Should bad singers be allowed to sing to their grandchildren?

PUBLISHED: 12:59 27 October 2018

Should bad singers be allowed to sing nursery rhymes?

Should bad singers be allowed to sing nursery rhymes?

Anton Brand

Neil Haverson can’t remember the words of nursery rhymes and his wife and children are not a fan of his voice - but should this stop him?

There’s one thing about me that annoys Mrs H. Well actually, there are many things that cause her to shake her head in frustration and deliver her trademark “Phworr!”

But one thing in particular came to a head the other day when I announced I was dusting down my old parenting skills in readiness to lend support where needed to the raising of our granddaughter, Brat Mini Minor.

In fact, if you’ve spotted me in the car you may have seen my lips moving. I wasn’t singing along to the radio, I was practicing nursery rhymes.

When I mentioned this to Mrs H, she let go a mighty “Phworr!” followed by: “Well, don’t keep singing them all the time!”

I do have history here. What irks Mrs H most is that I rarely know more than a couple of lines of the lyrics so my singing is on a loop. And I admit my interpretation of the tune is somewhat loose.

Years ago, when Brats M and M were still inmates at Fortress H, one of my greatest hits was “I shot the sheriff”. Without warning I would break into an overly-loud rendition which extended no more than the second line: “But I didn’t shoot the deputy”.

On one occasion, I was approached by a concerned Brat Major who was going to have some friends stay for a sleepover.

“Please don’t sing,” she pleaded.

Well, these days I am trying to control my singing, but it’s not easy.

“The wheels on the bus go round and r….”


If we’ve been watching a programme on telly, I’ll emerge from the north wing whistling the theme tune. Again, only the first few bars. I sound like an old fashioned kettle coming to the boil.

I ask myself, is there anything from raising Brats M and M I got wrong; something I should not repeat with Mini Minor? It’s probably just as well that much of it is now shrouded in the mists of time.

I do remember the walks in Thetford Forest. It was hard enough to persuade two young children of the benefits of going for some exercise in the fresh air. And once we got there we had to think of ways to stop them whinging every step of the way. We suggested they hunt for the next waymark or find a fir cone; anything to keep them motivated.

When we got into the depths of the forest, where dense trees made it eerily dark, I would wind them up.

“Sshh! I think I just spotted the big bad wolf behind that tree.”

Of course, I thought this was a hoot, but they did go rather silent - and Mrs H would hiss: “Don’t tell them that. You’ll frighten them.”

Following one walk, Brat minor picked up a short stick which he took home. He cherished this elongated twig; it was like a comfort rag.

One day, he was really playing up. So I confiscated his bit of wood. In so doing it broke. Well, he threw a huge wobbly. Holding the two halves of his stick I was wracked with guilt. Over the next few days I offered him endless sticks but none were a good as the one he had borne home like a trophy he had bagged on some deep safari.

There were the times I arrived home from work after a hard day’s graft to be greeted with: “Play a game with me”. Weary as I was, it was down on the floor and being silly with a toy from their stock of Fisher Price.

Not sure about doing that with Mini Minor. Once on the floor I may have some difficulty in returning to the upright position again.

I always read them a bedtime story – and, of course, we sang nursery rhymes and songs. Now, how does that one go?

“Row, row, row the boat gently down the…oops, sorry dear.”

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