Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A Norse numeral of a day…

Today is 11.1.11

When I looked at those five singular numerals, palendromic in their symmetry this morning, I was immediately reminded of Nordic runes; and runes, from a very early age, have always connected in my mind with a small Northman King.

"Listen to me and I will tell you the story of Noggin the Nog, as it was told in the days of old..."

May Odin bless Oliver Postgate creator of Noggin the Nog. Noggin is one of my earliest television memories along with Ivor the engine. He died a little over three years ago. He created Noggin, Ivor, the Pingwings, Pogle’s Wood, Bagpuss, the Clangers.

What a strange world we lived in back then when a cartoon Viking King travelled the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in a flying ship, filling our black and white living rooms with mystery and just a little fear. I remember the opening music, a bassoon playing a few singular, clear and booming notes, and being instantly captured, transported to the world of Noggin, Nooka, Nogbad the bad, Thor Nogson, Olaf the Lofty, and Graculous - the strange green bird that to this day, whenever I see a Cormorant, I’m reminded of.

It was always winter in the lands of the North and for some reason it always seemed to be winter when I was watching – at least in my memory. Winter or late autumn; steaming Heinz beans on toast for tea in front of the fire in the living room, my plate placed upon the old green stool and me cross legged behind it focussed totally on that tiny glowing square of black and white screen. "Listen to me and I will tell you the story of Noggin the Nog.” And I did.

At night, before getting up to play at being Noggin the next day, I used to dream that I was Noggin in his leather winged flying ship, sailing above the lands of the North, playing out my saga, doing great deeds, and married to Nooka my Eskimo princess.

I played and dreamt of being Noggin for so long that I’m sure that I must have almost become him. Who knows, perhaps for a while I did; protecting the cold and frozen North from dragons and ogres and Nogbad the bad.

Today is 11.1.11, a Norse numeral of a day, but I don’t really need a reason to write about Noggin the Nog. Noggin, King of the Northmen is reason enough.

I wish I were him still, living the Sagas of Noggin the Nog, King of the Nogs and the People of the Northlands. I’d jump in my flying boat and sail away into the frozen distance never to return.


  1. I'm going to get a blog ready for the 11.11.11 at 11.11am or 20.11.2011 at 20.11 don't know what yet

  2. Oliver Postgate's autobiography "Seeing Things" was one of the most uplifting life stories that I ever read. He was a lifelong pacifist and was a conscientious objector in WW2, and was imprisoned for it and made most of those beautiful, gentle, classic little films in his garden shed. Listening to the audiobook version, which he read himself in what was an unforgettable voice for a generation as he narrated many of the films himself, is one of the warmest ways to pass an afternoon I can think of. Fascinating man, fascinating life.

  3. Thanks Martin - I may take a look at that.

  4. Alan Spende e-mailed.
    Like it! I have Viking blood in me and I like egg nog.

  5. Kevin Burke commented on Facebook:
    "Andy excellent blog. Loved it"

  6. Hi, I loved Noggin the Nog and grew up with him too!!
    thought you might like my viking inspired machinima film
    The Helmsman; Blessed Be ~