King George V, was on the throne the year I was born, to be followed shortly thereafter by HRH Prince David, Prince of Wales, who took the name, Edward VIII.
Luckily he didn’t stay around too long, and we got HRH Prince Albert, Duke of York who as you all know; or at least should, took the name George VI. I don’t intend to get into any discussions on pros & cons, Republic v Constitutional Monarchy. As an Englishman I’m definitely pro Monarchy, as an Australian I’m a staunch Republican.
Needless to say, I had a great deal of time, and respect, for George VI. He was a good, brave man, a worthy King!
Next on my list of Georges is George Formby, a great favourite of mine growing up. When I knew he was going to be on the wireless, I’d make sure I had the frying pan ready, it was my ukulele, and I’d sing merrily along with George.
It was probably some time in early autumn of 1949, that my dear ol’ dad, brought George home. A somewhat different George to the three mentioned above.
This George was a goose, a nice, snowy white goose, that my dad thought would make a nice change from chicken, for our Christmas dinner! Just needed some fattening up that was all!
My mother used to keep chickens, and we always had a good supply of eggs, never had to rely on rationing. When it came to slaughtering the chooks, she did the honours. She had a novel, most unusual way of killing the bird; which I’m loathe to describe.
Naturally, my dad assumed she would have no trouble, when it came to Georges turn to meet his doom. It was not to be!
George became quite a pet to my mother, he would follow her around the back yard, into the house, wherever she went, there went George, making what ever noise that gooses make 😀
The time came, as it inevitably does, for George to make the ultimate sacrifice. Trouble was my mother couldn’t/wouldn’t kill George. She had no qualms about killing the chooks, but George and she were sort of inseparable, and no way was she about to sacrifice him.
My dad, being a committed socialist, was against capital punishment, insisting that it was my mothers privilege, she being a right wing Tory and all for it.
As an aside, I too, was a right wing Tory back then and followed Albert Pierrepoint’s work with fiendish delight.
With a heavy heart, on Christmas Eve 1949, my mother put a lead on George, and together they walked slowly up Amesbury Road, to the butchers shop, in Hedgemans Road, where my mother with tears flowing, handed George over to the butcher who for the princely sum of half a crown, killed and dressed poor George. 😥
Christmas dinner was not a very joyous occasion, in ’49, in fact it was a disaster. George was duly roasted and appeared on the table. My mother still in tears could not partake of the feast she’d prepared, my father, brother and I made a half-hearted attempt to be in festive spirits, and my five year old sister, was not really aware of the tragedy that had befallen the Smith family, on this Christmas Day 1949.
George the Goose had his revenge!
A few weeks after Christmas, late January, early February if I recall correctly, the back yard was a mess, we’d had a bit of snow and it had turned to slush. Our recently dearly departed goose, George, was in the habit of dumping his ballast where ever when ever he felt the urge, as a consequence the accumulation had built up, and been buried beneath the snow.
With the thaw, it turned into a slippery slimy mess; and my mother whilst “hanging out the washing on the Seigfried line” (a popular song from the early war years) slipped and fell; braking her wrist, more precisely the large knobbly bone on her left wrist.
It was quite a mess, my mothers wrist, not just the yard; she was taken to Oldchurch Hospital over in Romford, and there they had to operate to try and put it back together again.
Apparently the wireless was on while she was being prepared and the song that was being played stayed with her, and became a kind of favourite for her, and the song?
But George’s revenge didn’t end there.
My mother was to be in hospital for a week or more, and it was decided that I was the logical choice to stay home, and be the chief cook and bottle washer.
Sonny, my elder brother was working up in town, and neither he, or my father, could be spared; anyway they didn’t understand the ration book system that was still in use, and I could catch up on my school work easily; I was being taken out of school at Easter when I turned 15 and sent off to work for a living so it wouldn’t make much difference! That settled it. 😥
My cooking skills were about to be tested. I had none, the only thing I knew how to cook was sausages, and I could make mash potatoes; so sausage and mash was on the menu every day my mother was in hospital.
It was always ready when my father and brother returned home from a hard days work. Plus I had my 5 year old sister to care for, got her washed and to school, which was easy, the school was directly opposite our front door.
I thought I did very well, seems that I was the only one who thought so. When my mother came home from the hospital, my dad let out a prayer, which was unusual he being an atheist, ” thank Christ your home” said he, ” I don’t think I could eat any more sausage and mash”.
Pretty ungrateful, when I look back on it.
That was my first experience as a cook! 🙂
Fast forward 25 years or so.
Where is all this rubbish leading? I’m not hearing you ask 😈
There’s one more George I want you/y’all to meet, as this ramble’s getting a bit long I’ll do two episodes, now isn’t that a big thrill, and something to look forward to. 😛 😮 and a special for my emoji loving chum in Hawai’l 😎