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The Silver Store Strummers


The Silver Store Strummers

Store Strummers

Members thoroughly enjoyed the performance of The Store Strummers at the Elders Council AGM. The Store Strummers are a mature ukulele group from Throckley who were awarded an Elders Council Staying Connected Grant early in 2014. They used the grant to set up a group for people interested in learning to play the ukulele and then in time the group went on to perform for others. They play music from the 1940s up to the present day.

If you would like the Store Strummers to entertain you, ring Elaine Illingworth on 0191 264 5374 or email . The group will need six weeks’ notice as they have other bookings to work around.

At the Elders Council’s members’ meeting in July, the Store Strummers entertained us with the finale song below (as you sing it, just pretend you’re Julie Andrews):

My Favourite Things

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings
Bundles of magazines tied up with string
These are a few of my favourite things

Bus pass and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses
Steradent and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses
Pacemakers, stair lifts and porches with swings
These are a few of my favourite things

When the pipes leak, when the bones creak,
When the knees go bad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring
These are a few of my favourite things

Back pain, confused brain and no need for sinning
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinning
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames
When we remember our favourite things

When the joints ache, when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim
Then I remember the great life I’ve had
And then I don’t feel so bad.


Entertaining Recycling: by a Store Strummers member

The Council bloke brought a blue wheelie bin to stand next to the green bin. “It’s a new initiative,” he stated. We were incredulous. We, who grew up in the 40s and 50s, didn’t have a choice: nowt could be wasted.

“This is where you put newspapers,” he said. Not in our house you don’t; newspapers are cut into squares, threaded on a string, then hung on the back of our outside toilet door. Newspapers were always more interesting when read in our freezing toilet by the light of a flickering candle. The candle was there to stop the cistern from freezing. The last piece of paper with the denouement of the story was always missing.

“Old shoes and clothes go in this saddle,” the Council bloke stated. No they don’t; father cobbles old shoes, and clothes are passed down until beyond use. Even then, mother cuts them up and progs them into the latest clippy mat.

We were luckier than most at bedtime. After all, we had a new duvet, which bore more than a passing resemblance to an R.A.F. greatcoat.

Father insisted on clean collars and shined shoes. “Being poor doesn’t mean looking poor,” he stressed. Empty polish tins were recycled to the girls in our lane and used as dobbers when playing hopscotch. Washing lines were doubled up as skipping ropes for the line of girls jumping in and skipping in unison across the lane.

These skipping girls could be a proper nuisance. The lane lads played serious games! We had a patched-up case ball for football and used a dustbin lid, stood on edge, for cricket wickets. Daft lasses would run across your wickets when playing that ridiculous game of rounders. American baseball players might disagree.

Everything left over went on the fire and was recycled. When Joe Armstrong the chimney sweep took our soot away, it was dug into the local allotments to improve the tilth of the soil.

If I ever went into a childish sulk, mother would wipe the floor with me. “You never feel sorry for yourself, give up or waste anything,” she hammered into me.

Two years ago a new hip forced me into premature retirement after fifty-five faithful years working. The indefatigable spirit of my parents kicked in and I just had to make myself useful and forge a new purpose.

Fate led me to an Elders Council sponsored initiative and I joined The Store Strummers Ukulele Band. To the untrained eye when entertaining at some care home, I might look like a little, fat, baldy bloke. Look beneath the surface, however, and you might see what I see in my mind’s eye. Is that a recycled Elvis?

John Garbutt