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Lyr Add: Kielder Water / Kieldor Wattor

Newport Boy 12 Dec 07 - 06:07 AM
The Admiral 12 Dec 07 - 07:51 AM
Wolfhound person 12 Dec 07 - 09:12 AM
peregrina 01 Mar 11 - 06:11 PM
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Subject: Kielder Water (or Kieldor Wattor)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 06:07 AM

This is a dialect poem, rather than a song, but it might make a song for someone in the North East.

So, taking the advice given in the thread on 'Working an audience', first the story.

In 1976 I was working on the construction of the M4 Motorway in South Wales. Faircloughs were the bridge contractors, and they were also the contractors on the construction of the Kielder Dam. Their project manager knew that I had a small collection of construction-related poetry, and one day he turned up with a typed copy of this poem - 'Kieldor Wattor' by Robert Allen of Bellingham. (Bellingham is the small town just down the valley from the dam). It had been printed in a Fairclough newsletter - I don't know whether it was circulated just on that site, or throughout the firm.

[It's difficult doing the eye contact and smiles on-line, but use your imagination.]

Over the past 30 years, I've occasionally pulled the poem out to see whether I could set it to some tune, but I've always given up because I can't do justice to the dialect, and it didn't seem right to render it in standard English.

Last Christmas a friend persuaded me to join him on a cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats in May (well, you know how 'relaxed' you get at Christmas). When we planned the route, I found that we were going to cycle through Kielder, and as it turned out we stayed one night in Bellingham. I took a copy of the poem with me to see if I could find out any more about it. No luck in Bellingham, but at the Kielder visitor centre the following morning, the staff told me that Robbie Allen had died a few weeks before. His dialect poems are well known in the area, but none of the staff had seen or heard this one. I left them a copy, so it may appear in the area now.

There's an obituary of Robbie Allen in the Hexham Courant here

Many poems and songs lament the drowning of valleys for the construction of reservoirs, but I particlularly like Robbie's concentration on, and evident sympathy with, the wildlife.



Th'ore ganna build a reserwor, nee matter what the cost,
Th'ore ganna mak a dam at Yarra Moor;
Hes nee one thowt ti tell them aal the things that mun be lost,
Afore she's lappin' on hor final shore?

They say the wattor's needit for big industry on Tees,
But, - as that rivvor hes neen uv its aan, -
Then, i' the name u' Progress, they pick North Tyne, if ye please
Ti prosper thor greet economic plan!

An' while th'ore busy prosp'rin', will they heor the field-mice caal,
When risin' wattors closin' ower thor heids?
Them little droonded bodies piled aginst thor greet eorth waal,
A price ti pay for Cleveland's desp'rate needs?

Whee's ganna write the wattorhen, (in triplicate, ye knaa)
An' tell hor jist hoo hee ti build hor nest?
Gi' tables u' the floodin' rate ti let hor knaa hoo far
Up shore she should be layin' for the best?

Whee's ganna tell the warblors they mun lay thor eggs elsewheor,
In case th'ore floodit oot afore th'ore hatched?
Whee'll tell the spaanin' salmon that she cannit lep up theor,
An's floond'rin' doon belaa until she's catched?

Whee'll listen when the wayside flooers is cryin' oot i'vain,
Aginst that flood wi' its relentless spreed?
Or heor belaa the wattors aal the thistles shoot wi' pain,
Or daisies groanin' doon amang the deed?

Will th'end be sharp an' morciful, wi' days an' days u' rain
So's iv'ry deeth bi droonin' will be quick?
Or will the creepin' wattors ooze up iv'ry burn an' drain,
A rate u' centimeetors bi the week?

An' when the work is ower, an' she's filled up ti the brim,
A greet blue sheet u' wattor, shore ti shore,
They'll come up in thor thoosands, an' we'll aal be tellin' thim
Hoo bonnie ran the North Tyne theor afore.

They've startit on that reserwor, - Aa've bin theor an' med sure,
Aa feort the Pooers-that-be wes ganna win;
But when they stan' theor smug an' prood atop u' Yarra Moor,

(about 1975)

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Subject: RE: Kielder Water (or Kieldor Wattor)
From: The Admiral
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 07:51 AM

Nice one Newport Boy! As somebody who tries to sing the 'Kielder Hunt' every so often I can really appreciate this....

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Subject: RE: Kielder Water (or Kieldor Wattor)
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 09:12 AM

Well it fits to the tune of 'Keep yor feet still Geordie hinny'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Kielder Water / Kieldor Wattor
From: peregrina
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 06:11 PM

Another song about this, on Mike Tickell's CD Warksburn: Bonnie North Tyne

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