21 Sep 2012

And Then I Went Way Back….

My mind drifted back to the past again yesterday.  Sadly, my body stayed here.  

While I was there I recalled two bits of songs.  Again, sadly, I couldn't regress further to remember all the word bits.

These songs relate to the pre-sea school I attended from age eleven to the earliest age you could legally leave and get on a boat.

The leaving song was a winner and sung at the end of every term to salute those leaving to climb onto their first ship.  Remembering the words I was struck by how, even in a school song, we were prepared for a total lack of cotton wooliness out there in wonderland.  This is the bit I remember;

So my lad now your school days are over,
Far too long you've been living in clover,
Now at last it is time to discover,
What Apprentices do when at sea.

Over seas and far up rivers,  (Dar-da- dar dar darrrrr)
Torrid heat will follow shivers,
Toil all day and when you blunder,
Here the First Mates vocal thunder threatening to rend asunder then you'll wish yourself at home.
'Tis good-by to friendly faces,
'Tis good-by to well known places…..

There's quite a few more 'tis bits I believe but that's the point where my head came back to the present.

Another unforgettable sing-a-song was sung, I believe, to a Gilbert and Sullivan song – probably from The Pirates of Penzance.  The only bit I remember is this;
'Tis….  lots of 'tisses is there?  Almost as many 'tisses as those thusses of that other post….. 'Tis an English ship and an English crew, so give three cheers for the boys in blue!

This was always sung to the words  ….English ship and a Chinese crew…. by the nonconformists – the vast majority – as not many conformists wanted to got to sea. 
This always seemed to grip the masters who would attempt, time after time, to convince us to 'get it right' using cool, calm reasoning followed by a good flogging with the ropes end, a ruler or a large dead rodent. (I believe the Masters motto was, 'We'll make 'em learn using a little kindness and a lot o' cruelty.'  One day a navigation teacher, an ex Royal Navy Commander, told us the best we could expect in life would be to end up as pimps.  We weren't  quite sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing as we had no idea what a pimp was. Back then remember, our understanding of the criminal underworld and its slang was limited to watching Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars.)

On reflection the bit about English ships and Chinese crews was quite prophetic.  Is there such a thing as an English AB working on any merchant ships deck any more? Or an English Donkey Greaser working in the moving parts department?  Probably not for many years now.  Remember the post relating to railway stations, soldiers and nuns?  Those days are gone but now you can pretty much bet the farm on seeing four or six Filipinos on any flight to or from Europe who will be joining or leaving a ship.
Later, I reflected on the favoured flogging implement at that school, the ropes end, favoured to follow nautical tradition I guess.  I reflected twice and 'tis thus; 

A) STOP RIGHT THERE – Why would I say 'twice', which suggests numbers, then start with an A?  If I was going to start with an A I should've preceded with, 'I reflected alphabetically and 'tis thus'..  Let's start again;
1) The ropes end sure did sting but didn't leave any of us mentally scared in any way, or filled with the need to go out and hurt kittens and/or old ladies.
2) As a deterrent, it didn't work all that well.

Anyhoo, you never know, maybe there's someone out there who remembers all the words to the songs.  Maybe there's someone out there who remembers the name of the tunes the words were set to.  Maybe we could get together and put it on YouTube.   Maybe I'll take my medication early today.

Quote;  Samuel Johnson.
“There is now less flogging in our great schools than formerly, but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.”


The Filthy Engineer said...

I can remember:

"Twas on the good ship Venus
my Christ you should have seen us
the figurehead was a girl in bed
Sucking the captain's..............

Will that do?

Mac said...

Okay, here you go;
WARNING!! This link should NOT be followed by members of the, “Oh no, this is terrible. I don’t like it so it should be banned!!” brigade.