Tag Archives: Edward Lear

On Making a Discovery

“On the Coast of Coromandel,
Where the early pumpkins grow,
In the middle of the woods.
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle,
These were all his worldly goods:
In the middle of the woods,
These were all the worldly goods
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.”
Edward Lear 1812-1888

Yonghi Bonghi Bo

Go back some 44 years and imagine two small Scottish children transported to the other side of the world knowing nobody.  But they had been brought up on poems and nonsense rhymes rather than Nursery Rhymes and The Courtship of the Yongh-Bonghy-Bo was one of their favourites.

Imagine their delight, therefore, when a couple of weeks after arriving in this new and strange land, we discovered there is an area in New Zealand called The Coromandel.

Of course, we had to visit the area at the first possible opportunity.  I think my little children expected to see the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo or at the very least The Lady Jingly Jones.  Not so but what we did discover was Hot Water Beach, known forever in this family as Hot Water Bottle Beach.  This is a fantastic phenomenon/ experience.  Here one can dig into the sand and hot water escapes to the surface forming a hot water pool.  We are told by our friends at Wikipedia ” The water, with a temperature as hot as 64°C (147°F), filters up from two underground fissures located close to each other. These natural springs can be found on the beach opposite the off-shore rocks. Visitors often dig large holes and relax and soak in the thermal water. Many visitors bring a spade and bucket with them. Spades can also be hired from the nearby surf shop.”

Hot Water Beach

Via Wikipedia

So the children quickly got over their initial disappointment and enjoyed a winter’s day at the beach.  We returned often during the years when they were growing up.


















And no bells ring..

I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind!  ~Author Unknown


9 months old and defunct

How quickly we have all become dependent on the trappings of modern day living.  Particularly our mobile phones that we take with us everywhere.

I can still remember the original mobile phone I had.  It was as large as a brick and had its own carry case that I slung over my shoulder.  I wish I had a photo of that one.  We also both had car-phones – tres chic and frightfully avant-garde.

On Friday I dropped my latest phone into a deep puddle of water as I was getting out of the car.  It didn’t seem to do it much harm.  I dried it and it appeared to work just fine.  However, on Saturday afternoon when driving it gave a strange popping noise and died.  I don’t really know how well it was working up until then because several people told me they called me during the time  I thought it was still working.

Anyway, the upshot is that even though this phone is only 9 months old, if it gets wet it isn’t covered under warranty.  So off to buy a replacement.

I have shied away from these smart phones saying I only needed mine to make and receive calls and texts to and from grandsons, to use as a phone book and very occasionally to take photos.


Several hours later the deed is done and I am back home.  In a couple of days I shall be the proud possessor of a new iphone with all the bells and whistles, most of which I will probably never use.  Oh how we are all seduced by modern technology.

And from a particular favourite of my children when they were growing up:

“Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle
These were all his worldly goods
In the middle of the woods,
These were all the worldly goods
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.”
From Edward Lear‘s
‘The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bongy-Bo.

The Yongy Bongy Bo

From my book published in 1966 - the original published in 1894

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Pounds, Shillings and Pence

“The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.” Edward Lear 1812 – 1888, British poet and painter known for his absurd wit.

Front page The Owl and the pussycat

I thought about this subject when writing about shopping when I was growing up.  Mother had a change purse always full of coins.  But that didn’t mean she had plenty of money – just plenty of coins as did all housewives.

White five pound note

Bank of England Note

When I was young and until 1971, the British currency was pounds, shillings and pence – shown as the above image for pound, s for shillings and d for pence.  So if an item cost two pounds, three shillings and sixpence it would be shown as £2.3s.6d.

There were 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.  the currency was further divided as two halfpennies (pronounced hapennies) and four farthings to each penny.

Shilling coinThe shilling was known colloquially as a bob.  this was then divided into 2 and we had 2 sixpences and the sixpences were further divided into 2 and we had threepenny pieces – known as threpenny bits.

We also had the half-crown which was worth two shillings and sixpence and the florin that was worth two shillings.  With so many coins no wonder women’s change purses were always full.

Ten bob note

The Bank of England produced bank notes.  There were one pound notes and ten shilling notes, the equivalent of half a pound, five pound notes and very rarely one might see a ten pound note.  The five pound note shown above was on very flimsy paper and quite large – 195mm x 120mm.  Because they were comparatively rare one had to sign on the back of the note when offering it for tender.

Most of the banks in Scotland produced their own notes and this caused further problems as often they weren’t recognized in England.  I remember having to go to my bank to have the Scottish note from the Royal Bank changed into a Bank of England note.  Occasionally, if the Scottish note was accepted one was given only 19/6d (nineteen shillings and 6 pence – pronounced nineteen and six) for it.

Royal Bank of Scotland note

When decimal currency was introduced in 1971 it caused quite a stir.  Some older people and my Father was one of them although at that time he was only 59 but did seem old to me – claimed that they were being swindled by the Government.  There had been two hundred and forty pence to the pound and now there were only two hundred.

No wonder visitors to our shores were confused.  But growing up with this currency made us all very adept with figures.  Any child could tell you almost instantly how many pennies or shillings in a pound and then extrapolate this out into further sums.

Decimal coins

From my collection

I was not in the UK when decimalisation was introduced but my parents purchased a set of coins for each of my children.

The coins have since been changed again.  The two pound coin introduced for use in 1971 was withdrawn and some of the sizes have changed.

I am sure that our British blogging friends can tell us more about this.

And here endeth yet another meandering blog.  Are you still awake out there or have I bored you to tears?

And my Mother always quoted to us the old proverb

“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

Note – Unless otherwise stated photos from Google Images.

















Judith Baxter, EzineArticles.com Platinum Author
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