Janet Cattier's Poetic Stories, Book and Music Compositions
Copyright©Janet Cattier 2014. All rights reserved.
I will be including: many of my music compositions and arrangements; childrens stories; detective and other stories; pictures of my family; pictures of people I used to know with their permission; and a novel about the conditions before, after and during World War Two.
The novel is called: 'Song of the Sea'.
My website will be chiefly about the Story of the Wingfield Music Club, and the Colne Endeavour Band of Colchester which is a tributary of the former. The Colne Endeavour Band still exists and holds its band practises at St. Helena School, Colchester. However, The Wingfield Music Club later became a trust and there is still a branch left ran by Jenny Williams at Witham, Essex.
Janet Cattier aged 9 years and 16 years when she lived with her parents, Ivy and Leonard Cattier, and 10 year old brother, Stephen Cattier, at 25 Richmond Road, Walthamstow. Running along the top of her road was Queens Road, which lead to Markhouse Road, to the left, and Hoe street, to the right.
Round the corner, on the right of Queen's Road and Lennox Road,was Janet's school, George Gascoigne Central School which became an experimentary comprehensive at the end of the 1950s.
The year in the above right photo is 1961 when Janet was the star of the Sunday Break television programme featuring the Wingfield Music Club for the physically disabled. This club, which later became a Trust, was formed in1952 by Herbert Gascoigne Lyon and his school secretary wife, Lillian Lyon, who became known to us as 'auntie Lil' and was a 'mum' to us all,
I composed these stories with tongue in cheek.
The events in the "Tide of Life" did really happen; it happened to me.
never been fully reconciled with any vast expanses of water,
where people swim,
owing to this tragedy.
1) Two days in the life of a young mother.
2) The rising pain.
3) Desert Ships.
4) "In Fragrant Ambient Voice!"
5) The Tide of Life.
6) Football Follies.
Janet Cattier's 1st Book of Poems:
based on truisms
Two Days in the Life of a Young Mother.
Leaping, bounding, lifting arms
Upstretched high into the air,
Mind dancing brimming with new ideas,
Bending forward, touching toes
Stretching up again; arms at sides.
A few deep breaths complete the job -
The programme is the same every day
Liza takes the dog for a walk,
Comes back and sees to the cat.
Hampster and fish have to be fed,
Then her children have to get a look in -
Washed, dressed and breakfast
Then takes them to school for the day.
Lisa's mother is still stirring the beds
At her home five miles by road ahead.
Or two miles, if Liza could walk over the fields.
Home comforts are mother and daughter's concern.
The phone never stops in their narrow hallways.
Lisa phones her mother to say
That her turbulent day
Has been well spent,
But could her mother's hand be lent.
"Help! I need an helping hand.
The kids are driving me crazy -
I know I am far from idle and lazy.
Can you come over and help
For I shall soon be battered and bent!"
Liza's mother stops what she's doing that day -
To visit her daughter without delay!
A few months ahead...
Today is the first day of spring.
Herbie the tortoise stirs in his straw
Welcoming everyone as he's done years before.
Like a baby in his carry cot
He waits to be eyed.
Pick of the bunch on a high street stall
Herbie the tortoise stood out from his peers.
Many many years before,
When she was a child herself,
Liza, with her young brother,
Bought him in the market place.
He has been one of the family since;
All the years of his long life
He has reluctantly moved house -
With Liza and her family - many times.
"Herbie has grown to a size now "
Liza thought aloud.
"I remember a time he caused extra mayhem
For me and my family
Hiding in the bombfire one Guyfawk's night."
When Herbie strides majestically ahead,
Looking to be fed,
Round and round the garden he goes
Avoiding the fishpond- by the hairs of his nose-.
Where once a hedgehog had to be rescued
From a near fate of a watery grave.
Nightfall comes and the pets go to bed.
Lisa and her family take stock
Of the days deeds to plan for what lies ahead.
She leaves the children's untidyness -
To clear up at the break of next day -
To get enough rest and mind nourishing sleep.
Can't sleep, so she ends her day by counting sheep!
Now she can forget
The days adventures were long and deep;
Wound up in dreams that confound all reasoning.
On waking the next morning
Liza is again at the ship's helm;
Starting a new day
With fresh fervour imbued.
Now Liza is old
And can't get about,
For some unknown reason
There're two special days
That promise her comfort:
For they'll be with her always...
The Rising Pain
Raining first thing in the morning;
"Get out your umbrella,
Hat, gloves, and your rain coat,
Give the taxi a shout!"
Going shopping, Going to Church or Christian Meetings;
Where else is there to go?
Theatre, health club, Cinema, or
Somewhere else you know?
Once you arrive there
You are at our wits end
Of what you want to buy,
Or what you wish to do.
You have a pain in your knee
What have they
you cant even bend!
The supermarket trolleys are all gone;
You sit on the wall waiting for one
To free itself from an exasperated shopper.
You have to hold on until your shopping is done.
When you get to Church, Hall, or Cinema
The door is locked:
Wrong time, wrong day.
You sit on the door step
Holding your head in your hands.
You've got things wrong and can't even stand!
Herbert Gascoigne Lyon of the Wingfield Music Trust. He is demonstrating his invention, the motivated limb he called 'The Monster'. The fingers moved via the nerves in the muscle of the amputated linb below the elbow. Brenda Banfield demonstrated it for him: via a three man team, one, Len, whom she married and had a son, Richard.
It is through 'visionaries' like Herbert Gascoigne Lyon that the face of society is changed for the better: in this case the plight of the disabled was brought to the notice of doctors, magistrates, shops, schools etc. In fact, every aspect of society has been affected by his ideas, as you will see through my, Janet Cattier's, stories. Mr Lyon was truly one of the World's altruistic 'unsung' heroes, giving no thought to himself.
Were once wrongly atuned
To a diet of 'anything goes';
Treated like pigs and their swill,
Uncruplous dealers have nearly
Made our nation ill.
The follies of farmers have
Cost them their fields.
Will they ever recover
In time to rescue Engand's
Lush green pastures
From the fanatical footballers
And other creative prospective follies.
In panic stance:
Not a second glance
By beach worshipping bystanders,
Gracing with great affinity,
The narrowing esplanade
Of that sandy beach.
Under I went, my mind suddenly blown calm,
Overcoming my inward frightening despair,
I began to pray:
"Oh dear God, please don't let me drown!
My dear parents will be heartbroken at my undersea demise."
Then just as I 'think' the last word
And I begin, for the last time, to go under,
A wave came to my rescue.
An 'Apocalyptic Rider on a White Horse' fiercely charging,
Pushing me forward, gently coercing
My drowning body shorewards.
At last, my toes felt the stoney ocean floor.
Toes distended I let them claw my way forward,
While my head reaches for the rippling surface
Of the blackening and now raging tidal sea.
My nose now above the water
I can once again smell the intoxicating scents of the sea.
Eyes smarting with lingering salt crystals,
Which refused to let go,
I am just able to observe the bleakness
Of my surroundings. Yet I did not feel alone.
Somebody or some force is helping me,
Comforting me, telling me not to be afraid.
"I am with you, all your days, you shall
Not fear death's Dark vale!" it gently seemed to say.
Although my legs are now at breaking point
I am just about able to struggle forward
With my toes still scraping the hard stoney ocean bed.
My shoulders surfacing, catching the cool breeze;
It whistled down to my flooded ears,
Forcing me to look heavenward.
The clear azure blue sky was opening up before me
I feel a wave of relief engulf me.
"Thank God, I am safe!"
Now I knew how Jonah must have felt,
When he was expelled
From the inky depths of a whale.
I stumble on ahead now realizing my fight,
For survival, will soon be over.
Then I spare a thought for my unfortunate friends;
I dare to look round and see them.
To my screaming horror,
Gasping, shouting, arms affray,
Gripping on to one another.
One girl, in particular, I saw panicking.
Glancing to the left, I saw three youths,
Blond, tanned, and tall
Playing and splashing about with a ball
The waves lapping around their healthy thighs,
With the gentle breeze heaving ardent sighs,
Their faces were full of happy fiery fun.
How carefree are the days of the youthful ones!
I cry out towards them, stumbling, waving, gurgling,
Pointing a shaking finger
In the direction of my drowning tragic friends.
"Over there. Quick! Rescue them! They are drowning!"
I called out feverishly, not knowing whether I was making
Any impression on those wiry youths,
Or whether I was making any sound at all!
They turn to look at me.
They laugh, deciding I was some blubbering idiot.
Oh God! I thought in desperation. They are not
Going to rescue them. They are taking no notice.
They are carrying on with their ball game fun.
With the taste of the salty sea in my mouth
I lunge forward and continue on my villainous
Journey towards the distant shore, trying to ignore
The terrible consequence of youthful yest and
Already thinking what waste of lives.
The sea gives but also takes away;
Almost God-like in it’s stature.
The ripples spread over
Having their voluptious play.
I reach the shore.
Stumbling across the stoney beach,
I must be looking as if I just visited “Hell”,
Blue like the sea and shaky like it’s currents,
I reach the sunbathing crowd who had not moved
since we arrived that morning.
I Struggle to speak.
I try in vain to make them understand,
“PPPlease ggo and rrrescue my ffriends and the rrrest!”
But they just stared back inanely causing me to weep.
I then flop down against the beach barrier wall,
exhausted from my ordeal.
My tune 'Seagulls' Flight, for cello and piano, is near the end of 'Song of the Sea' which is a rather long orchestral work. I was 11 years old at the time of composing the Seagulls' Flight: I had been given music composition lessons by Wingfield with Edna Campble. Then from the age of 12, I studied under Lesley Barnes who charged the club two guineas an hour, which is £2.10 in today's money. During the late 1980s, I purchased an Atari, an early computer, and put my music on that with the aid of the Notator Alpha 1 computer program.
During this time, I was not able to get out much due to the ageing effects on cerebral palsy. My original piece, the 'Seagulls' Flight', was played on radio and television during the 1960s. I wrote a longer composition which includes the tune the 'Seaguls Flight', or in French, 'L'Ol des Cyguls'. This long piece is called 'Song of the Sea', and is for full orchestra; played by clicking on the mp3 file above on the right
Summer is entering the scene,
Autumn is entering the scene,
Flowers are having their last bloom;
Ready to die back to make room
For more players next year
Buterflies are already gone,
Leaving their young to metamorphise
Next year, replenishing the stocks;
In order to garland my clematis' and hollyhocks
Which, once more, will decorate my garden scene.
.Humped backed or "Do they have the hump?"
Some say; "They were created by a committee!"
God has a sense of humour. You can hardly say he was having a hard day as His "Desert Ship" creations make sense.
Known as the "Ship of the dessert",
Carrying it's cargo on it's back;
It's humps are really it's water flackets
To keep moist it's dry splitting lippets.
The Camel comes into it's own here,
Surviving where man cannot for long dwell:
The desert sand storms they will always fear.
The Tide of Life
'Waves covered me. I sunk lower and lower downward
The sea bed, a bottomless pit, beckoning me; then I
Rose again. Eyes stung with salt crystals hiding themselves
Under the lids. Yes, I am drowning, lungs bursting with brine.'
We were on holiday with the Gospel School,
Friends and I from the Sunday afternoon class.
Twenty pounds we'd asked our parents to pay
For two weeks in Littlehampton Christian youth hostel.
A bright and sunny morning saw us to the beach,
The tide is out. Towels, buckets and spades lining it's breadth.
People, old and young, are sunbathing on their backs,
Admiring the clear azure blue sun blazon sky, while us children
Run to the water's welcoming edge some distance away;
While a Dutch student leader straddled behind, talking
To my friends and I about her nationality.
"Go and tell those in front of you they are too far out.
I've cut my foot and will have to venture back."
Through stones and sand the student leader nurses her foot.
By the time we reach the calm looking water's edge,
The other's are out with the sea far above their waist.
The twins and I wade in waving and calling to them urgently;
"You are out too far. Come back quickly before the tide
Sweeps you well out to sea!"
Alas! Too late. The nearby river current causes the sea
To rise well above those bonny children's heads.
The sun blazes down,
There is no other way,
Looking up at it's radiant face,
We know, to that master,
It was just another day.
The playful waves built up the scene
Bouncing and bobbing beneath the sky,
Forming those famous white horses,
Galloping mad as the tide began to turn,
Disregarding the tragic sight; not even a sigh.
Too terrible a consequence of youthful yest,
A waste of young lives, the sea does not give way.
The ripples settle over as the last breath is expired
Having had it's ominous play,
It turns in haste towards the pebbled shore.
I, Janet Marie Cattier, struggled incessantly
With my friends against those treacherous waves.
The retched vacillation of that cruel sea beat
Against our childish bodies
Dragging us downwards, downwards, downward.
Yes, upwards again; then downwards
Into the everlasting bottomless ocean.
A girl clung to, twin, Carol's back, weighing her under,
As a ton of bricks would in a hessian sack
In order to keep secret a murdered corpse.
Carol has to take her distance
By throwing off that poor panicking girl;
After what seems quite a while,
After I tire of trying to alert one or the other
Of those indifferent helpers,
They did not even see
If there was something wrong with me!
Closing my salt tired eyes,
I looked up, towards the now lapping tide
While I had been sitting
Against the sun warmed sea wall
In a dazed zombied state, cursing the slowness of my speech
“If only I did not have an impediment” I remorsed
“My friends would not be drowning”
There was a sudden flurry of activity
The sea is now almost upto my feet,
And poeple are carrying my friends in.
Christine is the first;
She was in the arms
Of one of the tall blond playful youths
I try in vain to make understood her plight.
Grown men in trousers were jumping to the rescue,
Helping the youths to lay the half drowned girls
On the now narrow stretch of beach.
More were being carried behind.
Thankfully I see Carol
I heave a sigh of relief and shut my eyes once more.
I don’t remember any more of that beach sea trauma.
The next thing I know I am staring out
Sad eyed out of the dormitory window.
The twins are beside me.
Telling me the harrowing truth about their ordeal.
When the final count came, there was one of us missing.
She, Lyn Wallgrave, is found next day on Seagull Island: The tide had washed her body half a mile away.
She had clung to Carols back and instead of relaxing,
Allowing for the strong swimmer to use her life saving technics,
Lyn panicked and was taking Carol under with her.
So Carol threw her off her back which Lyn had scratched
Trying to face the girl to knock her out,
But the panicking girl had gone from her sight.
It was some time before the twins had been able
To alert the attention
Of those same youths, who had by now been watching them.
Realizing the girls were in danger of being swept out again by
The Tide due to exhaustion, they had gone to their rescue.
The rest of the holiday was virtually spent behind closed doors.
Lynda’s parents came up for the identification of her body.
They now had to prepare themselves for the inquest.
The cause of the tidal effect of Littlehampton's shores
Is well known to be the river’s flow near by
Shifting the sands of the sea bed.
Click on Bert's bikes to play Interlude
for piano solo.
I wrote the above music whilst having lessons from Alan Parsons, a 'New Music Society' composer in Colchester, Essex; I was also a member of Colchester's St. Boltolph's Music Society ran by Colin and Gill Nicholson who gave me a lot of support. I eventually helped out in their juni
My dear mother and my little brother, Stephen. The motorbike is our father's. Steve and I sat in a side-car attached to the left side of the bike when going places.
I remember when travelling to Cornwall with me and Steve asleep in the sidecar, our mother prodded our father in the back for he had nodded off to sleep, nearly ending up in a ditch on Bodmin Moor: we were travelling through the night.
In the background, standing on the step of our little terraced house in Walthamstow, is Valerie Green, sister of Helen Green a friend of mine. Helen learnt the clarinet in Wingfield and helped out in the club. They lived round the corner in Gordon Road.
I heard from a little girl, Stacey, who moved to Brightlingsea from Walthamstow and who had lived in the same street as me, after my family had moved to Woodford due to the road being 'slum' cleared and rebuilt, that Valerie had become a GP. I was pleasantly surprised by this news in view of Valerie's stomach problems at the time.Valerie and Helen's father was a hospital porter, and they had a little brother who died when a baby.
Click on Betty Fayer to play my composition 'Interlude' for piano solo
I spent a week of my honeymoon in New York, attending, as delegates, a religious convention at the Yankee Stadium, taking my violin and my new husband his trumpet to play in the orchestra. Unfortunately, we divorced very early in the eighties. We stay with Betty in he attic bedroom on camp beds because our flight had been delayed ad our booking had been taken by Canadians. We spent a lot of our waiting time with footballer, Peter Knowes and his wife who were also on our Pan Am flight to the same convention.
The second week was spent with a very nice couple, Eugene and Sherrie whom we met at the convention and who invited us back to their apartment in New Rochelle: the told us they would treat us like a King and Queen nd gave up their king sized bed for us to sleep in. They also showed us the sights of New York.
I shall never forget the wonderful time I spent with Betty, her family, and newly weds,Eugene and Sherrie.