Every Monday at 11 o’ clock we juniors sat on benches in the school hall to listen to ‘Singing Together’, a BBC radio programme for schools. The headmaster, Mr Stephens, aka my dad, tuned in the school radio and off we sang.

We learned marvellously noble songs: ‘Cargoes’, by John Masefield

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

(Heaven knows if we really understood any of those words)


English folk songs -“Sweet Polly Oliver”

or Welsh folk songs – “The Ash Grove” (here in a Welsh version)

I loved every minute, and one favourite song was ‘Cherry ripe!’

I warbled away about ripe cherries without ever actually having seen any real cherries. Cherries in Hemel Hempstead in the 1960s were either glacé, on top of a fairy cake

or a strange pale red blob found in a tin of fruit salad which would be part of teatime on a Sunday.

It wasn’t until I came to Germany that I ate real, fresh cherries and not until we moved to this house that I had my own cherry tree.

Now, the cherries from this tree are not super-delicious, but they do freeze and then bake well. Horst told me his Mum had a special little gadget to pit the cherries and on a holiday somewhere in Sachsen Anhalt, I saw a slightly more robust device and bought it. It’s a bit like this:

Some years later we got a second tree, and these cherries are delicious.

Little Carys learned all those songs by heart. Another favourite was “High Germany”:

“O Polly love, O Polly, the road has now begun
And we must go a marching at the beating of the drum
Go dress yourself all in your best and come along with me
I’ll take you to the war me love in High Germany.”

Little Carys never dreamed that when she grew up she would be living in Germany, married to a German, and even German herself – and eating fresh cherries from her very own German garden.

The Cabin fever part




One thought on “Cherry ripe!

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