Thursday, October 21, 2010

A forward tone

A woman sat on a buff coloured cushion under a bush in the shrubbery,
Around her grew hundreds of dutch bulbs.
Up at the house Mrs Munday gave her a plate full of custard, 
and a book for her young brother Cuthburt, 
who had cut his foot on a piece of wire which he had tied round and pulled too roughly.

Aged parent and I had such a laugh in Tesco's in Beverley  this week. We had reached the checkout, when a garble came over the tannoy about someone going somewhere and doing something. We commented that the speaker needed some lessons in projecting her voice, with a clearer pronunciation of her vowels. Mother then reminded me of the times she tried to teach us(children) to speak correctly when we (three girls) were small. We started to recite together, in the queue ,the woman sat  on a buff coloured cushion exercise. This was to get us to speak with a forward tone, and was one of the exercises from her own Elocution Lessons which started in 1932.  All the poems she had to learn, and all her notes are in an exercise book which I now have.

I too of course know most of the poems as well too. Little Wun Lee and the butterfly wings was always our favourite in 1950's. I still hear some of the words-snow leopards, peacocks and palanquins, and dijn and I am back in the dining room in Saltshouse Road,  listening to mother reading poetry to us, all from her book. Abou Ben Adam, The Donkey, The Listeners, Forget me not and Silver all still remembered.
As we laughed at the absurdity of the woman sitting on the buff coloured cushion,Mother told me about her Elocution Teacher.
'She was called Miss Winifred Parr, she had an Eton Crop, and was very tall and thin, and always wore a velvet ribbon choker'

Mother and I carried on talking about Winifred Parr as we stood waiting at the Cashout. We wondered just how many other people talk about her after 80 yrs . I Googled 
winifred parr birkenhead
But got nowhere.

I wonder if she made up the exercise for the Forward Tone? I wonder how many other people recited it to their children, and grandchildren, and had a good laugh.

When I got home to Filey another unknown but much appreciated  lady from  the 1930s stormed my consciousness. I have Googled her too for years to find out about her. She is a Gladys Waller, who lived in Surbiton in 1936. That is what it says on the back of a drawing in pencil, chalks and crayon I bought in 1968 in a junk shop in Webbs Road Battersea with my first salary.  It was 30s . I am taking it as my luxury to my Desert Island. 
Beeches nr Reigate by Gladys Waller

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous24.10.10

    James reads your blog and today it lead to a discussion on my attempts to improve their diction !! Not having read your blog I started on "A woman sat .... "
    I was a complete failure insisting on a Forward tone !