who wrote Grey Funnel Line
With your regular scribe absent, an exhausted and ashen-faced replacement arrived, having come from running, for Sport Relief, a one mile cross-country in a torrential hailstorm.
With Mike and Maggie lost to the fleshpots of Bognor, reliving their babyhoods in the 1960s, Richard was in charge of a small but select band who met to celebrate the Spring, discuss music, swap anecdotes – but most of all to sing our way through as much of Mike's repertoire as possible before he could get back and fine us.
Mike's musical proclivities therefore led to a lot of shanties, fore-bitters and just general Songs of the Seven Seas being performed, in the certain knowledge that even if none of us could remember his singing the song in question, provided that it had a ship in it somewhere, he probably had dibs on it anyway. So the evening sailed along from the Grey Funnel Line to the Fish of the Sea (the latter being a version remarkably deficient – to my East Anglian ear – in any mention of Happisburg Light!) and from the Shantyman of the Wildgoose Nation to Roll the Woodpile Down (which at my advanced age I always associate with Dave Macon).
But in fact the range of other Starkey songs performed is actually a testament that our Leader has more than one string to his guitar, and knows songs from the poignant Home Lads Home (Words: Cicely Fox Smith. Music: Sarah Morgan) via the romantic Come Write Me Down to the slightly less romantic but possibly equally poignant They're Shifting Father's Grave to Build a Sewer.
But the best news of the night was that for the first time in a long while Pat was well enough to attend and so we had the pleasure again not only of hearing her perform (Reed-cutter's Daughter, Sussex May Song, and possibly a first for the club - reciting Edward Lear's Owl and the Pussycat) but also raising the tone of the club conversation with a fascinating discourse on the changes which have occurred over the years in musical instruments and their tuning.
Of course her attendance also ensured the presence of Keith who entertained us with his self-penned guitar music such as Dance of the Rivers and The Mill (all of which were instantly recognised with full title by Richard – clearly Keith has a fan-base among the clergy). The playing of The Mill, and its rustic associations, prompted Pat to remember an event coming soon to Winterbourne which may well be of interest to Folkies; so I will follow her example and advertise it here:
Sunday 6th April 2014, 11.00amCrank-Up Day and Craft Fayre
Winterbourne Medieval Barn
Celebrate Spring at the historic Winterbourne Medieval Barn! Something for all the family. Stationary engines will run a fascinating range of equipment. Vintage Cars, Motorbikes, Tractors and agricultural equipment on display.
We will also be commemorating the Centenary of World War 1.
Children can meet farm animals including lambs, ducks, chickens and pigs, watch the farrier shoeing horses, and enjoy games and crafts.
Traditional Rural skills and crafts including basket weaving, hurdle-making, stone masonry, pole lathes, and dry stone walling, will be demonstrated by local craftspeople.
Entrance £2 per adult, children under 14 free. Parking charge £1 per car.
Here's a selection of songs sung during the session.