Colour has returned to Leeds 15. The predominantly monochrome snow scenes bequeathed by the Beast from the East finally succumbing to a raise in outside temperatures. Now in a form of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, it undertakes a altogether new strategy of disruption in the form of sporadic flooding.
The weather was discussed yesterday among the guests at my mum’s Wakefield abode. Family and friends who’d gathered to greet my returning sister – But equally as importantly, an inaugural view of her beautiful 4-month old babe-in-arms Alice.
Consequently, for a few hours mum’s residence resonated to the sounds of cooing, nursery rhyme recitals, occasional attention-seeking cries from the wee guest and a variety of old music hall songs. The latter courtesy of Mrs Strachan senior’s vast vaudevillian repertoire.
As Alice is far too young to communicate, we can only guess from her facial expressions what she thought of our attempts to entertain her. My niece seemingly unfazed by most of our artistic efforts; with only mum’s version of a music hall song referencing the name Alice, along with my inane adaptation of a nursery rhyme, resulting in anything other than a smile.
From the look on her face, my parody version of The Grand Old Duke of York rhyme appeared to bemuse Alice. Not surprisingly, I suppose, when you take into account the words:-
The Grand Old Duke of York
He had 10,00 men
He didn’t know what to buy them for Christmas
So he bought them all a pen
With Alice’s paternal lineage being that of the House of Lancaster, her DNA may have induced this indifference to smiling at a rhyme celebrating a member of the House of York……… More likely, though, she was probably just thinking “I wish my uncle Gary would stop arsing around and sing the proper words!”
When my two kids were babes/toddler (they’re now in their 20’s) they seemed to enjoy my penchant for giving children’s rhymes and songs a silly spin. Be that from one of the splendid Disney animations of that time, such as Lion King and Beauty & The Beast, or defiling a centuries old nursery rhyme with a view to making them laugh.
Sadly (or maybe luckily for you), at the moment I’m unable to recollect examples of my early 1990’s bastardisation of these much loved lyrics and prose. Epiphanies hidden in my unconscious mind under a deluge of other creative ideas, which hopefully one day I’ll bump into again.
My wife Karen didn’t always approve of some adaptations, deeming them overly stupid and inappropriate role model behaviour. However, both offspring materialised from childhood as bright, funny and decent adults so her worries thus far have been unfounded.
Yesterday, it was heart-warming to meet up with my youngest sibling and newest addition to the clan. After a dark winter following the loss of the brood leader, Chez Strachan senior felt re-invigorated by Alice’s presence, on this her first visit to her grandmas on the t’other side of the Pennines.
This fledgling beauty, like the spring flowers that currently signal the start of 2018’s horticultural replenishment, hopefully a catalyst for brighter days ahead for the family.