Friday, 19 June 2009
Thursday, 18 June 2009
On the news yesterday, there was a whole family in the UK who have just been prosecuted for keeping over a hundred horses in squalor on their farm in Amersham, even to the point of allowing some of them to die of hunger and thirst in their disgusting stables, then simply leaving them to rot where they fell.
It is unbelievable that neighbours or visitors to the farm didn't call in the RSPCA before things got so bad. How many blinkered human beings looked the other way, instead of making a stand? Even younger members of that family were condoning the atrocious behaviour of their elders by their continued silence. The farmer and his wife had several grown up sons and daughters. They had to have been aware of their father's cruelty, yet they remained silent.
This same silence was being kept by all those people in America, who had to be aware of those poor moneys being treated like human babies ; owners of shops where the doting 'parents' spent a fortune on baby clothes; supermarkets where the check out girls oohed and aahed at the tiny creatures, but made no attempt to call in animal rescue organisations to investigate such abnormal behavior.
Has the world lost all sense of common decency? Hopefully, not Blogland. I urge everyone who reads this post to talk about these animal welfare issues, to bring them to the notice of as many people as possible; to keep a weather eye open for any similar instances of cruelty and to have the courage to make a noise about it, rather than remain silent.
The animals have no choice. They can't speak for themselves. We can speak on their behalf... please do.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
It was hard to believe any country would allow such goings on.
The first story, was of a young couple just setting out to buy their 'baby'. They drove hundreds of miles to pay around four thousand dollars for a tiny, two week old monkey, from a woman who obviously had a thriving business going. Her small, untidy house had an annex with several cages of breeding pairs of monkeys which supplied her with 'stock'. The cages were simple wire enclosures, like crates, and although their inmates were fed and watered, the cruelty of confinement didn't bear thinking about.
The new 'Daddy' had suffered a less than perfect childhood, and never wanted to have a child of his own, so in his early twenties he had a vasectomy. But he soon found he wanted the chance to lavish care and affection on a newborn, and persuaded his partner to go with the 'monkey baby' idea.
Once collected, 'Mummy' secreted the tiny bundle inside her coat, as they checked into a motel for the night. The feeding bottle they were using had a teat designed for a human baby, obviously, and the unfortunate primate had difficulty fitting it into its tiny mouth. It spent the night spread eagled on 'Daddy's' chest, clinging to his T-shirt for dear life.
The next couple were retired. It was the woman's second marriage, after the death of her original husband. They both spoke of 'our daughter' and fed the unfortunate creature, as far as I could see, with a diet of cakes, sugary snacks and lollipops. 'She doesn't like bananas', insisted 'Mama'.
Their wills made provision for the animal to be cared for after their demise - but with the diet they were giving it, I'd imagine it would never reach the 50 year life span it might have attained in the wild.
The third was a 'single parent'. Her own grown up children were no longer in contact with her, so her monkey baby was company, as well as surrogate daughter, now she was a widow. At least she
fed it a reasonable diet, but did spend a fortune on ridiculous, frilly garments she made it wear, changing them several times a day, as though it were a doll, a plaything. Which of course, to her it was.
The last couple had several monkeys, and they had the freedom of the house to wander in, with a large caged area to which they were banished occasionally for 'bad behavior'. They were only subjected to wearing garments when out in public, although nappies were used indoors - until the wearer decided they had enough, and removed the offending article...
With so many children in the world, crying out for love and attention, this misguided 'caring' leaves me speechless...
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
She posted several photos, and had people write 50 words about the one they chose. But then, once the answers were in place, she added a different twist. We were asked to use any of those words from the various answers, to construct a new poem of sorts. I thought this an intriguing exercise, and if you fancy a bit of fun, go read the 50 word answers, and make your own collage from their contents.
Thought I'd let you read my copy and paste job today, to see if you think it makes sense...
Life of Disaster
Far below the spreading sunlight it waits,
the curves are most painful, scrape and burn.
She's waiting, looking out the window
beyond blankets of dirt and canopied leaves -
the disaster my life has become.
Mesmerised by the stillness, I forget
the sunlight filtered through the trees.
Couldn't help but think about grandma,
drowned in memories, saying 'Hurry!'
(You can find Angie at http://angie-ledbetter.blogspot.com)
Monday, 15 June 2009
No, I'm a coward when it comes to Taxi Drivers. For many years, it has intrigued me how the price between A and B varies, not only between drivers working for the same firm, but also according to whether you are travelling from A to B, or B to A.
Does the road shrink and grow? Are the car tyres of different circumferences and the journey counted in revolutions to calculate price? Either of these theories could explain the discrepancy, but are each as unlikely as the other.
For the five minute ride from my house to the Health Centre, I was charged £2.80 this morning - a pretty average amount, though I have occasionally had a driver charge £2.70 for the same trip in the past few weeks.
The taxi firm I use has been part of the Havant scene since I moved here in 1964, and many of them are so used to me, they tell me where I live...
So the drill goes like this; I ring and book (usually a day in advance) when a Doc's appointment is coming up, and when it's over, and I leave the surgery clasping my bag of goodies to my chest, I give them a call from my mobile, and pretty soon, my chariot awaits - although, come to think of it, in those circumstances I do the 'awaiting' for the chariot. Be that as it may.
Because today, I emerged with a raincoat over one arm, a bulbous bag of goodies, a sheaf of forms and papers plus a hardback book purchased from the surgery which sells second hand ones in aid of a local hospice, using a mobile would have necessitated an extra special balancing act.
I chose the easy option, and used the phone in the vestibule which connects directly to another local cab company - no dialing, no money required. My overloaded left arm could continue balancing with no danger of an avalanche, while my right hand unhooked receiver and placed call. Fine.
Rival cab ( I think of them in this way, as my usual firm have been around longer) duly arrives and whisks me back to my front door. "That's £2.70, love, thank you" says he, as I try to make an elegant an exit as possible. He then begins waffling on about 'not asking passengers he picks up from the Health Centre whether they are Old Age Pensioners, or Disabled, as both options entitle them to reduced fares'. He, apparently, assumes obvious wrinklies will come under one or the other heading, and charges accordingly. OK - that's fine by me, and £2.70 is definitely better than OK. I give him £3.00. He makes absolutely no attempt to give me 30p change.
Coward that I am, I say nothing...
I certainly didn't say 'keep the change', and am left feeling cheated by him, and annoyed at myself. I now feel browbeaten, all over a measly 30p. Does this make me a miser? Or him a bully?
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Saturday, 13 June 2009
Lovely bunch you have found there though, I'm grateful for all the prayers.
Just one thing, last time I checked I was 38 not 39 !!! So be sure to tell sweetmango - should you decide to email her - if she's into distance healing she might miss me by a year!!! :-)
Firstly, its fame is apparently mostly confined to England, with only an occasional passing reference in American literature or media. The dish appears not to have spread to the British Empire countries either, possibly due to hotter climate, or simply different taste buds!
We therefore cooked him up a dish of lean bull-beef, with cabbage fry's...
Bubble, they call this dish, with squeak.
Bubble and Squeak, beef and cabbage fried together. It is so called from its bubbling and squeaking whilst over the fire.
In rhyming slang, Bubble and Squeak can mean Greek - no doubt a throw back to the first reference found. In 1968 Leila Berg in her book Risinghill:death of a comprehensive school, wrote:-
"Why do they call Greek children Bubbles? said Mr Colinides to me... Later, it dawned on me it was short for bubble-and-squeak rhyming slang.Rhymeswithplague-Brague has a lot to answer for...
Friday, 12 June 2009
Come to think of it, a couple of those would be a welcome round here. I could ask a small one to fly up into the corners of every room on a cobweb/spider hunt, and get them to flick their wings over the top of any dusty cupboards they met on the way.
Another, heftier, taller entity might like to tackle the outside jobs, hovering mid air to trim over-enthusiastic green and growing things with a shiny (golden, perhaps?) pair of secateurs he/she just happened to have amongst their folds of cloudy raiment. That would be after manhandling (would that apply to an angel?) a few pairs of curtains down and into the washing machine...
It's easy to see why the words 'spick and span' presented themselves to me as a suitable title for today. But then, naturally I had to hunt out their origins, as much as one may winkle out the truth of such things. This is what I found:-
The noun spick has various meanings, or rather it had various meanings, as it is now rarely used outside of spick and span. These include: a side of bacon, a floret of lavender, a nail or spike, a thatching spar.
Likewise span has, or did have, several meanings, including: the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger, a measure of butter, a fetter or chain, a chip of wood (as the Norse word spann-nyr).
If a poem should present itself on any of the aforementioned points before the sun is over the yardarm, or the roof top, I'll be back to share it...
Sorry it's a bit late...and not a lot...
Cleaners come and cleaners go,
but where they've been
we always know.
No speck of dust; house spick and span
thanks to elbow grease
and large dust-pan !
Thursday, 11 June 2009
I know in Blogland many people could hold their hands up to be counted among this band of less than happy campers, so I'm sure they will sympathise with him, too. Anyone who feels like joining with me in sending him some uplifting, healing energies, will be greatly appreciated, for I'm sure these have a power all their own.
Any hints or tips as to what a Mum can do in these circumstances, where 'popping in' to see him is not an option, I'd love to hear, especially from anyone with first hand experience. He has always been such a stalwart for others when they've been going through rough patches, that he deserves to have someone fight in his corner for a change!
Any gentlemen reading this post, may wish to retire at this point, before I make them blush.
In the good old tradition of buses (and problematical things!) never coming singly, I've come under the watchful eye of the medical world, too. Although I've pointed out to many health care bods on more than one occasion, that for me 50= menopause was a joke, a non-event. It never happened. Now they are sitting up and taking notice. I've been for blood tests and pelvic scan, and am booked in to see the doc next Monday at the wonderful time of 7.45am for results. As if this wasn't enough, yesterday comes the routine NHS letter about a follow up to the colonoscopy I had last July, when they removed a tiny polyp. Looks like everybody wants a piece of me at the same time.
I hope you will understand why I opted to write a bit of 'life in the raw' today, instead of resorting to ostrich mode, sticking head in sand and composing another laughable episode of poetic diarrhoea. Not that pelvic examinations aren't laughable, eh, ladies?!
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
I can hear one or two eyebrows being raised, though. Polemic? Is that related to pandemic?
For any wrinkled foreheads out there, here is the delightful offering found on Google:-
"...a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach..."
Don't you just love that 'in a nut shell' explanation? I can think of no greater fun than disputing just about any theory you care to mention. After all, bandying words about theories, gets everyone's grey cells up and running- if only round in circles. What exercise! And occasionally, you may even find another person's opinion brings you to a full stop, as you ponder its validity.
Of such stuff is learning made.
Pouty Lips, of Pouty Baby's Nonsense, had a eureka moment with the word 'lilt' it seems. It's all very well talking about the rhythm of words, but until the mind grasps what that really means, and where it comes from, the words remain no more than words. Pouty admits to reading some of my stuff out loud, and I love her for grasping the fact that it's exactly the way poetry should be experienced, rhyming or not.
I think I will simply send you away today, admonishing you to read out loud for a bit - doesn't really matter what - while you savour the usually un-noticed lilt of the words, letting each one roll of the tongue in delight.
I look forward to hearing any experiences this may have brought forth by tomorrow...
2.15 pm PS - had to add this:-
Pip, Polemic, Pacify,
Frugal, Frumpish, Fortify.
Astral, Ankh, Antimony,
Artful, Angst, Agrimony.
Words are fun, they've got potential
especially when experimental
combinations come to mind -
try some out, see what you find!
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
I've already mentioned a correspondence, poetry-writing course I've been working my way through. Among its notes, it advises one to try writing the words down as in an ordinary sentence. If this works, it's probably prose; if not, it's probably a poem. That's the only advice I've ever encountered on the subject. I tend to think, like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.
I did say, I was trying to write a 'word picture' with yesterday's lines. They did not simply flow from the pen. I spent quite some time endeavouring to pare down the number of words I used to a bare minimum; to use ones that would give the sharpest image of what I was trying to convey: no unnecessary 'the, and, a,' etc, added at every tiff and turn but serving no real purpose by their inclusion. Although there is no set rhythm, I did bear in mind the lilt of the words I wrote, not something I'm conscious of when setting out to write prose.
In complete contrast, here's a bit of fun that came to be on Sunday afternoon, complete with obligatory rhyme!
Who'd Be A Zookeeper?
worked at the zoo.
He loved all the animals -
'cept one - or two.
The first, a white cockatoo
had a strange habit.
He'd hop around Corky's cap,
just like a rabbit.
He'd bounce and he'd jump
while squawking out loud
'Wothcher, old Corky!'
to delight the crowd
who'd paid just to see
this unusual sight.
They'd loudly applaud him
with all of their might.
The second was Ellie,
a young, playful Jumbo,
who thought of McCorkerdale
as a right dumbo.
She'd fill her long trunk
from a pail full of water,
then squirt it at Corky
when she shouldn't aughter!
Monday, 8 June 2009
Despite any good intentions I had of returning to blogland to further amaze you with more tales of the unexpected, Sunday had other ideas. It lured me after lunch, to catch up on a few poetry related TV programmes I'd recorded during the week, and they started the cogs and wheels whirring in my mind.
Although I've not lived in Portsmouth since 1964, the picture of some of its more tightly packed areas has changed but little over the years. Houses in the small side roads face directly onto the pavements, and the only sign of change tends to be in the gradual increase of double glazing and UPVC front doors over the intervening years.
I decided to try and write a word picture about them. Here goes...
huddle row by row,
to grey pavements'
Two up, two down,
kitchen added out back,
bathroom tacked on
as an afterthought,
of outmoded privies
in minute gardens.
Parts of the old city
time and bombs forgot,
where life continues
Cars line narrow streets,
parked on side roads
never designed to hold
these effigies of wealth.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Will now go away to ponder the unintentional effects of my words on blogland, while I wash my hair. Once drip-dried, I shall no doubt be back to overload you with a few more...
Saturday, 6 June 2009
When I visit Auntie Kate,
she takes the biscuits from my plate.
When I visit Grandpa Jones,
he jokes that he might grind my bones!
she holds my hand and won't let go.
When I visit Cousin Dot,
she says' You'd fit my stewing- pot!'
When I visit Brother James,
he teases me and calls me names.
But if I visit Uncle Jack,
he says 'Be off! And don't come back!'
Friday, 5 June 2009
floats gently by;
fluffy, shape-shifting forms
encouraging dreams which end in
i """"" o
The form started life as a cinquain - five lines, with syllables for them being 2,4,6,8,2 - but my imagination wanted to play with the way the last line was printed and things went haywire....So much for creativity!
Thursday, 4 June 2009
If it's jigsaws under scrutiny, the 'for 'em' brigade will get the table cleared and the pieces spread around almost before the crumbs of the last meal have been swept away. The corners (or simply edges, as there are many fiendishly shaped jig-saws around these days) are quickly located and the hunt for matching textures or colours on the squiggly shaped cardboard pieces absorbs their mind completely from that moment on. Concentration rules. Woe betide any swift movement on the part of passers by that manages to waft a delicate piece to the floor...
This grumpy reaction is particularly noticeable if a group of mixed age is endeavouring to achieve a team effort. The smallest, youngest or least dexterous is likely to be ostracised at a very early stage of the proceedings.
I am a sucker for punishment. Not enough for me to enjoy these ready made puzzles which originated in another's mind. No, I revel in the opportunity of self inflicted word puzzles which occur when I try to follow a traditional, poetic rhyme scheme.
I know these days, a lot of poetry tends to be free form, non-rhyming, and there is no doubt many beautiful thoughts and feelings are expressed within its freedom. But the discipline imposed by following a specific form holds this same element of 'puzzle' within my mind. The grey cells need to scurry and search to make language do my bidding. The thrill of the hunt with a finished poem as the only quarry.
Yesterday found me chasing over many hurdles. You've seen the first race result ( thank you RWP for giving me a retrospective boost over one or two jumps). Next on the race card came the Triolet Stakes. The prize would be awarded to the following rhyme scheme:-
As I try to pen a line
to start the juices flowing,
I hope to capture all in rhyme,
as I try to pen a line -
and fondly hope it won't decline
but keep the verses growing,
as I try to pen a line
to start the juices flowing.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
For some, I think the recollections were almost a way of saying goodbye to the past and looking forward to the future, while with others it made me feel they were holding on to parts of their lives best forgotten. With all these ideas gleaned from minds all over the globe, I thought I might try writing something this morning, while the temperature was a little more conducive to creativity.
It's not often I approach writing in a logical way. I usually get an idea that makes me grab the nearest pen or pencil and scribble frantically, in an almost indecipherable scrawl, to get a string of words down because I like the sound of them, or because I can see where they might lead. But if, like today, I only have a vague idea, then uppermost in my mind it's the rhyme and metre I decide upon first. OK, I would go for iambic pentameter in sonnet form, I thought. Next, I still needed one line to start me off... 'a photograph from childhood, long ago' had a swing to it...
Then the rhyme scheme takes over, and already I'm hunting for a word that will fit with 'ago', and jot down a selection at the side of the page.
Because of the almost nostalgic and and sometimes regretful tone of some of those Blogland posts I'd read, I wanted to capture that mood in the poem that was under construction. This is where the attic of my mind began unloading it's own dusty boxes, as I searched for words or feelings that would combine into a cohesive whole. Half an hour with the pencil got me as far as eight lines, and I transferred to the computer, where it's easier to move things around quickly. At that point, the beginning was 'A photograph...', but seeing the onscreen version, I wanted more lines before this point. It wasn't long before I had decided what they should be, so here it is folks, open to criticism. At least you will know how it came into being...
Voyage Of Discovery
Another box; a dusty treasure trove
of keepsakes hoarded over many years:
a trinket: letter: token of old love
forgotten, washed away by gentle tears:
a photograph from childhood, long ago,
where memory's encapsulated shades
of black and white, now faded, serve to show
in frozen movement, youthful escapades
among imagined fantasies galore.
Oh, then we could be masters of our fate,
before we knew what life may hold in store,
before we realised, it's soon too late
to captain yet another ship. We sail
against prevailing wind to no avail.
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Telephones have such differing effects on people. I know a person who refuses to have one in their home. They can''t face the thought of having to speak to 'strangers'. On the other side of the coin, you have somebody like my daughter, whose mobile is rather like an extra limb, bless her talkative little tongue!
Now, in this technological age where mobile 'phones are two-a-penny (to find, may I hastily add here - certainly not to buy!) it's impossible to walk down a High Street without coming across hoards of people apparently talking to themselves. They stride along, one hand clamping small device to ear, or, even more eerily (pardon the pun) they look as though they've stepped straight out of a science fiction story because of the hands-free headset they're wearing.
Quite apart from physical equipment that no longer ties one to a landline, there is the advent of the language murdering texting. 'C U 2nite?' may get a message across, but I ask you...would it fire you with enthusiasm? Bring to mind an eloquent suitor? Hardly! Don't get me wrong, sending a text is fine, and I use them myself, but I choose to at least attempt to use the English language whilst doing so. Can't you just tell I'm a miserable old git?! Before I get embroiled in further rantings, especially on the subject of automated, telephone reply options, I think I will go while the going is good, and simply leave you with a 'phone inspired ditty called:-
We play with out thoughts
like the players at Wimbledon,
bouncing them from mind to mind
across the net of distance between us.
I sometimes get the feeling
you are waiting to demolish me
with an ace to end all aces.
Game, set and match
via the telephone.
Monday, 1 June 2009
'I'll call you'
Waiting by the telephone.
Expectant. On edge.
Difficult to settle down
to anything new.
Clock hands creep round.
Please, let it ring!
and hands grow cold
as adrenalin pumps.
Seconds lengthen to minutes,
The appointed time passes
and hope dies.