Friday 27 December 2013

The day after Christmas

T'is the day after Christmas                                    
And all round the home,
Are glasses with dregs
Of champagne (minus foam).

There are bottles galore,
Metal tops, wires and corks,
Some unwashed-up plates,
And some cake-gooey forks.

A cocktail stick snapped
Into very small bits...
(Was somebody nearing
The end of their wits?)

The table with debris
From crackers is strewn,
There are squashed bits of ribbon...
A now-deceased balloon.

Someone spilled gravy,
The candles dripped wax,
There's the chaos that came from
Two Santa-filled sacks.

There are wrappings
Not yet in the big bag marked "litter";
On the sofa is Play-Doh,
And icing and glitter.

Half-assembled, a castle...
A key (but no lock),
Empty battery packs
And a child's cast-off sock.

The knife we had lost
Has been found by the telly,
The turkey's congealed.
And its juice is now jelly.

There are dishes with sprouts,
(Over-catered of course),
Potatoes, and carrots,
And dried-up bread sauce.

In the carpets are peanuts
In bits and well-trodden,
The tea towels look grey:
They're in heaps and they're sodden.

Our guests all had fun,
The event was informal,
But what we want now
Is to get back to normal.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

The night before Christmas

T'is the night before Christmas
And all round the house
Every creature is stirring,
The hamster... the mouse...
The goldfish are spinning
And must be quite dizzy,
For everyone near them
Is frantic and busy.

"Where is the cheese knife?"
Now somebody shouts.
"I can't help you look:
I am criss-crossing sprouts."
The tree angel's slipped,
And is looking quite quirky.
There isn't a big enough
Tray for the turkey.

There are lagers enough
For a jolly good time,
But someone forgot
Grandma's bottle of lime.
The kids are still up,
(But they''ll wake before dawn),
They've been out and spread
Reindeer food on the lawn.

Those final few presents
Are still in their bags.
"We've run out of paper!
We've run out of tags!"...
The table is laid,
"And we're two soup spoons short..."
But I don't care one jot,
Now I've opened the port!

Merry Christmas everyone and welcome to new viewers from the United Arab Emirates.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Christmas Truce 1914

Der Kleine Frieden im Grossen Krieg*

They call out, when they are meeting,
A friendly season's greeting:
After all, this is a time of peace on earth.
With alcohol and food,
And cigars, in festive mood,
They are celebrating Christ the Saviour's birth.

It's pleasurable to see,
Every decorated tree,
To play football, to be laughing, to have fun.
To be happy, to be young,
To hear carols being sung:
It's Christmas time, when all is said and done.

'Midst the candles that are glowing.
Each to each, goodwill is showing,
The exchange of gifts by brother unto brother
Is a symbol of humanity,
Which overrides insanity.
Tomorrow they'll be killing one another.

*A small piece in the big war - Michael Jurgs 

Monday 9 December 2013

Writing Christmas cards

Welcome to a new viewer from Algeria. Your flag has been added to "Hello World".

My cards are not done quickly.
They take days and days on end.
I think of the recipients:
Each one of them a friend.

For twelve long months, it's possible
I haven't seen them much.
But now it is December
And a chance to keep in touch.

There'll sometimes be a message
In the cards that I have sent.
"The wedding you were planning -
Please tell me how it went."

"I hope retirement suits you...
...your new job's to your liking...
Tom is doing well at school...
You're still enjoying hiking..."

The wording can be tricky.
Should I ask?- I can't decide -
"How's your mother keeping?"
For the old dear may have died.

Others do things differently,
Of that I am aware.
These folk don't have to agonize.
Don't have to take such care.

Their labels are all printed
(Updated every year).
And now there's a production line
For sending Christmas cheer.

They've stuck on the addresses,
The cards are all the same.
"Best wishes from..." they scribble,

Stuff in any envelope.
These then are stamped and stacked.
No need for thought or effort:
They have got their system cracked!

The cards have now been "processed",
Are impersonal and bland,
And why on earth they bothered
I find hard to understand.

The printed words say everything,
They'd probably insist,
But the greeting merely tells me
That my name is on a list!

Sunday 8 December 2013

New country

New countries will visit us
Now and again.
And now we've the aptest -
Some views from Baah-rain!

Welcome - we'll be adding the Bahrain flag to "Hello World"! Still awaiting viewers from

Friday 6 December 2013

Santa Cams

Ella was shopping with Daddy.
She wasn't behaving at all.
An assistant advised her, 'Be careful!
There's a camera up there on the wall.

It's a Santa Cam. Watch what you're doing.
See the little red light that is blinking?
It means Father Christmas can see you.
"Is she worthy of presents?" he's thinking.'

The tantrum was instantly halted.
Thoughts of Santa Claus watching seemed scary.
Ella was no longer naughty,
But angelic - and ever so wary.

Father Christmas, it seems, has things covered.
There's surveillance in many a street.
And kids who were once quite demonic,
Turn all "Stepford" and perfectly sweet.

When she visited us next, her first question
Was 'Is there a Santa Cam here?'
Then she noted, high up, several sensors,
On which a red light would appear.

Our alarm system thus gained new purpose,
Was the object of many a glance.
She might contemplate hitting her brother,
Then decide she could not take the chance.

Will it work again this year? we wonder.
It seems quite effective thus far.
And Freddie's seen lights on the dashboard,
So he thinks there's a "cam" in the car!

Monday 2 December 2013

Baa Baa Grey Sheep

Welcome to our new viewers in Iran, Sudan and Taiwan. Your flags have been added to the "Hello World" blog (April 2013). 

Baa baa grey sheep,
Why are you so sad?
I've been naughty,
I've been bad.
I pinched my little brother
And I wouldn't eat my tea,
So Father Christmas
Isn't going to visit me.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Getting into Cuba

Varadero airport
Before we could get into Cuba,
Our visas we had to complete.
They had to be written in biro,
With no errors, all perfect and neat.

We'd heard lots of horrible stories,
Of people turned back at the border.
We assembled our documentation
And prayed it would all be in order...

Through passport control we had made it!
Another long queue we then met:
Via security had to be processed,
As we might pose a hazard or threat.

We were frisked and our bags were looked into.
(Was "terrorist" writ on our faces?)
At length, having proved we were harmless,
We moved onwards, in search of our cases.

The carousel belt was in action:
There was plenty of luggage thereon,
But ours clearly wasn't amongst it,
So where in the world had it gone?

It must have come out very early:
Our bags had been dumped to one side.
My friend made a quick bid for freedom,
But I (sad to say) was denied.

A woman, quite big and officious,
Thrust a very long form in my hand.
She insisted it must be completed,
(Though quite why, I did not understand).

Baggage reclamation

For passport...pen...glasses I fumbled,
(This was all going to take quite a while),
Then I noticed her collecting some others
Which were stacked up, unread, in a pile.

So I filled in some meaningless numbers,
On this tedious small-printed page.
I wrote down my name - "Roger Rabbit" -
And knocked twenty odd years off my age.

Were these forms part of some kind of survey?
Were they wind-ups, deterrents or pranks?
Well "Roger", my mythical tourist,
Just imported a million Swiss francs!

I proffered this great work of fiction,
(Accepted with barely a glance),
Then I headed at speed for the exit,
And escaped while I still had the chance.

On the bus, found my canvas bag missing:
It contained almost everything vital.
"Stop the coach!" - it was there with the cases -
Now I'd earned "hopeless witterer" title.

Had been organized - all now is chaos.
I begin to be very afraid.
My suitcase's padlock has vanished,
And my visa has twice been mislaid.

Yes, I've finally got into Cuba,
But am haunted by worry and doubt
That I'll somehow fall foul of "the system"
And find that they won't let me out.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Suede dye

Welcome to our new viewers in Tunisia, Gibraltar, Armenia and Curacao. Your flags will be added to "Hello World" very soon.

My pair of beige suede "ballet pumps"
Were looking somewhat sad,
But these shoes were very comfy:
The best I've ever had.

I'd walked for many miles in them:
They never ever hurt me,
But now they looked quite tatty,
They were frayed and scuffed and dirty.

I really should have ditched them,
Though I didn't have the heart,
So I went and bought some suede dye
And they turned out very smart.

They're painted black, are fabulous,
The product never fails,
But I didn't wear protective gloves
And now I have Gothic nails!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

New Christmas song

In case anyone out there is planning a nativity event involving young children, am posting a "new" carol  - one of several written almost thirty years ago for my daughters. Please feel free to use it, either as a song or as a spoken verse.

Sunday 10 November 2013

R.I.P. Sweep

He wanted love, to be protected,
But as a pup, was sad...neglected.
He didn't have the best of starts,
But quickly won new owners' hearts.
Security at last he'd found,
And thus became a happy hound.

Any sign of food was good.
He took his chances where he could.
Beneath the high chair always stopped,
To clear up crumbs that might have dropped.
He recognised the fridge door click,
Then proved himself alert and quick.

He'd come - with strange lopsided gait -
Would wag his tail, and sit and wait.
Appealing eyes and yours would meet;
Resistance failed: he'd get his treat.
In recent weeks,though clearly ailing,
His loyalty remained unfailing.

He proved himself the truest friend
And this was so, until the end.
Epitome of real devotion,
His loss means only one emotion.
In loving arms, he went to sleep.
Rest in peace. We miss you Sweep.

Friday 8 November 2013

Not computing (again)

Welcome to new viewers from Estonia and Norway. Your flags have been added to "Hello World".

Was getting so frustrated,
My mouth began to foam.
"Explorer" not responding,
So I went on Google Chrome.

At first, this didn't work at all,
My WiFi box unblinking.
Was it in some sort of coma?
Was it plotting, dead or thinking?

In time, I reached my homepage
And my teeth once more did clench.
Some joker in the system
Had translated it to FRENCH!

Wednesday 30 October 2013

"Pride and Prejudice" unresolved

It's the template
For every romance ever written.
Our pair start as foes,
Then admit they're both smitten.

Elizabeth Bennet
Is forthright and plucky,
But in finding true love,
She has not been that lucky.

Mr Darcy is dashing,
Is rich and aloof,
And seems to have made himself
Gold-digger proof.

There are misunderstandings.
They spar and they fight,
Then all is explained 
And their future looks bright.

This book is a masterpiece:
Just has one blot
That mars very slightly
Its wonderful plot.

Fitzwilliam's his name -
Too long, must be said,
So what does she call him,
When tucked up in bed?

Does she shorten it somehow,
To Fitz or to Willie?
Or worse, find a nickname
That's cute, naff or silly?

Monday 28 October 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge's hats

Welcome to our new viewers in Cambodia. Your impressive flag has happily settled itself somewhere in the middle of "Hello World".

I truly have missed my vocation.
Writing verses is not where it's at.
I should've embarked on another career,
Designing the ultimate hat.

I've studied the Duchess of Cambridge:
The photos all seemingly show
That headgear's deceptively easy to make:
All you need is a large piece of dough -

Of the kind that is used to make pizza,
Leave it egg shaped, then put it together
By adding a frill or a wisp at the back
Made of net, or some wire, or a feather.

The format is not rocket science,
And seems like a bit of a doddle,
There's now one tiny hitch with this venture of mine -
I need someone who's famous to model.

Copyright Maggie Ballinger 2013

Tuesday 22 October 2013

The Royal Christening

Welcome to new viewers in Oman, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Thailand and Kuwait. Your flags have been added to "Hello World".

When a baby's newborn
He can look very wizened.
At three months, however,
He's fit to be christened.

To the world he's presented
And now can be seen.
He resembles a child,
Not some dried up old bean.

At last he has reached
An appropriate age,
When - looking half-human -
He takes centre stage.

He'll be dressed in a gown
Which is frilly, not dashing,
To face lots of cameras
All clicking and flashing.

Will he cry like his Dad did,
And screw up his face?
It cannot be comfy
All shrouded in lace.

Who'll be the godparents?
A fact that's concealed.
They have posh names (with hyphens),
And all be well-heeled.

The wedding cake had
An enormous top tier,
For just this occasion
Designed to appear.

George won't understand
What the fuss is about,
But, like it or not,
His whole future's mapped out.

Let's hope he has scope
And can do his own thing.
Even though this small baby
Was born to be king.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Hello World update

The nations' flags on "Hello World"*
Now number fifty-three.
We can't arrange them neatly
So just have to let them be.

The USA's and Russia's
Went AWOL for a time,
And Italy's disrupted
Some lines within the rhyme.

The Spanish flag stays at the top:
Insists on being first.
And many won't play nicely,
So our cursor's often cursed.

"Velkommin" now to Iceland,
"Hej" Danes and Swedish too.
The latest view's from Finland,
But Norwegians - "hvor" are you?

Brazil has paid a visit,
But "venha?" Portuguese.
You're conspicuously absent.
Do the verses fail to please?

Switzerland has joined us,
"Wo bis du Oesterreich?"
Is it I've not written yet,
The sort of thing you like?

We've visitors from Cyprus.
What language do you speak?
As the mainlands too have joined us,
I'll try "yassou", which is Greek.

Or "merhaba", which is Turkish.
Would be understood by sheep!
And ditto by the Saudis,
Who have been to have a peep.

"Bienvenido" Costa Rica.
"Hola" Mexico,
Venezuela, Argentina...
But there's still a way to go.

Hello friends in Malta.
To Italy, a "ciao",
South Africa and Egypt,
Have both turned pale green now.

Polynesia and the Philippines
Have logged from the Pacific.
"Apa Kaba?" Indonesia -
Your green dots look terrific.

How did all you folk discover us?
Am really glad you did.
Please spread the word to others.
Help our wholly green globe bid.

It seems that with the Vikings,
The world is rather smitten.
But no one reads King Henry -
The best verse I have written.

*The original "Hello World" blog was posted in, and can be found under, April 2013

Thursday 26 September 2013

Ben the hamster

Welcome to new viewers in Argentina, Sweden and Cyprus. Your flags have been added to "Hello world".

Ben was furry, Ben was cute
A master of the exit route.
His cage was reinforced with tape:
Ben somehow managed to escape.
That battle he would always win
But never could he get back in.

One time, on a nocturnal trip
A Kinder egg he did unzip.
Next day... strange choc'latey aroma...
Ben on a cupboard, in a coma.

Then there occurred the thing we feared:
Ben simply upped and disappeared.
We put out hamster choccy treat,
(His very favourite thing to eat)
And sprinkled flour upon the floor
Then watched for signs of tiny paw...

Conditions of the flat we let
Forbade the keeping of a pet -
A term we clearly had abused.
Then, suddenly, the lights all fused.
Did this just our own home affect?
We warily went out and checked.

It seemed elsewhere was just the same,
A fault, we hoped, might be to blame,
But knew that Ben was more than able
To chew through an electric cable.

For Ben, this would have been the end.
We really miss our little friend.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Price comparison websites

I've sometimes used those websites
Which insurance quotes provide,
But I never did get on with them,
No matter how I tried.

"Go Compare" could not oblige me.
I got a big fat "no".
The reason was six speeding points
From TWELVE long years ago.

At one time they were relevant,
Though now they're at an end.
But the system had remembered them,
And thus I was condemned.

"Confused" was not efficent,
And lived up to its name:
Insisted that my husband's car
And mine were both the same.

Our address I'd duly enter
And his vehicle appeared.
I could not amend these details,
And nor could they be cleared.

They then sent me an email,
By which I was surprised.
I clicked the link. Got message.
"Address not recognised".

Now, once again, insurance
On my car was almost due.
My company had written
With the info to renew,

I thought I'd better check it out,
And this time - Oh what joy! -
I got a quote for half the price,
Plus bonus meerkat toy.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

My laptop is trying to tell me something

"Ran out of memory at line 26",
This notice appeared on my screen.
Is this a problem that's easy to fix?
Just what does this stark message mean?

It's very bad news, and of that I am sure.
My computer is truly no good.
Won't connect to the web as it did, any more.
It won't even shut down as it should!

I've patted it, talked to it, begged and cajoled.
But it keeps on refusing to play.
It's a horrible thing. It is tired. It is old.
And I'm going to throw it away.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Trying to leave The AA

The car my husband used to drive
Was getting rather old.
We didn't need two vehicles,
So his was duly sold.

He had an "AA"* membership,
And this had once been fine.
But now it was not wanted,
So he rang up to resign.

They said they'd send a letter,
To confirm that all was ended.
But this arrived and told him
That he'd asked to be "suspended".

They'd kept his payment details,
There's nothing he'd need do:
The system would, in three years' time,
His membership renew.

He hadn't really left at all,
He still belonged, and so
Beware, once you have joined them:
They are loathe to let you go.

You may no longer own a car,
But that seems incidental.
Or perhaps they'll send assistance
If your roadside breakdown's mental?

*Automobile Association

Saturday 7 September 2013

Pot Noodles

Welcome to new viewers from Malta, Columbia and French Polynesia. Your flags have been added to "Hello World".

Had scanned the supermarket shelves,
My quest - a ready meal.
Found boxed-up deli noodles,
Which seemed to be ideal.

I pulled the little "open" tab,
Which bent a bit, I think.
Tugged harder. Contents scattered
To the worktop, floor and sink.

The instructions on the carton
Were in tiny print - and blue.
I went to get my glasses,
To read what I must do.

"Pour in boiling water
To the line inside the pot."
I peered into said vessel,
But find it? I could NOT.

At last, a faint indented ridge
Could be identified.
I took the just-boiled kettle,
And dutifully complied.

I stirred the mixed ingredients.
Two minutes...stirred some more...
I went to pick the post up,
Which had just come through the door.

The meal, a short while later,
By some miracle was tasty.
(Though the peas in it were somewhat hard,
So perhaps I'd been too hasty?)

Tuesday 3 September 2013

My computer

Welcome to new viewers from Venezuela. We will be adding your flag to "Hello World".

My laptop's so ancient it's steam-powered.
It chugs. I can hear its cogs turning.
The keyboard becomes overheated,
Though I haven't yet smelled something burning.

I get messages saying "High Usage".
There are ads that announce I've won cash.
Some of these block certain buttons,
And cause headaches whenever they flash.

Get internet service through Orange,
Which is nowadays powered by "EE".
I haven't a clue what this stands for.
The name, it means nothing to me.

The WiFi comes through a black gizmo.
On the front, four green lights you can find.
These sometimes elect to do nothing,
But they blink if they feel so inclined.

If they're active, connections are working,
But sometimes they fancy a rest.
A signal from BT takes over.
Is this down to some button I pressed?

My machine has its quirks and its foibles.
Won't perform what I want it to do.
I have tricks to get round certain problems.
These don't work if the screen has turned blue.

I've reached an unhappy conclusion.
My computer - it isn't much cop.
Disobedient, wilful and lazy,
It has two speeds: one's slow and one's stop.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Baa Baa Punk Sheep

Welcome to new viewers from Mexico and Israel. We have just added your flags, along with that of Jamaica, to "Hello World".

Baa baa punk sheep.
Why do you look strange?
Sought new image.
Fancied change.
Did my fleece all spiky,
Bought these heavy boots as well,
Then went to get my body pierced,
Which hurt like hell.

(Alternative last three lines for those who may read this to small children:

Bought these boots - they're hot!
Then went to get my body pierced,
Which hurt a lot.)

Thursday 22 August 2013

Nursery rhyme

The cows in the field
Say, "Moo" and yield
Their milk for the farmer to sell.
Some is made into cheese,
And for all to please,
Butter and yogurt as well.

The sheep in the field
Say, "Baa" and yield
Their wool for the farmer to sell.
There's yarn for knitting
And it's only fitting,
Some is made into cloth as well.

The hens in the yard
Work very hard:
Lay eggs for the farmer to sell.
Scrambled, poached, fried,
If you really tried,
You could whip up an omelette as well.

The pigs in the sty
Say, "Oink" and cry,
"It's US that the farmer will sell!"
Pork, ham, bacon...
If we're not mistaken,
Gammon and sausage as well.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Seven ways to pronounce "ough" in English

Welcome to viewers in Jamaica. We'll be adding your flag to "Hello World" soon!

The little pig is feeling "off":
He has a cold. He has a cough.
But, even so, his food he'll scoff.
Watch him eating at the trough.

Daisybell, the Jersey cow,
Stands beneath a leafy bough.
She's looking at the farmer now.
He's making furrows with his plough.

In Spring, the field with seeds he'll sow,
And even though the wind may blow,
It won't take long for wheat to grow.
This crop makes flour. And flour makes dough.

The farmyard cats and dogs have fought.
They don't get on. They know they ought.
No peace they've sought: they like this sport.
To neither side is victory brought.

Now see the cockerel strut his stuff.
His chest he'll puff. He's macho, tough.
His daily life is far from rough.
He crows at dawn. That's good enough.

The goats the hanging washing chew.
A pillowcase they've bitten through.
They eat a shirt that's nearly new,
And swallow several blouses, too.

And finally, to be quite thorough,
These scenes are set in rural borough.
The ending of these words is "uh".
Can't think of any others - duh!

Saturday 10 August 2013

The "Slow Fix" diet

Edam cheese - 25% fewer calories than. . .
It seems that, if we're dieting,
There is no Holy Grail:
The promise of a quick result
Is guaranteed to fail.

By nature, we're impatient.
We want results - and fast,
But the sudden loss of half a stone
Is something that won't last.

Our body thinks, "I'm starving:
Fat storage cells - make more!"
And thus we end up heavier
Than how we were before.
But take things nice and slowly,
Lose an ounce or two each day,
And we'll get to where we want to be,
And that's how things will stay.

A hundred fewer calories
Than what we're really needing,
Can be achieved quite painlessly,
Without defeat conceding.

Quavers - 80 fewer calories per bag than. . .
The "slightly less" approach to food,
Is logically a winner.
Our bodies draw on fuel reserves:
We gradually get thinner.

Ditch Cheddar cheese for Edam -
There is so much scope for swapping.
Just buy the low-cal versions
When we do our weekly shopping.

These tiny changes every day,
In what we choose to eat,
Will magic excess pounds away,
As long as we don't cheat,
By "forgetting" things we nibble
In such very small amounts:
From that dish upon the table,
Every salted peanut counts.

6 calories each
The numbers on the bathroom scales
Might sometimes fluctuate,
But over time, they're sure to show
A steady loss of weight.

Friday 9 August 2013

Vistaprint update

It seems, to get our image right's
Akin to rocket science.
Vistaprint have given up:
They can't achieve compliance.

They're sorry for the hassle,
Which is only right and fair,
And refunded what we paid them.
Now we'll start again, elsewhere.

Monday 5 August 2013

Vistaprint - a cautionary tale

We wanted to get business cards,
Had seem the TV ad.
A tenner* was the headline cost,
Which didn't seem that bad.

Printing on both back and front
Was what we had decided.
The quoted price, however,
Was for cards that are one-sided.

We carried on regardless.
There was postage...there was VAT...
The price had almost trebled,
But we ordered. That was that.

We'd confirmed the final image,
By a shaded background bordered.
Our cards were then delivered,

We phoned about this problem,
Said, "The cards aren't what we need."
A girl checked all our details.
"Yes, they're wrong," she soon agreed.

She sent a new consignment,
Which we opened with delight,
Then were quickly disappointed.
The design was still not right.

We emailed and we rang again,
Felt utterly defeated.
A third lot was dispatched to us.

We're waiting for the fourth batch,
And this tale's no longer funny.
We've warned them, "Either sort it please,
Or else refund our money."

The process should be simple,
But it's turned into a mess.
Will let you know what happens,
(Which is anybody's guess).

* price shown on advert actually £9.99 

Saturday 3 August 2013

Life on the Home Front - (Final) Part Seven

Welcome to new viewers in Poland and Barbados.

Donate a pan or kettle:
Building tanks and planes needs metal,
And for failing to recycle, no excuse.
Piles of scrap in each locale,
May have helped to boost morale,
But a lot of it was never put to use.

Our cities weren't safe places,
Compared to open spaces,
For children, there was no real need to stay.
From crowded central stations,
They reached new destinations,
Thousands upon thousands sent away.

Living with a stranger
(Albeit out of danger),
Was not the same as being home with Mum.
Many, until now,
Had never seen a cow:
A very weird experience for some.

Churchill led the nation,
What he said, an inspiration.
He assured the population they'd win through...
That the Brits could never fail...
Would eventually prevail...
Which in the end was proven to be true.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part Six

There were blackouts every night,
For the faintest chink of light
Might, for Gernman bombers, prove a useful guide.
That cheery local soul,
The warden on patrol,
Would ensure that all was glimmer-free outside.

When the air raid siren sounded,
People to the shelters pounded,
Except the very sleepy or less able,
Who might stagger out of bed,
And creep downstairs instead,
To take cover underneath a sturdy table.

Of the bombs that were unloaded,
Some were not types that exploded,
But incendiaries that set the town alight.
The destruction of the Blitz,
Owed much to "Fire Bomb Fritz",
And the buildings that he managed to ignite.

To tackle this dire tactic,
A simple prophylactic:
The volunteer who'd keep us from the mire.
With some water close at hand,
And a bucket filled with sand,
He'd do his best to tackle every fire.

Monday 29 July 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part Five

Every adult, lad, and lass
Had a mask, to filter gas,
Lest some noxious airborne substance be dispersed.
"Always carry it" the rule,
To the workplace, or to school.
In its usage, children often were rehearsed.

Masks were rubber, hot and thick,
And made some folk feel quite sick,
The hoods had goggles covering the eyes.
(If they'd been around today,
They'd enable kids to play
At "Darth Vader", in their very own disguise!)

The war we'd surely win,
If everyone mucked in,
So most were very keen to do their "bit".
But what were the open courses,
For those not in the forces,
(Too old, too young, flat-footed, or unfit)?

Some men, thus debarred,
Joined "Dad's Army" (or Home Guard),
If they lived in places on or near the sea.
They would drill and they'd parade,
Lest the Germans should invade:
A first defence to keep these islands fee.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part Four

All throughout the land,
Using private cars was banned -
On unneccessary journeys no embarking -
So folk lost one more pleasure:
The trip made just for leisure,
But at least were spared the hassles over parking.

Every housewife's sewing box
Had the means of darning socks;
Woe betide the ones who didn't have such skills.
Outfits all were very neat,
Without gather, without pleat,
They lacked pockets, they lacked turn-ups, they lacked frills.

For shirts new life was earned
With their cuffs and collars turned,
The motto of the time "make do and mend".
With clothes and fabric rationed,
From curtains, skirts were fashioned.
In the absence of new stockings, they'd pretend.

In lieu of silken hose
Now the modern woman shows
A pair of legs with gravy browning painted.
This proved - perhaps no surprise -
Irresitable to flies -
And with swarms of insects soon she'd be acquainted...