A couple of weeks ago, Management and I set off to see our grandchildren who live in Melbourn, near Royston. I have previously mentioned Oliver, who has good singing voice. I am teaching the Chaz and Dave version of “It takes a whole lot of loving just to keep my baby happy” and he is coming along well. He does not understand all the lyrics but I know his parents will be impressed when they see his first performance. We were just approaching Hockwold when, suddenly, we heard “Dee Dah, Dee Dah, Dee Dah, Dee Dah, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Dee Dah”. A plaintiff cry came from my left “Oh, Ian, what have you done now?” I judged that this was not the time to have a discussion about the principle of innocence until proved guilty and looked around frantically; was it an ambulance? No. Was it a fire engine? No. Worse still, was it a police car? There was none in front, behind, up Burdock lane to the right or the High Street to the left. We carried on. Dee Dah, Dee Dah…… I stopped in the lay by beyond Hockwold – Dee Dah Wop, Wop, Wop, Dee Dah – Management suggested that it might be an alarm signal warning us of a problem with the car. Fair enough – I turned off the ignition. Dee Dah, Dee Dah, Wop, Wop continued. The sound seemed to be coming from behind the vehicle so I got out to see where they were hiding. Silence! The sound must be coming from inside the car, at the back. The penny dropped with a resounding clang – I had packed a present for Oliver’s twin brothers; it was a plastic fire station with a fire engine, a police car and an ambulance and it was equipped with a very realistic siren to be used at times of play emergency. The rough road between Feltwell and Hockwold had set the siren off!
I am writing this article at the end of the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. We had a service in Methwold Church, during which we sang the National Anthem. Now, we all know verse 1 but very few of us know verse 2 “Thy choicest gifts in store on her be pleased to pour – long may she reign. May she defend our laws and ever give us cause to sing with heart and voice – God save the queen’” This was apparent at the large Jubilee concert when there was an embarrassed silence from the thousands of people in the seats and down the Mall as the band struck up for verse 2.
In our hymn books, the above second verse is, printed as verse 3 and verse 2 is much more exciting. “O Lord our God, arise, scatter our enemies and make them fall. Confound their politics, frustrate their navish tricks; on thee our hopes we fix: God save us all”. Much more fun, but I have never heard anyone sing this verse.
This three verse British Standard version of the National Anthem first appeared in 1745 and was incorporated in many song books at the time. However, the second verse has been omitted in the publication “Scouting for Boys” and on the Government’s ‘Monarchy Today’ website. At the Queen’s Golden Jubilee party, Prince Charles referred to the ‘politically incorrect second verse of the National Anthem’. They spoil all our fun!
I have been impressed by the interest readers have expressed in my work as ship’s doctor to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. We are off to Norway with Boudicca in July so there may be more tales to tell. On the last cruise, an elderly Lancashire lady kept coming up to me ( I am easily identifiable, being the only bloke aboard with gold and red stripes on his shoulders, sleeves, etc) and telling me that she hoped I would never have to dope-test the dolphins, before dissolving into peals of laughter. Polite smile of agreement. It was ten days before I heard that there was a game on board, where children play a game like deck quoits with wooden dolphins and the adults bet pennies on the outcome of each race. That’s about as exciting as it gets on Boudicca! I was serving myself to breakfast one day, when a woman pushed in, elbowed me out of the way and helped herself to the food. She then dropped a bottle of brown sauce on the floor and it splashed all over my highly polished shoes. Obviously, as an officer, I had be be polite and retiring, and smiled graciously before retiring to sort myself out. Another guest was watching and told me later that she had said as I left, “Oh, that was the bl**dy doctor”. Quite how that realisation affected her, I have no idea, but I never saw her professionally – perhaps she feared she might be given an enema, or worse.
A man doing market research asked a lady with three children running around whether she ever used the product in question – Vaseline. “Oh yes” she said “my husband and I use it all the time”. The researcher, who must have been naïve, then asked her what they used it for. “Oh, for sex” she said. Embarrassed but determined, the researcher pushed on “Can you tell me exactly what you do with it?” “Of course” she replied “we smear it on the outside door knob of the bedroom and it keeps the kids out”.
Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet.