Jim, waiting behind the blacksmith's,
Saw the doctor on his rounds.
"He'll be awhile at old Mrs.Parr's.
That's the time to try, I'll be bounds!"
In a while, Jim watched Doc. amble off
To visit the old shepherd Dick.
Then he urged his horse over the hill
With a "Come on boy" and thick stick.
"Haven't got all day!" Jim heard Doc holler.
As young Jim watched with a keen eye,
The old mare hurried off at this shout
Now he knew when the doctor went by.
Back from his scouting in his Da's shop,
He dreamed of his pals far away.
"They be getting big muscles in their jobs
Down deep mines, cutting coal each day."
That was the life for a real man!
Not sitting here, sewing with thread.
He'd got to get away from this slow life
Before father Jack, the tailor was dead.
But there was still his dear sickly mother
And his young brother, John. "He'll bide
Right here by Ma," Jim considered
"I can't. If I stay here I'll die."
The villagers of West Harptree thought him lucky
As a third son, taken into the trade.
But Jim knew his Dad's heavy drinking
Meant more hours of work, rarely paid.
Both George and William left 2 years' back
When their Da was fit,never drunk.
It was Jim who put up with his temper
Since into bad ways his Da'd sunk!
He worked hard through the week following
Things didn't seem too bad
Which made his father mad!
Jim's efforts at calming him toppled
"Get out of my way. Let me go boy.
"Now leave me. You're nothing but a pest.
These words, so harsh un-called for
Gave Jim the real excuse he'd need
To leave home the very next morning
Before any softness could succeed.
"Yes, this argument convinces me at last
The reason for staying has passed!"
It was cold when Jim rose very early.
He shuddered as he washed and dressed.
Collecting his meagre clothes, bread and cheese
He crept out. His letter said, "I'm heading west."
It was good to be out in the open
On a fine crisp bright spring day.
He was about to set out on an adventure
To Walesthough it was miles away.
Right at the blacksmith's corner,
He'd see the doctor come along.
With almost reluctant anticipation
He knew what to do. It wasn't wrong.
Almost two hours of waiting proved
Worthwhile. There was Doc on his rounds
This was it! His big chance now or never.
"I'll use his pony, I'll be bounds!"
Jim quickly but firmly walked over
To the gate where the pony was hitched.
He had some sugar lumps ready
To entice her away as he wished.
She came to him, quiet and friendly
Accepting the sugar he gave.
While the doctor supped tea in the kitchen,
Jim swung up on his horse, feeling brave.
"Come on me boy," Jim copied the holler
"I've no time to hang here about!
Let's be off me fine fellow," he added
"I'm for Bristol 'fore Doc comes out."
It was only as the horse picked up speed
That the sound reached the doctor inside.
He rushed out, angrily shouting,
"That's my horse! Stop thief! I'll have your hide."
Though Jim heard this, nothing would stop him
Now his plan was working so well.
He was off on this special adventure
To a new life. So he replied with a yell...
"I've hired your old horse Doctor Bailey
There's money with the note on the gate.
I'm off to a new life of independance.
Sorry! I just couldn't wait."
Then Uncle Bill stopped with a chuckle
As we urged him to go on with the tale.
"You know it so well," he insisted.
'But, I'll show how grampa finished up in Wales."
Jim rode that old mare like an expert
By midday, he'd reached Bristol's big port.
He was thrilled! He'd work his crossing
And send the horse back 'fore he was caught.
"Go back to your master, you blighter!
He needs you now. You're done with me!"
And with a few hard wacks on his backside
The horse galloped away from the sea.
Then Jim found a job at the dockyard
As a deck hand aboard a freight ship.
He'd scrubbed down the deck before Cardiff
full of energy! He was quick as a whip.
He jumped off the ship with conviction
That, at nineteen, he'd begun his new life
And he headed to lodge in the valleys
Where he found himself a sweet young wife.
"Your grampa was married in '91 quickly
He soon swept Selina Jane into his arms.
She even let him wear her Dad's watch chain
For that picture which reveals his charm.
"The story has a happy ending
For with eleven fine children they were blessed
Your mother, Pat father and Bopa
Nan, Mark, Dai, Ted, Selina and the rest.
"Our Dad loved to tell us this adventure
Which started that morning in ninety-one.
He never returned to that Somerset village
And he never regretted what he'd done."
Written by Jane twenty years'ago and revised