floor
Than introduce that Lunar thing
To Mrs 'er-next-door!"
Said Dad, "Well living all this down
Will really be quite hard!"
And left to check the damage
To the rhubarb in the yard.
The next thing Mother heard
Was Dad shout "By! Whatever's this?"
And dashed out in her slippers quick
To see what was amiss.
They stared in pregnant silence
And in disbelieving state,
For standing in the back yard
Was a six -by-four-foot crate.
"Our Bertie must have dropped it off"
Said Pa in stunned surprise,
"You're right" said Mother pointing
As a label met her eyes.
"This fellow is a Robot"
Read Bert's message on the box,
"His name is Joe - you'll find
He's worked by several different clocks.
His springs are coiled, just keep him oiled
Don't worry, he won't hurt,
I hope you'll find him useful,
Well ta-ta for now, Love Bert."
Father fetched his crowbar
And the crate was soon unsealed,
And to their great excitement
Joe the Robot was revealed.
Cast in gleaming metal
With arms and legs and face,
Said Ma,"I'll likely go berserk
With that around the place!"
"Oh rubbish", answered Father,
"Just think of work he'll do,
He'll tidy up the yard for me
And wash the pots for you.”
"Ee - do you really think so?"
Marvelled Mother, greatly struck,
"I fancy watching telly
While he cleans up the muck!"
They looked at several buttons
And then pressed one labelled 'Walk'
And growing rather bolder
Yet another, reading 'Talk'
The Robot stirred, and spoke
Just like a Dalek to the life
"Take me to your Leader",
And Pa answered "That's the wife!"
"Instructions please", said Joe to Ma
"Just speak and I will hear",
"My stars! The thing's alive",
Said Mother, petrified with fear.
But Pa invited Joe to
"Kindly step inside the door,
And if he REALLY didn't mind -
Perhaps he'd mop the floor?"
The Robot jumped to action
And he'd mopped it in a trice
So Mother gave his arm a pat
And said he'd done quite nice.
As Joe the Robot settled in
The news soon got about
And folks arrived in Postlethwaite
To have a good day out.
From morning until night,
And Outside Broadcast units came
To film the novel sight.
Mother bought new clothes
And had her hair done every day
While Father left his job
For showing Joe were better pay.
They travelled up to London
For an audience with the Queen
Who said the Robot was
The most fantastic thing she'd seen!
Offers poured in right and left
For Ma and Pa and Joe -
To star in anything they chose
A million pounds a go!
"Well that's a bit o' summat like"
Said Mother, “For a start
We'll have a great big posh Rolls Royce
So's we can look the part!"
The Brown's are rich and famous now
And though they're living high,
Mother still eats 'Shreddy Tops'
And Father - rhubarb pie.
And sometimes, on their patio
They look up at the moon,
And Ma says "Do you think Bert's kids
Might drop in, sometime soon?"
"Well aye, they could I s'pose ",
Says Pa "We mightn't like 'em though,
We're p'raps best off the way we are -
Just thee and me – and Joe."
Good Lad Les
By ‘eck! 'e were great were Les Dawson
Though dumpy - and not very tall
I loved 'im as 'Ada and Cissie'
With Roy Barraclough, bosoms an' all!
And old Les - when 'e played the pianner
So serious, and all out of tune
Then t'pianner 'ud break up in pieces
And 'im still sat there like a loon!
Then on Blankety Blank as quizmaster
The expressions 'e pulled - what a case!
You'd 'ave thought 'e were india-rubber
The things 'e could do with 'is face!
And the time when 'e brought on them dancers!
'Roly Polys' - an' 'e picked the name!
Who but Les would 'ave thought t'load o' fatties
Could 'ave come to such fortune and fame?
That gravelly voice - can you 'ear it?
The lugubrious way that he'd tell
His really fantastical stories -
And you'd almost believe 'im as well!
Ay! I miss 'im - I reckon we all do
But in Heaven - I'll bet they're right glad!
We can all use a laugh and a chuckle
And they'll get 'em up there - with that lad!
The Haunting of Fred Platt
A chap lived right next door to us
Called Frederick Percy Platt,
A bachelor, and fiftyish
(And getting rather fat!)
You'd never think to see him
He was more unique than most,
But Freddy Platt WAS different -
He was haunted by a ghost!
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