Hoodening in 1982

Come on you lot, get yourselves settled down
We're not coming in whilst you're buggering around
Every year we have all this trouble
(Moll snaps impatiently)
Come on, outa my way — at the double!
Is it O.K. Moll? Can we come in?
I can't hear a word through all this din
What we need in here is a bit of a hush
Get sorted out!
(sarcastically)… No need to rush!
(Sam enters)
I've a few words that'll quieten them down
All right, you lot, gather yourselves round
I shouldn't go on, my mates are out there
Best call them in — there's a nip in the air
Come on, we can't stay here all night
We're coming in, or we'll never get tight!
(Enter Joe, Boy and Dobbin)
Well, we're here again, another year passed
Another year older, a new one due fast
For nigh on 17 years we've been passing this way
You won't all have seen us, but a lot of you may
As you've seen with our Moll, her temper's got shorter
Whilst Joe's now vaguer than a British Rail porter
Our boy's reached the age where he's started to drink
And that tells you why his cheeks look all pink
(They look at Boy's cheeks)
Don't tell us, Sam, that you too ain't sinned
'Cause all we've had out of you is the wind!
(Dobbin pricks up his ears)
Speaking of wind, Dobbin's that way inclined
He's the only known horse that can fart in rhyme
(Dobbin farts in rhyme)
Don't stand too close, get as far as you're able
Or he'll drop you a couplet, right under your table!
(Dobbin drops poops)
Our Dobbin has some troubles at this time this year
Tummy ones mainly, but there are others, we hear
Two years ago he was well below par
When eating his dinner, he took things too far
He bolted his oats as he stood in his stall
Then hiccuped, and farted, and pebble-dashed the wall
Last year he'd reached a funny time of life
He got a bit frisky, so he took him a wife
(Dobbin looks randy)
Our Dobbin chose a Mare from Street Acre Way
They courted and were married in under a day
Now Dobbin's distraught and is full of dismay
Remember Black Beauty? Well she ran away
(Dobbin looks sad)
She galloped off with his old pal Trigger
Since then his troubles have got bigger and bigger
Old Dobbin's bin pining from dawn until night
But he still struggles on with all of his might
And he keeps his age well, an' he don't look too haggard
If you're asking me, he looks bloody well knackered!
And he's becoming a burden for all of us — Hell!…
He's got to snap out of it, and quickly as well
Quiet Joe, you'll upset the poor old soul
He's feeling lonely, but he has got that foal
Old Dobbin and Beauty produced a great foal
A peculiar monstrosity, just like old Moll
We keep it outside locked up in the stable
And hide it from others as much as we're able
A sillier animal you couldn't find
With a huge gaping mouth and protruding behind
Come, don't let's mock him, or he may well hear you
He might well be useful, given a year 'a two
Shire horses we were told were a thing of the past
Old Dobbin here, should've bin the last
But from last year's capers Young Dobbin was begat…
A triumph of nature…
(Young Dobbin enters)
          … I don't know about that!
Mind out the way, here comes our new foal
Don't know who this is — (it can't be Chris Cole)
(Sam peers under sacking, rear end)
Old Dobbin a father at his time of life
He couldn't have managed without a young wife
For years he's been trying, and at last he succeeded
A son and an heir was just what he needed!
But he wore himself out, and to her was no use
From then on she gave him nowt but abuse
He wasn't performing, not as much as he ought
He nearly ended up in Wansum Court!
Then it's not surprising that she ran away
Though it could have been something we put in his hay
(Meanwhile Boy looks for his bottle)
I'm getting bored, and I'm feeling a thirst
You have much more Boy, and I reckon you'll burst!
I think I'll indulge in a bottle of cider
Few more of these and I'll feel like a glider
You drink too much, Boy, it's bad for your bulge
You should wait till you're older before you indulge!
(Moll looks scoldingly)
Yes, old Molly's right, a jar or two's fine
But you go too far — you must have had… NINE!
You've gotta ride Dobbin, but you can't in your state
Get on his back, and you'll end up prostrate!
(Boy staggers and trips over foal)
Oooooi! Out of the way you clumsy great prat
Here, you feel this Jimmy, then stitch that!
(Boy swings a kick in temper, both Dobbins turn on Boy, and Joe parts them)
Come on you three, you can stop that vicious lark
We'd best get back before it gets dark
The sun it has set, and we've done no harm
Come on you lot, let's get back to the Farm
Gonna ride him back Boy? If you can with no trouble
(Sam points to Young Dobbin)
I'll do my best Sam, but I am seeing double!
Come on Boy, try. I'll hold him steady
Take a run up whenever you're ready
Look at old Dobbin, I think he feels left out
He can get quite jealous, to that there's no doubt
(Boy starts his run up and Young Dobbin sidesteps; Boy misses and falls but is successful with his second attempt)
You on, Boy? I'll shove with me broom
He knows you're OK, you being his groom
He's on there, though he don't look too safe
I hope he keeps his feet in the right place!
(Boy digs his heels in, and Young Dobbin rears and throws Boy. Dobbin joins in and puts the hoof in)
Joe, Sam, look! The poor Boy's bin tossed
Quick, get a sheet under; there'll soon be a frost
He don't look too good mates, he really looks bad
Still, that's not surprising — all the cider he's had
I don't think he's gonna last much longer
Though 'ang on! His pulse do feel stronger
(Boy rallies)
Ooooh, where am I? My head! Give me some water
I don't feel too good, well, not as I oughta
You like still Boy, an' don't you move
You didn't have to ride him — you'd nothing to prove
Wait, he's stopped breathing! I can't feel his breath
He's gone all white — he must be near death!
(Joe turns knowingly to the audience, if any!)
Don't worry about that, leave him on the floor
He'll be all right — (I've seen this bit before)
He's dead! I hope you're happy now
We'd best wrap him up, but I'm not sure how…
OK, we'll play along Sam. Get out the sheet…
I'm not in the shit Joe, this bit's just peat!
(Sam looks under his boot)
No! Cover him up with the funeral sheet
Tuck in the tatty bits, nice and neat
Last year, Moll was our bereavement
This year the Boy will suffer our treatment!
We can't leave him here, let's cart him off home
Best call the Doctor…
          … No, he'll only moan!
Seeing as these two gave him these bad cracks
Let's make them carry the lad, across their backs
Right, now he's picked up, let's be gone
Perhaps we should sing the young lad a song
(All sing 'Lament for the boy'. Following this, Boy slides off Horses and Dobbin farts in his face)
Poooh! Streuth, whatever's that smell?
I reckon I must have landed in hell
If that's how it is there, I think I'll recover
I don't think I could face another
How you feeling lad? You came round quite quickly
You don't look too bad, just a bit sickly
So would you, if you'd bin drinking like me
I got so tanked up, I could hardly see!
That cider's got some kick…
          … Outa my way, I'm gonna be sick!
Not over me Boy, you've caused enough trouble already
Let's help him up… all right Boy? Steady
(They help him up)
I'm all right, nothing a drink won't cure
Another cider though, I'm not sure
I shouldn't have mounted, or lost my cool
Or caused a scene — I do feel a fool!
Let that be a lesson! If you drink, do not drive
Or you'll fall off your horse, and need luck to survive
Speaking of drink, we could do with some ale
Before we all find that our throats start to fail
Seven pints of ale wouldn't go amiss…
Excuse me chaps, just off for a pi..
Joe (interrupting):
You wait till we're finished, we've some more lines to say
You can wait a bit longer, you've bin going all day!
The Handbell Ringers we're collecting for this year
They're a local group, which the village holds dear
But instead of making their own special sound
The bells have been silent, and cannot be found
The Brownies or Girl Guides left them some place
Then some bugger nicked 'em and left not a trace!
Perhaps it was whilst they were being unruly
Or chanting a chorus of Ging Gang Goolie
To purchase a new set they need some more backers
So we felt we should help them and donate some ackers
The insurance funds are insufficient cover
The difference must come from sources other
That's you, yes! We need your donation
Then new bells may ring out to greet the whole nation!
'Cause this "chime" of year, the bells we do feel
Make a very sweet sound, and to all do "a peal"
It would please the new Vicar while studying his Theology
To hear the clear tones of local Campanology!
So give to our cause and help raise their hopes
For Hand-ringing's fine, if you can't pull the ropes!
Please fill up our nosebag, and we don't mean ol' Moll
Then once again we can hear our handbells toll
For, if ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need.

Produced by Ben Jones (contact details). All rights reserved. .