With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, (1779 - 1863) author (or was he?) of ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’.
Just before Christmas 2017 demolition contractors moved on to the site of a derelict tile warehouse on the Fishponds Road in East Bristol to prepare the way for a two-storey McDonald’s drive-through restaurant backing onto homes and gardens, near schools and beside a mosque.
Some 2,000 local residents had long objected to the plans, on health, air pollution and road safety grounds, and persuaded Bristol City Council to refuse planning permission. But the American multi-national is determined to locate new outlets in the heart of residential areas, and appealed the decision. UK planning laws favour developers over the local community, so the Government's Planning Inspectorate caved in and we lost at a Public Inquiry.
This doggerel celebrated our success in delaying demolition for another year but, in 2018, again just before Christmas, the contractors returned causing more local anger and disruption.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
The adults were back from a night at The Star
And watching TV snuggling on the sofa.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
Harsh spotlights were shining on new-fallen snow
Giving a mid-day lustre to gardens below.
They could not believe what they found had drawn near
But a huge excavator with eight men at the rear.
The driver was poised to begin his attack
They knew in a moment it must be ‘Big Mac’.
More rapid than eagles the demolishers came,
As he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Hey Burger and Breakfast Wrap, red hot Fruit Pies,
And Milkshake, McFlurry, McNuggets and Fries,
Pull down this old warehouse and dig up the tanks
We’ve woken the locals, so don’t expect thanks.”
They set to their work with insidious haste,
With crashes and bangs laid the building to waste.
Asbestos dust drifted around just like snow
Big Mac hoped the neighbours too stupid to know.
And then, in a twinkling, they heard a great roar
As hundreds of Fishponders opened their doors.
From Lodore and Brentry, Grove Road, all around,
They rushed to the site as if in one bound.
“We don’t want McDonald's and their creepy clown
We’ve said it before - Get out of our town!”
They shouted and hollered and made quite a din
It shocked the contractors and did their heads in.
Then Ronald McDonald strode up with a whip
And grimaced and threatened that they’d all get hit.
Dressed in company colours, his yellow jumpsuit
Red hair and big red boots were designed to look cute,
But he carried a sack of cheaply-made toys
From child labour sweatshops to tempt girls and boys.
His eyes twinkled madly, his smile far from merry;
His cheeks were snow white and his nose like a cherry,
And his mouth was all twisted as if ready to spit,
Like the killer in Stephen King’s horror film ‘It’.
“We don’t want your tat or your Happy Meal rubbish
We know eating it daily will make us obese,”
Cried the children who had each now risen from bed -
They preferred to be up and protesting instead.
“Begone with your bright lights, your noise and your menu,”
Cried adults. “We want a community venue.”
He looked kind of puzzled as if he were deaf,
For all he could hear now was “NoMacInF!”
McDonald snarled at them and gritted his teeth,
As they closed round him like a prickly wreath.
They laughed and they cheered as they prodded his belly,
“You think we’ll give way to you - not on your Nellie!”
He narrowed his eyes and he twisted his head,
He looked like he realised he’d rather be dead
Than surrounded by hostile Fishponders who jeered:
“Your drive-through restaurant is not wanted here!”
He spoke not a word, but turned on his tail
And ran into The Star in search of an ale.
“We don’t serve your sort of clown here,” said Eimear
Expelling the wretch, who made not a murmur.
The delighted townspeople then hailed the contractors
“Your turn to get going, and do take your tractors.”
They slunk away grumpily along with their load
And peace once again came to old Fishponds Road.
“Our objections were right, our objections were strong!
We proved that the restaurant plans were all wrong,”
They sang, as they drove their foes far our of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”