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March 21st, 2009


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01:45 pm - Google street view
I think I saw the Google street camera today, in Waltham on the Wolds, near Melton Mowbray. It was a car with a sort of tower on its roof, with cameras on top. I waved at it from my car as we passed it - hope I get immortalised.

Meanwhile, this is my grandma's house, which I was born in. It's a 2-up 2-down council house. But they were nice houses, very professionally built.

My poem the Singing Ringing Tree is about that house. In fact that tree which obscures most of the view is the Singing Ringing tree. It's eerie being able to walk around my childhood on the computer screen.

The Singing Ringing Tree

The silver birch in your garden
Singing and ringing in daylight
And you were tall enough to reach its leaves
The frog becomes a prince
The prince a bear
The waterfalls are frozen
Each human child must learn
Terror and grief

Men in the motorbike alleys
Turn the air blue
And you must pass amongst them
Women glower under peroxide
Witch of the northern moors
The snow-flecked child-betraying moors
Each human child must grow a wolf's claws
Evade the earth's mouth
Always fight

Do not go to that cold waste
Where the tea leaves are, and the white daisies
It is not safe to be a girl, a frog, a flower
You must pass amongst those who devour

Shadows of strangers pass
Behind the curtains of that house
Although you have grown
The silver tree has grown much taller
And all its bells
Ring in the street light
Ex inferno gaudete
Homo lupus homini


ETA I just found a fan site for the Singing Ringing Tree (that link is to a summary of Part 3). Boy that program was peculiar.

(the baddy)does not want the little tree to sing in fairyland so he surrounds it in flames. Thinking that he has finally stopped her, he flies around laughing. The Princess braves the flames, walking through the fire to embrace the tree. The tree sings and rings. The flames die away and (the baddy) falls into a huge hole. The dried up valley becomes green.

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
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It is not safe to be a girl, a frog, a flower
You must pass amongst those who devour


Made me cry.

".,,that cold waste where the tea leaves are" reminded me of the compost heap, the garbage dump, and yet it also seems to say do not go into the future, here is what is prognosticated for you.

I am always very moved by your poetry.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
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Oh, thank you. The Singing Ringing Tree was a children's program on telly when I was a little girl, which frightened me a great deal, but was actually less frightening than some the real things that were happening to children in those days.
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Ah. Thank you for the cultural reference that was missing for me. Do you think the dangers were greater for children then than they are now? Or just different?
From:egretplume
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
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This is a great post. I like the poem a lot.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. How amazing it is for me to see that house like that. It's so vivid in my memory. It meant so much to me for 45 years, but when my grandma died, of course the council took it back - rightly so, another family are growing up there now I suppose.
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and I meant to ask, how did you get the URL for that specific map spot? I can never seem to make Google Maps cough that up for me. Am I just being obtuse?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
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Clicked on 'Link' in the top right corner.

I've just been looking up The Singing Ringing Tree online. Here is what the BBC say about it.

A 1960s BBC TV series, bought from East Germany and complete with a Communist princess and the world's weirdest fish, ended up terrifying and obsessing a generation of British children In hushed conversations around Britain, devotees of the Singing Ringing Tree, now perhaps in their late thirties or early forties, try to come to terms with one of the great traumas of postwar childhood.



Edited at 2009-03-21 05:55 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
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*rolls eyes at self* Well, that was just too easy!

The program sounds really interesting though the little blurb you linked to sounds more tongue-in-cheek than not.
[User Picture]
From:pennski
Date:March 21st, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
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The blurb is accurate and disconcerting and surprisingly not tongue-in-cheek.
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Okay, now I'm REALLY curious about this show!
[User Picture]
From:pennski
Date:March 21st, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
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We found it on DVD a couple of years ago, having both seen it when young.
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 21st, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
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Well holy guacamole, it's on Netflix. Have added it to the top of my queue. Will be very curious to try and watch it through the eyes of my child-self.
[User Picture]
From:pennski
Date:March 21st, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
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Excellent!

I completely believed the special effects at the time (we didn't have a telly of our own so I was very naive about how it all worked).
[User Picture]
From:emeraldsedai
Date:March 25th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
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So, I just received and watched The Singing Ringing Tree. I actually found it kind of charming. Weird, yes, and I can see where the big-eyed fish would freak a kid out.

Also, the bear? Looked like the man covered in bees.

And the evil dwarf king was just disturbing. And yeah, I can kind of see where the horse being turned to stone was a little nightmarish.

The prince's hairdo when we was not covered in bees was fairly traumatizing.

But really, besides all that? It was kind of pretty. I'm so glad I saw it! There's no way I could ever relate to it as one might would if one had seen it for the first time at age seven or eight, but it was cool anyway.
[User Picture]
From:pennski
Date:March 25th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
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That's lovely to hear! Thanks for taking the time to report back. I'm glad you liked it.
From:jthijsen
Date:March 21st, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
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I'm afraid you won't be immortalised, since they use software to automatically make faces and numberplates unrecognizable.

The house may be a good one, but from the poem I get the impression that it wasn't a very nice neighborhood.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 21st, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
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The area was much better in those days than it became later on.

A difference in those days was that even quite small children were allowed to walk about unsupervised, looking at the people doing their grown-up things. Then later that all got stopped, not least because of the Moors murders.

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