GANGA'S MENAGERIE

For the benefit of the uninitiated, I ought to explain that "Ganga" was the name bestowed upon her grandfather by our eldest daughter Jenny when she was learning to talk - the nearest she could get at that age to 'Grandad'. At least, so I thought. But the version Dorothy clings to is that this was how she addresssed her grandfather. By one of those mysterious processes known only to families, our grandchildren have bestowed the title on me, and the practice has stuck. The title may sound strange to others; it no longer sounds strange to us, and from such a splendid source it's a title I'm proud to bear.

The "animals" in this curious menagerie were created to give pleasure to our grandchildren; if they now give pleasure to others, I shall be more than pleased.

There's a footnote which ought to be added:

Jenny arrived at a time when I was running a private school as a very young Principal, and Dorothy was responsible for domestic duties with occasional help, and occasional hindrance, from a succession of matrons and maids. Dorothy's parents found our inevitable preoccupation a good excuse for borrowing our new daughter, sometimes for weeks at a time. As their first grandchild they spoiled her rotten, of course, but it doesn't show now.

I had little time or talent then for the writing of verse (I've since managed to find at least the time) but we well remember in those early days going to see Tommy Trinder in 'Champagne Charlie' and out of this grew the first of the family verse. Our pet names for our new beloved offspring were 'Sunshine' and 'Sausage' and 'Jenny Wren', and from these three names comes the following version of the theme song from that musical.

In her more mature years Jenny has in her turn been inspired by 'Ganga's Menagerie' to try her own hand at the genre. As you'll agree, the result fully merits inclusion in this collection of 'All Me Own Work', so at the end of my menagerie there's an appendix, namely Jenny's Own Menagerie which grew from her reading of mine. In that sense the title of this collection of mine is a now something of a misnomer - and I don't mind a bit.

So to introduce my menagerie I can't do better than give you Jenny's own song, to be sung to the tune of 'Champagne Charlie', after which follows my menagerie and then Jenny's:

SONG TO OUR DARLING DAUGHTER JENNY

To be sung with appropriate feeling to the tune of 'Champagne Charlie'

Sunshine Sausage is her name;
Looking very pretty is her game.
There's no one quite as sweet as Jenny Wren;
I've seen no one so pretty
Since I don't know when.
All round town it is the same.
And I'm happy to proclaim
She's the darling of her Daddy
And Sunshine Sausage is her name !

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