Sunday, 27 September 2009

Time For Another Body Part

No, I'm not endorsing major surgery with these words, wonderful though that might be at times, simply focusing my attention on somewhere other than teeth. The wonderful array of comments on dental delights has covered those less than perfect adjuncts to the full in my previous post, methinks.

Let's look at the other extreme - feet- and by association, shoes. It was such a glorious morning yesterday that, though I was in theory shopping, I took time out to park myself on a seat near to where the flower lady had her pitch set up. Saturday in Havant is known locally as market day, although that's a slight mis-nomer if you're expecting livestock and home grown produce to be on offer.

So I sat and studied feet. It was not long after nine; shoppers hadn't yet arrived in droves, but the few who were about, seemed to amble leisurely before me, left to right, right to left across the part of the precinct in my view. Trainers seemed to be favourite choice of both male and female shoppers of all ages, closely followed by flip flops; granted, the ladies had slightly jazzier and often sparklier versions of these.

Many of the trainers adorned spindly, ancient legs of grandpa types , emerging bizarrely from three quarter length shorts. Who'd have thought the older generation would have cottoned on to this fairly modern trend? Young men too, had the same long shorts, but tended to opt for the flip flops to finish their ensemble.

Among the ladies, I only saw one pair of 'sensible' lace up shoes and one pair of wedge heeled sandals (on a rather short lady who obvious felt they gave her added stature !) Otherwise, flat, ballerina pumps appeared the favourite choice. The flower lady's were gold and sparkly, I recall.
Nobody was daft enough to be wearing high heels, I was glad to see. Fashion statements they may be, but uncomfortable they certainly are - I defy anybody to question this fact.

I only realised how quiet the passing feet were, when a little girl about eight or nine clattered past scuffily in a pair of shiny black shoes of what appeared to be hard plastic, even down to the soles. They underlined the lack of sound produced by everybody else.

Perhaps the one thing all this footwear highlighted, was the fact that none of it was the kind which could be repaired by a cobbler. Our throw away society must have almost rendered them obsolete... As a tribute to an earlier age, here's a poem by Marion St John Webb, entitled

The Boot-Mender

You open the door
and the bell gives a 'Ting'
but it's dark in the shop
an' they don't hear the ring,
'cos it's all full of noise
an' a tapper-tap-tapping,
an' old Mr Glissen's
hammer is rapping.

He's terrible old;
in a little black cap,
an' his head gives a nod
as his hammer goes tap.
An' he looks up an' says
'A fine day for wet weather!
Ah-ha! but the rain
cannot get through my leather!'

He's bendy and brown
an' his eye's twinkly blue;
he holds nails in his mouth
while he hammers my shoe.
Then he gets off his stool
an' around he comes hobberlin'.
I'm frikened to look -
he looks so like a goberlin'.

I b'lieve that he puts
magic nails in, you know,
when he's mendin' my shoes,
so I jus' have to go
where my shoes want to walk!
An' I get in such muddles,
'cos one likes it dry
an' the other likes puddles.

An' sometimes the shoes
make me run down the lane,
an' won't come back quick
when they're told to by Jane.
I esplain it's not me,
but it's 'cos Mr Glissen
has put magic nails in -
but Jane never listens.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Wake Up Call

In case you ended up too peaceful for words after yesterday, I thought I'd make you all sit up by harping back to the wonderful subject of dentists. There! I thought that might catch your attention.

Why on earth in this modern day society, when anaesthesia makes dentistry a virtually painless process, do so many people quake in their shoes at the very thought of a check up, let alone any other of the procedures that lie in wait for unhealthy teeth? Our ancestors were made of much sterner stuff. Just think back to the days when bad teeth were publicly pulled to amuse the crowd at country fairs! Or back a few more millennia, when cave men put up or shut up if a molar proved problematical. I suppose then, it was more likely to be a broken tooth causing pain, rather than decay. A diet of dinosaur steak would hardly cause caries.

Anyhow, I don't mean this post to be all doom and gloom for the fraidy cats amongst you. I thought I would let them enjoy the subject as viewed from the perspective of the wonderful Pam Ayres, whose plaintive poem 'Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth' has long delighted her English audiences, but may not have filtered to other corners of the globe. (What a stupid phrase that is - how can a globe have a corner? But as Granny on the Web recently pointed out, the English language is barmy, anyway.)

So with no more ado, here is Pam Ayres' wonderful monologue for your delectation.

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,
And spotted the perils beneath,
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food,
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.

I wish I'd been that much more willin'
When I had more tooth there than fillin'
To pass up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers
And to buy something else with me shillin'.

When I think of the lollies I licked,
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My Mother, she told me no end,
"If you got a tooth, you got a friend"
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin'
And pokin' and fussin'
Didn't seem worth the time... I could bite!

If I'd known I was paving the way,
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fiIlin's
Injections and drillin's
I'd have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lay in the old dentist's chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine,
In these molars of mine,
"Two amalgam," he'll say, "for in there."

How I laughed at my Mother's false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath,
But now comes the reckonin'
It's me they are beckonin'
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Peace, Man!

This may sound like a Flower Power greeting, but yesterday, Sweetmango alerted me to the fact that 22 September is International Day Of Peace.

Soul Snax has a great quote for today - see what you think?

So to everybody, everywhere, let's do our bit to make today PEACEFUL !

Monday, 21 September 2009


...of yesterday's topic, which seems to have opened a can of worms...Firstly, I was not fishing for comments! Of course, not every follower can, or would want to, comment on every blog, every day - be realistic folks!

I also appreciate that there may well be people who read ours, but choose not to write a blog of their own. The suspiciousness only rears its ugly head when, upon investigation, some of these incognito beings appear to be linguistic giants, who have the time, and the ability, to read umpteen blogs in languages which span the globe. Who are they kidding?

To me, it all begins to smack of the same syndrome as those infuriating 'cold calling' telephone calls; once admit to a supplier of goods that you have a landline and BOOM! Call centre voices on crackly 'phone links begin battering your ears with initial inane greetings, followed by attempts to hard sell anything from insurance, to carpet cleaning, to writing your will! This is the lowest level of advertising, and I treat it with the disdain it deserves.

So to all my trusty, long-standing Blogpals, plus quite a few new ones who've introduced themselves to me recently, I love you all, and would no more dream of blocking you than I would that wondrous writing muse that inspires us all! (Those with photographic bent, please include yourselves in this fraternity; after all, photos are only another form of communication!)

As for your comment, Eddie - don't you know, I'm a founder member of Wizards Inc., and as such would be bound to associate myself with the one in Oz, somewhere along the line...

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Bit Of A Moan...

Blogger has much to answer for, one way and another. When I noticed a rather rapid rise in follower numbers, I started wondering. A few of them, when I hovered over their tiny picture or symbol, had no corresponding Blog of their own for me to visit - simply an enormous list of site's they'd joined. Were they merely jumping on the Blogland band wagon, in order to get free advertising for their own, or another's, business venture? I didn't join Blogger for any commercial reason whatsoever, and I am wary of those who, apparently, have. But to suspect I and my longstanding Blogland buddies are being used for nefarious goings on by computer geeks who remain silent, really gets up my nose!

Before I expire through lack of oxygen due to a preponderance of these annoying 'silent partners', I've decided to vent a little spleen, and await other's opinions and comments on the subject.
These unknowns never seemed to leave a comment, or begin a behind the scenes, email conversation with me - so why were they opting to follow? I blocked three of these dubious people yesterday, but should any of them be genuine, Blogland contributors, they are welcome to show their faces in a less suspicious manner by 'talking' openly to Blogland at large, and thereby gaining my trust in their motives.

Still on a moaning kick, any pleas ( left as a comment!) to 'Do come and visit my blog at BlahDeBlah', are liable to be summarily dispatched to the nearest dust bin by me. My natural curiosity needs no prompting to pay a return visit to those who call, and if your blog is so lacking in lustre that it holds no allure, then I'd not be interested anyway, however much you may ask! A little decorum, people, I beg you!

Sunday afternoon edition cum addition! Since yesterday, I have blocked a total of ten people from my list of followers. I think the effort of weeding out this seemingly dead wood was worth it. I hope it may dissuade others from thinking they can join me for a free ride to goodness knows where. Perhaps they had clicked the 'monetise' button and were hoping to reap some kind of reward from Blogger, or Google, or elsewhere? In which case I trust I have emptied their coffers a little...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Technology Rules!

I have just received the following email from No.1 Son :-

Just to satisfy the curious, the drawer was returned via 'really old friend' courier. It now boasts a shiny new hardboard base, a few more bulges of set araldite and two brackets that. . . wait for it. . . . I had in my drawer! This baby will not fall apart again! (plus my drawer is two brackets lighter now to boot. Genius! )

Even better news, I'm posting this from my phone. The very same phone that decided to go swimming in the toilet! Which simply proves even shiny knights have bad days!

Now, which drawer did I put that armour polish in? .........

Sorry you had to write your own sequel, son!
I know I've already put some of my readers in the picture, but due to two days of attending dental and hospital appointments, I've not updated on the blog proper. I hasten to add, I've already requested further details of the phone in the toilet...How did I not get to hear of that little drama? (Son, how could you not regale me with such interesting details?)

By some quirk of fate, both the Tuesday and Wednesday appointments were for 2.20pm. However, the days could not have been more different.

The dentist is a short walk away. As I got ready to set out, tiny spots of rain splashed on the window panes. 'Only a shower', I thought. 'Be gone in no time.' Wrong; it rained long enough and hard enough to wet me to the skin, beneath my so called 'shower jacket'. The receptionist took pity on my plight, and put the dripping coat on a hanger underneath a heater in her office, while I reclined damply in the dentist's chair to have the new crown fitted. My T- shirt had dark moisture splodges on each area over underlying protuberances of my upper body - back and front, if you're wondering!

The temporary crown was attached a little too well. Initial tugging made me fear I was about to lose the actual tooth along with it, but after the second attempt, the dentist resorted to the good old fashioned method of drilling it to the point of collapse, and my root remained firm. I'm now the proud owner of a gleaming new crown that I hope will last another thirty years, as its predecessor had! At least the weather was fine on the return journey, and I could mourn the loss of the £89.50 I'd had to pay the NHS for my share in the process, without having tears of rain roll down my face, even as I flashed my new smile.

Wednesday dawned sunny and bright. Taxi driver arrived as requested, and deposited me at the shiny, new main entrance of Queen Alexandra Hospital in record time. Since last year, the building has altered out of all recognition. An up-to-the-minute glass facade of towering windows and multi-coloured panels twinkled in the afternoon light. The entrance is through two enormous revolving doors of modern construction, one behind the other. I assume this is to act as an air lock, designed keep the elements at bay and the lobby at an even temperature.

Signposting was clear, and the lift took me to the required level quickly and efficiently - providing you overlook the booming, mechanical voice that nearly deafened me each time it intoned 'Doors opening - Doors closing'. N.B - levels A,B, C and D were equally loud.

The building inside was roomy, bright, light and delicately coloured in pleasing pastel shades - what a joy. I found my designated area in gynaecology outpatients, and only had to endure the inanities of Radio 2 for about half an hour beyond my allotted appointment time.
Mr Bevan eventually called me into his room, reiterated that all was well, and said, after examination, he had no need to see me again.

The revolving doors disgorged me back into the sunshine, and I parked myself on a bench to enjoy it until the taxi came to deliver me home. One poor gentleman I spoke to whilst waiting, said he'd been at QA since 9am (it was now 3.30pm) and had even had time to read, from start to finish, the book he'd brought with him to stave off boredom. I'd got off lightly in comparison to this. My entire trip only took two hours, door to door.

6.30pm update. As received, here is Q's reply to my query, to round off the day for you his own words!

Well now, let me tell you a story.........

My phone was cozily snuggled up in my shirt pocket so I thought I had time to use the loo before it woke up. How wrong was I! It was simply waiting quietly for me to lift the lid of the loo and then it launched itself with all its might. I'm sure I heard it cry with glee as it dived straight into the clean (!) water in the loo. It looked up at me as if to say 'Well?Aren't you going to hold up some numbers and give my excellent dive a score????'.
'I'll give you flamin' numbers', I thought to myself.

I had to seriously reprimand my phone. I locked it in the airing cupboard for a whole week where it had nothing else to do other than ponder on its mischief. I even confiscated its SIM card and let my old phone look after it all week. (Between you and me I think that sealed my hope that my new phone will realize its wrong doing and will never take it upon itself to behave in such a manner ever, ever, ever again.)

So there you have it, sort of.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Morning Vignette

An Autumn morning;
in the sky, promise of sunshine
adds radiance to the misty landscape.
Dew glistens on grass.
Crystal beads of water
dangle from points of leaves,
or nestle roundly on each surface,
The Earth is gathering strength
back into itself
as an insurance against Winter.
It knows the Spring will need
these hidden resources
if it is to blossom again next year.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Latest Ripple In My Pond

Thanks to the variation in time lines with Blogland posts, for some, the weekend has already come and virtually gone. I've read messages wishing readers a happy couple of days, long before my calendar marked Saturday. What would I have to post about, if I were to dwell on my activities for that specific span of time? Who could say...

Then, as they have a habit of doing, the gods intervened. Of a sudden, at the end of last week, one of my kitchen unit drawers took it into it's head to collapse. I don't mean it simply came off its runners. No, it disintegrated. Initially, as I pulled to open the drawer, the front panel came loose on the right edge. The drawer part way slid out then stuck, while the contents began an alarming slide towards the rear, and items began noisily falling into the equipment stacked cupboard below. I bet my face was a study, if I could only have seen it. Surprise and horror combined must have been written all over.

For the rest of that day, I ignored it's sorry state; tried to block it out of my mind by not even looking at it as I prepared meals for myself. Ostrich time; bury head and hope it turns out to be no more than a dream. Fat chance.

Next day, feeling better able to face the truth, I spent a happy time slowly winkling out the multifarious contents, bit by bit. There was just enough open drawer for one hand to search blindly for the next amazing object to be retrieved. Why amazing? Well, beyond the tin openers, bottle opener, knife sharpener etc that I knew lived at the front of said drawer, there began to emerge the strangest assortment of 'stuff' you could wish to meet: four old corks: a small pot of scarlet poster paint: a box of colourings for cake icing: a syringe and two icing bags: assorted plastic cutters for said icing: assorted cutters for pastry, biscuits or plasticine, should the occasion arise (!): two pairs of ratchet nut crackers: a Tweenies tin Easter Egg container: a metal Easter Egg mould: a dolly peg: three spring clip pegs.

I could go on, but by now you've got the picture, I'm sure. Eventually, with half my kitchen surfaces awash with the rescued debris, I extricated the remains of the drawer; two plastic sides and back still jointed at the corners, which waved around like a tripartite snake as I moved them about; a bent and bulging hardboard base and a chipboard front, still sporting half a dozen wooden doweling pegs that stuck out of its rear surface like blunt sharks teeth, completed the ensemble.

Other extraneous items among the contents are unmentionable - mostly because I have no idea how to describe them... Like the three, white, rubbery thingies that looked as though they may have been for protecting feet on some metal /wire contraption. But why only three? Don't most things inanimate stand on four feet? And why did I hoard them?

Perhaps the most prolific items were the bundled sheets of metal ties (the kind you get in boxes of food bags). I admit, I have been known to use such things for many, many creative uses in my time, but there were enough of them to supply an army of creative imbeciles for a lifetime, let alone just me...

Okay, what next? After studying original construction methods (dodgy) and wondering how on earth I could manage to stick everything back together on my own, I took the easy option and put out an SOS call to No.1 Son.

Yesterday afternoon he came pootling over with his trusty tool sack slung over one shoulder, and we spent a happy time scraping off old glue splodges from the surfaces that needed putting back together once cleaned up. As he tentatively reassembled the whole, he discovered why the drawer had collapsed in the first place. The hardboard base was marginally too small for the inner measurements, so the rear edge had popped out of its groove. It was a miracle, that it had lasted as long as it had.

Then he dropped a spanner in the works - he had to leave to pick up young L17 from work, as she'd not been paid since starting there two or three weeks ago, and he was going to be a knight in shining armour for her, by demanding justice. But the drawer was still in pieces . . .

Eventually, he left with it tucked under his arm, promising to get another base cut to the correct size, before delivering the whole thing back to me, as good as new, once finished. His armour is shining brightly on more than one count! My kitchen on the other hand, still looks like a jumble sale collection point. I'm having a great weekend, thanks...

Thursday, 10 September 2009


Thank you to all the kind souls who left calling cards as a result of my last post. I'm not so sure I can produce an encore, as many seemed to request. A lot of my lingering war memories have already been sewn into the Blogland tapestry I've completed so far.

Being an awkward character, I enjoy the way each new post leaves me with a blank canvas to work on. Working to rule is not my modus operandi, so forgive me if today's stitchery draws its own pictures, not necessarily directly related to the previous topic, though it may link in some form or another. In fact, I think I see how...

Having survived a barrage of German bombardments in my earliest years, I see it might appear a trifle strange, that by the time I was at secondary school, I opted to study the German language as one of my 'O' level subjects. Perhaps my curiosity wanted to understand more about the land and its people, as I'd grown up with the word 'Germany' being part of my world. Perhaps it was because I already enjoyed French lessons, and thought German ones would provide another bright spot in a curriculum which could become hum-drum.

Be that as it may, it resulted in my first trip abroad, on my own, to stay with a girl called Helga Winnesberg and her family, when I was about thirteen. I can still see her and her mother, waiting to meet me on the station platform; a round faced girl with brown, plaited pigtail, half a head shorter than me, and Mother in a felt hat, indeterminate coloured, classic coat and sensible shoes. It was quite a relief to see them looking so ordinary, as the station had presented me with a far more disturbing picture when I first got off the train - a pair of uniformed police officers toting guns in their holsters slung across their drab, green coats - a sight which had made my heart beat somewhat faster!

One weekend, we went to watch a hockey match, local German team against a visiting English one, and it was rather disconcerting that goals scored by the English were met by tepid applause, compared to that for the home team. But what on earth did I expect?!

Trips out in the family car - a great luxury in my eyes - showed a prosperous, picturesque country. I was surprised at how Cologne (Köln) city centre showed no evidence of bombing, unlike Portsmouth, which still had areas where it remained well in evidence.

Anyhow I enjoyed my first taste of Germany, and many years later, when I had the chance to visit again with LABBS ( Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers), I was very excited. One afternoon, we went to a community centre to rehearse for our evening performance. It was around Easter time, and in an adjoining room, some ladies were selling Easter goodies of all kinds, for some charity or other, and we were allowed to go and spend some of our money, as well as time (!), before the rehearsal started.

There were many gaily decorated wreaths, baskets etc, flaunting the traditional yellow, purple and white ribbons, flowers and eggs, and chorus members swelled their coffers quite well, I'm sure.

I ended up in the musical director's bad books, as, after purchasing my Easter wares, I was late for her rehearsal. I'd been waylaid by one silver haired old dear, who, despite having little English, and my having a bare minimum of German, managed to tell me about some of her war time memories. She had loved the soldiers from UK being billeted near her home, and couldn't wait to relay some of her girlhood's memories of dancing and merriment with the 'foreigners'.

So this morning, being now a silver haired old dear myself, I thought I'd weave these German threads into my tapestry, for your amusement.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


With many news items this week mentioning the long ago start of the second world war, it reminded me of something I'd written for my family's younger generation, to whom war is simply a word, not a memory. I was not yet born when the hostilities began, but by 1941 they were still going strong. My young niece asked me some questions about that time, and I've decided to share some of my answers with Blogland at large. Here goes...

The German planes only flew over to drop their bombs at night , and only when the weather was right. They liked a bit of cloud cover, so if the night sky was very clear and starry, they tended not to come in such large numbers, and we would get a quieter night. Also, they waited for darkness, so during long summer evenings, life seemed almost normal still.

There was an Anderson shelter in Gran's garden, and when the sirens went in the middle of the night, we had to get up quickly and leave the house. The shelter was simply a few sheets of corrugated iron covered with turf, so they made a mound over the tiny space that had been excavated in the garden earth. I can't remember a lot about how it looked inside. There were a couple of bunks I think, and lots of old chairs - even the one with the woven seat that Mum used to put the skewers through (that's another story!) and I spent a lot of the time sitting on Mum's lap while she either read Mary Mouse books to me, or told me stories. I do remember the whining sound of doodlebugs, and the bang and thump of bombs exploding fairly close by. They seemed to make the air all round push and squeeze you, but I don't remember any of it as frightening, because I was too small to understand what was really going on. I still have pictures in my mind, of standing up in my cot, looking out of Gran's bedroom window and seeing flames rising into the sky from burning houses in nearby streets. Somehow, despite all this, I still remember childhood as having been a happy time, when I was surrounded by a loving, extended family.

Because I was born after the start of the war, Dad was already away on his ship, and I didn't know who he was when I first saw him. So, I couldn't miss him, as I'd never known him to be around. Sad, isn't it? It wasn't until he left the Navy, when I was about 7 or 8, that I have any proper memories of him.

Other memories I have of those days, are of everything being 'make do and mend'. Sometimes I used to help Auntie Nell and Betty wind wool from unpicked, knitted jumpers, so they could re-knit it into other clothes - often for me, and later on, for my brother. Everything was in short supply, and clothes would be altered, made over and worn till they were on the point of falling apart. No popping to a supermarket for a cheap alternative! But we had lots of laughs, and all people were friendlier than they are now, as the hard times were universal, and brought everyone together in a common bond.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Here I Go Again

Thanks to a comment left by Kathleen on my previous post bemoaning the departure of the muse, I received a prompt. She'd said, among other things:-

'If you so much as wrote one word, say, "sneeze," I do believe I'd find some extraordinary meaning!' This was, naturally, a throwing down of the gauntlet.

Initially, I emailed her a reply - 'He he he - a poetic sneeze! Now I've heard it all!' To which she replied, 'Not yet: Ah, choo choo!'

Poetic Prompt

'Ah, choo choo!'
Is that a sneeze?
Or just a sound designed to please
a listening ear? I can't decide;
'tis p'raps a train ( designed to ride)
whose puffing engine children call
a 'Choo-choo train', when they are small?
Kathleen gave the prompt to me
and here is the result, you see.
She said, from just a single word
I'd get a poem. That's absurd...

or not . . .

Okay, not one of my best, but relevant to today, methinks. Yesterday was another of the scheduled delights in my calendar; a trip to the dentist to get impressions done for the replacement front crown on the tooth that has been a nuisance for weeks. All I hope now, is that the final crown will bear some resemblance to the original tooth shape, as the number of temporary patches have left a present shape far from normal.

I must say, the whole process was more space age than ever. Time was, an obnoxious, pink, warm wax was squelched around the upper and lower teeth to take the impressions. Yesterday, this was replaced by a cool blue substance, far less repulsive, and the temporary crown was concocted with a syringe full of gunk wielded by the dental nurse and honed to an acceptable state by the dentist; four hands hovering over my face, ducking and diving to produce an acceptable facsimile of a tooth until the final crown gets fixed in place in two weeks time.

Dentistry, along with many other things, has moved into the twenty first century.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Haiku For Today

The view through my patio doors today is summed up in this Autumn Haiku - short and to the point.

Winds toss brown seed heads
on tall buddleia branches,
butterflies long gone.

Longer poetic offerings will resume once the muse returns - or possibly, after I receive a kickstart from anybody inclined to sort my ignition, which has apparently got damp recently... splutter, splutter, splutter...

P.S. Perhaps I should point out, this last refers to me - not a car! I don't have one of those...

Monday, 24 August 2009

Harvest Time Again

Soul Food

Sun warmed tablecloth field
spread with feast of honey-gold corn,
shimmers in a heat wave heat haze,
while parallel lines of barley sugar ridges
twist, then converge at point of sight.

Ploughshares upturn toffee-coloured earth
to merge in sweetness with pale horizon,
providing food for the soul to digest
as eyes devour the bountiful beauty
of the harvest banquet laid before them.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I'll Begin...

Bearing in mind I'd been told to report to Queen Alexandra Hospital at 7.30am on 19th August, come with me now back to the 18th; 'Brrring, Brrring' went my telephone...
They were ringing to tell me I'd been moved to the afternoon list, and should report to St Mary's Hospital at 12.30pm.
Alarm bells rang. 'Are you sure it's St Mary's?' said I, confused. 'Yes, quite sure'. The determined voice on the other end of the 'phone assured me that was the right place. Okay.

I ordered a taxi for 11.45am Wednesday morning, and after a relatively wakeful night, was glad to be on the doorstep at last, waiting for the off...
No taxi. 'Phone firm and nudge 'em. Ten minutes late, taxi arrives and by 12 noon we were sitting in a traffic jam, still in Havant...
Luckily, driver knew a few crafty side roads, alleyways and factory backyards (!) and we headed towards Portsmouth. And met another traffic jam. Driver played a blinder for the second time, and took me on a circular tour through side roads until St Mary's eventually looms.

I enter a door marked Same Day Clinic, as I knew I was there for a day procedure.
'Day Surgery upstairs' said the receptionist.
Take lift up to first floor; approach another receptionist. 'Can't find you on the list', says she. Wave hoards of paperwork under her nose. 'Oh, you want Outpatients', was the verdict. Back downstairs, out into steaming noonday heat, limp across large car park to Outpatients. (I'd been a bit enthusiastic on the old exercise bike the day before, and one knee was showing its age.)
Another receptionist. 'Can't find you on the list', was the verdict. By now I was close to screaming, crying or having an apoplectic fit in frustration, as she then said 'You should be at Queen Alexandra's Hospital.


'Just a moment, I'll go and have a word with somebody', interjected a passing bod who had no doubt picked up on my fraught state.
Eventually I got the good/bad news - ' Yes, you are in the right place, but Day Surgery is in the Main Hospital...the other end of this building.'
Limp like a three legged dog through miles of corridors until, eventually, said 'Day Sugery' signpost restores my faith in human nature. . .
Which plummeted soon after, as there was no free cubicle for me to disrobe in. I was ushered into a nurses office with a couple of chairs, filing cabinets, computer and examination couch. Salubrious. They stuck a yellow Post-It label on the doorframe, with my name inscribed, and two plastic labels on my wrist, one with name, and one to signify 'Allergic to sticky-plaster and plastic.' You figure it out.
By some miracle, my blood pressure was an acceptable one thirty over seventy, which only goes to show what a placid person I am in times of stress.

A nurse and an anaesthetist double checked I was who I said I was, and more importantly, who they thought I was, and a lot more boxes were ticked on multi-coloured forms.
Mr Bevan, consultant, came and said hello and made reassuring noises, as consultants do.

Eventually, I was lead out to a cubicle, curtains were drawn and I put on the latest design in gowns - it had a cross-over back, instead of the old, totally open back - what joy. I then spent the next three hours ten minutes in a waiting room with thirteen others (six patients, including me, and the rest their family members) and waited. And waited. I started the day being first on the list, but ended up last - presumably because I didn't need a full anaesthetic, so would be compos mentis and ready to go home faster at the end of the day. At about quarter to five it was at last my turn to walk to the theatre for my one day only appearance, as you might say.

This was a totally fascinating experience. About eight bodies danced a medical ballet around the room, with me at centre stage. I saw yet another inside portion of my anatomy on a screen, complete with offending polyp, which was removed after a local anaesthetic had been injected, and before the hormonal coil was inserted. And that was me done. Off for a half hour or so in the recovery room next, with another medical ballet troupe dancing attendance, until I was finally wheeled to the lift, and down to the ward where I was fed two rounds of buttered toast, and given a jug of water.

Despite warnings about mobile 'phones, once I was the solitary occupant of the waiting room, I'd rung No. 1 Daughter who was sitting out on Southsea seafront, and she'd made her way to the Hospital to pick me up about half six, so I was home about seven. What a day!

All medics did a great job - don't ever knock the NHS -it was the clerical staff that were lacking in finesse, but all's well that ends, well, eh? Hope you all enjoyed the tale...

(P.S. Just realised this will be my 200th post - seems like a good time to tell all!)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Post Op

Well, the 19th came and went, complete with awaited hospital procedure. As I'm am still under the 24 hour, post anaesthetic 'no operating machinery, no signing important documents' etc etc, I shall leave it at that - apart form saying Hi! and Thanks! to everyone who left a comment on the 'Breavin' On The Window-pane' poem I regaled you with the day before.
As Marion St John Webb wrote many, many more in the same vein, I shall leave you with another little gem from the same book:-

Timothy Jupp

I'm glad I'm gooderern Timothy Jupp,
He screams at whatever I do.
An' Timothy's fatter an' biggeren me -
I don't think he aught to, do you? . . .

He's screamin' again - 'cos we each had a sweet,
an' somehow I've swallowed his too.

You can now go and build up your strength before I get to tell you all about the many delights (!) of Wednesday - as only a napple could...

Monday, 17 August 2009

In Hiding?

In an idle moment this afternoon, I picked up my copy of 'The Littlest One His Book' and began leafing through the well loved pages...
The poems and illustrations are all old friends of mine, but just as with people, there's always the chance to notice something new, despite the number of years shared together.

I suddenly registered the fact I'd been mentioned by name (sort of) in this tale. See how fast you can spot me?

Breavin' On The Window-Pane

It's cold and grey an' still outside,
And everything is wet with rain.
I'm standing on the cushion seat
And breavin' on the window-pane,
An' drawin' pictures with me 'and.
The window's high against the sky -
I can't see out unless I stand.

I've drawn a house an' chimley-pot;
I've drawn a man an chil'den too,
A napple an' a toasting fork,
An' someone who is jus' like you,
And Gran'ma sittin' in the rain.
The pane's so small I've filled it all,
And 'speks I'll have to breave again.

But Jane has spoilt it now; she says
I want a whippin' - an' I don't.
She's rubbed the window clean, and says
She'll fetch a policeman - but she won't.
And now she's gone downstairs again . . .
I'm breavin' on the window-pane.
I'll draw a nugly one of Jane.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Hear (?) And Now

Saturday Soliloquy

The sound of traffic's motorway madness
forms a ceaseless background noise, a hum,
which grows in volume with the gusting wind.
A siren wails - police or ambulance;
an unrelenting Saturday furore
of life lived in the fast lane. Not for me;
I contemplate the August plenitude
of green and luscious plants' late-summer burst,
exuberant productions running wild
before the dying year curtails their growth.
A nearby building site adds noise of drills,
burring and whirring. A car horn toots.
Perhaps the patio door is best left closed
until a Sunday silence greets the world.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

K1, P1, K2tog

This title has to be read phonetically - so that it sounds like ' kuh wun puh wun kuh too tog'. For the uninitiated, who have never even SEEN a knitting pattern, let alone attempted to read one, I'd like to give an idea of how fascinating they can become, when you view them in this light.

My cousin, Betty, introduced me to the noble art of pattern reading. Otherwise, I may have gone my entire life simply translating the abbreviations as 'knit one, purl one, knit two together'. This, no doubt, is the prosaic interpretation which many knitters may use. But once get into the habit of Betty's idea, and a knitting pattern will forever be seen in a new light.

When the garment being constructed has a lacy pattern produced by a series of holes, the reading becomes more and more interesting. K1, P1, K2tog, Wfwd, Sl1, K1, PSSO, P1, K1, for example. Wfwd = wool forward, Sl1 = slip one, PSSO= pass the slipped stitch over. So the line would read:-
' kuh wun puh wun kuh too tog, wuh fwud, sluh wun kuh wun, puh suh suh och' , as near as I can come up with relevant sounds.

Now you can all scurry away into a darkened room, armed with a knitting pattern, and practise the art for yourselves. Be prepared, however, for a visit from several little men in white coats, possibly bearing a straight jacket.

I dedicate this poem to my niece and sister-in-law, who have recently joined the ranks of knitters. Long may their needles twiddle.

Knitting Up A Storm

Knit one, purl one, knit two tog …
What an idea for my blog -
a knitter's poem! I declare!
I never thought to see one there.

Slip one, pass the slip stitch over…
knitters swoon in fields of clover
as pretty patterns soon ensue
with clever stitches, two by two.

Rib or garter, moss or plain…
a stitch can have a lovely name,
and lead us on to learn another,
till we join them all together.

Thus a garment comes to life…
occasionally with some strife.
Too large? Or just a little small?
Knitters need be on the ball!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Early Morning Non-Poem Poem.

Four thirty, and I'm wide awake.

Today the bin men come.

Should I put the rubbish out?

Their juggernaut appears at seven.

If I fall back fast asleep
and miss the whole shebang,
I'd have to wait for fourteen days
until they come again.

Monday, 10 August 2009

In Pensive Mood

It's not often I decide for sure what I will write about next. I prefer 'following my nose', or my intuition - or do I mean inspiration? This morning is no different. Although childhood games would have been the logical follow on from the previous post, that was not the subject that fought its way to the surface of my mind, once I sat before the screen. Instead, I had to let loose an idea which had been triggered by an email I received a couple of days back, in reply to a comment I'd left on Kathleen's blog.

I had a hovering image in my head of birds migrating, and it wouldn't let me be. The thought of a trigger mechanism which dictated when they would begin, and where these epic journeys would lead, made me think how similar my plight was, as I set my mind free to fly through the realms of inspiration. I never know where it will alight, or what the outcome will be. I have to simply trust the flight will end somewhere, and give a positive result.

You begin to see the similarities? When birds, or butterflies, come to that, brave the elements to fly untold miles across the face of the Earth, what assurance do they have that their efforts will have been worthwhile? None at all. But could they ignore the inner, overwhelming desire to find out? I think not.

This, then, is the result of my latest foray into the land of poetry. It's another of those 'works in progress', I suppose, so bear with me if it's a little rough round the edges. It needed to hatch from its egg today.

Fly Away

Birds collecting for migration;
they'll be off soon to find the sun.
I follow, in imagination,
travelling with them. We are one.

Each body fuelled by inborn urge;
'Up, away, come fly, come fly!'
From the first day they emerge,
this silent voice they can't deny.

It drives them; gives them strength to fight
against the wind's capricious play,
mile after mile in ceaseless flight
they'll valiantly pursue their way.

Could they choose, would they ignore
this inner, overwhelming force;
adapt, and face what lay in store,
as seasons follow their set course?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Games Children Play

6.30 am on a Sunday morning, and here I am, in front of the computer, wondering 'Now, how to amuse them today?' as the line goes in that wonderful poem by A A Milne. What, you've never read it? Then here goes:-


Christopher Robin had wheezles and sneezles,
they bundled him into his bed;
they gave him what goes with a cold in the nose
and some more for a cold in the head.

They wondered if wheezles could turn into measles,
if sneezles would turn into mumps;
they examined his chest for a rash, and the rest
of his body for swellings and lumps.

They sent for some doctors in sneezles and wheezles
to tell them what aught to be done.
All sorts and conditions of famous physicians
came hurrying round at a run.

They all made a note of the state of his throat,
they asked if he suffered from thirst;
they asked if the wheezles came after the sneezles -
or if the first sneezle came first.

They said, 'If you teasle a sneezle or wheezle,
a measle may easliy grow;
but humour or pleasle the wheezle of sneezle,
the wheezle will certainly go.'

They expounded the reasles for sneezles and wheezles,
the manner of measles was new.
They said, 'If he freezles in draughts and in breezles,
then phtheezles may even ensue. '

Christopher Robin got up in the morning,
the sneezles had vanished away,
and the look in his eye seemed to say to the sky
'Now, how to amuse them today?'

As I wrote the title of the post, I fully intended to waffle on about a few childhood games my Gran and my Mum told me about, once upon a time. But having copied out these verses for the uninitiated amongst you, ( if there are any?), I thought 'Enough is enough!' I shall desist from elaborating upon those until another day, and let you simply revel in the Sneezles - the germ free way...

P. S. Splellchecker has just had a fit - sneezles and wheezles are not for him!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Coronation Day?

I've heard of the crowned heads of Europe... But never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to be amongst their number. However, Blogland never ceases to amaze. What did I find this morning, but that Bernie had plonked a glittering crown on my unsuspecting head. I wondered why I'd found it so difficult to raise my brainbox from the pillow as I opened my eyes this morning...

Bernie, dear Bernie, I can tell you have but lately decided to visit my Blogland castle. Otherwise you could not have failed to hear me maligning the whole awards industry. All those poor pixels being pushed around to create a plethora of IT Oscars, make me weep. I never add to their burden by making them rush to umpteen other Blogbods.

As for the attendant rules and regulations of how many secrets we should reveal about our noble kingdom, or our Royal Selves, well ! Noblesse does most certainly not Oblige on this count.

The Royal Coffers are becoming full to bursting with 22 carat, gold plated awards, and frankly, the insurance premiums are beginning to bother me. No more, kind subjects, no more, prithee.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Toilet Humour, Possibly....

In the world of today I'm sitting at the computer. Set your time warp button back to 7th April last year, and you will find I was in front of the same computer then, pondering, while two workmen were endeavouring to bring my bathroom into the twenty first century.

I moved into this house in July 1992. The previous occupants had decorated the bathroom walls with a thick, pseudo wood effect paper, which was probably vinyl of some sort on top of a springy, backing layer about a sixteenth of an inch in thickness. There was no way I could afford to replace it, so to camouflage various holes left there by the removal of their bathroom fittings, I spent an hour or two with the closest matching pattern available in sticky back plastic, trying to match the 'grain' of the pseudo wood as I laboriously patched over the gaps. If I say so myself, the end result was pretty good. Unless you knew where to look, the patches didn't scream 'here I am!' So we lived together harmoniously enough.
With the lump sum payment I got when I retired from the Inland Revenue, I promised myself to get the old bath removed and have a proper shower cabinet instead, together with a modern toilet and basin.

A couple of years ago, I began the search for a reliable firm to carry out the transformation. Thanks to the Internet, I managed to do a lot of research into the ins and outs of available choices of fixtures and fittings, which left me with the task of finding a plumber/ builder to carry out the renovation. Hmm….

I originally tried to arrange interviews with four candidates for the job; the first kept calling me 'darling' and was disqualified out of hand; the second failed to materialise; the third suggested I visit his showroom, but when my son attempted to take us there, we never managed to find it, and the fourth 'phoned back with a quote for the whole job - nothing down on paper- and with a ' nudge, nudge, wink, wink, ' said he'd not charge VAT if I paid cash. As a former Inland Revenue employee, this was an absolute no-no.

So it was back to square one.

Eventually I saw a charming gent from Aqua Bathrooms, got quotes, plans, plus details of fixtures and fittings, and the work began, at last.

It went really well - until the loo had been plumbed in, and they asked me to come and look at the work. AARRGGHH! The wrong loo had been delivered, and instead of the wonderfully streamlined, curvaceous one I'd asked for, there before me sat the most atrociously bulbous, ridged and convoluted monstrosity beyond my wildest dreams - or rather- nightmares. No problem, said the plumber. It could be changed.

Off went another order, and a further week went by to await its delivery.

Then the offending loo was removed, and new one plumbed in. It immediately became obvious, the pan was slightly skewed, as the purpose designed seat only touched the rim on one side, and each time one lowered one's posterior in its direction, there was a disconcerting 'clonk' as the seat settled on to the pan.

Off went another order, and a further week went by to await its delivery.

Then came a call from Aqua - the newly delivered loo was as badly mis-shapen, if not worse, than the other. So we were back to square one.

Off went another order, and a further week went by to await its delivery.

Have you noticed the tedious repetition of this hallowed phrase, folks?

Fortunately, this loo, of a different and highly reputable make, was absolutely fine, a joy to behold as well as comfortable to sit on. But who else, I ask you, would need four loos to find one acceptable?!

I cannot speak highly enough of the firm, Aqua Bathrooms, who contended with all this trauma. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone, but I'd warn everyone off choosing a glamorous looking loo made in Portugal. The catalogue picture may be a delight to the eye, but the actual article could turn out to be anything but!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

A Saturday Surprise Of The wrong Sort!

Finally, one part of the medical profession has agreed that a blood glucose reading of 7.4 put me on the diabetic scale. The other part, the Hormone Watch, has yet to have their wicked way with me. Anyhow, Friday morning saw me closeted with the nurse, while she explained the do's and dont's, gave me half a tree's worth of booklets and leaflets, and a cunning device for DIY measuring. This had the happy name of FreeStyle Lite. And yes, it did have a capital letter in the middle of a word.

She also provided a prescription for the little strips that work by capillary action to suck my blood(!) and the lancets that make this possible without need to slit my wrists for a sample. Fine. I duly presented Boots Chemist with the slip, and toddled home with the resultant bag of goodies.

I then had great fun reading all the literature, and trying out the new gadgets. Here I need to explain.The tiny needles are encased in a blue plastic holder, which slips into the round hole in the electronic monitor.

When I opened the box of 100 lancets, they were grey - and square. And we all know of the square peg-round hole syndrome.
I failed to convince Boots, when I phoned, that there had been a mistake, and was asked to take everything in on Saturday, for them to inspect.

At this point, Sod's Law came into force. Saturday was grey and wet. No walking in Birkenstock, bare toed comfort, for boots, raincoat and hat were obviously needed. My little black leather ankle boots had hibernated in the shoe cupboard, but on inspection, seemed to be wearable still. Off I trotted, once clad, and eventually the Boots pharmacist agreed the square/round problem, and said they'd have words with the surgery on Monday.

I headed homeward, trundling trusty shopping trolley before me, head down against the elements. By the time I reached the homeward straight, I noticed my two feet were not making the same sound as I walked; the right seemed to squelch. I put this down to my favouring one foot, due to somewhat wonky right knee, and thought no more of it.

Once inside the front door, I took off soggy mac and cap and headed down the passage to sit in a chair so's I could unlace the boots. This is where the surprise came in. Both soles had disintegrated, the right one more than the left, and when I glance back down the passage, there was a trail of crumbled, black, sponge like substance left in my wake... Just as well I'd not had to walk through any puddles. As it was, my right sock had just begun to show signs of sogginess, though the left was unscathed.

I've never had a pair of boots die on me before. It goes to prove the old adage, there's a first time for everything.

P.S. Please note, folks , they were NOT Wellingtons! I don't have Wellington shaped feet. I have Birkenstok shaped feet - wide and square at the toes.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Comments Sometimes Need Special Answers

I've never felt it satisfactory to reply to comments left on napple notes, by leaving a comeback in the same place! Who has time to read a post and comments for the second time, to see whether the Blog Owner has answered a question?

Many of my readers, who have supplied an alternative email address, will know I carry on conversations with them 'behind the scenes'. But occasionally, the urge to 'answer back' to a follower who remains a little incognito, is too strong to ignore.

Yesterday gave a good example. Friko said, and here I quote:-

"Poetry is so very hard to translate; who said "poetry is what gets lost in translation"? I am no poet, don't even consider myself a writer; I have, however, tried to read translations of foreign poetry to members of poetry groups who do not know the original language and it's always fallen flat. Words that can move me to tears leave them cold.
I hate that that should be so, I hate that I can't "make" others see and feel and taste and smell the poets who mean the most to me.
Oh dear, Jinksy, you have hit a nerve."

This so exactly captured the reason why I wrote out the translations as near as possible in the order of the original. And why, after Kathy B! had said:-

"This is so beautiful and the literal translation is wonderful to read.
It's interesting to read something exactly as it was intended to be
read, albeit minus some of the cadence that might have been in the
foreign, original words. Hopefully that made sense."

I emailed her this reply:-

"I could give you the gist of the rhythm of the first verse of Pastel:-

dah di di dah di di dah dah di dah
dah dah di dah di dah di dah dah
dah dah di dah di dah di di dah
dah di dah dah di di dah di dah dah

Hopefully, that makes sense, too!"

I think Friko will understand this, maybe better than anybody.

Moving from French to German for a moment, there's a verse by Goethe which etched itself in my memory, too, in some long ago German lesson. Once I'd got to Art College and discovered the delights of brush lettering, the first two lines are the ones which gave me a phrase to use in a project to practise the new skill. But that's another story. Here's the poem:-

Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh',
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest Du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.

I did a literal translation of this too, for somebody else, but it was less than satisfactory, as the difference in syntax between English and German destroyed the 'soul' of the poem. That's why I finally settled for this rendition:-

Peace lies over the mountains.
No movement is discernible
in the tall treetops.
Woodland birds call, then roost.
Wait patiently!
Soon peace will claim you.

And the conclusion from all of today's mitherings? I guess Weaver's prompt to explain what inspired me to write poetry, has highlighted the exact reason. It's not the beauty of any one language, but its inherent lilt and flow that captured my heart from the earliest years, when, with bombs still forming a background to life, a very special Auntie would read me the poems of Marion St John Webb and A A Milne.

Friday, 31 July 2009


As promised, following yesterday's Blogland detour through some French poetry, I have endeavoured to give literal translations; I've left the words, as much as possible, in the order in which they were written, rather than re-arranging to the accepted, English syntax. In this way, I hoped to give a better correlation between the original, and my version.

Literal translation of Pastel by Theophile Gautier

I love to see you in your oval frames,
yellowing portraits of beauties from an earlier age,
holding in your hands, roses - a little pale -
as befits flowers a hundred years old.

The winter wind, in touching your cheeks,
has made your carnations and lillies* die.
You have nothing left but spots **of mud
and on the sidewalk*** you languish, all sullied.

It is past, the gentle reign of courtesans.
La Parabere, along with La Pompadour,
would only find rebellious subjects, now,
and in their tombs Love is buried also.

You, meanwhile, ancient portraits one forgets,
you sniff your bouquets of flowers with no scent,
and smile with melancholy
at the memory of your gallant conquests.

*1) i.e. made your pink and white complexions 'die' - in the sense of expire, or fade.
** 2) hints at the idea of beauty spots?or maybe fly-blown, as a describing a mirror's black specks?
***3) on the quais, or walkways of bridges which span the river, maybe even riverbanks?

Literal translation of Chinoiserie.

It is not you, no madame, that I love.
Nor you either, Juliette, nor you
Ophelie, nor Beatrix; not even
Laure the Blonde, with her great, sweet/gentle eyes.

The one I love at present, is in China.
She lives with her old parents
in a tower of fine porcelain
by the Yellow River, where there are cormorants.

She has eyes tip-tilted towards the temples:
a foot small enough to hold in the hand:
a skin more translucent than the parchment of a lamp:
the nails long, and painted bright red.

Through her lattice she inclines her head,
which the swallow in flight comes to touch,
and each evening, as adroitly as a poet,
she sings of weeping willow and peach blossoms.

This poem was inspired by the painting on a Willow Patterned, fine porcelain plate - or so I was lead to believe, so the words 'in China' have a double meaning.

I hope this gives you a flavour of the actual French language, a feel of its lyrical flow. It would take a greater poet/linguist than I to write a grammatical English poem which could catch even a fraction of the nuances of the original. You see, I had to resort to a French word in that last sentence anyway, as I could think of none better!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Thursday With Théophile

...Gautier, that is. I thought today, especially for the curious amongst you, I'd let you see one of those favourite, French poems that I mentioned yesterday. Here it is.


J'aime à vous voir en vos cadres ovales,
Portraits jaunis des belles du vieux temps,
Tenant en main des roses un peu pâles,
Comme il convient à des fleurs de cent ans.

Le vent d'hiver, en vous touchant la joue,
A fait mourir vos oeillets et vos lis,
Vous n'avez plus que des mouches de boue
Et sur les quais vous gisez tout salis.

Il est passé, le doux règne des belles;
La Parabère avec la Pompadour
Ne trouveraient que des sujets rebelles,
Et sous leur tombe est enterré l'amour.

Vous, cependant, vieux portraits qu'on oublie,
Vous respirez vos bouquets sans parfums,
Et souriez avec mélancolie
Au souvenir de vos galants défunts.

While I'm at it, I've decided I may as well post another of Gautier's poems that I love. If nothing else, it may make a few of you use your grey cells in a new way, as you endeavour to translate. Nowhere does Blogger say we have to stick to the English language, what, what, what?!


Ce n'est pas vous, non, madame, que j'aime,
Ni vous non plus, Juliette, ni vous,
Ophélia, ni Béatrix, ni même
Laure la blonde, avec ses grands yeux doux.

Celle que j'aime à présent, est en Chine;
Elle demeure avec ses vieux parents,
Dans une tour de porcelain fine,
Au fleuve Jaune, où sont les cormorans.

Elle a des yeux retroussés vers les tempes,
Un pied petit à tenir dans la main,
Le teint plus clair que le cuivre des lampes,
Les ongles longs et rougis de carmin.

Par son treillis elle passe sa tête,
Que l'hirondelle en volant vient toucher,
Et, chaque soir, aussi bien qu'un poëte,
Chante le saule et la fleur du pêcher.

I promise to tell the stories of both the poems, eventually, once I've let them confound you for starters. Who knows, there may be talented, multi-lingual Bloggers who won't be able to wait to leave a comment and translate the lot today!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wednesday With Weaver

Wow! (Thought I may as well keep the 'W's' well in evidence, as a starter.) Thanks to the Weaver of Grass, I rashly agreed to join in today's challenge to write about INSPIRATION. Hmmm. Yesterday, I dutifully typed and printed a hypothetical post, ready for transcribing to Blogger. (I still can't get anything to copy and paste successfully into napple notes - no inspiration there, then....)

But now, in the early hours of Wednesday (5.30am), and in the cold light of day, the two pages of A4, on which I quoted one German and one French poem among other things, lost their charm. All, that is, except for the last paragraph, which seemed to be the most relevant, and I quote:-

I simply love words. The older I get, the more I read, the more words have etched themselves into my conscious, or unconscious, mind. Now Blogger has given me the perfect arena for letting them spill out. But I wouldn't class as inspiring - though many of it's Blogaddicts are! For which I thank you all...

When all is said and done, inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere, anything. As long as one keeps an open mind and a sharp lookout for anything which triggers the flashing , Eureka! sign in the brain, inspiration will always be available. Now, stop reading this and go and find some.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Live And Learn

That's what it's all about, no matter which area of life you care to mention. Thanks to Gumbo Writer's interview with Harvey Stanbrough this week, I have discovered a great source for more learning. At one point in this interview, if you've not read it, Mr H. kindly offered to send a PDF file to those interested in the art of writing.

As a result of my being bold enough to request a copy in an email, I've had an ongoing, behind the scenes conversation with the gentleman since then. Thanks to a chance remark of his, I had the perfect nudge to write the following lines:-

Oh, To Be An Open Book!

If I were published in a book,
however would I breathe?
While people flipped my pages,
I might get a reprieve;

for as they turned a leaf or two
I'd inhale with all my might.
This hasty chest expansion
might last me through the night.

By counting all my many lines,
they'd maybe guess my age...
I know, if they erased a few,
I'd not be in a rage!

As The Weaver of Grass is currently asking for people to talk about their sources of inspiration, I thought this would tie in very nicely with her idea. I nominate 'The Chance Remark' as an ideal starting point for prose or poem. Why not go and visit her, and find out more about her cunning plan to get everyone writing? She does some exceedingly worthwhile posts herself, on the pen pushing front!

I'd also like to say a big thank you to the people who have become followers over the past few days... though some of you haven't left me a clue as to how I may return the favour. Nevertheless, you have caused Blogger to count to 100 on his less than perfect fingers; I noticed yesterday, you see, that he managed to make the total 101, but this morning, although I spotted yet another new face in the picture parade, he only makes it total 100. Either people are deserting me in disgust, or Blogger still hasn't mastered the art of arithmetic.

So, speak to me, newcomers - you'll find my bark is far worse than my bite...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Short, But Not Necessarily Sweet

A Reflection

The one in the glass is a stranger.
Who could they be? Should I know?
Possibly. There is a danger
the face is nobody but me!