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The Tunnel to Australia

It’s raining every day in Merrie England.
It’s falling from the sky most every day.
But I’ve just heard about a place that’s burning,
In a country that’s so very far away.
I’m sure that they could use some extra water.
This stuff that’s lying all across the land.
__So, we ought to just up sticks*,
__Grab our shovels and our picks,
And embark upon an enterprise so grand.

We ought to build a tunnel to Australia,
It could be the greatest thing we’ve ever done.
__And wouldn’t it be good,
__To eat our Christmas pud,
While sitting underneath the burning sun.
We wouldn’t have to wear our Christmas jumpers.
We wouldn’t need old Santa and his sleigh.
__We’d admire the Desert views,
__From the backs of Kangaroos,
So, let’s start to build a tunnel right away.

Now the Aussies are a very cultured people,
They like to drink and have a bit of fun.
As long as you don’t talk about Rolf Harris,
The Ashes, or Olivia Newton John.
And they’ve given old Ayres Rock back to the natives,
No longer can we walk along the ridge.
__So, we’ll have to just make do,
__With a wallaby or two,
And a stroll across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We wouldn’t have to cope with all that flying,
We wouldn’t have to stay in Singapore.
We’d leave St. Pancras station in the morning,
And get to New South Wales just after four.
We’d crack a tube of Fosters on the journey,
With a barbie as we bowl along the track.
__And we’d have a singalong,
__To Charlie Drake’s best song,
On the boomerang that never would come back.

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*up sticks: go to live elsewhere

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Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams.


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21 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    Jeff – on the face of it this is a brilliant idea and I don’t want to throw a wet blanket over it all but you’d probably need one. So far the nearest we’ve got to Australia by public transport is 192 feet down a lift shaft at Hampstead on the London Underground. Even at that depth it’s starting to feel a bit warm. You’d be sweating like a pig well before you reached the centre of the earth. GPS doesn’t work at that depth and you’d probably emerge in the middle of an outback bush fire. It’s a great poem and I bet you could set it to music but the idea needs a bit more work.

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Peter, I’m sure that the Fort Worth art heist mob could make it work, particularly utilising the underground pumbling skills of the “Timber Yank” (anag)
      My childhood hero, Jules Verne, was on the right track but even he could not have anticipated the pleasures of 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Surely a case of cremating the passengers along with the sausages.

      Reply
    • eardley960@btinternet.com

      I’m more of a wobble-board person myself. Thanks for the comment Paul and Happy Christmas to you.

      Reply
  2. Brian Yapko

    A very fun, whimsical fantasy, Jeff. What I want to know is how to make Christmas fruitcake using vegemite?

    Reply
  3. Jeff Eardley

    Brian, we don’t have Vegemite in England. We have Marmite, a similarly disgusting concoction that is apparently very good when spread on food. Thanks for the comment and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      When I lived in south Australia back in 1984/85 there were those who favored Marmite and those who favored Vegemite (I preferred Vegemite) but it was also clear that Vegemite was considered indigenous insofar as the joke was that the product was dredged up from the bottom of Sydney Harbor—which brings us back to the subject of Jeff’s amusing poem speculating on the potential benefits of winter tunneling from northern (up over) to southern (down under) hemispheric locations. The possibilities, of course, are endless.

      Thank you, Jeff, for taking us on such an amusing ride.

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        James, thanks for the amusing comment on the merits of vegemite. In the days of pre-woke cancel culture, our mischievous Monty Python boys had some great fun with our Antipodean friends. Their “Philosophers Song” taught me more about Plato, Socrates et all, than any number of dreary textbooks.

  4. Margaret Coats

    Fun song, Jeff! Maybe you can sell it to the Xmas muzak makers for next year.

    That recent Fort Worth heist was small, compared to your Mexico-London tunneling with El Chapo a few months ago. I did notice that El Chapo made a quick getaway by airplane. Where can you go for New Year’s?

    As for too much water at Christmas, four days of rain are now expected in Southern California, where Englishman Albert Hammond said it never rains. To Hammond’s credit, his 1973 song treats perpetual Cali sunshine as rumor rather than news. And though we have plenty of unwanted rain here, Australia is currently accepting no parcels from the United States, for fear of delta or omicron on the mailing label.

    Merrie Christmas to you and yours, wherever you are!

    Reply
  5. Jeff Eardley

    Margaret, I hope that El Chapo is looking forward to his Christmas lunch in ADX Florence, and that you and your family enjoy yours, and have the most joyful time. Thank you for your chuckling comment and for your inspiration to all of us. Best wishes from over here.

    Reply
  6. C.B Anderson

    This project is as likely to be accomplished as completing the wall on our southern border under the current administration. But I appreciate the thought. There’s nothing wrong with Australia that a good dose of common sense wouldn’t cure.

    Reply
  7. Jeff Eardley

    Mr Anderson, beware the spectre of Australian cultural attaché, the great Sir Les Patterson who will be paying you a visit any time soon. A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Reply
  8. David Watt

    Jeff, your poem is a ripper! With an expected temperature of 30C tomorrow, we sure don’t need our Christmas jumpers. In fact, Christmas dinner outside in the shade is our plan. For some reason we sometimes wish we had snow for Christmas, just like in the movies, but that would be an unlikely occurrence.
    You managed to include most of our Australian culture, even Rolf Harris, who was once more popular than beer at a BBQ.
    Thanks for a highly entertaining read.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Reply
  9. Jeff Eardley

    David, some years ago we had a famous folk ensemble called “Roaring Jelly” who did a song called “Christmas in Australia” which had us all singing with great gusto. I still remember the chorus to this day…

    Christmas in Australia is Christmas in paradise,
    Christmas in Australia is basically, BLOODY NICE,
    Bruce is going steady with Sheila,
    And Sheila’s going steady with Bruce,
    If you haven’t got a Christmas suntan,
    You’re a pommie and you ain’t no use.
    A very Merry Christmas to you all.

    Reply
  10. Norma Pain

    Well, it’s snowing here in beautiful Parksville, British Columbia and I think I’m allergic to it, so I’m all in on a tunnel ride to Australia. Thank you Jeff… that was fun.

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Thank you Norma, and thank you for all the chuckles and belly-laughs you have given us this year. Keep em coming, I’ll be looking for them. Have a Joyful Christmas.

      Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Mike, we were going to spend this evening with a glass or two of port, a mince pie and a couple of Scrooge movies. We are now surrounded by slide rules, calculators and log tables (Susan will explain) after reading about drop tunnels. Lesley is a retired maths teacher but this has her analytical brain completely bamboozled (good word) and flummoxed (another.) Thanks for a brilliant and intriguing poser.

      Reply
  11. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Jeff, I love this idea and I love the very English ‘jumpers’ and ‘pud’. I love the rhyme scheme, and your rhyme and rhythm are spot on. Just one criticism (very rare for me). The mention of Rolf has cut me to the quick – I can’t even utter the word ‘didgeridoo’ without a tear springing to my eye. That aside, this poem is a triumph and has given me a huge festive grin. Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Jeff Eardley

      Thanks Susan and sorry about the R*** quote. It was a phenomenal fall from top entertainer to universal loathing. He was banged up in Stafford jail, about 20 miles from here. I hope you both enjoy your party this evening and best wishes for the New Year.

      Reply

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