Current work: new Medical
Listening to: Genesis, Wind & Wuthering (am not allowed to have this actually playing when car door opens to disgorge a child, LOL – officially I am now an Embarrassing Parent)
Reading: finished Milly Johnson, Here Come the Girls (very witty, very warm – v recommended)
Caught a really interesting programme yesterday on BBC4 with Gareth Malone about sea shanties. My grandparents were both in the navy (grandfather in Merchant Navy, I think, and grandmother in the WRNS) and I can remember various little bits of sailor-wisdom passed down to me through my mum (eg ‘if there’s enough blue sky to make a pair of sailor’s trousers it won’t rain’ and the reason why you have to bash in the bottom of a boiled egg’s shell once you’ve eaten the egg).
Some of the songs they sang were ones I remember from school (the most well-known ones, “What shall we do with a drunken sailor”) and some they didn’t actually sing but the music was on the screen for a few seconds (such as “Rio Grande”). And it brought back other memories: at baby music classes, we learned some sea songs, one of which I started singing to my dad (because it was new to me) and was surprised when he joined in. (Hence the title of this post: “Sons of the sea, bobbing up and down like this” – it’s a great knee-ride song for littlies.) Others I remember from school are “The Mermaid” (“One Friday morn, as we set sail, and our ship not far from the land, I there did espy a pretty, pretty maid with a comb and a glass in her hand” etc) and “Blackbird” (“If I was a blackbird, I’d whistle and sing, and follow the ship that my true love sails in”).
I particularly enjoyed hearing the 93- and 97-year-old Scotswomen singing the songs from their days as herring girls. (Local to me, that one, because Great Yarmouth – all of half an hour from here – was once THE port for herring.) I do hope that part of our musical heritage doesn’t disappear, because it doesn’t seem to be part of the curriculum any more.
Does anyone out there have favourite “sea” songs they remember singing at school as a child?