This time it was over the subject of children’s nursery rhymes. Having brought up three urchins, one became well versed in playing them with all manner of nursery rhymes and little ditties. If you have, or are even remotely associated with, children you are probably familiar with things like “Old King Cole”, “The Cat and the Fiddle”, “The Wheels on the Bus” and the interminable “Ten Green Bottles”, to name but a few.

Now my children are now in their 30’s and 40’s we have a new crop of youngsters – the grand children. I can recommend grand children, largely because you can give them back to mummy and daddy. They are also an excuse to buy the toys you never had, or could never afford as a parent yourself, but we digress.

My wife and I indulged ourselves with all four grandchildren (the current total), dutifully bouncing them on knees, wiping drool, tickling, pulling faces, eliciting gurgles and generally behaving as grandparents do the world over. Then we moved on to reminiscence.

“Do you remember when….” inserting a suitably embarrassing event from childhood into a question asked of one or other of our now grown-up children. Like describing how one of them (who I won’t name) at maybe 3 years of age, hopping from foot to foot desperate for the toilet as we bade farewell to a friend at the front door, then tearing off to the bathroom with a cry of “No poopoo, stay inside”. Oh how we chortled and oh, how red they went. Or not.

Then we were singing nursery songs with the grandkiddies, my wife beginning to work her way through her repertoire. “Do you remember us singing any of these to you?” she asked our children.

“Not really,” came the reply. “Only Dad’s one.”

“Oh” (disappointed tone). “What was that?”

“You know, the one about the Black Cat.” – Oh dear.- “How did it go Dad?”

A chum of mine, the factory comedian where I once worked (Hi Mike from Data 100, all those years back) had entertained himself singing a little ditty which he had apparently come up with but which I think may have been inspired by a traditional Australian song. Whatever. Mikes version was amusing, short, just about clean and quite the thing to titillate the daring of youngsters, so I had brought it home.

Now, don’t ask me about the tune as I simply don’t have a clue. What I can say is that the lyrics went thus:

Oh the black cat piddled in the white cats eye

The white cat said “cor blimey”

The black cat said “Its your own silly fault”

“You shouldn’t have stood behind me”

To my wife’s dismay, this was quite literally the only song which all three of my kids remembered from their nursery years. No “Old King Cole”, no “The Cat and the Fiddle”, no “The Wheels on the Bus” not even the interminable “Ten Green Bottles”,  and she duly administered her Disapproval of me. Sorry Chris. I’ll buy you flowers.

Naturally, we are now making up ground again but with more traditional fare for the grandchildren and we are re-teaching their mums and dads, but Mike’s little ditty is still a firm favourite.

Kids. Don’t you just love ‘em?

By John Kirkwood