I was reminded that it was exactly ten years ago today that we were waiting for Ms P’s A-level results. It was a traumatic morning as her plans to study physiotherapy went west along with her failed science subjects.
After some tears and a hasty family meeting, she switched tack and ended up studying psychology instead, a path that led to her interest in teaching young children.
It was Ms P herself who did the reminding as she has been home for a break from her teaching job in Japan and is now flying back even as I type.
It has been lovely to have her at home and yesterday the three of us had a nostalgic trip to Blackpool where we often went when the kids were young. Actually, there were four of us if you count Dottie the dog.
We spent the morning walking along the beach at Lytham St Annes before hopping on a tram along the promenade to the North Pier and Blackpool proper which was at its tacky best.
Ms P wanted to buy some of the famous Blackpool rock to take backs as gifts for her Japanese friends. Apparently, they are not keen on mint which once would have been a problem since this used to be the principle flavouring. Now you can get almost any flavour you can think of, like chicken tikka pictured above, or Marmite and even cannabis flavour. Bizarre.
As you can see, I was busy with my camera and one of the sights I was keen to capture was the Comedy Carpet opposite Blackpool Towere, a collection of jokes, scripts and catchphrases from the comedy greats immortalised on the pavement.
The problem is that, unless you happen to have a pair of stepladders handy, the angle makes it hard to photograph as you can see from my shot of one of Frank Randle’s catchphrases.
Photographing the entire Albert and the Lion monologue proved to be impossible, so in honour of Blackpool I reproduce it below. Alternatively, you can listen to it being read by Roy Hudd.
There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That’s noted for fresh-air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was their Albert
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
‘E’d a stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle
The finest that Woolworth’s could sell.
They didn’t think much to the ocean
The waves, they was fiddlin’ and small
There was no wrecks… nobody drownded
‘Fact, nothing to laugh at, at all.
So, seeking for further amusement
They paid and went into the zoo
Where they’d lions and tigers and cam-els
And old ale and sandwiches too.
There were one great big lion called Wallace
His nose were all covered with scars
He lay in a som-no-lent posture
With the side of his face to the bars.
Now Albert had heard about lions
How they were ferocious and wild
And to see Wallace lying so peaceful
Well… it didn’t seem right to the child.
So straight ‘way the brave little feller
Not showing a morsel of fear
Took ‘is stick with the’orse’s ‘ead ‘andle
And pushed it in Wallace’s ear!
You could see that the lion didn’t like it
For giving a kind of a roll
He pulled Albert inside the cage with ‘im
And swallowed the little lad… whole!
Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence
And didn’t know what to do next
Said, “Mother! Yon lions ‘et Albert”
And Mother said “Eeh, I am vexed!”
So Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Quite rightly, when all’s said and done
Complained to the Animal Keeper
That the lion had eaten their son.
The keeper was quite nice about it
He said, “What a nasty mishap
Are you sure that it’s your lad he’s eaten?”
Pa said, “Am I sure? There’s his cap!”
So the manager had to be sent for
He came and he said, “What’s to do?”
Pa said, “Yon lion’s ‘eaten our Albert
And ‘im in his Sunday clothes, too.”
Then Mother said, “Right’s right, young feller
I think it’s a shame and a sin
For a lion to go and eat Albert
And after we’ve paid to come in!”
The manager wanted no trouble
He took out his purse right away
And said, “How much to settle the matter?”
And Pa said “What do you usually pay?”
But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone
She said, “No! someone’s got to be summonsed”
So that were decided upon.
Round they went to the Police Station
In front of a Magistrate chap
They told ‘im what happened to Albert
And proved it by showing his cap.
The Magistrate gave his o-pinion
That no-one was really to blame
He said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing
“And thank you, sir, kindly,” said she
“What! waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!”