Guide Cats for the Blind Volume 5: Herding Cats Audio Download


This, the fifth CD in the series, features Bernard Cribbins, Toyah Willcox, Jeremy Irons, Ann Widdecombe and many others…


This, the fifth CD in the series, features Bernard Cribbins, Toyah Willcox, Jeremy Irons, Ann Widdecombe and many others…

Sleeve Notes

CD 1

01: Skuffle – Tortoise From Hell

A song plucked from those distant devil-may-care days of the biker tortoises of the North Circular.

02: Julia Hills – Herding Cats

A story of the wild west, somewhere beyond Aberystwyth, where men are men and haven’t realised that cats are in charge.

03: Les Barker – The Inflatable Boy

This was a joke and I’ve made it rhyme.

04: John Conolly – Fiddler’s Greenberg

A long time ago, John wrote a magnificent song about the place fishermen go when they die. I wrote a less magnificent one about accountants, which is what I was at the time. And here’s John’s version of my version of his song.

05: Bernard Cribbins – Eeyore’s Speech From Piglet

When I was Very Young, Miss Gladding used to read Winnie the Pooh to us at Crowcroft Park Primary School. Had I ever grown up, that would have been my first memory of doing so.

06: Nonny James – Have You Got Any News Of The Iceberg?

Based on a Bill Tidy cartoon, and performed rather well by Nonny.

07: Bob Williamson – Kippers For Tea

One of my very early parodies. I originally wrote a much more complicated lyric. I remember there being a reference to jugged hare. That had to go.

08: Jon Briggs – Weakest Link

A simple idea about a simple programme.

09: Linda Bellingham – Why Don’t They Write It On The Side?

We had this poem on the last CD as well, but this one was written about the other side.

10: June Tabor – The January June

Based on a magnificent song by Dave Goulder and carrying June’s perceived public persona to extremes. But she’s not like that at all.

11: James Bolam – The Atheist And The Bear

I’ve spent time in the Canadian Rockies wearing a small bell and shouting from time to time, which apparently helps to ensure one’s safety. I’ve tried doing the same thing in Rhyl, but with less success.

12: Gaynor Faye – I’ve Been Hiding My Light Under A Bushel

I’ve always made a point of having a bushel. People think there might be a light under it.

13: Mrs Ackroyd Band – O Sole Mio

To be precise, Hilary Spencer. Chris Harvey is the entire orchestra.

14: Eric Allen – I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

I’m sure somebody else wrote this.

15: Toyah Willcox – Pearl

A story of unrequited love. I’ve always found unrequited love to be much less expensive in the long term.

16: John Scott Cree – Rolls Royce Blues

One of my early attempts at the genre.


01: The Mrs Ackroyd Band – Llanfairpwllgwyngyll- gogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch

To be precise again, Alison Younger, again with Chris Harvey. When I wrote this, I never dreamed I would one day be able to say it.

02: Elaine C Smith – Runner Up, The Wonder Horse

A story of underachievement. Like unrequited love, it’s a lot less bother.

03: Jeremy Irons – Scott Of East Acton

An early attempt at misplaced geography.

04: Tom Bliss – Van Gogh

Mr Van Gogh proves my point. Had he been willing to settle for unrequited love, he would have had more ears.

05: Sue Jameson – Procrastination

I’ll write a description of this one later.

06: Alex Lester – Henry V

Not nearly as good as Shakespeare’s account, but it takes a lot less time.

07: Ken Galipeau – No One Wants To Meet A Skunk

Ken lives in New Jersey and is more likely to meet a skunk than I am. It’s not an ever-present danger around Wrexham.

08: Jon Briggs – The Surveyor

I wrote this when I was buying a house. I couldn’t understand why it was compulsory for a man to come and look at a house and give you a list of all the people who should look at it instead of him. I could have done that.

09: Cindy Kent – Seven Deadly Sins

Sloth; a large, hairy sin. Much bigger than the peccadillo.

10: John Scott Cree – Slow Feet Blues

A song of the pseudo-science of running shoe design.

11: Norma Dixit – Why Do Cafes Close At Teatime?

I wrote this when I was hungry.

12: Michael Palin – The Man Who Is Everywhere Else

It was hard to know where to put the microphone for this one.

13: Eileen McGann – I Live Not Near The Louvre

Eileen is one of the Mrs Ackroyd Band’s occasional Canadian members, and this is one of the many traditional songs I have written.

14: Ann Widdecombe – Upwards

The downside of being up here, and the upside of being down there.

15: Jon Briggs – Dave

A tribute to a great man and his revolutionary idea.

16: John Tams with Coope, Boyes and Simpson – On and On

My less fine version of John’s fine song.

17: Edward de Souza – Mange Tout

Exotic food.

Track Listing

CD 1

  1. Tortoise From Hell (Skuffle)
  2. Herding Cats (Julia Hills)
  3. The Inflatable Boy (Les Barker)
  4. Fiddler’s Greenberg (John Connolly)
  5. Eeyore’s Speech From Piglet (Bernard Cribbins)
  6. Have You Got Any News Of The Iceberg? (Nonny James)
  7. Kippers For Tea (Bob Williamson)
  8. Weakest Link (Jon Briggs)
  9. Why Don’t They Write It On The Side?(Linda Bellingham)
  10. The January June (June Tabor)
  11. The Atheist And The Bear (James Bolam)
  12. I’ve Been Hiding My Light Under A Bushel (Gaynor Faye)
  13. O Sole Mio (Mrs Ackroyd Band)
  14. I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud (Eric Allen)
  15. Pearl (Toyah Willcox)
  16. Rolls Royce Blues (John Scott Cree)

CD 2

  1. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch (The Mrs Ackroyd Band)
  2. Runner Up, The Wonder Horse (Elaine C Smith)
  3. Scott Of East Acton (Jeremy Irons)
  4. Van Gogh (Tom Bliss)
  5. Procrastination (Sue Jameson)
  6. Henry V (Alex Lester)
  7. No One Wants To Meet A Skunk (Ken Galipeau)
  8. The Surveyor (Jon Briggs)
  9. Seven Deadly Sins (Cindy Kent)
  10. Slow Feet Blues (John Scott Cree)
  11. Why Do Cafes Close At Teatime? (Norma Dixit)
  12. The Man Who Is Everywhere Else (Michael Palin)
  13. I Live Not Near The Louvre (Eileen McGann)
  14. Upwards (Ann Widdecombe)
  15. Dave (Jon Briggs)
  16. On and On (John Tams with Coope, Boyes and Simpson)
  17. Mange Tout (Edward de Souza)


The Technology Association of Visually Impaired People (formerly British Computer Association of the Blind) thank all the artists and everybody involved for your total support of this project in your own time and at no cost.

We would like to thank Les Barker, for supporting such a strange project around his strange poems over a strangely long period, and for writing some delightfully strange sleeve notes.

We would like to thank the following for recording and editing tracks on which they did not appear: Peter Bosher (Soundlinks), Gray Cooper (Holland Road Studio, Maidstone), Les Hewett (Pearlbay Ltd), Chris Harvey Pollington, David Reay (Grass-Hopper Productions who also single-handedly put together the album track running order and produced the masters.

We would also like to thank: Richard Ellin of Osmosys Records for wholeheartedly backing this project with faith and money, Clive Lever and Don Thompson, the executive producers who created the concept of the album series, and who have kept the tracks on the project and the project on track, the brains behind it all and the guys who really believed it could happen.

Graphic design: The Flying Fish Studios Ltd.

Les Barker can be contacted at MRS ACKROYD ENTERPRISES PO Box 2187, Wrexham, LL11 5WR or at: