Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Bummer. I had two posts written and the half-dead old laptop I'm using has eaten them. Perhaps if I called it a half-alive laptop it would behave better. One of them was my usual ramble about odds and ends all I can recall of it was the title I intended to use – Saturday Stumbles....

On the subject of laptops I'm still trying to sort out the fan in my laptop and now Son-who-watches-films' laptop has swallowed some drink of some sort – Coke or Lucozade I assume from the stickiness. It's a good job Partner-who-drinks-tea has two laptops for us to borrow. Fortunately he tipped his laptop upside-down straight away so only the keyboard seems to be affected. It's sticking which means one cannot even get the password in to see which letter or letters are sticking. The next stage is to take the thing apart. I tried twice, removing every screw in the thing, without success. But now Mark has sent me the service manual and I have discovered that all it takes is two screws and a little manoeuvring. Easy when you know how. I did it in minutes and now just have to wait for the delivery of a replacement keyboard.

Today's little question – Why does a fountain pen run out of ink as soon as one reaches the second sentence of a letter?

Did you ever listen to Children's Favourites on the radio when you were young? (The answer to that is obviously affected by your age and whether you lived in the UK.) GB and I did and I've just been on a website which listed a lot of the popular songs they played. These were my favourites:-

The Little Shoemaker : Petula Clark
Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea : Max Bygraves
The Happy Wanderer : The Stargazers
The Teddy Bear's Picnic : Henry Hall
I'm a Pink Toothbrush, you're a Blue Toothbrush : Max Bygraves
Puff, The Magic Dragon : Peter, Paul and Mary
Nellie the Elephant : Mandy Miller
I tawt I saw a puddy tat : Mel Blanc
The Bee Song : Arthur Askey
Run, Rabbit, Run : Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen
The Runaway Train : Vernon Dalhart
How much is that doggy in the window : Patti Page
The Hippopotamus Song : Flanders and Swann
Old Macdonald had a Farm
There's a Hole in my Bucket!, Dear Liza : Harry Belafonte
She'll be Coming Round the Mountain, When she Comes
The Children's Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack) : Mitch Miller and His Orchestra
Three Wheels on My Wagon : The New Christy Minstrels
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly : Burl Ives
They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace : Ann Stephens
The Ugly Bug Ball : Burl Ives
Flash, Bang Wallop! : Tommy Steele

Sparky's Magic Piano by Henry Blair was as much a story as a piece of music but I seem to recall it being one of GB's favourites. Little White Bull by Tommy Steele became one of my favoured tunes after I saw him in the pantomime in Liverpool and he sang that with great gusto. The Laughing Policeman by Charles Penrose was one of those which was frequently sought by listeners but it never did anything for me. You can hear a lot of these songs by going here.

Occasionally Dad would borrow Uncle Mac's car and we would drive into the countryside with GB and I on the back seat singing Puff the Magic Dragon, The Happy Wanderer, The Little Shoemaker or Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea to our hearts' content.

And, on the subject of records, what was the first pop record you ever bought? Mine was Alone (Why Must I Be Alone) by the Shepherd Sisters. It was released in 1957 but what year I bought it I don't know. It was a 78 rpm so it must presumably have been before 1960 by which time 33 rpm LPs and 45 rpm singles and EPs had become the norm in the UK.


  1. I can't believe how many of those songs I listened to also. good memories!

  2. What a wonderfully fascinating post, Bruv! Like you I never could abide The Laughing Policeman but I recall everything you have mentioned with one exception: Sparky's Magic Piano. I know the name but I couldn't recall the piece. I've just listened to it. It's amazing what one forgets!

  3. While I do know some of the songs on your list (such as Puff, Old McDonald and the hole in the bucket), the majority are, by nature, unknown to me.
    The first record I ever bought from my pocket money was "Born To Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez. The year was, I think, 1978 when I was 10 years old.

  4. Sonny and Cher, "I've got you babe"

    I saved up for weeks, and I remember all those tunes...including Sparky.


  5. I just discovered that Alone was also released on 78rpm the same year by Petula Clark but upon listening to the two versions I'm reasonably sure it must have been the Shepherd Sisters one that I had.

  6. Confusingly - Pet Clark did two totally different songs called Alone. Why would someone do that???

  7. The fountain pens are trying to compete with the computers! Since they have no electricity to mess about with, their only weapon is the ink.

    Being Swedish and born in the mid 50s I did not get to hear many English children's songs. I was probably around 11 when I started listening to pop music. Not sure which was the very first record I bought for myself. May have been The Hep Stars - they were the first I worshipped with posters all over my room etc, I think. (Not too bad a choice considering it included Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, later ABBA and several famous musicals.) And The Monkees. Especially Davy Jones!

  8. Great nostalgia piece!

    The first record I bought was "Old Cape Cod" by Patti Page. I loved that song. So much, that I painted a poster of Cape Cod and hung it on the wall of my bedroom where it hung for years....we moved out a few years later but for all I know, the poster may be still hanging in my old attic bedroom!!

  9. I was pretty much a Kassettenkind (tape kiddie). Yes, that's an actual word, it means someone who listened to such stuff as Three Investigators on tape as a child, a really big thing in Germany (the original narrators of that series fill huge venues with their live readings today).

    My first pop record was Massive Luxury Overdose by Army of Lovers and Turn It On Again by Genesis. I still have both and I still listen to them.

  10. Kassettenkind reminds me of some of the words we use for people born in certain eras, Jedediah. I, for example, am a baby boomer. A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964. The term "baby boomer" is sometimes used in a cultural context.


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