Saturday 5 June 2010

Weekend Mailbox #8 The Singing Postman

Allan Smethurst (1927 -  2000) was brought up in Sheringham, Norfolk and became known as 'The Singing Postman'. In the 1950s he wrote and sang songs in the Norfolk dialect. He was given a spot on a local radio show where he performed them to great amusement and acclaim. In 1966 his 'Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?' won the Ivor Novello award for the best novelty song of the year and was so popular that it replaced the Beatles at the top of the East Anglia hit parade.
In 1994 the song was used in an Ovaltine advertisement.

The Norfolk accent has always fascinated me - my brother-in-law is a Norfolk man born and bred.  He and my late sister brought up their children in Kent and then moved to Norfolk, so while his children don't have the accent they do have the intonation, the lilt of the language.

I hope you enjoy this clip from YouTube - there are a few more to be found there if you're interested. I've copied the lyrics so that you may make more sense of the words - hopefully ;-)

I had a gal, a rare nice gal, down in Wroxham way
She were whooly nice ter me back in the ole school days.
She would smile all the while, but Daddy dint know all
What she used ter say ter me behind the garden wall.
'Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?'

Then one day, she went away, I dunt see har no more,
Till by chance, I see har down along th' Mundesley shore.
She wuz there, twice as fair, would she now be trew?
So when she see me passin' by she say 'I'm glad thass yew,
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

Now yew'll see har an' me never more t'part,
We would wander hand in hand tergether in the dark.
Then one night I held har tight in th' ole back yard,
But when I tried to hold har close, she say 'Now hold yew hard!
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

By and by we decide on th' weddin' day,
So we toddle orff ter chatch ter hear the preacher say:
'Do yew now tearke this vow ter honour all the time?'
Before I had th'chance ter stop har, she begin ter pine:
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.

Now the doctor tell me a Daddy I will be,
So when I arsk him 'Woss th' score?' he say 'There's only three'
So, here I go, cheerioo, ter see how she do fare,
I know what she will say ter me as soon as I git there:
Hev yew gotta loight, boy?
Thank you to Gemma from 'Greyscale Territory' who initiated this meme and organises and hosts it every week. To see more deliveries to the Weekend Mailbox please click here.


  1. We always used to go on holiday to Norfolk when I was a child-on the broads. My Dad used to say have you got a light boy in that accent all the time but I never knew it was from this song-though I did somehow know he was talking about Norfolk accents. I was talking to a lady from there today weirdly-she had a very soft accent which was really lovely. Most interesting post thanks!

  2. O this is so delightful! That video is the cutest! Wow did it bring back a memory I thought I had long forgotten. When I was very young, (I lived in Sydeny then)we had a whistling postman on a bike.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful entry to my meme!

    (And no! Tracy at Macleay Island posts daily but she has no comment box. I am going to yher Shadow Shot Sunday soon and I'll leave your comment there for her!)

    Have a wonderful week!

  3. This is a great Weekend Mailbox entry! All posties should sing while making their rounds :)

  4. lol how cosy a singing postman I like the accent although I can't follow it all Great post


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