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Tuesday, 17 March 2015


My mum was a great reciter of poems.  On Sunday mornings while she was preparing lunch I never tired of hearing “The Owl and the Pussycat” and it’s still one of my favourite poems.  Auntie Hettie remembers going to bed as a child in the house I described as my Grandparents’ house and Mother (who was eight years older than her) sitting at her bedside and reciting "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes.  Journeys in the car were often enlivened by “Abou ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)” by Leigh Hunt.
Don't you just love those socks!

I received my love of words from my Mother.  She was quite a clever woman.  She went to Grammar School when she was only ten, having passed the Scholarship exam as it was then called, a whole year early.  She loved her time at Grammar School but once that was over she had to go out to work (no money for the further education of girls) and she became a clerk in the Civil Service.  In those days women had to resign from the Civil Service on marriage but a year later she was back at work as women were needed to release men to join the forces.  She finally gave up paid employment in 1943 when expecting my sister.

The rest of her life was spent being a homemaker and I think that at times she may have found that frustrating.  She wanted to train as a teacher but decided against it as my father had a very demanding job and needed her whole hearted support.

But she inspired me.  I think she would have made a pretty fair teacher and I want to finish with a poem she taught me to help me remember our Kings and Queens.  I’ve found five different versions of it on the web!

Willy Willy Harry Stee, 
Harry Dick John Harry three;
One two three Neds Richard two, 
Harry's Four Five Six then who? 
Edward's four five, Dick the bad, 
Harries (twain) Ned six (the lad); 
Mary Bessie James you ken, 
Then Charlie Charlie James again 
Will and Mary Anna Gloria 
Georges four Will four Victoria 
Edward seven next and then 
Came George the fifth in nineteen ten 
Ned the eigth soon abdicated 
Then George six was coronated 
After which Elizabeth 
And thats all folks until her death


  1. I had forgotten I knew that poem until I read it, my Dad taught me that as a little girl. Certainly brought back a few nice memories.

  2. Your mother was very cute! And don't you just love those clothes of the 40's? Even the socks! I grew up with a book -- a collection -- entitled "The Bumper Book" edited by Watty Piper and illustrated by Eulalie. It was first published in 1946. "The Owl and the Pussycat" was one of the poems in the book and I loved it. Also included was Christopher Robin Was Saying His Prayers by Milne (of course) which was my favorite. My mother had to read it to me so many times that I memorized it and can recite it still. "Abou ben Adhem was a real problem for me because we were supposed to memorize it for school and I couldn't get past the first line!