Anthony from Canterbury

Anthony. Anthony from Canterbury. He has a lot to answer for.

The boys met Anthony last summer when we went to church in Deal. He was one of the people they played with while the grown ups listened to the sermon.

He doesn’t come from Canterbury. Really. He goes to school in Canterbury, which is almost the same thing.

In our family, his name has been used as a chant, usually as some sort of war cry to annoy the adults. Then the other day, oldest grandson experimented with the stresses and rhythms of the chant to produce some very clever choral speaking. He assigned different parts to his siblings and what had been a raucous war cry became a very pleasing sound experiment.

So Anthony, you may never know the fun we have had with your name, but know this; you will always be remembered with great affection in our family.


Songs we sing – other people’s

Not all our songs are made up. The grandkids have favourite cds that we have to play in the car. My only defence is that I play them on shuffle, so we never know what is coming next. They sing along, even if, to the annoyance of their siblings, they sing the wrong words.

There was the sunny summer day when we drove down Chislehurst High Street listening to a cd and belting out “One Way, Jesus” at the tops of our voices. Just because we could.

Granddaughter and Grandson introduced us to a CD that came with a book of songs for kids. The favourite was “I am a C”. You can get the words here, although we did not know about the second verse. You can also see it on YouTube.

On the same cd there was a version of “I’ve got the joy”, (again we did not know all the verses) which had us in hysterics. On the cd a child sings “where?” after each line in a very distinctive voice, which youngest granddaughter was convinced was “meow” for quite a long time, and she could not be dissuaded.

Granddaughter picks up phrases of songs and sings them over and over again, like a broken record. Sometimes we can identify what she is singing and help her to sing the whole song; other times, she just drives us crazy!

Grandsons are big Michael Jackson fans. What is it about boys and Michael Jackson? Put Thriller on and immediately they are dancing round the room. These boys are so inspired they have even acquired the appropriate clothes to wear.

Over the years I have acquired a collection of CDs in my car, referred to as “old”, “new” or by the colour of the CD, and they vocally vote for the CD they want to hear. But when I want to calm things down, I put on ClassicFM and ban talking. If it works, they fall asleep.

Songs we sing – the ones we made up

It all started with eight month old granddaughter. We had gone with her parents to Serre Chevalier, France and were walking down to the supermarket for supplies for lunch. Well, I was walking, she was being carried in the sling. The pace of my steps suggested a march.

“Do, do, doo; de, do, do, doo;
De, do, do,do, do, do do, doo;” etc.

We became a german marching band, Then I invented a verse which was played by various orchestral instruments in turn. It kept us amused all the way there and all the way back, and the tune got used on many occasions subsequently, with each repeat getting more inventive and sophisticated.

Bike mad two year old grandson inspired the next song:

“Ding, ding,” goes the bike,
“Ding, ding,” goes the bike,
Wheee, down the hill.
“Ding, ding,” goes the bike,
“Ding, ding,” goes the bike,
Wheee, down the hill.

(Getting slower)
We can do it,
We can doo it,
We-can-doo it up the hill.
We-can-dooo it,
We-can-dooo it, (speed up now)
We can do it, up the hill.

This song was inspired by a visit to Centre Parcs where we hired a trailer bike so that Daddy could pull the two boys, then aged two and four, along. Two year old grandson graduated to a scoot (walking) bike of his own and now rides a two wheeler to school.

Oldest granddaughter was at the composition of the weather song. We had been to the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden. We were walking by the Lyceum Theatre and being buffeted in the face by the wind. So I started singing to amuse her:

It’s windy, it’s windy, it’s very, very windy;
It’s windy, it’s windy –
And we shall blow awaaaaay!
(hold the last syllable for as long as you can and fade the volume)

This got used over and over again in many varied situations with different grandkids. We improvised on the verses to include whatever weather we were facing.

Seven year old grandson had come to stay with his siblings. It was way past bedtime and he and granddaughter decided to go to the bathroom:

“We like chicken, and we like to march.” Repeated until the destination was reached with fits of giggles.

The next day, we developed it:

We like chicken and we like to march.
We like teddies and we like to dance.
We are the Lewis’s, one, two, three,
Put your hands upon your knee.

But our latest song is the best yet. We were driving home from a day out and seven year old grandson decided to go crazy. “Ned, red, silly head”, he chanted, over and over again, to my increasing annoyance. I had to turn it around. Soon we had a chorus, sung to the tune of Skip to my Lou;

Ned, red, silly head,
Ned, red, silly head,
Ned, red, silly head,
(I am) You are going crazy!

The we added some verses:

Bus up a lamp post, silly head,
Bus up a lamp post, silly head,
Bus up a lamp post, silly head,
(I am) You are going crazy!

Cucumber, ooh, silly head …

Dragon on a potty, silly head …

and so on. Eventually it became a game with each person adding a verse when it was their turn and kept us occupied until we reached home.

More recently, we got off the bus with our silly heads on and sang it all the way home at the tops of our voices. Don’t know what the neighbours thought!