“THERE’S a famous seaside place called Blackpool/ that’s noted for fresh air and fun.”

Yes, these are the first two lines of Albert and the Lion (originally entitled The Lion and Albert).

At the last meeting of the Airedale Writers’ Circle we heard the whole monologue, recited from memory by member Lisa.

Although we’d all heard this 1930s poem before, we still chuckled at its many funny lines, and both Neil and Martin followed with other Marriot Edgar monologues: The Magna Charter and The ‘Ole in the Ark.

The former ends with the wry verse “And it’s through that there Magna Charter/as were signed by Barons of old/ that in England today we can do what we like/ so long as we do what we’re told.”

As per tradition this pre-Christmas meeting featured members reciting favourite prose and verse, fuelled by tnibbles and liquid refreshments they had brought along.

Joan treated us to the charming, though sad, The Little Match-Girl by Hans Christian Andersen, read from her treasured 1953 copy of the Fairy Tale Omnibus.

Ken then declaimed The Busman’s Prayer, a parody of the Lord’s prayer in which London bus-stop names are used. Neil read out a reet good one-page summary of Dickens’ Christmas Carol translated into Yorksher by Sarah Stuart for the Dalesman magazine this month.

Pat then regaled us with her published poems, all in rhyme, which dealt humorously and warmly with themes as diverse as a photograph of her family laughing together and the sex life of a flea. More humorous verse was recited by Rita with her Jonathan Jay – a Cautionary Tale, about a boastful lad which contains the Roald Dahl Style lines “while checking out a double socket/Jay exploded like a rocket.”

More larger-than-life characters emerged in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the long, early 15th century poem which, with its alliterations and rhythms, sounds like modern rap, as Chris pointed out when he read us some extracts from Simon Armitage’s translation of it. Chris also strummed his guitar to the tune of a ditty with pantomine-type lines.

He then partnered Martin in the dialogue of a sketch between a puzzled interviewer and the bumbling politician Sir George Parr (PDQ, J2O, CDM and bar), debating the fiasco of the doomed project of the “Eurofighter” plane which, because it had yet to be put together, could not be considered to be out-of-date.

All these renditions were interspersed with anecdotes, jokes and puns, in the festive spirit of the last Airedale Writers Circle meeting of the year. Do come along to our 2019 evenings held from 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month, at the Sight Airedale building, immediately behind Keighley Library, in Scott Street.