Poetic Licence: England's Other Navy

The great summer tradition of lone sailors putting to sea and balloonists taking to the air, then needing to be rescued at the public's expense, is upon us again
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In England's Other Navy

Lost mariners of August

In boats built like allotment sheds

Set off from ports in Hants.

Their sails stitched together

From several pairs of pants

These single-handed sailors

Are frequently ex-forces

Presumably Surrealist Corps

Adept at flying goats

But absolutely useless

In ocean-going boats

They're pulled out of the briny

By weary Air Sea Rescue

Who having heard their Mayday call

Must mount an operation

Familiar with the sounds of

Creative navigation

When rescued, dehydrated,

Or nibbled at by sharks

And suffering from exposure

They still express elation

And wanly wave from stretchers

As paid for by the nation

They're England's Other Navy

Triumphant upside-down

Since radar's not essential yet

For coracle or raft

They sail around in circles

Armada of the daft

But England's Other Air Force

Is not to be outdone:

As diplomats asked every week

To bail out some buffoon

Write: "Dear Mr Gaddafi,

May we have our balloon?"