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Working with British Waterways

British Waterways encourages us to employ humour, particularly when children are part of the audience, as they are at Kingswood Junction near Solihull. These are two of 39 stanzas:


I’m THEO DOLITE, I must get it right.
Choosing a route that’s going to suit
Owners of land and that merry band
Of boatmen at large, each one with a barge.
I’m SOPHIE SNAIL, but please do not wail
Gardens are not the places to spot
Molluscs like us – so don’t make a fuss.
We live on the wall of the Stratford Canal!

Sanitary stations are not obvious locations for verse, but we were asked to write some lines for two special examples, one at Gloucester Docks and the other, shown here, at Tile Mill, near Reading, on the Kennet & Avon Canal where a former wartime 'pillbox' is now a bat roost.

When you stop here on your voyage to your final destination,
And get done with all your duties in the way of sanitation,
Have a thought for those brave fellows who protected our old nation
From this pill box, one of many built to house a look-out station.

Now the Home Guard’s long since gone and so we’ve done some preparation
Just to make this place appealing to a thumb-sized congregation
Of brown bats with furry faces of Daubenton’s appellation
Who will roost here for the winter in ecstatic hibernation.