Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Dismal Day

Damp Doggerel

It's a wet and gloomy morning
and the temperature is chill.
It must be time to write a rhyme,
be that for good or ill.

But I'll not give way to curses!
I'll dispel the air of gloom
by cranking out some verses
from this corner of my room

where the monitor is shining
in lieu of Mr Sun
who is currently in hiding.
Isn't he a thoughtless one?

He beamed away so brightly
for several days, it's true,
we thought summer was upon us,
as anyone would do.

However it was not to be.
Now we're back to feeling chilly,
because he can't make up his mind.
Mr Sun is such a silly!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Personal Opinions

Do you see things as black and white?
Are some things wrong and never right?
Or do you allow shades of grey,
leave room for doubt within your day?
Can justice play a vital part
and let you have a change of heart
on something which first, in your sight,
was seen as wrong - until hindsight
made it clear another view
was possible, and could be true?

Blogger has wiped out half of my draft before I got to posting it! Perhaps it is fitting, as I was holding forth on the subject of injustice. There follows an approximate Take Two of what I had in mind...

Today I feel as though I have been treated unfairly by a friend who tends to see things in black and white. When I had the temerity to mention I believed in shades of grey, they became angry with me and terminated our telephone conversation without further discussion. I was not allowed to express my own opinion without incurring their wrath. I call that injustice.
(Of course, this black/white/grey analogy is a simplified interpretation of the actual subject matter of our conversation, but it serves for illustration purposes.)

Then I realised, in a global setting, the same kind of dogmatic thinking, with no possibility of civilised discussion to find middle ground, is the root cause of world unrest.
Personal opinions are a basic right, but as soon as they tip tilt into an 'I'm right, you're wrong' attitude, then dictatorship looms. The only sensible option is rational discussion until a solution can be agreed upon.

I'm staying with my black and white theme, to include another of my Paint doodles, as I promised (threatened?) yesterday. I called it 'Bending The Truth.' I wonder if you can see why?

(In an effort to remove a big blank space at the end of this post below the image. I've just decided to try a bit of editing!)
Sadly, it hasn't worked - sorry folks!
...Ooops it has... ain't life grand?!

P.S. For anybody coming to this late, Broken Biro has today (Thursday) written a wonderful poem entitled Grey Areas, over on Fridge Soup. Do go and read!

Monday, 24 May 2010


Thanks to Fletch I am being tempted to explore Windows Live Writer. I may need time to ponder and wonder for a while, before embarking on the stormy waters of yet another sea of possible disasters in the oceans of Blogland.
But meanwhile, I've realised many Blogpals have yet to discover the theraputic joys of playing with Paint - the program, that is, not the medium. I may inflict you with some of my doodles, in the hope of inspiring a few of you to dabble, maybe for the first time?
This was one of my first flights of fancy, utilising a lot of freehand drawing with my mouse, but there are easier options, using pre-determined, automatic line drawing, like this:-
Why don't you surprise yourselves, and indulge in some play time aimed at the inner child, or the latent artist in you?! I may be back with more tomorrow...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

The spider builds
his fragile web

creating spangled universe
with self as the centre.

What thoughts go spinning
through his head
as spinnerets
send forth their threads

of glossy, tensile silk?

Now I'm getting daring, you see? Way back, using my Arcsoft+Paint program, I played with an early morning photo of this unsuspecting spider. The original picture was no great shakes, but once I got the blue effect here, I liked the way the background resembled a beach, more than a boring road and pavement. The whole atmosphere changed. I tucked it away in some odd corner of my computer, and there it has languished, forgotten.
But now I've broken my fundamental rule of no photos, I've decided to throw a few more variations into the melting pot. For a long time, with this Windows 7, I couldn't fathom out how to get anything from Paint to my ordinary picture folder. Then No. 1 Son explained how - attach the chosen pic to an email sent to myself, then I could save it in any folder I liked.
How come I never thought of that? Don't all shout at once!

Friday, 21 May 2010

History Is Being Made

I'm incuding a picture!
Because I have been holding forth on my lack of green fingers, I thought I'd give you all something different to ponder today.

This photo is piece of a shrub which decided to show its face in my garden. I believe it may have been trying to escape from next door neighbours, who'd abolished their own specimen... although possibly it simply sowed one of its own peacock coloured seeds on my side of the fence.

Be that as it may. Its rate of growth was prodigious, and for the first couple of years it provided a splash of life in what was then my barren back yard. Young leaves grew purple coloured, then turned to the green you see in the picture. If bruised, they smelled atrocious, but the white, starry flowers that appeared at the height of summer had an exquisite perfume, and the bracts and seeds were pretty in their own right, as you can see. I kept trimming lower shoots off the main stem, until it resembled a small tree, though I am sure it is actually a shrub, and set out on a long quest to discover its name.

Eventually, once I'd acquired a computer, thanks to the Internet I found the telephone number of a Nurseryman of some repute, according to his web pages. I rang, spoke to a minion(!) and asked for the boss. I was going to enquire whether I could post him a specimen for identification, but once I began describing my mystery shrub, he laughed. "I'm looking at one right now!" Talk about happenstance, eh? Of all the friends I'd asked, all the books and web sites I'd trawled through, the longest shot paid off fastest!

I can now tell you with absolute certainty it is a clerodendron trichotomum fargesii.
Aren't you glad I broke my 'no picture rule' just for that? What a mouthful!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Not Exactly Green Fingers

A Gardening Confession

I've been scrabbling in my garden,
though that's too grand a name;
it's more a 'normous patio,
or something of the same.

It's a little urban jungle
with paving slabs galore,
but shrubs and weeds now flourish
where they never did before.

I'm an intermittent gardener
and not one of the best.
I'm inclined to stand and daydream
each time I take a rest.

My mind supplies the pictures
of the plants I'd like to grow,
if space were not a problem;
I'd have flowers, row on row

and ornamental grasses
and lillies on a lake
and hoards of flowering fruit trees
of every kind and make.

Instead it's more a wilderness,
with, at least, no lawn to mow.
The plants, all tough and hardy,
let me ignore, 'em, though,

until... Today I notice
things are getting out of hand,
and I have to grab my secateurs,
go out and make a stand

against the creeping leafy things
before I'm overgrown.
But underneath I'm grateful
that they grew all on their own!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Good For A Laugh

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, that is. Not so much in itself, but in its treatment. At least, when said treatment is carried out by a Spanish Doctor with a hilarious sense of humour.
After finding my notes on the computer, and ascertaining my Diz was still in place, he eyed up the couch in the consulting room, then suggested we wander round to the other side of the surgery, where there would be a proper hospital couch, on wheels, and with rise and fall mechanisms.
We marched in a convoy of two past all the curious patients awaiting their turns, and you could see the puzzled looks on their faces. " Why the route march?"
On the opposite, newer side of the building, the treatment rooms are better equipped, and Doc quickly pushed pedals, pulled levers, and got the trolley-type couch into the middle of the room. An animated computer diagram showed what was expected of me; the Epley manoeuvre.

"This is a series of four movements of the head; after each, the head is held in the same position for 30 seconds or so. Basically, they cause the posterior semicircular canal to rotate in such a way that gravity moves the otoconia fragments out from the posterior canal and into the vestibule, where they then settle, and cause no more symptoms."

So says the leaflet. The practice is a little more nerve wracking. Head to the right - room sways, then steadies. Head to the left - room sways violently, but eventually steadies. Roll over to left side and all hell breaks loose, giddy-wise. I am convinced I will fall off narrow couch onto floor. Doc reassures me by saying "It's all right - I will drop you gently!" Ha Bloody Ha.
I have to roll even further to the left, and fling one arm out towards the floor tiles, as I feel sure that's where I will end up. Meanwhile, Doc continues to assure me his legs will stop me from rolling off, and he clutches my hand in a vice like grip so's I know he's not aiming to drop me just yet...
Then in his beautifully accented English, he says "All we need now is for somebody to walk in the door!" My eyes are shut tight to combat Diz, so I can only imagine his posture, but it must have been strange, to say the least. We both start laughing. He says "It's a bit like a circus act", as he tries to stop me hooking my right foot over the back edge of the couch, as a kind of anchor.
At this point I laugh twice as much, and suggest he calls in a few of those grim faced patients we walked past, and charge them for the show.
When the last count of 30 seconds has run it's course, he hauls me up sideways to a sitting position, and I wait for the world to catch up with me.
Eventually he trusts me to walk back round the room to my chair, and he prints off three sheets of info, and books me in for 7.45 next Tuesday, for our repeat performance. "We will do that in the car park", he jests, "and charge everybody three pounds fifty for a ticket, to add to my retirement fund."
I have yet to see whether the Diz has gone for good. but don't you wish you had a doctor like mine?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Big Thank You Time

To everybody who left little ditties and kind wishes, many thanks. As I looked at all the comments this Sunday evening, I needed to write a few lines to mark the day. You are a great bunch of blogpals!


We tend to take for granted
the days when life is good,
and forget to be as grateful
as perhaps we should.

If we start to count our blessings,
they can chase the blues away,
and create a shaft of sunshine
on an otherwise dull day.

For time we spend complaining
only makes our spirits sad.
So here I am, proclaiming
let's cheer up and be glad!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Blondes Don't Have Exclusive Rights To Dizzy

The Diz

At times I could be dizzy,
though not a blonde since youth,
but the Diz that got me recently
was certainly uncouth.

My head was like a fishbowl
with water sploshing round.
Diz whirly-pooled those fun ideas
which normally abound.

I swallowed lots of different pills,
but Diz managed to hover -
mostly after sleeping
as my head crept from the cover

and I had to stand up vertical
to face the coming day.
Begone, unwelcome vertigo!
I want the Diz to go away!

But worse than feeling sober-drunk,
pills damped creative juices,
and being minus jokey Muse
has left me feeling useless!

So far, I've consulted four doctors.The latest, Spanish by birth, showed me on a computer the kind of complicated manoeuvre he suggested I book a double appointment for next time. (I mentioned the Spanish bit, because, though he has a delightful accent, when he gave the three very long words naming my complaint (!) they didn't register in my consciousness, other than making me think 'How sweet that sounds!')

He wants me to book a double appointment, so that he and A. N. Other (yes, it will take two) can move the examination couch away from the wall to allow me to hang my head off the end, at which time I will have to move it swiftly right to left, before the two of them haul me up sideways to a sitting position. He said it will make me feel awful - as if I didn't know that - but apparently, it's the way to clear the little grainy crystals in the labyrinth that he thinks are the cause of my Diz.

Perhaps this is a good time to put out a plea to Blogpals to write some fitting ditties to help chase the Diz back to wherever it came from? Then maybe I won't have to undergo his torture regime...

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Definitely Not Love At First Sight

But what a lasting impression! I'll get to that in a minute... First, I need to set the scene.

I'd only gone to post a letter in our 'old' Post Office - old because it's now a sorting office and the Post Office Counters are in the back of a shop in town - and as I stood waiting to cross the road to come back home, a trio of people on the other pavement caught my attention. I must explain, this particular area of Havant is one of its bygone days' former glories, for on the corner opposite the once thriving Post Office, is the Old Town Hall (there's that Old word again) which is now a jumbled mix of museum, theatre, cinema, art centre and cafe, lately renamed 'The Spring - Arts and Heritage Centre.'
At ten o'clock on a Saturday morning, it's not what you might call a hive of activity.

The Post Office corner has a huge yew tree which makes crossing the main road a slow process, as you have to choose your spot carefully. A few yards to the left, as you stand facing The Spring, a humpback bridge over the disused Hayling Billy railway line keeps oncoming traffic out of sight until it's almost upon you, as you stand teetering on the kerb. To the right, a curve in the road impedes the view of traffic coming from Havant, while before and aft, two more minor roads crossing almost a right angles, mean you need eyes in the back of your head, as well as front.

The whole point of this preamble, is merely to explain why I had several minutes to study the group opposite me, heading to The Spring. A sudden string of cars kept me rooted to the spot as I waited for my chance to cross, so the three figures were objects of interest.

They appeared to be a family group; Mum, slightly dishevelled looking, walking close to daughter, and both talking animatedly, turn and turn about with son, who was striding along a pace or two in the rear due to the narrowness of the pavement.

He it was who captured my imagination. He was like a time warp character, in his own little bubble. Although unprepossessing, his image captivated me. His was a slight, stooping build, narrow shouldered and young - at most late teens, early twenties - as his slightly gingery, thin moustache suggested. His complexion was pasty, and nondescript-brown, lank-hair spikes splayed on his shoulders did him no favours. A few bleached strands at the front only served to make him appear even more washed out in his all black garb. His long, fitted over garment, falling to just above the knees, gave the impression of an old fashioned frock coat, and two or three inches of white cuffs peeking from the sleeves bore rounded corners and added to the dated look. Shiny, black winkle picker shoes with turned up toes complimented narrow black trousers. Pale hands grasped a long, spiked, tightly rolled umbrella and he changed it from his right to his left hand, and began swinging it in time with his steps, as he tried to keep pace with the two females ahead of him.

Having written thus far, I 'phoned my 'listening ear' buddy, who kindly lets me read my waffle to her, prior to posting, and as luck would have it, she had a brochure detailing The Spring's forthcoming attractions. Today, at 2.00pm and 7.30pm, there is a Community Variety Show advertised. I have a sneaking suspicion that the vision of loveliness I described for you above, may well be explained away by this unexpected revelation! Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Horses For Courses

If only this could be applied to today's election, so the powers that be could make certain who ever wins will be the party we need to keep the country afloat in a style to which we are rapidly becoming unaccustomed, if you get my drift.
But enough of depressing political stuff. Let's stick with the first word of my title, 'Horses'.

Yesterday afternoon, on my way to having a smashing time at my nearest bottle bank, what should I see coming towards me as I approached the cross roads junction by the main road, but a horse and trap. It's not often we get to see one of those around here, and even less often from a full frontal angle.

Not being in the least a horse connoisseur, it was never the less obvious that the one before me would never win any beauty competitions, or horse shows, come to that. A rusty, golden brown animal with white stripes or patches here and there for a bit of light relief, it trotted closer while I watched in fascination at the strange way its front legs moved. They almost appeared to dislocate at the joints, then fall back into place with each step. Perhaps a head-on view of any trotting horse always looks the same - I wouldn't know.

It was very well behaved, and carefully stood still and looked both ways before turning into the main road, just as a child might do when waiting to cross. It gave the impression it was in charge, not the young lad driving alongside his mate in the trap.

My mind immediately made an association with BBC's Listen With Mother programme, where the following ditties would be sung occasionally, back in the days when my kiddywinks were tiny. I only wish I could sing them for you, complete with the Radio Workshop's best sound effects which always accompanied them...

This is the way the ladies ride

This is the way the ladies ride,
Trit trot, trit trot, trit trot, trit trot
This is the way the ladies ride,
Trit trot, trit trot. Trit trot.

This is the way the gentlemen ride,
Gallop, gallop, gallop, gallop.
This is the way the gentlemen ride,
Gallop, gallop, gallop.

This is the way the farmer rides
Jiggety-jog, jiggety-jog,
This is the way the farmer rides
Jiggety- jiggety-jog.

This is the way the old man rides
Hobble-dee, hobble-dee, hobble-dee, hobble-dee
This is the way the old man rides
Hobble-dee, hobble-dee, hobble-dee - and down into the ditch!

The clattering coconut-shell hoof beats that always accompanied this last line, used to send my two into giggles without fail, and the programme would be rounded up with the following little song- probably after a short, horse related story. Those were the days!

Horsie horsie don't you stop

Horsie horsie don't you stop
Just let you feet go clippety clop
Your tail goes swish
And the wheels go round
Giddy up we're homeward bound

Saturday, 1 May 2010

More Animal Talk

The book which supplied me with the hippopotomus poem is full of other animal related gems written by all manner of people. This morning, my attention was caught by the following one, as it reminded me of the happy times I have spent, both at work and play, talking on the telephone, though switchboard operator duty did occasionally leave a lot to be desired.

by Laura E Richards

Once there was an elephant,
who tried to use the telephant -
no! no! I mean an elephone
who tried to use the telephone -
(Dear me! I am not certain, quite,
that even now I've got it right!)

How'er it was, he got his trunk
entangled in the telephunk;
the more he tried to get it free,
the louder buzzed the telephee -
(I fear I'd better drop this song
of elephop and telephong!)