First Fourteen

First Fourteen

Julia says ...

This CD contains fourteen of the “grown-up” songs, which I wrote and performed in folk clubs and on the radio with my husband Malcolm. Subjects range from the board game Monopoly to the joys of pasta-eating and there is also a song, sung by Malcolm, called “Cochon Blues” which was played as one of my choices when I was on the Radio 4 programme, Desert Island Discs.

The pianist for some of the numbers is Colin Sell (a university friend who is now famous for his role in the radio programme “I’m Sorry, I haven’t a Clue”).

The CD costs £10 including postage and packing.

Click here to view the lyrics of First Fourteen.

Lyrics of the ‘First 14’


I am a pig with a very sad pigtale to tell.
Ninety per cent of my brain is devoted to smell.
I once was a pig in the pink; I was buxom and blooming,
And I loved la cuisine cochon bleu with a love all-consuming.
Without a spare rib to be seen I had never a care,
And I felt full of beans – they were probably haricots verts –
Till a couple of hens (or poulets en français) started cackling:
“When they carve you next Sunday they won’t see the pork for the crackling.”

This little pig went to marché along with his sibs.
Farmers palpated our bellies and prodded our ribs.
I pictured myself on a spit with my head on a platter,
Or transformed into toads in ze ’ole and surrounded by batter,
Till a certain monsieur stopped and patted my prominent snout;
He murmured “Très bien” as he emptied his piggy-bank out.
“I’ll save your bacon,” he told me, “and likewise your leather.
You’ll be mon p’tit cochon; we’ll go hunting for truffles together.”

Next day we rose early and off to the woodlands we went.
I hadn’t gone far when I picked up a wonderful scent.
Nostrils aquiver, I stopped with a sniff and a snuffle,
And then rooting around I unburied an exquisite truffle.
I dribbled and drooled and attempted to open my jaws
But met with frustration and sought to determine the cause.
Straining my grey cells I finally fathomed the puzzle:
When your nuzzle’s encased in a muzzle you simply can’t guzzle.

I grunted and squealed but the torture continued all day.
I thought I would starve, having missed mon petit déjeuner.
That night I smelled truffles in garlic and moules marinières,
But all that they gave me were peelings of old pommes de terre.
So shed a few tears for a pig in a poky old sty,
For unless pigs grow wings I’ll remain a stuck pig till I die.
It’s a pig’s life on earth, but in heaven there’ll be no more fasting.
I’ll sit tight on my cloud hogging truffles for time everlasting.


Come to bed, my Noddy book is boring,
Come to bed if you don’t want to find me snoring;
The Busy Lizzie’s watered and the cats have both been fed
And I’ve remembered to fold my clothes, so come to bed.

Come to bed, I’m tired of hugging teddies;
Come to bed when you’ve finished your bowl of Shreddies.
The drunks have staggered homewards and the radio’s gone dead
And I’ve remembered to bolt the door, so come to bed.

You know that you’re my hot water bottle,
So what’ll
I do without you?
Must I shiver all night through?

Come to bed and put away your glider.
Come to bed, say good night to the bathroom spider.
My toes have turned to icicles, my eyelids feel like lead,
And I’ve remembered to wind the clock, so come to bed.

Can’t you defer de-furring the kettle
And settle
Down snug as a bug
In a furry fireside rug?

Come to bed, the time has come to shed clothes;
Come to bed, won’t you join me between the bedclothes?
I love you just as dearly as the day that we were wed,
And I’ve remembered to take the pill, so come to bed.
Don’t dither, come hither to bed!


You wear an expectant air.
No need to divulge
Why the needles are clicking,
Why there’s something kicking
Underneath your bulge.
The pram makes the hall a jam.
Upstairs there’s a cot.
You’ve got everything ready,
From the nylon teddy
To the plastic pot.
You hope that you’ll learn to cope.
You’ve read Doctor Spock.
You know all about teething
And you’ve practised breathing
But . . . you’re in for a shock.

Oh Mum, in your tum,
There’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
We’re twins (waa waa waa waa).

How singular we’re plural; how very very odd
To have two buns in the oven and two peas in the pod.
A singleton is somewhat mediocre.
It’s finer far to hatch a double-yolker.

Oh Mum, in your tum,
Tête-a-tête and bum to bum
We’re twins (waa waa waa waa).

Congratulations, Mummy, you’ve gained a double first.
You’ll be needing double rations to quench a double thirst.
An extra pint a day will be requested
So thank your lucky stars you’re double-breasted.
(If we were triple you’d need an extra nipple.
Thank the gods you’ve not got quads.)

Oh Mum, in your tum,
Hogging all your calcium (yum yum)
We’re twins (waa waa waa waa)
Tee-hee you’re eating for three
So swig a bottle of sherry-o,
Down a couple of gins.
It’s reproduction in stereo.
We’re twins (waa waa waa waa).

The sounds from your twin speakers won’t tell you very much
‘Cos we’ll hold our conversations in perfect Double Dutch
But we promise you the volume is amazing,
Guaranteed to smash your double glazing.

Oh Mum, in your tum,
Kicking like a rugger scrum
We’re a gruesome twosome, a pair of terrors,
Waiting to star in the comedy of errors,
Waiting to make you maternally happy
With nappy after nappy after nappy after nappy after
Nappy after nappy after nappy ever after.

Oh Mum, in your tum,
Each one with his private um-
Or lump us,
We’re twins,
We’re twins.


A is for “As I walked out”, as all good songs begin.
B is for Brave Boys, the part the audience joins in.
C is for the Cabin Boy, who turns out not to be male
And D is for the Drummer who is also sometimes female.
E is for the Ethnic Look, complete with mug of beer.
F is for the Finger what you sticks inside your ear.
G is for the Garter what always comes undone
And H is for the Haystack where you tie it, which is fun.
I’s the Irish rascal who already has a wife,
And J is for John Barleycorn who keeps coming back to life.
K is for the Knave who took a knife and killed his sister, (and mother and father
and seven brothers and greyhound and himself, in only twenty-seven verses)
And L is where he went to, for to burn and bake and blister.
M is for the Month of May when youthful blood springs hot.
N is Nine months later when you wish that it had not.
O is for  “Oh no John, no John, no John, no John, no!”
And P is for “Per’aps I might, since you do press me so.”
Q is what you hope there won’t be when your bladder’s full.
R is for Real Ale, me boys, the brew responsible.
S is for the Sporran of the bonnie Highland laddie.
T’s for wild mountain Thyme, tastes a treat with Finnan haddie.
U’s the Unaccompanied Song, that meets with high appraisal.
V is for the Vowel sounds, which should preferably be nasal.
W’s the Wife who took a tumble with the groom
And X is what her husband said on entering the room.
Y’s for You good people all, we hope you’ve not been bored,
And Z is for the Zest with which we hope you will applaud


When the dragon bought a house in a suburban smokeless zone,
It wasn’t long before his fire-breathing habits were a bone
of contention.
The firemen used to squirt him and the neighbours used to scold,
The authorities were threatening to take away his old
age pension.

So he went on demonstrations and he parked on yellow lines,
He loitered with intent and then refused to pay the fines.
He protested
That dragons will be dragons, and their natural desire
Is to snort and belch and bellow and to breathe a bit of fire

But his acts of petty felony were studiously ignored,
And fearing that the populace was fast becoming bored,
in desperation
He occupied the palace and he captured the princess;
He held the damsel hostage, which she found a most distress-
ing situation.

Now then George the local copper was proceeding on his horse
In a northerly direction while following the course
of normal duty.
He passed the palace gates and thought he heard a lady weep.
On breaking in he found the dragon and a very far from sleep-
ing beauty.

Said George “Now move along there like a law-abiding lad.”
The dragon licked his lips and answered, “Not until I’ve had
my luncheon.”
George took this down in writing and then, flexing knees and toes,
With manly resolution hit the dragon on the nose
with his truncheon.

So, George became a hero, and the dragon in despair
Resolved that in the future he would stick to vegetar-
ian eating.
The magistrate had mercy, and the dragon is content;
On probation in the boiler-room he fires the palace cent-
ral heating.


I’m a thoroughly mixed-up mongrel. I’m a most amazing dog,
So bizarre a hound that I can’t be found in the Kennel Club catalogue.
A cross between English sheepdog, Irish wolfhound and Scottish terrier.
There are those who prefer one breed of cur but I say the more the merrier.
Among my array of ancestors are Afghans and Alsatians.
Just look at my face and you’ll see the trace of a hundred and one Dalmatians.
I’m entering for a dog show with hopes of a howling success.
You can take it from me, my pedigree goes back to Corgi and Bess.

I’ve got legs like a dachshund,
Body like a greyhound,
Tail like a little toy Peke (Chihuahua).
Hair like a rug,
Mug like a pug.
I’m a mongrel. I’m a freak.

I was digging the neighbour’s garden when my nose began to twitch.
On the window ledge, like a well-trimmed hedge, sat a highly attractive bitch.
With dogged determination I paid court to Priscilla Poodle.
She’d been hounded for weeks by poms and Pekes and pugs and the whole caboodle.
A greyhound was in the running, and a fetching young retriever,
And every dog jack in the huntsman’s pack was convulsed with a lovesick fever,
But none of them stood a dog’s chance; the lady had made up her mind:
“I’ve decided to choose the one dog who’s like all you others combined,

The one with legs like a dachshund,
Body like a greyhound,
Tail like a little toy Peke, (Chihuahua)
Hair like a rug,
Mug like a pug.
He’s a mongrel. He’s unique!”

Oh  Priscilla – she was a lovely little dog, she was.  I can just see her standing there now, all proud and quivering, with her little wet nose, and a pom-pom on her tail, her little tartan waistcoat … and when she was on heat, cor! She was a real hot dog.

Every dog has his day or so they say, but every day must end,
And the folks who fed my betrothed saw red when they spotted her hybrid friend.
I never have been the kind of dog to hog the proverbial manger,
But I felt a bit green to find I’d been replaced by a total stranger.
They brought in a poncy poodle with a bald strip round his tummy
And whispered that Priss was no longer Miss and would shortly become a mummy.
They had to let out her waistcoat; she grew to a staggering size.
On a Saturday morn ten pups were born, but much to people’s surprise

They all had legs like dachshunds,
Bodies like greyhounds,
Tails like little toy Pekes, (chihuaha)
Hair like rugs,
Mugs like pugs.
They were mongrels, little mongrels, bloody mongrels:
They were freaks!


If you like Monopoly
And like to play it properly,
Then don’t just sit there soppily
But listen to this song.

Oh you can’t build houses on the Waterworks,
It’s hardly the place for a hotel,
But you’ll find that it has its own peculiar perks
If you’ve got the Electric Company as well.

I’m forever throwing doubles,
Pretty doubles without fail.
Sometimes I throw three in a row,
And then I go to jail.

The trouble is, whenever I get there I never seem to be able to throw another double
to get out again.

Well I was having a bit of trouble,
Trying to throw a double,
When someone came by, Just Visiting.
I said, “How’s things?
How’s the board?”
He said, “Good Lord,
Didn’t you know,
I’ve just passed Go,
And for your information
I’ve got another station,
Oh and I thought I ought to tell
You I’ve bought a new hotel.”
I said, “Oh yes, where?”
He said, “Mayfair.”
Well I’m blowed.
All I’ve got’s the Old Kent Road,

It’s a long way to my salary,
It’s a long way to Go
Where they give you two hundred pounds,
Though you lose it all on Income Tax, heigh ho.
Goodbye, Piccadilly, farewell Leicester Square,
It’s a long long way to my salary,
But my heart’s right there.

Oh shall I pay a ten-pound fine or shall I take a chance?
It might be dear old Street Repairs, but here’s hoping it’s Advance
To Go.
Oh no!
Go to jail,
Move directly to jail.
Do not pass Go,
Do not collect two hundred pounds.

Serves you right, you shouldn’t have been so snooty
Ever since you won ten quid in that beauty
Through Community Chest.

Oh hear me when I cry to thee,
“Oh may I win Monopoly!”

The yellow card said, “Go back three spaces”,
Which took me to one of my favourite places:
Vine Street.
A fine street, Vine Street,
Four little houses in a line.
Oh how I wish that they were mine!
(Rent please.)

Still, sometimes you have better luck on the Chance cards:

There I was savouring
The full delicious flavour
Of a Bank Error in my favour
And pleasantly wavering
Whether or not to save a bit
When I threw the dice and gave it
Back to the bank.
It was Super Tax – how super!

My hotel in Leicester Square
Was just a castle in the air.
It was really rather silly.
You see, actually I hadn’t got Piccadilly.

We wish you a Mono Poly,

We wish you a Mono Poly,
We wish you a Mono Poly,
And a happy Career.


There’s a sale tomorrow and, according to the catalogue, lot one-five-three
Consists of old pictures and photographs, a miscellaneous quantity.
Among them is a wedding snap that bears the names of Cyril and Belinda Grubb,
And can you spot Cyril looking sheepish in the back row of the Rugger Club?
The embroidery cottage with the lupins and the lavender and hollyhocks
Soothed Mrs Grubb as she sat in lot a hundred darning Cyril’s socks.
And here’s the framed message to remind them over Sunday roast and apple crumble:
“Ask God for all you want, thank Him for all you have and never grumble.”

Miscellaneous China offers nothing much of value save a Doulton cup:
The rest of the service went to pieces during forty years of washing up.
A china seal bedside lamp is balancing a light bulb on its shiny nose
To light Mrs Grubb who reads a miscellaneous book about the Eskimos,
While Mr Grubb tries to mend the lot eleven telly with the walnut doors,
On which stands the plaster negress enticing him to tropic shores.
Mrs Grubb secretly prefers the china tree-trunk with the nesting squirrel,
Ah but years of experience tell her it isn’t worth upsetting Cyril.

Mr Grubb’s favourite pipe, his watch, his shoeshine kit
Are here today, little knowing that tomorrow they’ll be going, going … gone
To the highest bidder, with the Adam-style wonder-log electric fire.
The kidney-shaped dressing-table falls into the clutches of another buyer;
Reflected in its triple bevelled mirror Mrs Grubb in curlers used to see
Three Mr Grubbs doing chest-expanding exercises manfully.
Come landlords and ladies, won’t you liven up the bidding? You can all afford
More than a fiver for a wardrobe and a very fine shove-halfpenny board!
No Chippendale or Hepplewhite here for the dealers, just a lot of jumble,
But they ask God for all they want, thank him for all they have and never grumble.
Ask God for all you want, thank him for all you have and never grumble.


My cat
Won’t let me write my song.
Comes between me and my inspiration,
Bent on disturbing my concentration.
Paper is nice and flat,
Specially designed to be sat on by my cat.

My cat
Won’t let me write my song.
Can’t understand what on earth I’m doing,
Fixing her gaze on the pen I’m chewing,
Gives it a playful pat.
Songwriters can’t allow that – out goes my cat.

Release from the tail in my face and the purr in my ears,
At peace to juggle with words and to play with ideas;
Shall it be love or the spring or a room with a view?
But you won’t let me write my song.
Still on the sill in the same position,
Patiently waiting for readmission.
Surely I always knew
No other subject would do, it must be you,

My cat,
Help me to write my song.
Keep on disturbing my concentration,
You are the source of my inspiration,
Tabletop acrobat,

Windowsill aristocrat – distracting cat.


Yesterdays are flat and square and all laid out in lines,
And the people printed there are playing card designs.
All the letters that we wrote fixed them in our mind
As anecdotes that we could quote from books we’d left behind.
And the hours are flowers
Dried and pressed
In the pages of a diary.

Once the card queen’s heart could beat; she had but one fair head.
But the lady lost her feet; her heart was painted red.
Once she moved and laughed and cried and tossed her mane of curls.
Now her smile is set inside ornamental squirls.
And the hours are flowers
Dried and pressed
In the pages of a diary.

And the lovers fleeting past upon their winds of chance
Leave their image plaster-cast, the fossil of a glance.
Do the people left behind love or part or die?
Still-life studies in our mind give us no reply.
And the hours are flowers
Dried and pressed

In the pages of a diary.


Of all God’s living creatures from the weevil to the whale
There are few who have it both ways like the gastropod (or snail),
For the snail is a hermaphrodite combining Eve and Adam,
Which explains why all its letters are addressed “Dear Sir stroke Madam”.
And being two in one, perhaps it’s not so very odd
That there’s no one quite so greedy as the snail (or gastropod).
He slides about upon his pod o’er wall and grass and hedge,
A-filling of his gastro with my dahlias and two veg.
Veg, veg, my dahlias and two veg.
Veg, veg, my dahlias and two veg.

As I sneak across the lawn to sow some everlasting peas,
I’m aware of hidden presences that lurk behind the trees
And I have the uncanny feeling, though there’s not a snail to see,
That a hundred pairs of eyes on stalks are scrutinising me.
I could swear I heard a whisper deep among the honeysuckle
Saying “Won’t the shoots be tasty!”, with a slimy kind of chuckle.
The shoots appear, I tend them well, but every effort fails:
It’s neverlasting peas again and everlasting snails.
Snails, snails, it’s everlasting snails.
Snails, snails, it’s everlasting snails.

With a bowl of boiling water and a packet full of Tide
I ventured forth one morning to commit molluscicide,
But I wavered in my steadfastness on coming face to face
With a honeymooning couple locked in amorous embrace.
Should I plunge them to extinction at the climax of the act,
Or should I turn my back, and hum, and show a little tact?
I paused in meditation till my ruthlessness had fled,
Then I took the Tide inside again and washed my socks instead.
Socks, socks, I washed my socks instead.
Socks, socks, I washed my socks instead.

I sometimes fall to thinking, as I curse the slimy trails:
If Luther tried a diet of worms, why shouldn’t I try snails?
It’s quite a treat to eat escargots à la Bourgignonne
In a cosy little bistro where the creatures are anon,
But when they share my garden, though I loathe the little rotters,
I somehow can’t quite bring myself to dine upon my squatters.
I’ll simply have to face the fact my heart will never harden
And throw the snails reluctantly into the neighbours’ garden.
Garden, garden, into the neighbours’ garden.
Garden, garden, into the neighbours’ garden.


Thanks to my tattooist
I’m the bluest lady in town . . .

He worked upon the pier, a hundred yards or so from shore,
In between the candy-floss and What the Butler Saw.
When first I went to see him I was young and rather green
But now I am the bluest girl the butler’s ever seen.

He covered many a soldier with a military tattoo
And sailor-lads who went in white departed navy blue.
As he pocketed their money he assured each new recruit
He’d refund it if they still felt naked in their birthday suit.

The insertion of his needle left me feeling rather sore.
It hurt me but I liked it and I soon went back for more.
Now I’m paid to stroll along the pier exhibiting his art
From the heart upon my kneecap to the kneecap on my heart.

There are fins upon my soles, dates upon my palms,
Spurs upon my heels and Arsenal on my arms.
I never liked the daffodil upon my derrière
But although he has deflowered me the daffodil’s still there.

He said he’d done his training with a tribesman in Tahiti,
Followed by a PhD. in specialised graffiti.
Now my front’s a south-sea island full of tropic flowers and birds
And my back is a thesaurus of quadruple-lettered words.

Now  anyone can see I’m more than just a pretty face.
He’s needled me all over and there’s no more empty space.
He needs another canvas and my contract soon expires.
I’d say “ta-ta” to my tattooist, but he’s punctured my spare tyres.



Vous, vous êtes français, et nous,
Nous ne sommes que des Anglais fous.
Nous chanterons pour vous
Si vous nous donnez vos sous.

Nous aimons la vie française,
Nous aimons les filles françaises,
Nous aimons le café français
Mais nous préférons le thé anglais, s’il vous plaît.

Nous aimons le pain français,
Nous aimons le vin français,
Nous aimons les gens français,
Mais surtout nous aimons les francs français.

Nous aimons respirer l’air en France,
Nous aimons même boire la bière en France,
Mais tout ça coûte très cher en France,
Alors écoutez notre prière en France.


Siamo venuti in questo paese
Per vedere il sole, il mare, le chiese.
Abbiamo visto Napoli, ma senza morire,
Sentito la lingua, ma senza capire.
L’attrazzione maggiore è sempre rimasta
Sentire, gustare, mangiare . . . la pasta!

Non ci interesse prosciutto con melone,
Ne gamberetti freschi, neanché minestrone.
Lasciamo agli altri questi manicaretti
Se lasciano a noi un piatto di spaghetti.

Lasagne, tagliatelle, vermicelli, pappardelle, ravioli,
E canne-canne-cannelloni,
E macche-macche-maccheroni.
Spaghetti, al burro, al olio, al aglio,
Al sugo, al brodo, al ragú.
E basta la pasta, e basta la pasta,
E non né posso più.

Non ci piace molto né pollo né vitello,
Né desideriamo bistecca o agnello.
Prenda via zucchini, panini e sardine,
E porti qua invece dei buoni tortellini.


Non desideriamo provare la cassata,
Gustare il gelato di caffè o cioccolata,
Conservi groviera, gorgonzola, parmiggiano,
E dammi un risotto con un po’ di zafferano.


Bolognese, Milanese,
Romana, Napoletana.
Dammi pastina alla Fiorentina,
Alla marinara, alla chitarra.