When it was proposed to convert Littlebrook Power Station on the Thames Estuary from oil to gas, environmentalists were anxious about the impact on fish species of conservation interest. In particular, it was argued that smelt, twaite and allis shad had declined substantially, and were now protected by European Habitat Regulations. Never one to duck a hot environmental issue, Brother Tobias was moved to compose the following classy verse:
When the Thames was young, what times were had
By Smelt, and Twaite and Allis shad.
From tip to fin Allis was svelte,
More lithe than Twaite, more sweet than Smelt.
She'd flutter her anadromous gills
Giving Twaite and Smelt wet piscine thrills.
For preference, I've heard it said,
She laid her roes by Maidenhead,
While poor old Smelt lacked taste and brains,
And was sadly apt to spawn near Staines.
Handsome Twaite, all blotch and rigid dorsal,
Thought Allis was a tasty morsel;
In thrall, he'd always burble "Hi Sis"
If he encountered her in Isis,
While Smelt (Osmerus Eperlanus)
Was envious from nose to ... tail.
Alas, this idyll was cruelly took
When they converted Littlebrook;
First poisoned, polluted, lightly oiled,
Now gas had left their eggs hard-boiled.
They heard heartbroken Allis cry,
"This hot, my eggs will never fry".
Now Smelt, and Twaite and Allis shad
Have left the Thames for good...So sad.