Friday, December 04, 2009

A Rude Awakening

I awoke to the phone ringing incessantly but by the time I got downstairs it had stopped. No message – no record of who phoned and it was 1.45 am. Unable to sleep – instead of counting sheep I thought of book titles – as is my wont just now. Out of nowhere came There’ll always be an England. Could I remember the words?
We sang them often enough at our Sunday School Concert Parties. Most of the performers were either very young or old (as they seemed to us kids) the ones in between had been called up and were fighting for King and country.


There was always Dear little Donkey sung by a demented spinster with a sweet quavery voice - until she hit the high notes with a deafening screech and her eyes would water -whether with emotion or the effort we never could make out.
A married couple – but not to each other - would sing The Indian Love Song and one realised how talented Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald were.

The highlight would be when Jack Storey – a well known comedian- came on stage – a real life Archie Rice with his black patent leather hair, toothbrush moustache and garish tartan suit carrying a candle in a jam jar. An air- raid siren would sound…

‘Jerry’s over!’
‘Never mind! We’ll mop it up in’t morning!’

How we kids howled with laughter.
At the end of the show the finale would be representatives of the Forces marching on in uniform plus Brittania with helmet and swathed in Union Jacks and the rest of the performers with great fervour would sing:-
There'll always be an England,
words & music Ross Parker & Hughie Charles

I give you a toast Ladies and gentlemen,
I give you a toast Ladies and gentlemen
May this fair land we love so well,
In Dignity and freedom dwell.
while worlds may change and go awry,
Whilst there is still one voice to cry!---

There'll always be an England,
While there's a country lane.
Wherever there's a cottage small
Beside a field of grain
There'll always be an England
While there's a busy street.
Wherever there's a turning wheel
A million marching feet.
Red, white and blue
What does it mean to you?
Surely you're proud
Shout it loud
Britons awake!
The Empire too
We can depend on you.
Freedom remains
These are the chains
Nothing can break.
There'll always be an England
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.


By the last verse the tempo would slow down, the passion would increase and the resounding finish would inspire us all with feel-good patriotism.
I suppose it would be considered frightfully non PC nowadays but it got us through a difficult time. Can you imagine sweets being rationed? I must have drifted off because the next thing I knew it was nearly seven am and I realised I could go downstairs and stuff myself silly with Belgian chocolates if I wanted to. Common sense prevailed and I settled for cinnamon porridge with honey.

14 comments:

Guyana-Gyal said...

My mother tells me 'during the war' stories...it affected Guyana in some ways too...shortages, etc. I think I've told you this before. How, if my mother is skimping on something, I'd say to her, 'World War 2 is over, mummy! Stop skimping.' I'm wicked ;-)

Pat said...

GG: you never forget the skimping and saving and waste is anathema to me. I'm with your mother on this;)

lom said...

Do a 1471 you sometimes get the number of who rang. I didn't live through a war but I make use of everything.

Pat said...

LOM: I did 1571 and 1471 but 'the caller did not leave a number.'

apprentice said...

Joking aside you wonder how much long term damage "doing without" does. My friend thinks her mania for shoes comes from her very poor childhood - a bit like Imelda!

rashbre said...

I'm amused that you would awaken and think of Belgian chocolates.

Its annoying when those random calls come through. If ever I work at home they seem to happen throughout the day. "Number withheld" "International" and so forth and often a recording on the other end.

I'm signed up for those "don't bother me" services but they still get through.

The picture of Sir Laurence is amazing.

Four Dinners said...

'I suppose it would be considered frightfully non PC nowadays'....

That babe is precisely the problem.

Pat said...

Anna: it affects people in different ways. My husband can be immensely wasteful and thinks nothing of having three or four packets of biscuits open at once and starting a new jar of anything before one is finished. Nobody is perfect :)

Rashbre: chocolate is never very far from my thoughts but I am quite strong minded about it. Mostly.

Four.D: it's a different world to how it was then and it takes a lot of adapting for older people.

Z said...

I don't think it is non PC - after all, it's about freedom, not ruling the wave.

My mother was older than you - she spent her teens and early twenties during wartime. When she was in the Land Army (it went against the grain to wear formal uniform or march) she went to village hops for entertainment.

sablonneuse said...

Anonymous calls in the middle of the night are most inconsiderate. If it weren't for the 'secret number' the most likely reason could have been a misdial from another time zone!
Anyway, it sounds as though you made the most of your broken sleep.

Pat said...

Z: village hops were a delight for girls of all ages - when we were actually each other's arms. So exciting when it was with complete strangers.

Sandy: I'm convinced it was a drunk phoning for a taxi which has happened before. I don't mind so much if I can do some positive thinking but not when I feel constrained to get up and write it down.

Leah said...

I always think it is a bit of a shame that we have to be sort of apologetic for patriotism these days--it is true in America, in my milieu.

I love the "demented spinster with a sweet quavery voice." I can practically hear it now!

Pat said...

Leah: the trouble is - over here - the Union Jack has been taken over by
a group of people - National Front who have very questionable beliefs.
I didn't want to be unkind about the spinster lady so I didn't mention her acne.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I always loved that song, Pat...And it is stirring and it must have been a great great comfort during those incredibly difficult war years.....!