John Sharrock Taylor

John Sharrock Taylor

Writer, Genealogist & Patient Choir Basher









I find that almost any situation can give rise to a limerick or a parody: the dangerous curves of a young colleague; Lakshmi Bhai's notorious choosiness in matters of the heart; a parent invading my office for a good old rant or our mali telling Val he was about to mow the back lawn.







Miss Pooja a striking young lass is;

The body, the headlights, the chassis!

One's deeply impressed

By the way she's abreast

Of the business of wowing the masses.




My lib'rated friend Miss Taneja

Just brushes off chaps who'd engage her.

Though they pester and phone

She snaps 'Leave me alone!'

And their chocolates and flowers just enrage her.





They say her bark's worse than her bite

When the Doctor comes in for a fight,

But the table top-bashing

And foaming and gnashing

Give the unvaccinated a fright.




'Madam!' the gardener cried,

'My ardour cannot be denied!

Stand firm as a rock,

Brace your self for a shock

And I'll rapidly do your backside.'





Ian boasted of his amatory prowess but at staff parties his missus could effortlessly cut him down to size.


Janet when in her cups would lament:

'My husband's tool's tiny and bent,

I need an extension

To THAT small dimension.

It wasn't the HOUSE that I meant!'


Our Head of Science was legend in his own laboratory.


A prize prima-donna is Studd;

It's an insult to call him just 'good';

If it's not 'shining star',

Or 'greatest by far'

He rages round thirsting for blood.



Pity the elderly artist married to a much younger wife.


Now the first flush of passion has flown

And she spends half the night on the phone

Painter Dave finds that Dorcas

Is costly and raucous;

He'd be far better off on his own.





My nephew and niece, now grown-up with children of their own, were always convulsed by the term 'bezzongers'. This is for them.


 Liberty bodices just make me feel colder.

(Give me an over-shoulder boulder holder)

Those silken straps,

(Such tender traps)

Those brimming cups

Remind me of you.


Those nylon tights are such a passion killer.

(I like a girl to be a stocking filler)

Virtue defenders?

Give me suspenders!

Those stocking tops

Remind me of you.


Don't wear those bloomers that were once your Aunty's.

I much prefer a pair of scanty panties.

Lace that I see cling

Around a G-string.

These feelish thongs

Remind me of you.




In our Victoriana concert we sang a part-song of Pearsall's. The music is good stuff but all agreed that the rather camp lyric needed improving. This is the original:



When Allen-a-Dale went a-hunting, his bow was stout and strong,

And naught that was game escaped him, the bushes green among.

The Abbott of Beverly cried, 'Oh, fie!' as he rode out to dine with a knight hard by;

But Allen-a-Dale went a-hunting on the King's highway.


Who was the father of Allen-a-Dale?

His sire was a Saxon and Lord of the vale,

But the Normans came down with their proud chivalry,

And they robbed him, and slew him, and burnt his roof-tree!

So Allen-a-Dale went a-hunting on the King's highway.


What was the calling of Allen-a-Dale?

He was a forester good,

A harper well skilled in ditty and tale,

And the comrade of bold Robin Hood!

And together they ranged the forest glade, and shot their arrows free:

But because he could sing like a minstrel king, why, Allen's the boy for me!



And this is the 'improved' version:



Original text in Anglo-Saxon by the Venereal Bede translated by the Rev F Tuck with profound apologies to RL de Pearsall Esq.


When Allen-a Dale went a-humping

His bow was bent and wrong

But no wench who was game escaped from him

The bushes green among.


The Abbess of Beverley cried 'What luck!

Girls, it's Allen a Dale! He's got plenty of pluck.

Let us brace ourselves for a humping

On the King's highway'.


 Who was the father of Allen a Dale?

Al's ma said it was Norman (but he covered his trail).

She wasn't quite one of the Sherwood Forest ravers

(Norm really should have gone the branch of Spec Savers

On the King's highway).


What was the calling of Allen a Dale?

He'd a teasing touch with ditties and the lasses loved his tale.

Robin quoth 'His goings on are something quite obscene.'

Murmured Marion: 'In the forest ALL you boys are Lincoln green.

Was that you or was it Allen in the bushes yesterday?'

So Allen went on humping on the King's highway.


If you measure Much the Miller, you may marvel at his luck.

You may sympathise with Little John,

You may spoonerise Friar Tuck,

You may rave of Robin's shafting when he shot his arrows free

But because he could hump like a stirrup pump

Allen's still the boy for me.



As a lay-clerk at Newcastle Cathedral in the 1980s I worked with the much-loved and gloriously eccentric Master of the Music, Dr. Russell Missin.


Essentially conical in shape with a high, domed forehead and flowing locks, Russell was the image of the 18th Century cathedral organist. My tenor colleague Trevor commented that Russell had two conducting styles: a man having a heart attack and a baboon going up a climbing frame. Given to extravagant gestures and even more extravagant statements, Russell once dismissed the choir in the middle of Evensong with the words:


You’re a disgrace to God!


You’re a disgrace to this Cathedral!


And what is far worse...


You’re a disgrace to MEEEE!


It would be an exaggeration to suggest that the canons of the cathedral chapter were waiting with ill-disguised longing for Russell’s 65th birthday, but given his eccentricity and his penchant for verbally savaging the clergy there was no prospect of their granting him the extension he requested. We duly organised a splendid farewell bash and during his last term in office I very privately penned the following apostrophe to Russell’s charming wife.


I can’t give you anything but love, Muriel,

Since the Chapter’s giving me the shove, Muriel.

It’s not right! Money’s tight.

It’s a bitter pill.

Gas, electric, telephone,

I’m dreading the next bill.


There’s that pedal sticking on the Swell, Muriel,

And Cantoris basses sound like hell, Muriel.

Wainwright ought to sing from down a well, Muriel,

Then perhaps he’d earn a little love.


There’s another crisis with the men, Muriel;

Prof has buggered off to France again, Muriel.

Arnold chews his vowels, Stan’s flat

And Keith is off the note;

Maurice sings as if he has a chain around his throat;


Michael plays andantes at a crawl, Muriel;

Partridge has an undescended ball, Muriel.

I wont have it! No, no, not at all, Muriel!

When I’ve gone they’ll wish they’d shown more love.


Russell was actually rather a good organist of the 'thrills and spills on the mighty Wurlitzer' school. Not so a Director of Music with whom I later worked. Dr X appeared to have studied under the late Les Dawson. And of course it was Mrs X, who invariably got to sing the soprano solos.

When Dr X tickles the keys

It sounds like it's done with his knees

While each tortured note

That proceeds from her throat

Makes us cry 'Put a sock in it, please!'




Said the actress: ‘My Lord, like you men,

We girls like to sin now and then

So please don’t tut, tut

When I’m playing the slut.’

And the bishop said ‘Bless you. Amen.’



WH Auden put it like this...


Some thirty inches from my nose

The frontier of my Person goes,

And all the untilled air between

Is private pagus or demesne.

Stranger, unless with bedroom eyes

I beckon you to fraternize,

Beware of rudely crossing it:

I have no gun, but I can spit.



And we've all been embraced by the large, loud lady in the cement-filled bra. 


The sight of that big concrete bust

Inspires trepidation not lust

Invasion of space

Turns into a race

And you can't see the victim for dust.



Jean Roberts's response to the above, inspired by the Matron in 'To Serve Them All My Days'


Young lads would do well to remember

When a girl´s in her full youthful spendour

The bust that is pert

In old age will be girt

Around with support like a fender.



When our school suffered an outbreaks of nits Val put up warning notices: HEADLICE ARE HERE AGAIN. Heiko, a very large and rather obsessive German parent was heard to mutter darkly ‘Ve did not haf zeeze insecks in zis school before Mr. Taylor came here.’ The tune, of course, is ‘Happy days are here again’.


Headlice are here again!

Little bugs vat koms here now and zen

Und ve haf to call nit nurse Marién

Headlice are here again!


Headlice are hard to see

But its’s wery obwious to me

Zose bugs vas brought by JST

Head lice are here again!



Overheard at the campus bus stop (middle-aged summer visitors with strong estuarine accents): 


HE: It's called the Yooniversity of Barf.


HE: Neaww! Double A

SHE: Eaww! Seawf Efrican!


There's an old theatrical saying to the effect that the critics are like the eunuchs in the harem: They know exactly how it should be done. They see it done every night, but...

My choir regularly sings in church and the congregation seems to like it. But when we do the 'special' services such as the Nine Lessons and Carols I can guarantee that somebody will complain about the music. And it's always either the somebody who bellows Silent Night in the style of Right, Said Fred or the other one who can't carry a tune in a bucket.


Said Peter with grief and chagreen

'This music's the worst ever seen!

Mind you (ain't it odd?)

I can never tell 'God

Save the Weasel'

From 'Pop goes the Queen'.