I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.
1965 Return to England – HMS Inskip – Preston Lancashire
We left Cape Town and arrived home to a chilly England and a new posting for my father to HMS Inskip a small farming community a few miles outside Preston in Lancashire.
Originally the station had been called RNAS Inskip (Royal Navy Air Station) and had been used by the Fleet Air Arm. When we arrived its 600 feet high aerials signified its peace time role as a major communications centre.
At age 12 with a pronounced South African accent, I was enrolled into a school in Preston called the Park Grammar School for Girls. I was a year behind in many subjects as the curriculum from my local Afrikaans school had a very different and obviously South African bias to geography, history and language studies. Also secondary school in South Africa at that time did not begin until 13 years old so I was lacking the subjects that were taught from that age such as maths and Latin.
However, I had taken the 11+ courtesy of the Royal Navy in the February before we left and passed so this meant I could go to the school. They decided against starting me in the first year and put me straight into year two. This of course compounded my lack in certain subjects and put me under enormous pressure. But since I had already moved to three countries by now, Sri Lanka, Malta and South Africa, I had the process under control..
Within a week my Afrikaans accent had disappeared and I had a broad Lancashire one instead. I did however retain the Afrikaans swear words that my former classmates had gifted me with and they did prove extremely useful and guaranteed my acceptance as part of the ‘in’ crowd!
No point in sticking out like a sore thumb.. I also became the class joker and being very tall for my age volunteered for the most hated position in the year. Goalie for the hockey team! I have never been so frightened in all my life the first time I saw those heavy-thighed young women charging down the pitch with one sole aim.. Get the ball into my net!
But I had music.. The old record player was brought out and we now had access to the cinema as a treat. Instead of watching films in narrow vision through the crack in the door I could now view them on the big screen. We also had a television for the first time and this in itself was a revelation as it too screened films that had been released in our absence.
In 1965 though it was the release of The Sound of Music that gave me the biggest thrill. I remember watching the movie for the first of many viewings over the years and as soon as I could afford it the album of the soundtrack was playing endlessly on the battered record player.
It would be tough to choose just one song from the score.. I loved them all and performed many in my teenage years as part of a duo when we moved back to Portsmouth. We would go around the old people’s homes dressed in full floral skirts with scarfs over our hair and our mothers’ aprons completing the ‘look’, performing the sound track. I have a feeling we were more effective than sleeping pills but I think Maria would be very proud that I can still yodel through The Lonely Goatherd even now with a little help of a glass of Rioja.
So probably the most romantic song from the film would be when the beautiful Maria is serenaded by Captain Georg Von Trapp – be still my beating heart. And of course The Lonely Goatherd.
The music and lyrics were by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and I hope that this short glimpse with persuade you to buy either the film or the soundtrack. If not for yourselves then for those in your family who have as yet not learned to yodel!
“Something Good” — .Rodgers & Hammerstein
And “The Lonely Goatherd”…Rodgers & Hammerstein
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time 1966 and the music I was listening to and the movies I watched.