Posts Tagged ‘humour’

A Christmas gift

December 25, 2014

This year I am showing a gift I am giving this Christmas. It is a book and a second hand one at that. It’s even a bit foxed and, no doubt, when my son sees it he’ll sniff at it and say it has a ‘must factor’ and maybe he’ll add a number.

It’s always good if you can come across the right thing for a person and in my mind I can hear an adult niece chuckling over bits of this book and reading them out to anyone who’ll listen.

It is an early Denys Parsons book. He was an early collector of absurd misprints or just plain bad copy from newspapers etc. He invented a family, the Shrdlus to suffer the indignities that some of these cuttings portray. The book dates from 1952.


It’s a hardback small book and it still has a dustcover in pretty good order. We’ll note that illustrations are by the ever popular Ronald Searle.

Here’s an example.


Altogether I am giving about 300 silly sentences – up to 300 sniggers and giggles. Now that’s got to be good.

Oh, there is another sentimental reason for buying the book. My brother, who died close on 35 years ago at the absurdly young age of 33, was a Denys Parsons fan. Just buying the book allowed me to have thoughts of my much missed brother.


Punch Library of Humour

April 3, 2014

In my childhood going to the dentist was never a pleasurable experience but I did like looking at the Punch magazines that were always in the waiting room. I knew a bit about the Punch magazine for its founder, Mark Lemon had been a local man. Indeed, he was buried in my village churchyard. So, too, was a relative of mine which I wrote about here.

So it is not to be wondered at, that at some point I acquired a book called the Punch Library of Humour – Railway Book.


I think this came from my sister who trades in collectables and antiques. Thanks, sis.

It staggers even me that Punch, in its early days, seemed to feature railways a great deal. This book is not by any means a miniature, and it is crammed, cover to cover with railway stories and, of course, cartoons.

This one is the frontispiece and it raises a smile.


One can see trouble ahead for the man who chose that spot to sit and read his paper as the train comes towards him.

Of course, Punch was satirical and it took opportunities to take a swipe at aspects of life it thought might not be as good as they could be. But my otherchosen cartoon manages more than one swipe.


We could, perhaps, be making a comment about ignorance of the Somerset rustic who clearly has no idea what a railway signal is (or rather I’d better say was now).

But note the name on the station name-board. The word we can read is SLOW. The fact that the location is Somerset and that place name is not just chance. The old Somerset and Dorset Railway (which I have commented on before on this blog) had the initial S and D. This, in popular life, was said to stand for Slow and Dirty. People looking at this cartoon would have known this. It would have raised yet another wry smile.

But the cartoon also shows aspects of a way of life now long gone. One is the idea of stations having staff on the platform – people who might be able to assist passengers with enquiries or with luggage. Under the station name we see milk churns. Many a local farm used churns and trains to get their milk to dairy or market. They did so well into current living memory. Churns have now been relegated to garden ornament status.

This lovely book really brings home a past way of life.