Sunday 16 June 2013

A letter from Sir Elton John

Twinkle twinkle mega-star,
Thanks for being who you are.
Despite how busy you must be,
You took the time to write to me.
And now I am your biggest fan,
Because you're such a thoughtful man.

We sent a copy of our "Baa Baa Pink Sheep" book to Sir Elton John for his, and David Furnish's son, Zachary.

Although he is one of the most famous stars in the world, and could easily have delegated the task of sending an acknowledgement (or, indeed, not bothered at all), he instead took the time and trouble to personally write a "thank you" note. We are grateful to him for so doing.

Please note that the blog spot is going on holiday tomorrow to a remote part of Spain. Internet connection there is dubious, so postings are likely to be erratic to non-existent. Normal service will be resumed from 2nd July.

Meanwhile, please check out any verses you might have missed, especially if you are a relatively new visitor. And please don't forget to recommend this site to others.

As always, many thanks for your interest and support. M x

Saturday 15 June 2013

The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society

Some fishing boats set sail.
The wind blew up a gale.
The fleet was sunk and lots of lives were ended.
With so many menfolk lost,
Enormous was the cost
To the village, which on herring had depended.

This was 1838.
The need for aid was great.
In response was formed a charity of note.
Somewhere out at sea
Is not the safest place to be.
(That is why you'll never find me on a boat.)

There will always be disasters,
For our waters are the masters,
Regardless of precautions that are taken.
Britain needs its merchant fleet...
Those who catch the fish we eat...
And SMS ensures they aren't forsaken.

The Society is there,
For those in want of care,
Those who struggle, who financially are squeezed.
Twice-yearly grants are paid,
Or else one-off cash gifts made,
Which mean that daily worries can be eased.

Anyone at all
Who has braved the wave or squall,
Deserves at times to have a helping hand.
The Society's a friend
I would gladly recommend,
(From one who'd rather stay upon dry land.)

The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society was founded in 1839, the year after the North Devon fishing fleet disaster. The young Queen Victoria was its first patron, and it has enjoyed royal patronage ever since. HRH The Princess Royal is its current patron.

In order to be able to provide much needed help to eligible seafarers, SMS relies on donations, on an annual Christmas appeal (great cards), and on fund-raising activities. 

Further details about SMS can also be found on its website

I first became aware of the society when I heard about its inaugural limerick competition last year, which I entered with the following:

The swell and the towering wave,
Cover many a seafarer's grave,
So to land Britain's dish,
(What are chips without fish?)
A man must be strong, skilled and brave.

Friday 14 June 2013

Ella asks THAT question

Dressed herself!
Her Daddy is a gardener,
And tells her all she needs
To understand that bigger things
Can grow from tiny seeds.

So, when Ella asked that question,
I.e. how she came about,
There should not have been a problem,
Nor any room for doubt,

But the "Mummy/Daddy made you" thing
Still caused parental groans:
Had they been somewhere to find or buy
The necessary bones?

Are thought processes genetic?
Ella's Mummy had seen fit
To believe she'd come in pieces,
Like some self-assembly kit.*

I too had asked that question
In my very early youth.
Mum told me how I happened,
And she always spoke the truth.

She collected Persil packet tops -
I think she'd needed five -
If you sent them off (plus postage),
A baby would arrive.

She didn't change this story,
To this day, she never has,
Though she swapped her brand of powder:
Got my brother free with Daz!

*"The facts of life - a true story" (published 10th February)

Wednesday 12 June 2013

The year in verse (July to December)

(A welcome to viewers in Malaysia. Your flag has been added to "Hello World".)

At last, we can enjoy July.
Bees gently buzz, small insects fly
On busy and yet aimless wings.
We scratch their bites, and tend to stings.

The August holidays are here:
Crowded beaches, tepid beer,
Airport queues and suspect food.
These all promote a restful mood.

September - shorter grows the day.
Cosy nights are on their way.
The children back to school are sent.
We wonder where the summer went.
For me, the last night of the proms signals the end of summer

October: glowing autumn trees
And, drifting on the cooling breeze,
Are leaves that dance, and when it rains,
Form sodden heaps which block the drains.

November: Bonfire Night draws nigh,
And fireworks streak the darkened sky.
We watch. The cold air chills our blood.
We're standing ankle-deep in mud.

December: Christmas-time once more.
It's sorties to the tinselled store.
We brave the queues and fight the fight,
And quash the thought that Scrooge was right.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Woman washes bomb in sink

If, whilst you're tending the garden,
A UXB there were to find,
What is the very first notion
That would leap pretty sharpish to mind?

Most people, I'd guess, would be cautious:
Because being blown up's not much fun.
They would distance themselves from said object,
Back off (or, more probably) run.

But not so a lady from Norfolk,
Who proceeded to dig the thing out,
Then went off to look for her husband.
"Come and see what I've found!" she did shout.

(She hadn't been totally reckless,
In fact, had been "safety aware":
She knew that it might be explosive,
And had covered the bomb with a chair.)

As this wasn't a piece of old pottery,
Roman coins, or some gnarled garden gnome,
Wise hubby refused to inspect it,
So she carried it into their home.

On the table, it looked rather muddy,
So what now does our heroine think?
She decided this had to be rectified,
And she gave it a wash in the sink.

Would guess that the lady is houseproud,
Likes everything tidy and clean,
But there might well exist now a very large hole
On the site where her house had once been.

The bomb squad turned up to remove it,
Then exploded the thing in a quarry,
They said that the couple were lucky,
That they might not have lived to be sorry.

Monday 10 June 2013

Swedish busmen wear skirts

In the countries of Western Europe,
Men in skirts aren't a typical sight.
In some parts of the world it's quite common.
Here (one might say) it doesn't feel right.

Scotland's a major exception:
Blokes sport kilts and they do so with pride.
But such garments would look rather silly,
If paraded much south of the Clyde.

The drivers of buses in Sweden,
Would prefer to wear shorts if it's hot.
Their company's dress code forbids this,
And specifically says they cannot.

A dozen men therefore decided -
As this wouldn't break any rule -
They'd don skirts when reporting for duty,
And thereby ensure they'd stay cool.

Their employers have said they'll permit this,
(Daren't do otherwise, that's what one feels),
But here is a bit of advice chaps:
It's not easy to drive in high heels!

Sunday 9 June 2013

The year in verse (January to June)

In every month of every year
Is something bound to bring us cheer.
There's joy in all the changing seasons,
And, reading on, you'll find the reasons.

January glistens white,
The children whoop with sheer delight,
Whilst adults cope with soggy socks,
The frozen plumbing, iced-up locks.

Feb's comfort food means excess pounds,
The germs awake to do the rounds.
We, weary, ache without abatement
And fret about the Access statement.

March: invigorating gales!
Wind-chapped lips and what else ails?
Winter clings with icy finger,
Coughs and streaming colds still linger.

April: lambs and calves and flowers
And, in between those April showers,
Short interludes of sun-bright time
Show up so well that winter grime.

In May new leaves and shoots appear.
Oh blessed, greenest time of year.
The garden beckons. Cast off sloth
And set about the undergrowth.

June: with book and brimming glass
We venture out...Ah! new-mown grass.
Eyes overflow, the sneezes mount.
We contemplate the pollen count...

Saturday 8 June 2013

Helpful banking? Postscript

Just this minute, have been on-line banking,
Once more on that currency quest.
"Travel money?" this time I tried asking,
And that was what seemed to work best.

It said that the process was easy,
Three minutes was all it would take,
I started to feel optimistic,
Which proved a misguided mistake.

I clicked "Order now" to begin with,
Was told that I had to log in.
My email address was requested,
Then details of password and PIN.

This should have been very straightforward,
I do know these details, but wait...
They wanted a ninth digit entered,
And my password contains only eight!

Mr & Mrs Flosser

Fellow guests called this couple "The T***ers",
They were self-proclaimed regular flossers,
He and she formed the most irksome team,
Obsessed with their dental regime.
Were there prizes for making folk bored,
This pair would have won an award.

"You need to work down, round and back,"
She'd declare, "to eradicate plaque."
On they banged about waxed thread or tape,
For keeping one's gums in good shape.
It was like they'd embarked on a mission,
To keep teeth in A1 condition.

We were stuck with them, each time we dined:
All tried different topics to find,
Though the chatter would always come round
To this marvellous mouthwash they'd found.
And the chef would be quizzed every day,
In case what he served caused decay.

So instead of our holiday bliss,
We suffered a fortnight of this.
But their pearly whites certainly glistened,
And now how I wish I had listened.
I mourn all those teeth I have lost,
Which I wouldn't - if only I'd flossed.

Friday 7 June 2013

Helpful banking? June 2013

At last, good news can be reported:
The ISA stuff was quickly sorted.
But just today, again I sigh.
Euros..on-line... how to buy?

Such a simple thing to do,
If they'd provide but one small clue.
There are some tabs in front of me,
But none of them says "currency".

Again I try that great suggestion:
"We're here to help, so ask a question."
My query then I duly keyed,
Said exactly what I need.

The answer was that I should try
A new account - to qualify.
Am frazzled now. My brain is fuzz.
The one I have already does!

The service thus should be available,
But access to it unassailable.
Delivered cash would be fantastic:
Abroad it costs to use your plastic.

And that's another thing that's hard,
Those charges on one's credit card...
If helpful steps NatWest has made,
From where I look, they're retrograde.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Helpful banking? March 2013

And now I must, am sad to state,
My ISA fund reactivate.
Filled in the form, it's duly signed,
But where to send it? Cannot find
A useful note of said address.
This really is an awful mess.

"Ask us something" was invited
By the screen. Got quite excited.
Lots of questions flashed on-line,

"What's a money mule?" was one,
And thus the list went on and on.
Don't want to know. I do not care.
Have branch address. Will send form there.

There's no end yet to this sad story.
Will things henceforth be hunky-dory?
Or will I find my tail I chase?
Will let you know, so watch this space!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Helpful banking? November 2011

There was a time quite recently,
My NatWest bank seemed good to me.
Currency, a simple task,
"Euros please," I'd go and ask.
Five hundred pounds' worth would not faze,
Yes truly they were happy days.

I went for euros yesterday.
The special desk had gone away.
The information lady knew,
"They're at the tills:
You'll have to queue."

I did as asked, but to my sorrow,
"None today - and none tomorrow."
My euros thus remained unbought,
But surely someone could have thought
To mention this to information,
So sparing part of my frustration.
Plus something simple, that's for sure,
If stocks run low, THEN ORDER MORE!

(I wandered then to M&S,
And got them there - plus more for less.)

My credit card was shiny gold,
It wasn't tatty, wasn't old.
A new one came, it's navy blue.
My debit card's that colour, too.
By "which is which?" my life's now blighted.
(How fare the old and dodgy-sighted?)

Three times now I've made a hash,
When I've tried to draw some cash.
With bit of plastic went equipped..
Into the slot, it smoothly slipped...
I keyed the normal numbers in...
Machine would not accept my PIN.
I gave the screen a double-take,
Then recognized my sad mistake.
The credit card a charge incurred:
My comments shall remain unheard...

Me, myself, I

For Julie, who asked me to write a verse on this topic.
M x

"Me and my mate
Went off to the fair."
If I'd been on my own,
Would ME have gone there?

Here is another
We maybe could try.
"A friend has invited
My husband and I."

If it happened that I
Were the sole invitee,
It's clear that the friend
Would invite only ME.

When I was at school
All the teachers would hammer
These most basic points
Of our language's grammar.

We dreaded those lessons,
And thought them a chore,
But it's sad that the rules
Are not taught anymore.

"Myself" has crept in
As an even worse blight;
A cop-out for those
Who can't get I/me right?

Though "self" is no pronoun,
(Reflexive its form),
Its usage as such
Is now almost the norm.

"Goodbye from myself,"
Is increasingly heard.
Why not, "bye from me"?
It's a much smaller word.

And "Myself, I feel..."
Is a favourite one.
(Well, feeling oneself
Might turn some people on).

A waiter brought food.
He was but a boy.
He hoped that "yourselves"
The meals would enjoy.

Cabin crews state,
As the plane's gaining height,
"Ourselves are all hoping
You'll have a good flight."

Government ministers
Also transgress,
And one's Michael Gove -
Education no less.

What can be done
To combat this curse?
Methinks something should,
Or it's going to get worse.

If you've enjoyed this, or any of the blogs,
please don't forget about our Facebook page
(link on right) and please, most importantly,
share with others.
Thank you for your interest and support
M x

Monday 3 June 2013

The world of Freddie Two

My latest fad is posting things,
(Such fun, the adults' terror).
I'm never certain what will fit:
My method's trial and error.

They say the stones I feed down drains
Will cause these to be blocked.
And (believe me) coins in keyholes,
Mean the door can't be unlocked.

The tests I've done on yoghurt
Show how far it can be spread -
To the sofa, walls and curtains,
And there's still some for my head.

There's a way of getting chocolate:
Look appealing and say, "P'ease",
My G'anny can't resist this,
(Though she sometimes offers cheese).
It just fell apart in my hands
I have certain "oh dear" moments,
They're not my fault, hand on heart.
Some items clearly aren't well made
And simply fall apart.

Grown-ups might take "forty winks"
Whilst sitting on the couch.
When I wake them, they say, "Ouch!"

(I've tried shouting when they're dozing off,
Their eyelids barely flicker.
I resort to the effective way -
A head butt's always quicker).

There's this concept known as sharing stuff,
And that would work out fine,
If my sister would remember
What I'm playing with is MINE.

They tell me to stop doing things,
The instant I get started,
But I carry on regardless
And refuse to be down-hearted.

"Watch out," they cry, "Be careful!"
(Like I'm not that self-assured),
But despite these sad restrictions,
I am never ever bored.

If you've enjoyed this, or any of the blogs,
please don't forget about our Facebook page
(link on right) and please, most importantly,
share with others.
Thank you for your interest and support
M x

Battle for the mixer about to commence

Saturday 1 June 2013

Woman follows sat-nav's "scenic route"

A lady from Belgium
Set off in her car.
The journey she planned
Wasn't really that far.
She was meeting a friend,
Who by train was arriving.
She'd programmed the sat-nav,
And then begun driving.

Just thirty-eight miles
Was the distance to travel.
She relied on the sat-nav,
The way to unravel.
She followed instructions,
Her faith in them blind,
(And was later to claim
She'd a lot on her mind.)

She pulls in at one point
And has a short sleep,
Then continues refreshed
On the route she must keep.
Several times, she refuels
On the way to the station,
Barely noting the road signs,
(These now are Croatian.)

At last, in Zagreb,
She will twig to her cost
That she's been through six countries
And might well be lost.
Mum's reported as missing
Back home by her son.
A manhunt is planned
Though has not yet begun.

We've all had to query
What sat-navs are stating.
(The reports do not say
If the friend is still waiting.)

Sabine Moreau, aged 67, drove 900 miles without noticing that the road signs she was passing were in different languages (and presumably without checking whether she was on schedule to meet the train).