Monday, 26 October 2009

Curiouser And Curiouser

Alice In Wonderland may have been the book which made this phrase famous, but Blogger has certainly taken it to heart and is apparently attempting to provide its own variations on a theme. Of a sudden, instead of producing tiny portraits or symbols alongside each and every comment, it's changed the rules, at least on my blog. The first five replies are honoured with illustrations, but from there on, only blank squares accompany the comments. Has anyone else noticed this phenomena, or am I alone in being rationed? Perhaps Blogger is only disgruntled with me... I shall start quaking in my shoes for fear I've upset him.

On quite a different tack, Poet In Residence will lead you to the poem Sleepless in Limbo, which follows on beautifully from my last subject. If your curiosity has become curiouser, now I've given you a link to indulge your version of Alice's affliction. Thanks, PIR, for today's interesting detour into the past - 18 February this year, to be exact...

You will see today what a grasshopper mind I have. No sooner did I read '18 February', than it flipped a switch that said 'NJT's birthday' - but not in 2009. Far from it. I was a mere seven year old when this particular cousin put in her appearance for the first time. But my train of thought, once started trundling down this track of time, continued to choo-choo its way through the years.

It finally stopped at the station in 1954. NJT was then a bubbly kid, who loved to to play with my brother and I - especially early in the morning. But our patience wore a trifle thin occasionally, due to her penchant for singing in a high pitched, piercing voice, the following refrain, 'This is a proper woman's v o i c e.' It was sung all on the same note until the last word, which soared to painful, long drawn out heights of ear splitting volume and frightening vibrato. Where, or why, the words originated, we had no idea, but believe me, after the umpteenth repetition close to your Saturday-morning-pillowed- head, it loses it's attraction. That is if it had any to begin with!

Aren't you glad you don't have to suffer my grasshopper mind too often? I hasten to add, NJT improved with age, and as there is no chance she will ever read this blog, I feel quite safe with sharing this snippet. We love her really.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Rewind One Hour

That's what we had to remember to do with all our clocks and /or watches this morning - a kind of countrywide Time Warp. Why the witching hour of 2am was chosen for this this event, I have no idea. Can you imagine, everyone, in theory, sitting waiting for the hour to arrive simply in order to move the clock hands to the one o'clock position? Ludicrous!

I would bet my bottom dollar that, this morning, there will be a fair number of people still living their life an hour in advance of the rest of us, in blissful ignorance until either TV or radio reminds them to change this theoretical hour of the day. Trouble is, body clocks have their own schedule, and it was no use telling mine last night that it had to re-adjust itself at 2am. When it decided I should wake up, that's what I did, despite the fact that my self-regulating clock radio had made the magical switch-over at 2am, and was insisting it was only five in the morning, my internal clock was telling me it was six, and I'd had enough sleep for the time being...

I shall spend the whole day living under the delusion that I've 'gained' an extra hour - a bonus gift from the scientifically minded souls who decreed time should be measured, and managed, in this bewildering manner.

In reality, all I've gained is a strange, not-quit-belonging-to-now sensation, where my body will be expecting meal times as usual, but my clocks will be saying 'Wait! You can't have a meal yet - it's far too early!'

Monday, 19 October 2009

Turn Around, Bright Eyes...

So now you want to see things from the opposite direction? Shall we start from the exit at Waitrose, where two rows of wire framed shopping trolleys stand in interlocked ranks, making the most of being empty?
You can almost hear them groan to one another...
'Did you see what that last shopper managed to cram into my poor insides? I thought I would buckle at the wheels!'
'Huh! You think you had problems? I had one of those awful toddlers fidgeting and complaining in my little seat, kicking at me and screaming into my handle when he couldn't get his own way as we passed the sweetie shelf!'
As each shopper returns their trolley to tuck it on the end of a row, the clatter-chatter noise echoes along the line, a metallic shudder making them sound in unison. A nondescript, hairy mongrel is hitched to the bar that stops the trolleys rolling onto the paving, and he looks bewildered, turning his head left at the clanking noise, but almost as swiftly turning right, as another pair of feet pound past him on the pavement. He remains stoically silent. Been here, done this before.
My personal, trusty Sholley, obediently skirts round the poor animal, under my direction, and together we retrace the route home.

Perhaps I should let you 'see' this Sholley; its two back wheels are fixed, but the front two may be set to swivel like those on a baby's modern stroller. It's basically a metal framed, wide-mesh box on wheels, with a blue and brown checked fabric bag fitted to ensure the shopping is safe, and a firm lid that serves as a great platform on which to balance a small shopping basket. No need for me to use one of the monster sized, Wairose ones for my modest purchases today.

Okay. The road turns sharp left, and here's the pavement with the pigeon droppings and feathers. But we can cross to the other side, and spend a moment or two admiring the latest selection of wares in Tallulah's tiny corner boutique. Colourful clothing is displayed temptingly in the shallow, hip-height window; tops, skirts, trousers, accessories, all with a distinctly Indian flavour, plus overtones of Hippie. The narrow door, which straddles the corner, is open and a lovely aroma of Nag Champa incense sets my nose twitching appreciatively.

For this part of the walk, I have to make certain the Sholley's front wheels are in the fixed position, otherwise it takes on a life of its own and progress resembles a drunken stagger each time there's a slope towards the gutter. There's been a lot of new building along this terrace, but wherever there are undeveloped sections, the down slopes increase in number; hence the fixed wheels. It's only a short street and in next to no time, we're at the Bear Hotel car park entrance, directly opposite the seat-round-the-tree corner we saw on the way to Waitrose's.

On our right, Pallant House, the home of the Nursery School, has children's art work hanging in each of it's windows. Cut out witches zoom around, in honour of Halloween, with a black cat or two and a good supply of pumpkin faces. The road carries on curving to the right, and here's the old brick wall that made me wax lyrical in the previous post. Almost at the end of it, a slatted wood seat, placed in memory of a long dead Havant worthy, invites us to rest a while, so come on, what are you waiting for? Let's sit and have a good look round.

It's a great place for pondering. Overhead, a green canopy of large, palmate shaped leaves stir occasionally in the light breeze. The tree stands near the edge of the pavement, in front of me, close enough for its canopy to spread over this spot like a living umbrella. I'm not sure of the species, but the dappled, camouflage patterns on the bark make me think it's a plane tree of some kind. A plethora of irregular, random shapes in shades of grey-green, khaki, beige and cream, with occasional, tiny patches of light orange, draw the attention to its bark. It looks for all the world like a soldier in camouflage uniform. The trunk is not more than about ten inches in diameter, and doesn't branch until it's over eight feet high, where two big, black knot hole eyes stare down, before the smaller limbs divide, then divide again to look like dreadlocks attached to its forehead.

Across another road away to the right, once I stop admiring this tree, I'm intrigued by three houses in my view that have been standing there for at least a century. They're large, double fronted buildings, the first two with steeply pitched gables, outlined in white. One has flint stone walls, so the pattern is jumbled over its surface, but it's neighbour has had a different building method used, which leaves short, interlocked horizontal lines on its surface, ( imagine you are looking side-on to the pages of a thick-leaved book) so the contrast in texture is extremely pleasing.
The third house is a perfect example of an Englishman thinking his home is his castle. It's a dingy, mid grey, and instead of a pointed one, the roof line is horizontal and crenelated. There were obviously few building regulations in the days when it was first constructed.

A couple of passers by say good morning and smile at me, bring me back to the present. My reverie, and thus yours too, kind reader, is at an end. Upwards and onwards is the order of the day. Do hope you have a good one...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Do You See What I See?

Silly question, really; of course you don't. But maybe, if I try very hard, I will be able to give you an inkling of things I noticed Monday morning, on my way to Waitrose. There are several routes I can take. One winds through little alleyways, in and out. Another follows the slightly wider side roads, lined with fairly imposing detached properties, while a third, after crossing the main Havant road with its rushing cars and occasional bicycle or bus, veers to the left and passes St Faith's Church Hall, before a final sharp right brings you to the welcoming arms of Waitrose with its shelves full of groceries. This was the way I chose.

It's the old, brick wall boundary of the Church Hall that catches my attention. It stands well above head height and its rounded top sports a few tufts of various mosses, like an old man might sprout a last few hairs before baldness claims him. The bricks are pitted, even crumbling in places, and display a wide range of glowing colours, appropriately enough at present, in Autumn shades : warm russet: pinkish, brick-red: red-gold amber and lastly, occasional deeper tints and tones of maroon to black. In the light of a sunny morning, the wall glows, despite being in shade.

I walk slowly by, drinking in the colours, but then, I notice how out of kilter its perpendicular lines are, as it gradually curves round the car park area of the hall. At the start, its top tilts slightly to the left, but further along it straightens, then eventually, tilts a little to the right. Somehow, it gives the impression as I move past, that it's slowly changing position to ease it's weary bones, like an arthritic person putting their weight first on one foot, then the other. Several of the double width columns that strengthen it at intervals, have sturdy pieces of wood bolted to the top two and a half feet of the brickwork. The bolts are rusty round their circumferences, and the wooden buttresses are weathered to a light silvery grey. Perpendicular ruts and runnels texture their surfaces, give an indication of their age.

Over to the right, once the Church Hall and it's adjacent building which houses a Nursery School have been negotiated, are a group of small cottages. They have Georgian looking, small paned windows, two of which have white, ornamental shutters on either side, and their pointed roofs add to their fairy tale look. On the pavement before them, a wrought iron seat, painted green, encircles a small tree. The effect is only spoiled by a tall, road sign pole, totally out of character in the chocolate box picture made by the cottages.

Three roads form a Y shape in front of the picturesque seat-round-the-tree, and I have to take care I'm not daydreaming as I trundle my shopping trolley on the last part of my route, which takes me by more tiny, elegant, listed buildings, before the modern walls and grilles of Waitrose's underground car park blast fumes across the pavement. A pavement liberally dotted with pigeon droppings, I see, plus a plethora of tiny, fluffy feathers produced by the morning preening session on Waitrose's rooftop.

So I arrive a my destination, and need to concentrate on my shopping list. I may decide to ask you to walk home with me, eventually, to allow you to see the view from the other direction. On the other hand, I may leave you all shopping in Waitrose. At least you won't go hungry!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Food For Thought Finale

You can stop wondering, reader, about how long I'll make you wait for the end of the tale. I'll be very kind and, although I've got out of the habit of posting every day, I shall, on this occasion revert to my original daily dose.

Please bear in mind, this was merely a homework assignment, nothing more, nothing less. I've never been bitten by the short story bug, and if quizzed on the subject, would deny that I'm destined to write them. The shutters inside my mind have slammed together with a bang, whether through fear, or lack of confidence. I cannot envision an inexhaustable supply of basic plots. Maybe, if I'd been an adventurous, travel-the-world-on-a-shoestring type of youngster, I'd have accumulated a store of ideas by now, that, as a retired lady of leisure, I could send as grist to my mill.

I'd love to hear from those of you amongst my readers who are tellers of tales by nature. Do ideas bubble up all the time? Do you have to go digging for them, like a fisherman digging for his bait before his next trip? Are short stories all you want to write, or do you secretly yearn to give birth to a novel? Come on people - tell Aunty Jinksy!

Meantime, here's the promised continuation of Food For Thought...

..."I think I'm losing my mind!..."

The words sounded ominous to her even as she spoke them, clearly and deliberately, in a steady voice that belied her inner turmoil. The command with which she uttered them allowed Dan no alternative but to focus on the unimposing spectacle before him, Mary; short, slightly overweight, her round face framed by a halo of wayward hair which, although tinged with grey, managed nevertheless to make her appear younger than she was.
“What are you supposed to mean by that?”
Already Dan’s light blue eyes had the closed expression she recognised so well. It always appeared when she encroached upon his invisible ‘emotion screen’.
“Precisely what I say. I think I’m going crazy. Something is happening I don’t understand.”
Mary sat down at last, but made no attempt to eat, simply rested her arms lightly on the edge of the table.
“You know yesterday evening you went to play darts with Joe and Peter?”
Dan nodded assent.
“ The children were in their rooms, so I thought I’d make good use of the quiet time and organise my writing desk. I’d been meaning to tidy it for days, but I can’t concentrate on a job like that when there are other people clattering around. Eventually I got it into some semblance of order and was about to close it, when I notice a small bundle of what looked like notes held together by a rubber band. I couldn’t remember seeing them before, so I pulled out one and unfolded it. It was a perfectly ordinary sheet of writing paper, dated at the top. In the centre of the page was written ‘ Today, the car won’t start’…”
“So what?” said Dan. “Someone must have started to write a letter and then forgotten it.“
“But it wasn’t a letter. That’s all it said. ‘Today, the car won’t start’, printed in capital letters. And I’d certainly not seen it, nor read it before, much less tucked it into a rubber band.”
“Still doesn’t sound like a forerunner of insanity to me”, said Dan in a bored voice, as he reached for another slice of toast and cheese.
“But I haven’t finished telling you.”
Mary carried on talking, pushing her plate away. She couldn’t make herself eat anything. Perhaps a sip of tea would make her feel better. She raised the cup to her lips, but as the scent of the tea wafted into her nostrils, she felt her stomach heave in revulsion and she put the cup back on the saucer without drinking.
“There were four notes altogether. I opened out the next two and they both consisted of a date and a single line of print.. After I’d read them, I realised both dates were recent and I could check my diary to see if any of the messages coincided with things that had happened on those days.”
“And did they?” asked Dan, still sounding bored.
“Yes, they were all true. The first was dated three Friday’s ago. I’d had a lunch date with Susan and I’d had to catch a train into town because the car wouldn’t start. It made me half an hour later than we'd arranged. The waiter had begun to give her annoyed looks because she’d sat there all that time without ordering.”
Mary could hear herself wandering from the point and quickly reorganised her thoughts before continuing.
“The second was the following Sunday’s date and it said ‘Burn and be damned’. Remember that awful Sunday dinner that was burnt to a crisp when we got back from our walk? I thought I’d set the oven timer incorrectly, but when I read that note, well…! The third was just as bad - ”
Dan interrupted her in mid sentence - “Pity it didn’t say ‘You’ve won a fortune’, there might be some sense in that.”
“Be serious, Dan. I’m really worried. The third, dated yesterday, said ‘Jingle bells, jingle bells, soon have Mary down in hell’. The 'phone had been a torment all day through. I must have had at least two dozen calls that cut off as soon as I lifted the receiver. I'd reported it as a fault after the third, but the 'phone engineers checked the line and couldn’t find anything wrong.”
“I still don’t see why you're so up-tight” said Dan, refolding his newspaper with a good shake, as though he’d decided he'd listened enough and preferred written to spoken words.
“Oh, please don’t ignore me! Let me finish.” Mary was finding it increasingly difficult to remain calm and unflustered. “Before I could look at the last note, the children came stamping downstairs and I quickly closed the desk again.”
“You never told us about it when we got back from the club.” Dan seemed to be implying it must have been of little importance if it hadn't warranted mentioning earlier.
Mary gave a wry smile. ”Hmm, the state you were all in, I could have said anything and it would have gone straight in one ear and drowned before it came out the other!”
“Well, our team won. We had to celebrate, didn’t we?” muttered Dan peevishly.
“I wish you'd stop interrupting and let me finish.”
“Point, taken I’ll be quiet.”
Mary stood up and moved a few steps away with her back to the table, then hesitated and returned to nervously perch on the edge of her chair, hands tightly clasped.
“This morning, when I opened the last note, I saw tomorrow’s date at the top, then the words ‘Whose blood, Mary?’ I’ve been trying to put them out of my mind, but I can’t. I shall go crazy. How did the notes get there? Was it you or the children? I can’t believe that. But if it wasn’t, it means somebody else has been in the house. I feel as though I’m being watched all the time.”
“Let me have a look, ” said Dan, his tone making her even more convinced she must be on the brink of insanity.
“Alright.” Jerkily, she got up and opened the writing desk, which gave its customary ear-piercing squeak as hinges protested.
“Dan! They’re not here! I left them in the front pigeonhole this morning, I know I did!” Panic in her voice was easy to discern.
“Oh, come on, Mary! I’m beginning to agree with you, you are mad! You can’t expect me to listen to such nonsense. I’m going out. I suggest you take a sleeping pill and go to bed. You might be more normal after a good night’s sleep!” As he was speaking, Dan stalked angrily from the room and a few moments later, Mary heard the bang of the front door being shut with force.
Left alone, and by now very close to the tears she had so wished to avoid, Mary tried more deep breathing exercises. She began to clear away the uneaten remains of their meal. Perhaps she was imagining more into the situation than facts justified. She knew women of her age could suffer from weird complaints. She would make an appointment to see a doctor first thing Monday morning. Comforted by such a logical, normal decision, Mary dutifully swallowed a sleeping pill and got ready for bed.
Some hours later, Dan came quietly into the kitchen by the back door. In his hand, a defrosted packet of liver oozed slimy blood through the small snip he’d made in the corner of the vacuum pack. Luckily, it had been warm today, otherwise it might not have thawed properly since he’d bought on his way home from work on Friday. That would have ruined everything.

Slowly, he left a trail of red blobs across the scrupulously clean kitchen floor, trickled some up the front of the sink unit and smeared a large, gory patch on the worktop. That should do it! By the time he had finished with her, Mary would be begging to be let into the nearest asylum. Insane! What did she know about being insane? He could have told her.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Now For The Adults

Having been revelling in the childish side of life, I decided this morning to do a sharp about turn, and stick to an adult theme. I shall regale you with the beginning of a story I wrote as homework, for a creative writing class I once attended. It was the first I'd ever produced, and I found it hard going, to tell you the truth. What on earth could I write about? Eventually, I decided I might embroider on a few true-to-life facts, then see where they took me. So this is mere fantasy, dotted with occasional reality. I called it
Food For Thought

The smell of toasted cheese filled the kitchen, gradually overspilt through the hatchway to the lounge-diner. As her hands worked at the mundane Saturday task of preparing tea, Mary’s brain worked overtime, trying to organise unsaid words into coherent, logical sentences.
She tried to visualise them typed. That way, when she began speaking to Dan in a moment, she hoped to remain calm and unemotional, in outward appearance at least. Where was emotion in a page of typescript? Certainly not as near the surface as when flying words could trip the tongue and dissolve into a torrent of tears. If she had learned little else, she knew crying would only make Dan walk away and leave her with words and tears falling in the silence of an empty room.
For years, Mary had resigned herself to operating as a virtual one-parent family. Dan had been there, certainly, but as a remote figure, not part of the small ups and downs of family life. She had tried desperately to involve him with the children, but without success. He remained aloof, behind an armour plated, emotional barrier. She had never been able to decide whether he had erected it himself, or whether it had grown unasked, an insidious creeper invading its host plant.
Today he'd have to take notice of what she was going to say.
She placed crockery and cutlery enough for their snack meal onto a tray, and, glad to leave the harsh reality of the kitchen's strip lighting, she carried everything through to the lounge, where wall lights glowed softly, designed to soothe shattered nerves at each hectic day's end.
Dan, as usual, was sprawling in front of the television, leisurely glancing through last Sunday’s paper. There were so many sections and supplements, it was like having a whole week’s supply of papers pushed through the letter box at once.
The plateful of hot cheese on toast Mary had placed on the hatchway, gave off an appetising aroma. Dan’s nose twitched appreciatively, not as a conscious action, but with a dreamlike quality inherent in the twitching whiskers of a sleeping cat. His mind was fully occupied with the mixture of half-watched television images flickering alternately with pages of newsprint.
“Do move your feet, Dan. I can’t get past to put this tray on the table.” Mary’s words brought him, for a moment, into the real world.
“Oh, is it that time already? Where are the children? Have they had their tea?”
Mary tried to stifle her annoyance, but failed.
“I told you this morning, they were both going to Karen’s for the weekend. Don’t you ever listen to a word I say?”
This was how so many of their arguments started. Alarm bells rang in Mary’s brain. Where were her resolutions? Hastily she pulled herself back onto the path of calmness by taking several long, deep, breaths, at the same time letting her hands perform the automatic actions of arranging the tray's contents on the dining table and pouring the tea.
She watched Dan gather his long length together, levering himself out of the armchair still clutching the newspaper. Sitting at the table, he twisted sideways, managing to sprawl even on the straight primness of a dining chair. She could see the paper still held his attention whilst, one handed, he helped himself to food and drink.
“Dan, do put the paper down and concentrate on what I’m saying.” Mary resisted the urge to mutter ”for once” under her breath.
“Hmm, what did you say?” came the infuriating rejoinder as her husband eventually looked up from the article he was reading.
Mary pulled her chair from where it nestled by the table, but then stood behind it, grasping its curved back as if for moral as well as physical support.
“I said, please will you concentrate on what I’m saying?” She paused momentarily, as if waiting for courage to continue. “ I think I’m losing my mind.”

to be continued...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

What You Heard, Is Not What I Meant?

I'm sure there will be a lot of you who have come across similar gems to this phrase; I remember one that went something like this:-

I know you think you know
what you thought I said.
What I'm not sure of,
is that what you thought you heard
is not exactly what I meant.

Or words to that effect.

The reason I had to blog about this today, was really down to Sissy, who, from her blog title one might assume, lives permanently up the creek - a daunting prospect! But wait - perhaps beside a creek would be more accurate? Anyhow, Up or Beside, she had occasion to ask my permission to print a little something of mine, on the subject of communication. Sissy further underlined the vagaries of the written, let alone spoken word, by referring to my blog title as Notable Notes. A somewhat kinder interpretation of the Nipple Notes that Gumbo Writer alias the delectable Angie, chose to bless me with instead of the rather more refined napple notes I chose myself.
Our human brains have a disconcerting habit of leading us astray when interpreting words.

Sometimes, as in the case of a comedian's deliberate Double Entendre jokes, this can, indeed cause a smile. On other occasions, it simply means we are left a little mystified as to what went wrong. There was a beautiful example of this from MSJW (I'm pretty sure by now, you can fill in the proper words), in her delightful poem entitled:-


I've been an' hung my stockin' up,
an' Grandma's too,
and writ and tole old Santa Claus
jus' what to do.

I asked my Grandma what she'd have;
she shook her head,
put on her specs, and 'Fiddlesticks!'
was all she said.

I wonder what she wants them for?
She didn't say...
She hasn't got a fiddle,
an' she couldn't play.

Do words often leave you feeling you've missed something, but can't tell quite what? And how many times do you need to rush to a dictionary, to make sure you've got the right word anyway?
Maybe you sail through life with nary a ponder on what are, when all is said and done, pretty imponderable questions. Can't wait to hear your thoughts...

P.S. Sissy and Angie - hope you don't mind my taking your names in vain with my gentle teasing!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Marion St John Webb - on a grey day?

Nobody Wants Me

Nobody wants me - not jus' now -
ev'ry one's busy to-day somehow;
Daddy is writing, Mother is out,
Emily Jane isn't nowhere about.
Toby is sleeping on the mat,
an' Jane keeps tellin' me 'Dont do that!'
She's scrubbin' the sink an' the saucepan shelf.
Nobody wants me - asceptin' myself.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Still In The Good Old Days?

It's all your fault, Blogpals. You've entertained me with so many offshoot tales as a result of those old poems, I'm tempted to repeat the recipe today. Trouble is, once I start reading my dear old book, I can't put it down! Then I end up wanting to share it with you from cover to cover; blame it on my second childhood if you like, but I can't help but think there are many deeper meanings among the verses it contains.

I imagine there must be others who share this view, otherwise, when I searched Amazon.Co.UK over the weekend, why did I discover a whole sheaf of volumes by this author, which were demanding silly money? Some of the earliest volumes of Marion St John Webb were listed for £200 - £300 pounds. Was this due to interest from antiquarian book addicts, who value books simply for their age, or are there a few oldies like me, who simply love what they contain? Maybe the prices were the result of greedy sellers, jumping on the band wagon when they spotted some of her books for sale, and couldn't wait to make a profit on a copy of their own that was stashed at the back of their bookcase.

Be that as it may, I've chosen to share with you in this post, at no cost, a delightful view of home help in the days when this was more than a mere 'lady who does' for you occasionally. I am, of course , referring to the gracious times when live-in servants were found in the grand houses of the well to do classes. I hasten to add, if I'd been around in those days, I'd have definitely been one of the servants : scullery maid : nursery maid : cook : seamstress, even, if I was extremely lucky.

From the illustrations accompanying the poem I've chosen, it's easy to tell, Jane is the Nanny, while Emily Jane is possibly a nursery maid, but more likely, a maid-of-all-work. The hierarchy of hired help had strict rules. Nanny would have been queen of the nursery, the maid a lowly subject...

Very Pertikerler

Jane says she's most pertikerler
about the clothes she buys,
an' all her things is plain but good,
'cos cheap things isn't wise.

But Emily Jane, she laughs an' says
'I like things gay and bright,
and I don't care how cheap they are,
they'll do for me all right.'

Jane says she's most pertikerler
about the things she eats.
She won't have drefful foreign stuff,
but on'y English meats.

But Emily Jane she laughs an' says
'My! What a taste you've got!
I'm not a bit pertikerler,
so long as there's a lot!'

Jane says she's most pertikerler
about what child'en do,
an' thinks they should be nice an' quiet,
an' have a clean face too.

But Emily Jane she laughs an' says,
'A bit of noise don't hurt,
and if the kid's a happy face,
well - what's a bit of dirt?!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Royal Mail

Doesn't that have a wonderful ring to it? Shades of old fashioned coaches thundering over roads frequented by highway men, closely followed by more modern pictures of railways, chugging along the tracks , trundling through the night to deliver mail to the other end of England by the next morning.

Move a little faster through time, and what do you get? Strikes. It's become complicated here in UK now. Once upon a time, Royal Mail and Post Office were part and parcel (pardon the pun) of the same outfit. Now, I'm never sure who does what. Are sorting offices and the moving of mail under separate management from the local postman who pops letters through our front doors? I don't have a clue. What is becoming more and more obvious, is that home delivery is likely to become a thing of the past, if the downward trend continues. We've already gone from two daily deliveries to one, and this solitary remnant of former glory is happening later and later in the day. Are postmen facing the same fate as cobblers?

As so many of you seemed to enjoy Marion St John Webb's poetry, I thought you might like some some more today. It's easy to see a similarity to A A Milne in her writing, but her book, The Littlest One, was first published in 1914, whereas Milne's When We Were Very Young, was published in 1924. I wonder if he knew of her, or indeed, knew her in person? Be that as it may, here is her take on the postal service of yesteryear.

The Postman Calls Me Tuppenny

The postman calls me 'Tupenny''
or 'Hullo, Half-past-four !'
or somethin' diff'rent ev'ry time
he comes up to our door.

I wist he wouldn't do it,
'cos he knows the name's not right,
but when I tell him this he on'y
shuts one eye up tight.

An' next time when he comes he says,
'I've got a parcel here
addressed to Master Tuppenny -
Now, where's it gone? Dear, dear!'

He feels about inside his bag.
'Whatever shall I do?
I must have lost it . . . Still, of course
it can't have been for you -

You say your name's not Tuppenny!'
An' he laughs an' goes away. . .
I wist he hadn't done it -
now I don't know what to say

if he should find the parcel, 'cos
I feel I ought to see
in case - although it's not my name -
the parcel's meant for me!