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Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'

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CHICKEN ON A RAFT


Related threads:
Background Info: Chicken on a Raft^^^ (29)
Chicken on a Raft (25)


Bonecruncher 05 Jun 05 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,padgett 06 Jun 05 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,talithamac 24 May 07 - 03:37 PM
GUEST 24 May 07 - 04:57 PM
Jim Lad 24 May 07 - 04:59 PM
The Sandman 24 May 07 - 05:13 PM
Sugwash 25 May 07 - 06:02 AM
Sugwash 25 May 07 - 06:04 AM
Folkiedave 25 May 07 - 07:06 AM
GUEST 08 Jul 08 - 10:01 PM
Keith A of Hertford 09 Jul 08 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,Steve Boehm 23 Jun 12 - 09:52 AM
2581 22 Jan 13 - 01:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jan 13 - 02:13 PM
Desert Dancer 11 Mar 13 - 01:02 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Mar 13 - 03:47 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Mar 13 - 03:51 AM
Uncle Tone 11 Mar 13 - 06:40 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Mar 13 - 06:54 AM
Sugwash 11 Mar 13 - 07:05 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 08:15 AM
Steve Shaw 11 Mar 13 - 08:58 AM
Uncle Tone 11 Mar 13 - 11:04 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 11:56 AM
Dave Hanson 11 Mar 13 - 12:18 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 13 - 12:44 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 01:45 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 01:49 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 01:51 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Mar 13 - 02:58 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 03:10 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 03:31 PM
Uncle Tone 11 Mar 13 - 04:23 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Mar 13 - 04:54 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Mar 13 - 05:58 PM
Uncle Tone 11 Mar 13 - 08:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Mar 13 - 10:31 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Mar 13 - 03:49 AM
Steve Shaw 12 Mar 13 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Derrick 12 Mar 13 - 07:44 AM
Sugwash 12 Mar 13 - 08:24 AM
Uncle Tone 12 Mar 13 - 12:56 PM
Rumncoke 12 Mar 13 - 07:06 PM
Uncle Tone 12 Mar 13 - 09:56 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 13 - 03:24 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 13 - 03:54 AM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Mar 13 - 04:26 AM
Uncle Tone 13 Mar 13 - 06:54 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Mar 13 - 09:04 AM
Dave Hanson 13 Mar 13 - 10:01 AM
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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 09:00 PM

Another definition of "rabbiting" says that anything you can take out of the Dockyard gate, or over the wall, is yours to keep.
In other words, theft of naval property.
Colyn


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 01:04 PM

Just seen this thread
yep Archie is Cyril's brother and he sings

Met him at Ashton under Lyne I think it was, that neck of the woods


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST,talithamac
Date: 24 May 07 - 03:37 PM

Comic cuts is also a generic term for 'funny papers'--the cartoons that you get in the daily newspapers.

I learned "Chicken on a Raft" when I was working at Mystic Seaport and have been singing it for years. Fantastic song--Cyril is sorely missed.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 07 - 04:57 PM

some years ago I ws at a folk club where Cyril Tawney introduced the song mentioning that he'd heard some kids singing "skinheads on a raft".
When he asked them about it they said it meant baked beans on toast. He was amused at the transformation of his original.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Jim Lad
Date: 24 May 07 - 04:59 PM

What do you know about my trigger like willie?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 May 07 - 05:13 PM

Iwas guesting in a folk club, when a floorsinger got up and sang the song as chicken on a rat.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Sugwash
Date: 25 May 07 - 06:02 AM

I served on H M diesel submarines a couple of decades after Cyril, they hadn't changed very much in the intervening years. The breakfasts were certainly still the same:

Chicken on a raft - fried egg on fried bread
Shit on a raft - devilled kidney on fried bread
Elephant's footprints - deep fried spam fritters in batter
Yellow peril - smoked haddock
Spithead pheasant - kippers

If the Russians didn't get us, the cholesterol would!

Dabtoes were still any member of the seaman branch, most of which dwelled in the Forward Mess

I never heard members of the After Mess referred to as dustmen, we were 'back-afties' by my time.

Comic cuts were C240s, a report on his character read to every rating by his Divisional Officer on an annual basis.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Sugwash
Date: 25 May 07 - 06:04 AM

For more info on British diesel submarines and submariners, visit dieselweasel.co.uk Diesel Weasel


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 May 07 - 07:06 AM

Another adaptation of Cyril's original song.

We were in Hungary dancing with Sheffield City Morris. Every meal seemed to be Chicken and Rice. So we sand Hi -o chicken and rice at most meals.

(The vegetarians got rice!!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 10:01 PM

Dabtoes are working seamen; man the guns, haul the ropes, quarterdeck watch etc.   Dustmen are the sailors who collect the refuse, sweep the decks, passage ways, and buff the floors.

All indispensable services for a Naval vessel under way.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 03:12 AM

No. The dustmen were the stokers.
All seamen engaged on housekeeping duties.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST,Steve Boehm
Date: 23 Jun 12 - 09:52 AM

I'm surprised to hear that Tawney was surprised to hear the "dustman affffffft" carried out, since he recorded it that way in 1972. See/hear here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce1_Z2x9wKY


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: 2581
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 01:41 PM

The Mighty Doonans have posted their great version of "Chicken On A Raft" on YouTube! Check out link below:

Chicken On A Raft (Live) - The Mighty Doonans


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 02:13 PM

I'm surprised to hear that Tawney was surprised to hear the "dustman affffffft" carried out, since he recorded it that way in 1972.

Interesting. To hear he was "surprised" would certainly be incongruous.

Strictly speaking, the 1972 album came out after Young Tradition's. I would speculate that the way YT was doing it had gained so much force that Tawney actually shifted to doing it in that fashion. I've seen this to be the case a few time that chanteyman Stan Hugill learned songs a certain way, which he presented in his 1961 book, but later on, after singers had twisted the songs differently, he seems to have just gone along with what everybody was doing.

I wouldn't be surprised in Tawney was originally perplexed by the drawn out "aft." Because even when I hear YT's rendition, it sounds "off". Nothing wrong with it in itself (it creates interest), but off from the sailor song style that Tawney presumably was following.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 01:02 AM

Whose recording did they use here? -- Chicken on a Raft

Came on this from The Useless Web.

:-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 03:47 AM

The Watersons.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 03:51 AM

No, The Young Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 06:40 AM

Quote Sugwash: Chicken on a raft - fried egg on fried bread
Shit on a raft - devilled kidney on fried bread
Elephant's footprints - deep fried spam fritters in batter
Yellow peril - smoked haddock
Spithead pheasant - kippers

We also had 'Pusser's puss' which was custard. Another one was 'Babies' Heads' which were Individual Scottish Meat Pies. 'Beatties' Meaties' in Arbroath. They had a small hole in the middle of a soft crust.

And yes, Cyril, who was an old mate of mine when he lived in Leeds, would insist, "Chicken on a raft is not poached egg on toast, or even fried egg on toast. It's fried egg on fried bread! Proper job!!"

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 06:54 AM

My Grandad was at sea in WW1 and before.
Babies head was steak and kidney pudding then.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Sugwash
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 07:05 AM

"My Grandad was at sea in WW1 and before.
Babies head was steak and kidney pudding then."

They still were steak and kidney puddings when I last had one in the 90s. More specifically, tinned steak and kidney pudding. Each tin contained two portions; the pudding came out of the tin in cylindrical form and was then sliced in two by the chef. Looking down upon this delicacy reminded one of a small head with the cranium removed, lovely!


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:15 AM

Cyril, who was an old mate of mine when he lived in Leeds, would insist, "Chicken on a raft is not poached egg on toast, or even fried egg on toast. It's fried egg on fried bread! Proper job!!"
Tone

.,,.

The fact that Cyril wrote the song does not in itself make him the sole or definitive authority on what the phrase meant. I daresay some seamen or crews would use it for fried on toast or poached on toast, even if those Cyril served with used it mainly of fried on fried. Some probably would even have used it for any egg however cooked served on any sort of cooked bread.

That, in case some haven't noticed, is what folklore is ~~ something of which it is unwise to claim an absolutely definitive version, whoever may postulate it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:58 AM

I always thought Yellow Peril was scrambled egg made from dehydrated egg powder, a much-dreaded WW2 dish.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:04 AM

quote MtheGM: "The fact that Cyril wrote the song does not in itself make him the sole or definitive authority on what the phrase meant."

It does if it's used in Cyril's song and that is what he meant when he wrote it.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:56 AM

How so, Tone? Pray expound as to how the fact that he meant something within a specific context means that no other interpretation is permissible.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 12:18 PM

MtheGM, from the sleeve notes to Cyrils album ' Sally Free and Easy '

Dabtoes = seamen

Dustmen = stokers

Chicken on a raft = fried egg on fried bread.

Do you doubt that is what Cyril meant ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 12:44 PM

About the held phrase:"the dustmen affffffffft"

I did personally hear Tawney make that remark about not writing it that way in about 1980 or so. I can't remember if he added anything about giving up and recording it to suit the public. These days, if you start it, any audience who knows the song will hold the note.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 01:45 PM

From website Naval Scran -----

The Objective of the following list - Is to recall the common names by which various items of food were or are known on the mess deck ...

Chicken on a raft
c.1940 -
c.1970s         Egg on toast


I am perfectly conversant with Cyril's glossary, thank you Bill. My point is that his usage is not definitive ~~ see e.g. the authoratitive source above. Look at the thread title, please. We are discussing the phrase's meaning, not merely one singing seaman's usage of it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 01:49 PM

Later definition entry in same website

"Raft c.1940 & 1968
        Toast with something on."


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 01:51 PM

Those last two entries addressed to Dave Hanson; can't think why I addressed him as 'Bill'.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 02:58 PM

I think we need a raft of measures to sort you lot out. Heheh. Just wanted to use my favourite cliche, that's all.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 03:10 PM

You're toast, Shaw!


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 03:31 PM

BTW ~~ This topic has of course been canvassed before. Click on first thread ref'd at top of this one & you will find a correspondence on the subject between Rosemary Tawney and me.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:23 PM

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MtheGM - PM
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:56 AM

"How so, Tone? Pray expound as to how the fact that he meant something within a specific context means that no other interpretation is permissible."

I've just written a song with the word 'Wipers' in it, reflecting the WW1 Tommy's pronunciation of the word 'Ypres'. Sleeve notes explain this.

If you came along in ignorance later and said it meant windscreen wipers or wet-wipes, you would be laughably wrong.

You are laughably wrong, and it would appear, pig-headedly stubborn about Cyril's meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'.

Simples

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:54 PM

You're toast, Shaw!
Hey, I was just egging you on...


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 05:58 PM

If you really think your merely homophonic Wipers analogy is really comparable to the accepted, documented & established variants in the definition of the phrase which is the subject of this thread, then, Tone, I regret to say that, as the incomparable Jane Austen put it, you are just too stupid to "deserve the compliment of rational opposition". Enjoy your little laugh, dear-❤. I really haven't another moment to waste on your fatuities.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:59 PM

I rest my case.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 10:31 PM

Whay Cyril Tawney meant by the term when he made that song is one thing. But it does not define the term for others. And it clearly was in wider use at the time, and since, with related but different meanings.

Some people can get heated over the strangest things...


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 03:49 AM

I rest my case. Tone
.,,.

Quite right. A good long rest is just what it could do with.

☺〠☺~M~☺〠☺


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:01 AM

I've taken all the wood panels off my piano and put them in the loft for a few months. I'm resting my tone case.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:44 AM

What I intended to say, before I hit the wrong key, was the most widely
accepted meaning is fried egg on fried bread, some people have a different meaning.
The English language in its colloquial form is full of variations of meaning for the same expression.
How many of us clean the house with a hoover mmade by Dyson?


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Sugwash
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 08:24 AM

As the song was written during Cyril's time in the submarine service and was about a submarine (Dabtoes forrard and the dustmen aft), then in, the context of the song, chicken on a raft was fried egg on fried bread.

The galley on a diesel submarine of any class is tiny. There are no facilities for toasting bread in enough quantity to provide for the entire crew. The chefs, therefore, had to deep fry the bread before topping it with a fried egg to produce chicken on a raft. It may have been different on an aircraft carrier, I don't know, I had no experience of those.

During the same period he wrote in Diesel and Shale: 'The big man in Dolphin, he sent for me'. Any Royal Navy submariner could tell you that that refers to Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM), who up until fairly recent times dwelt in HMS Dolphin. If you was so inclined, you could argue that Cyril was referring to a man of above average size, but you'd be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 12:56 PM

Thanks Sugs. Common sense prevails.

I spent best part of two years on the carrier Victorious (814 sqdn). Chicken on a Raft was still fried egg on fried bread, though few had heard of Cyril Tawney. He was a civvy by then having bought himself out with the proceeds of his TV appearances. He was then kick-starting the folk revival in the West Country based in Guz.

I knew him really well in the 70s and 80s, when I organised his tours of clubs in the north London home county area. He was a mean uckers player too.

Cyril slept in my bed many times, albeit with Rosemary, whilst Annie and I kipped on the lounge floor.

One great uckers occasion was with the late Cyril, the late Johnny Collins, the extant Chris Snook and me, at the late Nigel Matimong's house in Chesham. Three tiffs there. Johnny was never a matelot, but he spent a lot of time in Singapore and knew the rules of uckers. Chris is a civvy, but was an RN groupie then.

And by heck, did we shift some booze.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Rumncoke
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:06 PM

I used to sail past HMS Dolphin - (into Portsmouth harbour, sharp left) - and there was often a submarine charging it's batteries, the diesel engines really did make a background for Sally Free and Easy.

He was a grand chap - I spoke to him about 'rabbiting' from the dockyard - there was a similar tradition of 'ferreting' from the steel works in Sheffield.

Portsmouth and Southsea have a lot of narrow doors - the dockyard had a rule that any piece of wood under a certain length was 'gash' and so could be carried out of the gates, and it was. Doors, windows, - you name it, all were made from wood removed from the dockyard.

There was also the chap with a motor bike and side car. Often he would ride it to work with just the wooden platform on the side car, so he could move his tool box easily. Sometimes he took the whole thing off, sometimes he had just the chassis, other times it was all complete and the little car would be searched carefully at the gates, but nothing was ever found. They were sure that he was pinching something though, as he had a cheeky grin whenever he drove past.

Finally they realised what it was that he was taking out of the dockyard.


Side cars.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 09:56 PM

Gawd I'd forgotten that story! Nice one! I used to drive a BSA M21 600cc side-valve combination in those days, but it wasn't me Guv!

The flailing, sorry frailing guitar sound, imitating a sub's diesels, also accompanied The Oggie Man. Of course there are those who would insist that 'Oggie' refers to childrens' playground chants.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 03:24 AM

As everyone now agrees Chicken on a Raft is Fried Egg on Toast, what made it "Monday morning is a terrible sight to see" was the way they were cooked, (depending on the type of ship it was normally hardend bread (normally cooked on board and a couple of days old), either toasted or deep fried, the eggs were cooked in old cooking oil/fat/lard or a combination of any, on a large tray that held about 24 eggs, and when served was dripped in congealing fat etc. the fried toast was similar. Normally the oil/fat/lard was recycled again and again for the next meal.

Bruce D


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 03:54 AM

a veritable curates egg., rather like this thread, good in places


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 04:26 AM

I stayed in the old Dolphin a couple of times when using the JS sail training centre at Gosport.
It is army now and reverted to its old name of Fort Blockhouse.

I would always get a room with harbour views, surely the best in all Pompy.


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 06:54 AM

Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 03:24 AM

"As everyone now agrees Chicken on a Raft is Fried Egg on Toast"

Sigh.

Tone


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 09:04 AM

Well, everyone might not, Tone: keep on sighing.

But some reference works do -- see my post 0145pm on 11 Mar. Sigh all you like but you can't sigh all authorities away.

You call me pigheaded; why can't you get it into your thick skull that, in common with all folklore and many other artefacts and creations, more than one version can exist - and the one you happen to favour or like best -- & even the one Cyril Tawney did -- need not be the definitively most commonly accepted one?

Pig-head! & Big-head!


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Subject: RE: Help: Meaning of 'Chicken on a Raft'
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Mar 13 - 10:01 AM

In the context of this song chicken on a raft means fried egg on fried bread, because that's what Cyril meant it to mean when he wrote it, it may well mean other things to other people in different context's but in this case it means fried egg on fried bread, get it ?

Dave H


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