Back on Road Again

Daily Mail (London), August 28, 1999 | Go to article overview
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Back on Road Again


QUESTION Whatever happened to the members of the band Middle Of The Road who got to Number One with Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep?

THE original members of this Scottish quartet were Sally Carr, Ian Lewis, Eric Lewis and Ken Andrew.

Originally performing Latin-American style music under the name Los Caracas, they changed their name to Middle Of The Road after hearing a song in Italy, which they then recorded.

This was Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, and it became a major summer hit in 1971 throughout Europe and also a chart topper in the UK and several other countries. They followed it with Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, Soley Soley, Sacramento and Samson & Delilah.

The group soon disbanded, but after years in ordinary jobs back in their native Scotland, Sally Carr and Ken Andrew reformed Middle Of The Road especially for a TV show in Germany in 1991.

They were immediately booked for a German tour, then a Dutch TV show and soon found themselves in demand throughout Europe, 25 years after the group was originally formed.

In 1997 they issued a CD, Middle Of The Road, containing newly arranged versions of their hits and they intend to record fresh material in the future.

Bill Harry, author of Whatever Happened To . . ?, Blandford Publishers, London.

QUESTION When I was young and in a cycling group we often rested on Wrotham Hill in Kent at the Invicta Memorial. Today, the memorial seems to have disappeared: does anyone know where it has gone?

THIS memorial, which commemorates the historic confrontation between William of Normandy and the Men of Kent, was first erected in 1958 on the A2, the old Roman Watling Street, at Swanscombe.

It was hereabouts that William and his so far victorious army found their way barred by a 'moving wood'.

Men of the county, led by Stigande, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Egelsine, Abbot of Saint Augustine's Abbey, marched towards the invaders bearing green oak boughs to conceal themselves.

(Perhaps Shakespeare adapted this dramatic moment for the 'moving' Dunsinane Wood in Macbeth.) Casting the boughs aside to reveal they were heavily armed, the Kentish defenders offered William peace if he would grant them their ancient rights and liberties, otherwise 'war would ensue and that most deadly'.

The Norman, an astute man, fearing even greater numbers of fighting men were waiting in the forest to ambush him, chose not to fight and assured the defiant men of Kent their laws and privileges would be protected. From that day the motto of Kent, Invicta (unconquered) came into being.

With the widening of the A2, the Invicta Memorial was re-sited at Home Park, Swanscombe, in 1965.

That land was sold for redevelopment in 1990 but, from 1995, the memorial has had a permanent home in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul, Swanscombe.

A bough of holm oak is still carried on formal occasions such as the annual church parade by the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men to commemorate the event. And to every true man of Kent or Kentish man, William is King William, William of Normandy or William the Bastard - never the Conqueror.

Fred Nixon, former editor, Kent Life, Heathfield, East Sussex.

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