Gransnet forums



(28 Posts)
Benina Mon 05-Dec-11 20:12:17

Whilst sitting in the snooker room at our village hall, waiting to go on stage to perform in The Panto (had to get that bit in - it was an excellent panto!) we were chatting about this and that and I said "Does anyone ever hear someone whistling these days?" No. But we all remembered when we did - one person said their postman always did - but not now. Another remembered workmen on building sites and digging up the road, whistling (and not just wolf whistles), I remember the porters and guards at Eastbourne railway station always were whistling (in the '50s and early '60s). And the technique, the musicality was wonderful. It was a lovely sound.

Why doesn't any one whistle now? And was it only men?

artygran Mon 05-Dec-11 20:24:20

I'm afraid I'm a whistler and have been since childhood (my mother hated it and used to berate me with "a whistling woman and a crowing hen will bring the Devil out of his den!"). It is a habit I can't break after all these years... I whistle along to the wireless, my ipod and any ear worm that is inhabiting my head at any given time. I can't sing so I suppose it is a substitute for that really. My piano teacher asked me recently if I could sing a line of music to him and I said no, but i would whistle it! He hasn't asked me since! But at least my grandson (5) likes it! As a child, I can remember a man with a variety act on the radio who used to whistle; I think his name was Ronnie Renald. Seems very unsophisticated entertainment now, but he was extremely popular I believe.

greenmossgiel Mon 05-Dec-11 21:10:10

I whistle! I think I'm a good whistler! My husband thinks I do it to annoy him, as I seem to do it more when we've fallen out, and my neighbour has the same feelings about it as artyfgran's mother, so I try not to do it in the garden if she's in hers next door! But I can do a fine tune - and have done since I was a mere child! wink

bagitha Mon 05-Dec-11 21:15:59

People used not to have noise coming out of radios beside where they worked all the time so I guess they whistled instead. Much pleasanter than canned musack in my opinion. My mum used to know when I was coming home from school because she could hear me whistling down the lane.

numberplease Mon 05-Dec-11 21:21:33

I can`t whistle, but Artygran, I too remember Ronnie Renald, he was a fantastic whistler.

Annika Mon 05-Dec-11 21:29:39

I can't whistle but to my annoyance there is a man who travels on the same bus as me most days and he whistles, but it is just one long tuneless noise. It is the sort of whistle that seems to come through his teeth and it drives me mad. It is here I would now put a hair pulling out smiley if we had one !

effblinder Tue 06-Dec-11 10:08:31

I hate people whistling. I know it's probably just because I'm not very good at it myself and I hate having to listen to other people showing off at something that I can't join in on!

[spoilsport emoticon]

absentgrana Tue 06-Dec-11 10:16:58

numberplease Can you ride a bike? No, I've not gone mad. I can't whistle and in my family they always said if you can't ride a bike, you can't whistle. I can just about pedal in straight lines but am not really safe going around corners or anywhere near traffic. I can blow one horrible piercing note, but otherwise nothing.

susiecb Tue 06-Dec-11 12:07:21

I hat whistling!!!! Its like nails being drawn down a blackboard. my mother used to whistle all the time and it drove me mad - its proably why she did it! My husband can whislte but daren't - he doesnt have a death

absentgrana Tue 06-Dec-11 12:10:54

I'm with you there susiecb. Mr absent sometimes forgets when he's busy and preoccupied doing something useful until he catches sight of me standing with my hands on my hips and a deeply pained expression on my face. Mind you, it's still better than when "sings" the guitar part of songs along with the radio.

bagitha Tue 06-Dec-11 12:26:09

Miserable bunch! wink. You wouldn't last long in my house — DD hums all the time she's awake, except when she's whistling. Always took it as a sign of happiness and gloried in it.

grannyactivist Tue 06-Dec-11 12:39:02

When I was a girl lots of people whistled, but I was hopeless at it and my father hated women/girls whistling; he got really angry if I ever forgot myself and tried a few notes. (And no absent, I can't ride a bike either.)

I'm a great hummer and sotto voce singer though, I do it all the time anywhere and everywhere; often I don't even realise I'm doing it, but I can't hold a note or sing in tune unless I'm singing next to someone who can. (So watch out at 2pm, I'll be the quietly out of tune carol singer. blush)

supernana Tue 06-Dec-11 13:12:30

At the convent we were told that the Virgin Mary blushed if she heard a girl whistle. What a load of cobblers...and to think that I believed it to be so [along with all manner of other "sins"! angry

Elegran Tue 06-Dec-11 13:55:17

A whistling woman and a crowing hen
Are neither good for God nor men.

I suppose they make men feel inferior because women can do everything they can! Not sure why they bother God though - unless it is the same God who thinks that women should not wear trousers.

Lastsongster Tue 06-Dec-11 14:04:22

I can't say I feel inferior to whistling women or crowing hens. I can't speak for God but I don't think these would worry him too much. Still, he does move in mysterious ways. If he's reading this I would like to thank him for not giving us whistling hens, although I've known a few crowing women.

Ariadne Tue 06-Dec-11 14:57:14

I can whistle! DH doesn't care for it, though, so I hum and sing mostly - when I'm not talking to myself, that is...

numberplease Tue 06-Dec-11 15:33:43

No, Absent, I CAN`T ride a bike, I was never allowed to have one. You could be right though, the only one of my 5 kids who can`t whistle can`t ride a bike either!

shysal Tue 06-Dec-11 16:05:44

I used to work for a fantastic whistler who seemed to be covering all parts of a symphony simultaneously. He was wonderful to listen to, and was sometimes joined by a mouth trumpet and pens-on-table drums played by workmates. They eventually formed a successful jazz band with real instruments.
I can whistle rather tunelessly, but I regret that I can't manage the piercing fingers-in-mouth sound to go with applause. That would be so useful when supporting grandchildren playing football.

Benina Tue 06-Dec-11 17:21:20

Oh yes, I too regret never having mastered that fingers-in-mouth piercing blast, how useful it would have been to call children back from the beach/field etc as well as being an exceedingly embarrassing mum on the sidelines!
But I still maintain that a good whistler is balm to the soul. I remember (what a lot of nostalgia) travelling in a crowded rush hour tube in the '60s and a hippy took out a recorder and gently played. Suddenly I started smiling and I look around - so were others. Faces relaxed, people made eye contact. Excellent.

yogagran Tue 06-Dec-11 23:14:29

I can do a piercing whistle with two fingers, so useful for calling the dog, attracting attention but it does embarrass my DH! My DC never managed to master to art but I'm hoping to teach my DGD soon

artygran Wed 07-Dec-11 20:39:12

I wish I could do a really piercing whistle through my fingers - never mastered it, but at the moment it might be a really good way of bringing GS to a halt when he is haring off across the school playground at 3.30 with me in hot pursuit trying to call out to him in as genteel a manner as possible so as not to scare all the yummy mummies (but perhaps whistling would raise a few eyebrows as well!). And all I get for my pains is "but nanny, I didn't hear you!" Little liar! He has never heard me raise the vocal decibels - I used to be a drill instructor!

Fid Thu 08-Dec-11 19:37:14

I've loved reading about other Whistlers. Whistling is a part of me. It was something I could do, but my brother never could. If I get into an echoey area I instantly know I have to whistle. I have made sure that my grandchildren are confident whistlers. (They have also had compulsory instruction on the art of blowing bubbles in gum).

bikergran Sun 11-Dec-11 08:27:10

do you thik that mood and the way of things at the mo...makesa difference? normaly I think people will wistle or sing when you are happy etc....perhaps the economic climate dulls the sense and joviality (if that how you spell it) of whistling..! hmm

Gally Sun 11-Dec-11 10:12:06

I used to whistle through the gap in my front teeth but it seems to have closed up over the years, so now I whistle normally through pursed lips. Mr G doesn't like it - says it's not ladylike, but I just tell him I ain't no lady grin
Daughter No.3 does a cracking whistle through her fingers - enough to blow you off your feet - and that really isn't ladylike at all.

glammanana Sun 11-Dec-11 11:54:58

Mr Glamma whistles and it drives me to distraction,he can't even hold a tune which make's it worse he sort of whistles between his teeth.urggghhh.