SYLVIA Abele, of Marsh, has started something.

She sent me a rhyme her father used to say and Janet Healey, of Cowlersley, has identified it.

“The verse you quote in Friday’s Examiner from Sylvia is a version of a Harry Graham poem from his Ruthless Rhymes,” she said.

Billy in one of his nice new sashes,Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes.Now although the room grows chillyI haven’t the heart to poke poor Billy.

Janet’s favourite rhyme of Harry Graham’s is:

When Grandmama fell off the boatAnd couldn’t swim and wouldn’t float,Matilda just stood by and smiled.I almost could have slapped the child.”

They don’t write them like that any more.

And Pete Foster, of Newsome, adds to the humour.

“I remembered a ditty that my Dad used to sing,” he says.

“He thinks it was an old pantomime song which would have been displayed on large cards, for when they split the audience in two to see who could sing loudest or, in this case, with the most accuracy.”

It’s called Crossed Lines:

Which switch is the switch, Miss, for Ipswich.It’s the Ipswich switch which I require.You switched me to Northwich not IpswichYou switched me onto the wrong wire.So if you’ll tell me the switch, Miss, for IpswichAnd so to prevent further hitch.If you’ll tell me which switch is Northwich and which switch is IpswichI’ll know which switch is which.

Anyone remember singing such songs at those more innocent pantos of years ago?