Stoicism

Walking to Chelsea along the river, with her MRI scan tucked underneath her arm, my mother has been singing:

In the Tower of London, large as life,
The ghost of Ann Boleyn walks, they declare.
Poor Ann Boleyn was once King Henry’s wife –
Until he made the Headsman bob her hair!
Ah yes! he did her wrong long years ago,
And she comes up at night to tell him so.

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower!
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the Midnight hour –

She comes to haunt King Henry, she means giving him ‘what for’,
Gad Zooks, she’s going to tell him off for having spilt her gore.
And just in case the Headsman wants to give her an encore
She has her head tucked underneath her arm!

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower!
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the Midnight hour.

Along the draughty corridors for miles and miles she goes,
She often catches cold, poor thing, it’s cold there when it blows,
And it’s awfully awkward for the Queen to have to blow her nose
With her head tucked underneath her arm!

Sometimes gay King Henry gives a spread
For all his pals and gals – a ghostly crew.
The headsman carves the joint and cuts the bread,
Then in comes Ann Boleyn to ‘queer’ the ‘do’;
She holds her head up with a wild war whoop,
And Henry cries ‘Don’t drop it in the soup!’

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower!
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the Midnight hour.

The sentries think that it’s a football that she carries in,
And when they’ve had a few they shout ‘Is Ars’nal going to win?’
They think it’s Alec James, instead of poor old Ann Boleyn
With her head tucked underneath her arm!

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower!
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the Midnight hour.

One night she caught King Henry, he was in the Canteen Bar.
Said he ‘Are you Jane Seymour, Ann Boleyn or Cath’rine Parr?
For how the sweet san fairy ann do I know who you are
With your head tucked underneath your arm!’

That’s the North of England for you.

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