Lament for Listen with Mother – Val Leyland

My second Guest Blog comes from Val Leyland, sometimes seen on the Trent and also a member of the East of England Singers (Is there no end to our talent?)

One oValf my earliest memories (apart from having my stomach pumped after I’d eaten some of my Dad’s hay fever tablets – well they did look like green Smarties) is of the ‘Ding-de-ding, ding-de-dong, dong’ tune introducing the children’s radio programme Listen with Mother, which used to precede Woman’s Hour. Quarter to two was the first time I learned to tell.

With no TV or other home entertainment, the soothing voice of Daphne Oxenford intoning ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin’ was my window onto a wider world. I was interested to find that her later acting career included being in the original cast of Coronation Street and a role in Dr Who with David Tennant; she died last December, aged 93.

Another memory of Listen with Mother is the theme tune, Gabriel Fauré’s Berceuse from his Dolly Suite. This must have been the first ‘classical’ music I got to know. Little did I realise what a significant and valued part music of all kinds would play during my life.

The programme ended in 1982 because of falling audiences. There are now no children’s programmes on Radio 4, though children can listen to CBeebies radio. In this increasingly visual age I wonder how many children regularly use their ears alone? I’m glad I was born in gentler times. Have a nostalgic listen!

Many thanks to Val for her trip down memory lane. (For some of us!) Do let me know if you’d like to write a guest blog – anything radio related and in about 300 words.


Radio Exposure – Karen Attwood

KarenI’m delighted to welcome Karen Attwood –  classy cupcake baker, pâtissière, and Radio Nottingham contributor – as my first guest blogger. Karen and I sing with the East of England Singers (EOES), who she keeps sweet with her tasty goodies.

Next week, I am talking to another Women’s Institute group about setting up a cake business. A bit scary, given the history of their expertise in this matter! I will need to be well groomed and expressive, funny and serious. Being only 5 feet tall, I usually wear a loud colour, do my hair nicely and liberally gesticulate at public speaking engagements to make up for my lack of presence!

None of this matters in the wonderful medium of radio. An article about my new cake business was spotted by BBC Radio Nottingham more than 3 years ago and since then, I have been asked to contribute quite a few times on specific subjects, reviewing the news, being a ‘Loose Lady’ and even judging a cake competition (great radio item!)

In the studio, during my short exposure to the medium, I have witnessed impassioned pleas, confessions of very bad behavior and extreme political views. In live, chatty shows there is always a sound gap to fill, often with an unexpected subject to peruse – which in my experience sometimes skims the surface of true expression rather than prepared views. I always think well rehearsed speeches are exposed as false and insincere on live radio!

There’s something really enjoyable about contributing from inside an enclosed environment. The usual egotistical hang ups about what I look like go out of the window. I can simply be myself and chat as with friends.

As I bake and create in my kitchen the radio is my regular companion. It is fantastic to hear that the new technologies making it more accessible mean it is growing in popularity again. Such a change from the increasingly manufactured and glossy (and entirely false?) popular TV shows.

Karen AttwoodMfE cake
Classy Cupcakes & Posh Patisserie

And here’s the cake Karen made for the 30th anniversary celebrations of Music for Everyone, which includes EOES.

If you’d like to contribute a radio related guest blog, do get in touch. Helena