My brother taught me this rhyme when I was about seven years old. My dad probably taught it to him when my Mum wasn’t around.
Yellow belly custard
Green snot pie
All mixed together with a dead dog’s eye
Slap it on a butty nice and thick
Swallow it down with a cold cup of sick
How we loved chanting it. It was our secret song. As incantations go it was up there with the Witches of Macbeth, ‘Eye of newt and toe of frog…’ It was a chance to celebrate those terrible yet wonderful bodily creations of snot and puke that preoccupy you when you’re seven years old.
As a child I suffered from bronchitis and head colds and can remember my terror at biting into a bar of chocolate and not being able to taste it. What if I could never taste anything again?
When you are experiencing things for the first time, how do you know what you are supposed to feel? How can you work out good pain from bad pain unless someone tells you? That is why you need stories, poems and rude chants.
I did disgrace myself once when I proudly recited a poem that my brother had taught me to my Aunty Annie and Aunty Lily when they came to visit. In all innocence I stood up in front of them decked out in my Sunday best and recited:
World Cup Willy
Had a ten foot dilly
And he showed it to the girl next door
She thought it was a snake
And hit it with a rake
And now it’s only five foot four!
I just loved the rhyme. I had no idea it was rude. My brother experienced some earache after that!