Wednesday 12 April 2023


This isn't actually the start of the series of Blogs I promised - I'm getting a few together so I can post them at regular intervals even if I am busy working on my next book. It's just something that struck me the other day ..... Hope you enjoy it!

A few days ago I posted birthday wishes to a friend from the long-gone days of my carefree youth, and asked her if she remembered a day out at

the seaside with me, my sister Hazel, and another friend. I think it might have been Weymouth, by coach because it definitely had a sandy beach - real sand, not Weston-super-Mare mud.
When we changed into swimming costumes we were full of envy and admiration - Sue, a very pretty girl, petite and slim, had a new bikini! I remember it was pink and white checked like gingham and she looked stunning in it. But Sue was so shy and self-conscious about it that ... well, when we were unable to persuade her to so much as take a few steps we began singing a hit song at the time - Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polkadot Bikini. The lyrics were all about a girl with a new bikini - worn for the first time that day! - who was first 'afraid to come out of the locker', and then, when she'd had a dip, was 'afraid to come out of the water.'
I started singing it this morning, and it made me happy. Laugh-out-loud-happy. And I got to thinking of all the other humourous songs that have been popular throughout my life and wondering why we never hear the like nowadays. To be honest, I don't often listen to music on the radio these days. I know I might sound like an old fogey, but to me most of them just sound like repetitive noise with no discernable words that I can make out, anyway. And I got to thinking about all those songs that used to make us smile, interspersed with the rock'n'roll, country, sentimental love songs and the rest. Where has our sense of humour gone?
When I was much younger there were ditties like Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?
and Don't Jump of The Roof Dad (You'll make a hole in the yard!)
Later we had My Old Man's a Dustman, Ernie (who drove the fastest dustcart in the West) and Fred Wedlock's 'Oldest Swinger in Town'.
And don't get me started on Tom Lehrer. We used to spend whole evenings listening to his sometimes dark, but very funny repertoire on his LP records.
My favourite was Be Prepared (That's the Boy Scouts' marching song ...) and I still sing it sometimes when I want cheering up. But I also enjoyed the wicked : Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, and the satirical pessism of We'll All go Together When We go - which, believe it or not, was about a nuclear disaster! What a subject to humourise about!
Then of course there was Allan Sherman. Who can forget (if they're old enough to remember it!) the wonderful letter home from Camp Grenada set to Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours - Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh. And Bob Newhart with The Driving Instructor.
Where have they gone, the songs and monologues to make you laugh? Have they been lost in these days of political correctness, when extremely funny sitcoms such as
'Ello 'Ello, Dad's Army, and Are You Being Served would never make it to our screens? Am I alone in regretting comedy as it used to be doesn't seem to exist any more? I'll make an exception for Lee Mack's Not Going Out, which invariably makes me laugh. And I can always watch repeats of The Vicar of Dibley, Porridge, and others.
Laughter is something that can always light up our lives, no matter what our circumstances.
Bring it back! Bring it on! All together now ....
She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini ....
(Hope I don't get sued for infringement of copyright ... That wouldn't be in the least bit funny!)