When I was young (and once I was! - as you were too – believe it!)
My Mum would keep our house so tidy – if you can conceive it….
And any of us, Dad or older brother Jim (him too) - All must obey what Mum would say, oh yes! and we’d to do
All sorts of little tasks, like making beds and carting laundry Down to the kitchen then to be in quite a different quand’ry For where on earth could we put shirt or vest, or sock or handky
Into my Mum’s so tidy kitchen – laundry, which was manky……..
And we would dump it in the second sink – which was quite deep
Until there was enough to pop into machine to steep Then round and round to spin in suds to clean them all real fine
So Mum could hang her washing out upon the washing line……..
And that was when we heard about this Burglar Bill, because
My dear old Mum would say in voice quite stern, this longish clause
“Now all of you, before you leave for office, or for school Please tidy up, don’t leave a thing – for that’s my Golden Rule!
If Burglar Bill should call, I would be black-affrontit if Just one wee thing were out of place!” – she’d give a gentle sniff;
With arms akimbo, as her eyes around our family turned And we could see the dedication there with which they burned.
Of course, my brother Graham and I would argue, “Aw, but Mum!
If this guy’s going to rob our house, he might come down the lum!
And he would bring down with him soot – all dirty and all black!
D’you not think he’s more likely just to go and fill his sack
From other houses which are much more tidy than our own?”
But she’d come quickly back at us in a much stronger tone “You two will do just as I say!” and both of us would sigh As well we recognised that stiff parental voice! Oh my!
And so this character of lore, this Burglar Bill was born And if he really did exist, our thoughts, of course, were torn Between just doing what we’re told, and wanting for to meet
This person dressed in stripey top, black mask, and oh so neat!
While carrying upon his back a sack on which said “SWAG” No normal burglar you would see with just a simple bag! And no-one in his rightful mind would challenge such a guy Because we knew he could climb too, and show the Police a spry
Athletic gift and o’er our rooftop he would swiftly go And sell off what he stole from us; no more we’d have to show
The ugly vase old Auntie Gert gave to our Dad and Mum When they were wed; it might’ve cost Aunt Gert a tidy sum!
So Burglar Bill became an ani-hero too like Nero And Graham and I, we gave him points, from ten right down to zero
Because into our lives he came, creating work for us As Mum insisted round the home we had to clear and dust….
And so, dear readers, now you know just why my dear old Mum
At times was “black-affrontit” just in case said Bill should come
And that is why, this author, I, still tidy round, in case………..
Mum’s Burglar Bill, in Manning Mansions might just show his face!