Thursday, 30 April 2009

Happy Birthday

...To my youngest granddaughter, who achieves the grand old age of SIX today! But she won't be reading this - far too busy playing with her sister and cousins, once school has finished for the day! But I know I've hung out the flags in Blogland, even if she doesn't, so that's ok. I gave her money so that she could go shopping for something she really takes a shine to when Mum lets her loose in the toy shop - or clothes shop - or accessories shop; I shall look forward to hearing all about it later!

When the girls were here the other weekend, she had pleaded for more of the cut out paper dolls I'd made for her before, but managed to ask only when it was nearly time to leave (delaying tactics, perhaps?) So I knew exactly what to make on her birthday card - paper dollies to dance all around (minus twinkling lights) - plus a row of little love hearts. I left the dollies white, so she'll be able to jazz them up to her heart's content. Hope she likes them...

Here I'm giving up for today, as either Blogger, my computer, the keyboard or the Internet has produced an extremely annoying hiccup. I'm happily typing away, and when I look at the screen, the cursor is static and the last string of words is non existent - and no, it's not my caps lock. I'm retreating to a darkened room to tear some hair out, and hope it's all back to normal tomorrow - the computer, and the hair, should I manage to actually get hold of any! Or find any to get hold of, do I mean? It is getting sparse, just like the number of words I can type before the screen seizes up yet again. I'm disgust...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Work In Progress

Can't decide whether these lines make a whole, so no title - perhaps one of you kind souls will find one for me? Maybe they are three separate things all together... comments needed! And punctuation...

clouds scud overhead
shadows trailing far below
mimic movements

from passing image
calligraphic reflections
trace words on paper

transient picture
encapsulated in time
beneath poet's pen

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Association Of Ideas

Having a jumble of words and pictures in mind today (as usual), I've decided to to pull these particular images out for closer inspection: Christmas: rain: sun - and finally, a couple of not-so-angelic angels - my granddaughters.

On 27 December 2008, on only my second go at Blogging (ever), I posted a poem which the girls had sparked last time I went to stay with them. They have a girlie-girl love of shoes, young as they are, and every time I walked in or out of their hall, a wonderful array of footwear (duplicated in each case) greeted my eyes. The perfect subject for a poem. No comments were ever left on that post, so my words have floated around cyberspace, ignore, unloved, unread to all intents and purposes.

Apologies to any who may have read them before, but not commented. I'm putting them forward again, as I still think they're rather fun - like my granddaughters, really!

My Shoes

For sunny days
I've sandals
with flowers on the toes.
I think one is a daisy
and the other is a rose.

For chilly days
I've pink boots
with fur around the top,
and four, big fluffy pom-poms
that go ker-flip, ker-flop.

For stormy days
I've wellingtons
to wear out in the rain
and jump in lots of puddles,
then jump in then again.

But when It's dark
and time for bed,
the slippers on my feet
have many tiny, twinkling lights,
so I dance, instead of sleep!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Wet, Wet, Wet!

Apologies to the group of the same name, but these are simply the only words that may be used as a title today. The window was beaded with rain when I woke up, and despite my waiting for clear skies and inspiration, neither were forthcoming. I wondered how I could capture in words the tramlines of rain that streaked the glass at regular intervals, as smaller drops clubbed together to give themselves momentum, while smaller 'passengers' stood aside patiently watching their larger companions rush to the bottom of the window.

- tuppa - tat - PLOP
Gentle raindrop percussion,
a wet day tattoo

Here my train of thought was totally wrecked, as my 'phone rang. A friend of mine was nearby, and wondered if I was 'at home'. She's over here for a few days - from Cyprus, no less - and rather than reply to my last letter, she decided to call in person! What a lovely surprise! But it does mean blogging will now come to a grinding halt for the day.
Now my unexpected visitor has left, my grocery shopping has been delivered and I need to unpack the bags and restore order to my kitchen, so see you all tomorrow, Bloglanders...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Angelic Explanation

I thought today I'd give the round-a-bout reasons for the poem I posted yesterday. They were, in no particular order: sunshine: hum of computer: card making: Christmas: workplaces: anglepoise lamps and paper sculpture. Did I not warn you? Perhaps convoluted would have been a better word.

I first became interested in card making when we were given a holiday project asking us to produce one by the start of the next term. I was still a pupil at my first school, a private one from which I sat the eleven plus exam, before going on to grammar school. I used scraps of white lace, pink crayons and silver glitter to produce the card, destined, I seem to remember, for Mother's Day.

From that point on, I was card maker-in-chief, especially at Christmas time. Mum was only too pleased to hand over what she considered 'a bit of a chore' - writing cards - when there were so many other things to do. One year, I created little angelic beings on all of them, topping off with bits of my own, curly hair. They were simplistic shapes, not much more than a triangle with a small circle at the apex for a head, but effective, if I say so myself.

Time came, I got even more into crafting, and made tiny, paper sculpture, Nativity figures that took pride of place in the two little alcoves either side of the rather grand mantelpiece in our living room. Once again, basic cone shapes that would stand on their own, created from clever cutting of a circle which evolved into body, arms and head, all from the one shape, still looking like a triangle with a head at the apex, similar to my 'angels'.

Eventually old enough to work, and what did I find among the Christmas decorations on sale in a shop one day, but a tiny, silver angel: cone shaped body, polystyrene ball head, silver wire halo and fine, tinsel ruff, all suspended from a silver thread. I 'adopted' her at once. She became my Lulu Angel, and lived on my anglepoise lamp-arm, dangling happily near me for years.

When I left work, after marrying and eventually expecting baby no. 1, Lulu Angel left with me, and continued to dangled from the shade of our standard lamp. She had become part of my world, an old friend.

More years passed. Even Lulu Angels eventually disintegrate, as threads fray, cardboard yellows, silver tarnishes. Time arrived for her to join her angelic friends, but she lived on in my memory.

But now our children were grown, going back to work became a reality, not merely a possibility. The large, bright office I joined in Chichester was ideally situated for lunch time browsing in nearby shops, which as Christmas approached, blossomed with festive wares. One day, in an establishment delightfully named 'Soupcon' ( sorry, no cedilla under the 'c'), a flash of gold met my eyes. Could it be? Yes - it looked like it! Lulu Angel, gleaming in the shop lights: same shape: same size: almost a resurrection of the original, but long lasting brass! I couldn't wait to take her with me!

In the seventeen and a half years I spent working for the IRS, as it used to be called, the offices were re-vamped and remodelled, humming computers became the norm, rather than the exception, and bosses came and went. One of the line managers who came my way, initially gave me many hassles. I think it was really because we were very much alike, but it caused me much unhappiness for a while. However, I persevered with being the friendly, helpful being I am by nature, and things eventually got to the point where we understood each other, appreciating our similarities as well as our differences, and peace reigned.

The office sprouted Christmas trees every year, of all shapes and sizes, and Lulu Angel II did sterling service atop many of the smaller ones, including one belonging to my erstwhile, hassle making line manager. So when I left, I 'bequeathed' Lulu Angel II to her, to show no hard feelings! It was fair exchange for the hug and bunch of flowers she gave me, and worth it to show how much learning and growing we'd manage to do that brought us to this point.

So it was motes in the sunshine yesterday that reminded me how they used to drift by my Lulu Angel as she stood patiently on the base of my work computer, and prompted me to let you read this poem - even though Christmas is far away, in either direction. I told you the story was round-a- bout.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Seeing Things?

The Vision

In front of my computer
a golden angel stands,
as bold as brass
she shows her metal,
I'd have you understand.
A scalloped skirt
with patterned lace:
a halo round her head:
a music book before her
just waiting to be read.

Patiently she stands there,
although she doesn't sing.
She glistens in the sunlight,
her golden feathered wings
reaching up behind her
in an aerial display.

A tiny, brass, tree ornament,
she waits for Christmas day.

Friday, 24 April 2009


Isn't it amazing, the tiny things that will trigger a mind to start writing a post? They can be so convoluted - at least, if you are as odd as me.

No.1 daughter only teaches three days a week, so yesterday we could indulge in a gossipy phone call, as she related the joys of a morning's shopping in Ikea. I listened to her enthuse over several items she'd found for her 'present drawer', a stockpile of ready-to-give gifts, collected at leisure and designed to make last minute, frantic searches a thing of the past. Then she started telling me about some bags of stones she'd bought for some school project or other.

"I got some this size, Ma (shakeshake, rattly-shush) and another lot this big (clankclank rolly-clatter). See the difference?" she asked. At this point, we both burst out laughing! Who else would ask me if I could 'see' the difference over a 'phone, and who else would have been able to do it?! (Well, apart from No.1 son who was part and parcel of the same mad growing up surroundings as his sister.)

It was perfectly plain to see, inside my mind, the variation in size that matched the variation in sound as my ears translated the shaking of the stones into pictures.

So as I sat at the keyboard just now, after sorting the morning emails, and began wondering what a I'd write about, the sound-picture of those pebbles gave me my subject - as well as today's poem.

Pebble Paradise

Stones on a beach, glowing wet;
muted colours the shades of nature, yet
gleaming like jewels in the salt laden air.
Rich, crunching carpet spread at your feet,
reflecting bright shafts of the sunshine's glare
in seawater droplets soon to dry in the heat.

Children gather the pebbles with shouts of glee
at the brilliant colours they think they see -
though the lustre is fleeting; colours soon dim
as they dry, salt coated stones picked up on a whim.

But then, like a miracle, the dullest small stone
in the hands of a craftsman can come into its own.
When tumbled and polished its secret unfolds
to delight us once more with the beauty it holds.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

End Of The Road For All Dandelions

First of all, I hope you all had a good laugh at my expense yesterday (cheaper than Pizza Hut!), and didn't go away with the mistaken idea that Tessa is in my bad books! On the contrary, she's a lovely lady, well worth getting acquainted with if you aren't already. Her beautiful paintings will brighten up your darkest day just as her writing will brighten up your mind and heart.

Now, back to the title. Sadly I haven't just invented an extermination incantation to deal with the little yellow peril, but as it has featured in so many blogs recently, I couldn't let the opportunity pass to ponder once again on its inevitable end - a dandelion clock-cum time bomb... It really is one of the most beautiful spectacles Nature has ever created; spherical, fragile wisps forming their own globe of potential re-birth, but pale and insipid colour-wise. A huge contrast to the vivid acid yellow of its hey-day.

Last year, I invested in a true instrument of torture (for weeds only, may I add). Rather like an overgrown apple corer, the blade on the end of the long, red pole, circles the weed as you push into the earth, then outer lugs lever the unwanted plant up, as a corkscrew removes a cork from the bottle. Providing the ground isn't too rock hard, its a wonderful method of clearing the lawn of weeds, with no back-breaking, stooping required.

But no matter how many dandelions are executed in this way, there will always be some that make it to their 'End Of Their Road' - and turn into those seed laden, life-cycle conclusions.
One grey dawn, I spotted a group of them on the grass verge at the end of my road, as I made my way to work, and the following lines were born by the time I'd walked to the station and caught the train. Once in the office I put them down on paper, little thinking that I'd be broadcasting them around Blogland one day, even as the plants broadcast their seeds around Havant...

Fruition, Perhaps

Ghost-grey puffball heads
of seeding dandelions
shed their multitudinous progeny
to ride the winds of chance
in life's uncertain lottery.

So a poet's multifarious words
float at the mercy of other minds,
perhaps to take root and yield
an unexpected harvest
in some far flung, fallow field
of uncultivated poesy.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A Tag,Tessa? A TAG??!!

Groans of horror and disgust - though it took An Aerial Armadillo to flaunt her red cape at me (c.f. bullfighting jargon) enough to make me want to put down horns and charge... At her, or it - not sure which.

Tags are as bad, if not worse, than awards. Umpteen questions waiting to be answered like an exam paper? Not Pygmalion likely. See, I've already answered the first question, in a back handed way - current obsessions! Can I not indulge in an anti-tag obsession as good as any Suldog or maybe Chairman Bill could invent?

I sit here, listening to the distant barking of an extremely yappy, annoying dog drowning out the quiet hum of my computer, and the rattling of it's keys beneath my fingers. Trusty Birkenstocks adorn my feet, as I re-read my words to see how many typo's I can spot, before I give in and click the ABC button. I've already held forth on Springtime's cherry blossom, cowslips, violets and dandelions in recent posts, so Tessa must forgive me for not naming another 'flower of the moment' in answer to yet another of those dratted questions.

I take a guilty, tongue-in-cheek pleasure from playing the grouch, you see; this is quite apart from the sinful pleasure of eating a dish of profiteroles oozing cream and chocolate sauce when my daughter, her daughters and little (ha ha?) old me visited Pizza Hut this weekend. This is the kind of 'holiday' I like best - a complete, spur of the moment, out of the ordinary (for me, anyway) activity. We hadn't planned such an outing, but as the girls had differing ideas of what would or would not be acceptable meal time fodder, I saved the arguments and washing up by letting the moths out of my purse and offering to treat us at the establishment that would cater for their pizza pash, while allowing their mum and I to savour a sedate salad. Followed by those anything-but-sedate profiteroles...

I don't plan on repeating such a holiday in the near future, as it will take time for the purse moths to recover from the outing first, not to mention my piggy bank. Until somebody perfects the technique of 'beam me up Scotty' travel, I am perfectly content to stay at home and let my mind do the wandering. Which it does, all over the place, as you may have noticed if you've ready many of my posts.

So I'm a jeans wearing, batty old git who laughs at herself probably as much as other people do, never knowing which piece of idiocy will next reduce me to the snorting stage, topic also covered previously in discussions with Gumbo Writer and Sweet Mango, if my memory serves me correctly.

If you want to see the list of questions which prompted this outburst, I suggest you go visit Tessa, after which, you will see I've mostly answered them all, despite ignoring boring list format. Feel free to quiz me further, should you feel cheated by this. But be warned, any mention of Tags, Awards etc, is likely to set me off again...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Swing High, Swing Low

That's like the tides life, high one minute, low the next; but in this case my subject matter concerns swings of the swings-and-roundabouts variety, children's playthings. I remember we bought a tiny, indoor one for No. 1 daughter when she was toddler.

She took her first three steps at just eleven months old. By the end of that week there was no stopping her; arms held sideways a little for balance to begin with, like a circus performer on the high wire, but very soon confident enough to career around as if she'd been doing it all her life.

By about eighteen months, the blue, tubular framed swing became a favourite of hers, once she'd learned the knack of holding the ropes to steady the seat, which adapted from a bucket seat with a cross bar for very young occupants, to a slightly more grown up version.

Before too many years elapsed, her enthusiasm for this swinging lark had the blue frame 'walking' across the carpet, and eventually we got a proper garden swing set up on the grass outside, while No. 1 son put in his appearance and made good use of the baby one indoors.

By the time he was about four, his favourite method of swinging on the outdoor one was tummy on seat, head and feet precariously dangling on either side, while fingers-crossed-Ma watched, uttering silent prayers for his continued safety. No. 1 daughter was more inclined to simply swing, although not above twiddling round and round to twist the chains occasionally, in order to make her own variety of whirlygig ride as she finally picked her feet up off the ground.

The children grew older and taller; the chains grew rustier and the swing more rickety, until it became virtually ignored, an accepted part of the garden scene, unremarkable. Which prompted me one day to write the following poem:-

Playground Ghost

An empty swing sways in the wind
rust covering ancient supports,
moss beginning to grow along edges
of bleached, wooden seat.

The ghost of forgotten childhood
plays its solitary game of hide and seek
with memory which dances in imagination -
but who can say if imagination dreams
of things past, or future?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

It's already close to two weeks since I turned into one of those formidable 'Ladies Who Lunch' - just for a day - don't begin to imagine I could keep it up for longer! One of my erstwhile work buddies scooped me up in her shiny new silver coloured car and whisked me away to Stansted. Not the airport, in case you're wondering, but Stansted Park's 'Pavilion Tea Room', in a 'Walled Garden' no less. Apart from Tea Room being a bit of a mis-nomer, as we were having lunch, the place is great.

The surroundings are everything you would imagine from such a elegant name. Stansted Park is set in 1800 acres of ancient beech forest which, in1983, was gifted to the public by the Earl of Bessborough, together with the arboretum and the family home, Stansted House. There is now a garden centre and a light railway to add to the attractions of the park, and as a whole it offers a wonderful venue for weddings, corporate events or simply a family day out.

From the car park, you turn left through an arched doorway into the walled garden which is dotted with ornate, white wrought-iron tables and chairs, already scattered with people on the sunny morning we were there. Then it's left again into the Pavilion. This is a semi-circular, glorified conservatory, for want of a better description, all high domed glass in delicate white framework - probably UPVC clad aluminium if you inspect it closely - but very elegant.

There are palm-like potted plants near the columns that support the roof, and tables and chairs are strategically place so's not to make you feel hemmed in as you walk between them; chairs with pseudo woven-cane seats in a wonderful caramel colour and with black, rounded backs reminiscent of bent cane chairs ( but sadly, also plastic) give the whole place a palm court atmosphere, further enhanced by the black-an-white checkerboard floor.

The solitary waitress dressed in black, is a mature lady, with sensible, flat lace-up shoes. Her slightly less-than-sprightly walk gives the nod that the shoes are for comfort, not safety. She seems to cope well with being in sole charge of serving, for diners go to the counter to place their orders and pay, leaving her free to distribute the plates of food as they are ready to serve.
The food is delicious, everything home grown and home made on the premises.

But it was the clientele, whose diversity gave food for thought, that made up my most enjoyable course!

Four of the Ladies Who Lunch at the next table had shades of grey-to-silver hair, but the fifth one had obvious spent a fortune at a salon to camouflage her locks with a not-totally- believable, pale umber - just a little too perfect; the last was young enough to still sport her own dark brown hair, with no more than a slight, reddish rinse. She looked a typical spinster (judging by her ringless hands), quieter than her friends, and arty enough to want to go and inspect the metal wall sculptures more closely through her black rimmed spectacles. Her companions were wearing variations of red, white, navy blue or cobalt clothes but she had a plain brown V-neck jumper and black trousers that pushed her even higher on the anonymity scale.

Left of their table sat a family group of Granny, Mummy and two well behaved pre-school children, obviously out on a special treat, while slightly further behind them to their left, were two gentlemen in business suits, that my lunch companion had pointed out as a couple of undertakers, as they'd walked into the room.

'How on earth do you know that?' I'd asked her, wondering whether she'd suddenly acquired second sight. 'I've been to a lot of funerals this year!' came her prosaic reply. Guess it must have been their lunch break....Even undertakers have to eat.

Opposite these two, on the other side of the room and to the right of the 'Six Ladies Who Lunch' , a deafening silence came from a couple who were obviously long time partners. Sir had his back to me, so I couldn't see his expression, but his gaze was riveted on a newspaper folded in half and spread over his place setting, as they waited for their food. Madam gazed disinterestedly around the room with eyes the colour of rainwater, her thin lipped, down turned mouth registering disapproval of the world at large, by the look of it. Her pale blue blouse added to her frosty aura. Once their food arrived, and the newspaper relegated to a coat pocket, they did actually talk sporadically to each other, so perhaps all was not lost.

They were in stark contrast to the couple immediately along side us, who kept up an animated exchange, with a lot of gesticulation on the part of the woman. I was sure I'd met her somewhere before, as she looked so familiar, but couldn't remember where. I hoped I'd be able to get her to turn aside long enough to say 'Hello!' and solve the mystery, but her attention was fixed steadfastly on her companion. Her eyes scarcely left his face the whole time we were there...must have been love!

We'd arrived at about noon, as my friend knew how busy the place got, and as time went on it was easy to see how right she'd been. Singly, in pairs or groups the diners kept coming, but somehow there always seemed to be enough room to accommodate everyone. Many of them would fall into a category I would label 'the beige brigade'. Have you ever notice how many OAP's of both sexes dress in drab tones? And my friend and I? We added a true splash of colour, her with scarlet jacket and myself in total contrast with brightest jade over an aqua top - you could have seen us coming from a mile away!

PS. Please don't imagine our conversation was sparse, just because my mind was registering all these details - our tongues had a great, non-stop work out - put it down to multi-tasking ability!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Haiku Never Come Singly

When I put pen to paper to tell Blogland at large that I was playing Granny, not jinksy, for a couple of days, I doodled a few lines on the A4 pad in front of me and they very soon shaped themselves into a useable form. But I seem to have a switch in my head that always wants more of the satisfying, 17 syllable rythm, so here are a couple more haiku that were born at the same time.

Small Can Be Loud

Shy violet blooms,
shouting royal purple notes
as fanfare for Spring.

(I didn't realise how apt this description would soon be for youngest granddaughter, whose voice ricochets round as she plays her imaginary games upstairs in her bedroom, while her sister, wearing bright, purple jeans that could outshine any violet, is still down here being sociable!)

Then a passing April shower was enough to call this next offering into existance:-

Bird Bath

Silver rain falling;
shallow stone bowl over-brims,
crying slow tear drops.

I hope such tiny offerings are enough to make your visits worthwhile...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Moment In Time

A Dandelion's Taunt

Can't catch me!
I'll be back in triplicate
before you get to contemplate
another day of weeding -
thanks to multiseeding
of my parachuting clock.
Huff!... one Puff!...two Blow!...three.

Friday, 17 April 2009

This Says It All


Grandaughters staying;
routine makes way for playtime,
a second childhood.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Colour Therapy

On a red day
I painted poppies:
ate sweet strawberries:
pricked my finger.

On a yellow day
I picked celandines:
nibbled toasted cheese:
danced with sunbeams.

On a blue day
I tossed a kite in the sky:
bought blueberry muffins:
floated in the ocean.

Then on a grey day
I watched clouds gather,
tasted raindrops,
saw pavements glisten

as an arched rainbow
gathered each colour
into its outstretched arms,
making this the best of days.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Rations Continue

I see my faithful followers are still trekking to my little corner of Blogland, bearing gifts of kind wishes. What a staunch bunch! Forgive me for not doing my usual, individual replies and thanks to each and every one of you, but take it as read ( what kind of pun is that?) my grateful vibes are winging through the ether with love 'n' hugs ( if you're a huggy sort of person who doesn't shy away from close contact of the huggy bear kind). Must admit, once upon a time, I was just such a don't-invade-my-space, toffee nose gal, but somewhere along the way, I've changed into a definite hugger - trees probably included.

My first Blogland stop today was the POTD on Authorblog ( always a good place to begin) and I sidetracked to read Fireblossom's 'Love Poem', mentioned therein. I'd have been tempted to call it alternative love poem, as it was primarily the loved and lost type. But not all love stories are necessarily happy ever after, as we probably all know only too well.

I remember going to a party in my teens, bubbling with joy that my companion for the evening was a boy I had an almighty crush on. The venue was a large house and garden about a twenty minute walk away from where I lived, and as it was summertime, the garden was as crowded as the inside.

Somewhen during the evening, as the Trad Jazz music from the house was turned down from deafening to a loud roar, I was waiting in the garden for my 'date' to bring out an iced drink, when one of our mutual friends came up to me, not for a simple exchange of party chat, but to give me fair warning that the boy I'd arrived with was now inside, chatting up another girl for all he was worth. I can still remember the churning insides and sense of betrayal. So Fireblossom's poem really struck a chord, and sent me ferreting around to find one of my similar outpourings.


Realisation of a new day unfolds.
As a flower involuntarily opens
to the heat of the sun,
so my mind opens to the warmth of love,

But this morning, that first sunburst
is overwhelmed by a blizzard of doubt
that follows in its wake
and grips my heart with ice.

A gaping crevasse is waiting to engulf
the avalanche of my dreams
as they tumble ever closer
to its insidious brink.

PS Have just discovered I have been awarded a slimy, Zombie Chichen eyeball by, appropriately enough, the God Of Another World. How fortuitous is that? Unfortunately there was no mention of the eye lid, which is the real culprit. Oh well, an extra eye is aways handy - maybe for the back of the head... If there are those amongst you would wish to acquire same, feel free to consider yourselves so endowed.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Just A Little, Not A Lot

I'm giving myself an almost impossible task, today; short rations. This doesn't mean my cupboard is bare and I have only a dry crust to look forward to, but that my challenge will be to allow myself only a short time on the computer.

I know the temptation will be to spend hours in front of the screen 'visiting' all and sundry - especially those who have called during my absence and left me cheery notes. You are all a wonderful bunch of Bloggy Buddies! But, although the itchy eyes are much improved by the dozy pills, the itchy eyelid is only marginally better - may need to consult Doc as to expected time span on that score...

Of course, the phrase 'short rations' may not mean the same to everyone. It shoots me back to wartime childhood, when Ration Books ruled the roost. Small enough to fit into a shirt pocket these wondrous inventions were full of coupons (not unlike Green Shield stamps, if you remember those) without which rationed goods could not be bought. As well as all kinds of foodstuffs, coupons were needed for clothing and footwear, but my recollections are hazy because I was too young to fully grasp how they affected every part of daily life. I do remember a great amount of plotting to get enough coupons to by me a coat one time!

I've rather backed myself into a corner with that unintentional backward look at wartime Britain. I have no inclination to produce a poem on such a sombre subject, and the dozy pills have slowed my usually agile, grasshopper mind from finding a link to any other subject, even remotely connected. Therefore, this is my scant offering for today, with apologies once again for absence!

Saturday, 11 April 2009


Many thanks to one and all
for kind words you have left;
without my daily blogging
I feel totally bereft.
But tablets make me dozy
and ointment makes eyes blur
the writing on the PC screen,
so leaves me quite unsure
as to what it is I'm reading,
a sad and sorry state.
Until after Easter Holiday
that's all I can relate!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Disappearing Act

I'm going to do one for a few days, Blogpals. I've just been on a round trip to my local Doctor's Surgery, as my eyes and eyelids have become unbearably itchy, red and swollen (well, the lids, not the eyeballs!) and I think looking at a computer screen is not a happy thing to do! I have a wonderful selection of pills, ointment and eye drops to apply throughout the day, so I intend to go and minister to my needs. See you all as soon as I feel like me again... Happy Blogging! xxx

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Lunch Break

I've been out to lunch today, and it's turned into a bit of a marathon trek, as we then spent the best part of the afternoon pootling round the Sussex countryside. May write about it tomorrow, but will now simply leave you with a poem for the kiddywinks...

Easter Present

Mum talked on the telephone
to Auntie, yesterday.
'So, you're bringing us a present.'
I heard my Mummy say.

Now Easter Eggs are in the shops,
Aunt might bring one for me -
all choc'latey and wrapped in foil.
I can't wait till I see!

P'r'aps Auntie will bring with her
and Easter Rabbit treat,
up-standing on his chocolate legs,
just begging me to eat.

But wait - there's Auntie at the door -
and now she's in the hall
I can tell her Easter present
isn't chocolate at all!

She's brought a real live rabbit
inside a little hutch...
'Thank you, thank you Auntie!
Thank you very, very much!'

Monday, 6 April 2009

Poetic Thoughts

Not necessarily mine, may I quickly add. Yesterday afternoon on radio four, was a programme delightfully entitled Bookshop. As I tuned into it, I heard the tail end of a conversation the presenter was having with Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, in which they were discussing the meaning behind the last verse of a poem. Sadly, I can't say which poem this was, because my mind had been completely blown by hearing the poet admit he didn't really understand what he had written himself!

I was so astonished at this, that the rest of the talk receded into a bit of a blur, as I wondered what would be the point of writing anything down that didn't mean anything to you, yourself? After pondering this for some time, I focused on the broadcast again in time to hear Mr Motion say he only ever wrote poetry whilst sitting at his own desk at home.

Did he never get besieged by a string of words that had to be written instantly regardless of where, how or what on? How strange, I thought. Was this why he was Poet Laureate and I was nothing but a word struck female? I'd be interested to hear the views of the many Blogland scribes as to how and why they feel compelled to write poetry. What sparks their minds, and can they 'do it to order', or do they need inspiration before the words arrange themselves into a new poem? Come on people, bare you souls and tell auntie jinksy...(still in lowercase letters, please note, as I don't feel grand enough to use capitals)...

When I got a new scanner and printer some time back, I concentrated for days on getting some of my collected family snaps onto the computer. I still have masses of them to go, for I am a kind of 'family vault', keeping safe old, yellowing photos from long dead relatives. I find them fascinating, even when there is no record of who the fading images depict, or the dates of their births and deaths. The historical significance, of their costumes alone, is a joy in itself.

But there is always a limit to the time I can spend away from writing. It exerts a pull like a magnet to iron filings, and sooner or later I have to give in and let the particles of my being dance to its invisible calling.

The Call

The pen lies quiet,
does not impinge
on consciousness.
Instead, bright screen
images beguile.

Beckoning keyboard
draws restless fingers
to its silken squares.

Information overloads,
as Internet ensnares
an enquiring mind, leaves
little time for creativity
until flatbed scanner
joins both worlds
in a faded image flurry.

Once restored,
old snapshots call forth
long forgotten stories
from recesses of memory
and the pen calls loudly
Write, write, write!"

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Pennies From Heaven?

You may find this hard to believe, but I am a guardian angel. A fully paid up member of U A W (Universal Angelic Workers, for those of you not already enlightened). Not the best credited of occupations, you understand. Those winged souls who play harps all day have a union that really looks after their credit interest. I should explain, heavenly credits are like money, only more intangible, you might say. But I mustn't grumble, for I do have the reward of seeing results when I've done a good job.

Although... I shouldn't gossip, but I'm sure you will be the soul of discretion and keep this under your halo... It hasn't been all sweetness and light for me; I've had my share of problems with my latest assignment. Why don't we make ourselves at home on this little hillock, and I'll tell you something about her?

This particular work project began more years ago than I care to remember, but I think I could say we understand each other a bit better now. She gets the messages quicker, because she's gradually realised I exist, you see. Always a big help, that. Makes life less of a battle of wills.

My task, as allocated at her birth ( touch of the fairy godmother there somewhere, although I take personal exception to either word) , was to make this scrap of humanity aware of the needs of others. She'd been rather naughty in the life before, a mite selfish, and this was her chance to redress the balance.

It wasn't too difficult in the early years; other humans round her did most of the groundwork for me, being the kind of people you'd expect in a large, loving, caring family with little money. An 'all for one and one for all' attitude comes to be second nature in those circumstances, if their hearts (or their guardian angels) are in the right place. Looking back, I may have been over enthusiastic at some point. My small charge did seem a little too soft hearted for her own good at times. Anyhow, we muddled through the first eighteen years or so, with only an occasional nudge from myself , if she seemed to be slipping. On the whole, the system appeared to work quite well, until...
Oh, dear! I nearly put the cart before the horse then, and told the end of the story before the beginning. Let me try again...

By the time she was at college, she'd already come to realise there was more to life than meets the eye. The rest of the picture is engraved on my memory with horrible clarity, eyes or no eyes. After a perfectly ordinary morning's work on the particular winter's day in question, my charge was waiting for a bus to take her home for lunch. Here I need to set the scene.

Place: Bus stop near the corner of a busy road in the town centre.
Time: Noon, or shortly after.
Scene of action: Platform of lumbering, red, double decker bus, approaching right on schedule.

The long queue of traffic eventually let the bus halt near the stop. My charge waited for a solitary, old lady passenger to climb awkwardly down from the high step, hampered by a large shopping bag.

Able to climb aboard at last, she welcomed the blast of warm air that greeted her. For once, there was no conductor to push past on the tiny platform. 'Good', I heard her think. 'My bag always seems to catch on his clumsy ticket machine at the most inappropriate moments'. She stepped up into the main gangway; 'Hey! What's that?' she muttered under her breath. I saw her pick up a leather purse from the centre of the aisle. 'Oh, no!' was her next thought.'It must belong to that old lady...and it feels full up, too!'

At this point I need to explain something for the benefit of younger generations. All these events occurred before the days of decimalisation, so every coin, literally, far outweighed its present day counterpart. Twelve pence alone would have seriously damaged a pocket lining. Add to that a half-a-crown, a few chunky thrupenny bits, a selection of ha'pennies and the odd sixpence or two, and the weight could really mount up. So it was no surprise the purse felt heavy.

But back to the story, where things were becoming more than a little muddled.

The conductor was still upstairs, therefore not a witness, as my charge, having concluded the last passenger to alight must be the owner of the dropped receptacle, threw down her bag, clasped the purse in her hand and rushed onto the platform, full of good intentions. She was just in time to see the old lady standing on the edge of the pavement, peering distractedly into her bag, obviously searching for something in its depths.

I tried to send the message 'Ring the bell to stop the bus!' but it was one time when telepathy failed. As a last resort, I 'nudged'...thus making the worst mistake of my entire career. The 'nudge' was interpreted as 'Throw!'

Unfortunately, ball skills were not included in my early teaching curriculum, and my charge had abysmal co-ordination in that field. The heavy purse sailed through the air in a graceful parabola...only to make contact with a sickening 'thud' on the side of the poor, unsuspecting woman's head. Admittedly, the bus starting up and gathering momentum as it turned right immediately it drew away didn't help, but I ask you, did I nudge her to throw it at the old dear's skull?

Being a guardian angel does limit one's faculties rather, so I'm afraid neither of us ever knew whether the astonished old lady survived the impact. The bus was round the corner and the victim out of sight before you could say 'Holy Moses!' The memory will weigh on my conscience for all eternity, not to mention my charge's. She spent the rest of the journey home battling with a great urge to dissolve into fits of hysterical, angst ridden laughter. Luckily, remorse outweighed the compulsion.

I've given a lot of thought since then to the origin of the expression 'pennies from heaven'.

To add to the whole nightmare recollection of this particular occasion, I can't help wondering, did the purse truly belong to the poor old soul anyway? Ironically, it was nearly Christmas, the time for giving gifts. And my charge's name? Why, Penny, of course!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

April Showers

The sun appeared to be having a weekend away. I awoke to the sound of raindrops plopping on the plastic ledge of the ancient, double glazed window in my bedroom. Enough to make me want to keep the curtains closed against the greyness of a wet day.

By the time I'd created my own indoor downpour in the shower, and got as far as the kitchen with wet hair adding to the illusion I'd been out in the rain myself, walking past that window were the huddled figures of two of my neighbours, umbrella aloft and shopping bags in evidence, trudging off to the supermarket, a picture of despondency.

Once in front of my computer, the whole of the outside world disappears. The vertical blinds that are tilted to obscure the forlorn sight of a soggy patio, mean that I am surprised, when I finally go back into the kitchen, to see a watery sun apologising for its absence earlier on. It had obviously been no more than an April shower, perfect title for a post, and a good way to lead into the next bit of poetic reminiscence.

I was lucky enough to be on Flexi Time, at work, so I'd occasionally have enough credit to leave at three o'clock, and avoid the hoards of schoolchildren that swamped the trains half an hour later. The journey home could become enjoyable, when taken in relative solitude. Some trains would complete it fairly quickly, only slowing down slightly if level crossing lights were against us, and not actually stopping more than once at a 'proper' station. Other trains, of the old slam door variety, would chugg along leisurely, stopping at every tiny halt, giving me plenty of time to view the scenery along the way.

Station names like Southbourne, Nutbourne, Fishbourne will maybe give you an idea of the small scale of this particular stretch of railway track. Beyond the narrow concrete platforms, the banks dipped down to farmlands, for the most part, with only occasional gardens of houses adjacent to the line. The following lines were written after a particularly long wait by one of those farmland vistas, on a typical rain and shine day, coming home from work.

Nature's Stage

April shower, rain cloud afternoon,
a blue-grey purple backdrop
to silhouette of slender tree trunks;
like moss covered cage bars,
they keep water laden, leaden skies at bay.

Between their vertical forms,
apple-pip shapes of yellow-green leaf buds,
in vivid sunshine spotlight,
form a waving audience
applauding the country scene before them.

At centre stage,
earth and sky merge in grey, blanketing rain,
as sunbeams dance a ring-a-roses roundelay,
holding sun and rain in precarious balance
like laughter and tears in small, excited child.

Friday, 3 April 2009

In Holiday Mood

Last Saturday, at the end of my daily dose of Blogwaffling, I wrote out a poem called Night Flight. What I didn't mention, was where the destination of the plane had been, all those years ago when it first saw the light of day. Gibraltar.

I first went there at the tender age of seventeen, to visit my cousin and her family, and that was where I met the man I would eventually marry when I was twenty three. Gibraltar was an intriguing place, managing to be British and Foreign at the same time, and I defy anyone on holiday there in those days not to fall in love with it. What it's like today, of course, I have no idea.

By the time I reached the grand old age of twenty one, cousin and family were back home in England, but future hubby was still out there, and arranged for me to stay with friends of his when I was given a ticket to fly out for another visit as a special birthday gift.

There were still many English families living 'on the Rock', as the phrase went, whom I'd met on my fist visit, and trips across the border into Spain were all part of the fun. One weekend we stayed at a particularly lovely small hotel, built around pretty gardens complete with a swimming pool and today's poem gives you and idea of that sunny holiday.

Spanish Idyll

April, but warmth that belies the name Spring
comes from the sunshine that lights everything.
So the scene of that holiday's magically set
with sights, sounds, sensations
I'll never forget.

A small, shy turtle swims by in the pool,
glad to dive down to the depths
of the cool, green blue waters
and lie there at ease in dappled seclusion
beneath the tall trees.

Straight conifers border the road to the beach,
scenting the noon air. Their great branches reach
towards blue sky and sun, and give shade
to the carpeted, needle-strewn
path they have made.

Emerging stars at the onset of night
set the dark heavens ablaze with their light,
as cicadas and crickets supply
an orchestral backing
to night's lullaby.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Ear, Hear!

The double entendre of the sound of these two words is not lost upon me, but was not the reason I chose them as a title. When we are lucky enough to be born with normal hearing, we so take it for granted, that we don't give much thought to the way our ears are on non-stop duty.

Yesterday, all I intended to do in Havant was post a letter, buy more stamps and try to find a chemist that stocked the kind of razor that holds the ever more scarce, double sided blades. And no, I haven't started shaving my chin! I wanted to shave some particularly bobbly, poly cotton garments; in particular an almost new, knit fabric nightie, that after a couple of wearings had begun to develop those tiny, annoying blobs created by friction with every twist and turn amongst the bedclothes. Truly, they are almost too small for the eyes to notice, but the fingers tell a different story, and the slight roughness they create makes me cringe.
Using one of these razors, I've discovered, brings the fabric back to pristine smoothness in next to no time. I thought shopping for this article might take a long time, as disposable razors are the norm, but to my surprise, the chemist had one lone, left-over razor, reduced to 61p - a bargain!

My shopping was done in a flash. It was too nice to simply head back home- blue sky, sunny, light breeze - and I decided to literally 'watch the world go by', and I parked myself on one of the wooden seats that stand back to back in a strung out line through the centre of the precinct.

I had the intention of watching, with maybe the possibility of a poem surfacing as a result, but gradually I realised it was listening I was most intrigued by. Most footsteps of the passers by were muffled by latest shoe technology, i.e. soft soles, but once in a while the stomp of a dressy pair of heels punctuated the quieter sounds of casual shoes or trainers.

Many people passed singly, maybe a slight cough or sniff marking their individual silence; others, in companionable duos, held desultory conversations, while some more animated couples nodded and laughed, deep in relating some incident, one to the other.

Every size and shape of pushchair, or buggy as they are called today, rattled or creaked or slipped silently by, depending on age, plus mood of the one pushing. A frowning Mum, with at a handle-holding, second offspring created twice as much noise as that of an obviously new Mum, pushing her tiny offspring in a gleaming white and chrome concoction.

Snippets of disjointed conversations plopped out of the air as people drew level with my bench.

'We'll have to phone up and find out..'

'Never! I don't believe...'

'I've got to get some money out to pay me Mum...'

Behind my seat, a pigeon's deep throated 'Vroo-croo' softly interjected punctuation marks from time to time, while a muted rumble of traffic on the busy road at the end of the precinct added its distant monotone.

Suddenly, the high treble of a very young voice rang back from the walls of the buildings on each side, much clearer than the adult voices in their lower registers.
'Mum.... Mum.................Mum! Where are we going now?' No answer. Mum was far too busy pushing her double-width buggy, alongside her friend who was similarly encumbered. The women nodded and talked to each other, their long hair swinging around their nearly touching shoulders, as they leaned inward, deep in conversation, totally ignoring the question from bored offspring.

Once I'd processed as much information as I thought I'd need from the sauntering public, I started on my homeward journey. At the drop off point outside St Faiths Church, a car had its motor purring; then the metallic opening click, followed by the louder, closing clunk of one of its doors added to my sound picture. A small white van, unloading flowers, chimed in with a sliding side panel being rasped shut, while another car did a staccato toot on it's horn as it turned at the corner ahead.

My own feet make no sound on the uneven pavements as I turn down alongside the church, but there is a snip, snip, snip of shears coming from amongst the old gravestones, as grass edges are trimmed, somewhere out of sight. The closer I get to home, the quieter it becomes, until a motorbike's hurtling roar momentarily shatters the silence. As the air is disturbed by its passing, I become aware that the wind is curling past the curlicues of my ears, and adding its own gentle hushing, only now audible as the town center sounds recede. A lady bangs her spade edge on a concrete surface, one loud, metallic clang; a far off strimmer is like a dentist drill, whining up and down as intensity varies.

Turning the final corner before home, there's my good neighbour vacuuming his car, adding his pennyworth to the morning's symphony of noise, but he silences it as I draw level, and the only sounds remaining are the birds in the trees and our two voices, as we greet each other with a cheery 'Hello!', then wind the morning up with a friendly chat. My ears have had a good workout.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Indecision (again)

Having spent the early part of the day wandering around sunny Havant, I'm tempted to 'blog all about it!' as a good, old fashioned newspaper seller may have shouted 'read all about it!' to tempt punters to buy his wares, but I want my mind to digest the day a little more before I spread my thoughts out.
The indecision has kept me mentally going round in circles - and we all know what that feels like, don't we? As the mood over the past few days has been child oriented, I shall continue in the same vein and see if tomorrow makes me feel more like an adult - but no promises...

A Dizzy Day

Of all the games that I could play,
I can't choose what to do.
I'm feeling rather funny
and a little mixed up, too.

I've been whirling round in circles
and now I'm in a spin.
I can't decide just who to be
'cause of the state I'm in.

Perhaps I'll be a builder
with a great big pile of bricks,
or a jolly, white faced circus clown
who's always full of tricks.

Perhaps I'll be an astronaut
who flies up to the moon,
or perhaps I'll play at floating
like a big, red, toy balloon.

I've been whirling round in circles
and now I'm in a spin.
I can't decide just who I am
'cause of the state I'm in !