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...




Friday, 26 July 2013

Would you like to read "The Wish Gift"?

This is our 100th blog. It coincides with the completion of the second draft of my novel, and I am seeking volunteer readers.

Set (mainly) in the 1990s, "The Wish Gift" features several mysteries, a quest, romance and people who possess unusual powers.

I'd particularly like to know whether the book contains any errors, whether there is too much or too little detail/explanation, and whether there are any annoyingly repeated words etc. Please be as critical as you need to be!

If you are interested in receiving an email copy, please let me know. Details are in the "Contact" section of this website.

Your help would be much appreciated, (as is your support in continuing to visit this blog spot).

Many thanks
Maggie x

The next  part of "Life on the Home Front" will be posted in the next day or two.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part Three

Welcome to viewers from Peru, South Korea and Turkey. Your flags have been added to "Hello World".

Eggs in powdered form
Were increasingly the norm:
"Real" were scarce and so they used this stuff instead.
The "national loaf" (brought in
As, to waste wheat, was a sin),
Was a husk-filled beige apology for bread.

Bananas...lemons...limes...
In these trickiest of times,
Could rarely be acquired for love nor money.
When they'd later reappear,
Many kids had no idea
What to make of them, and thought they tasted funny.

At cafes, folk would feed:
For their coupons here, no need.
A "British Restaurant" offered a good meal.
It cost a bob or two
(Seven pence to me and you),
Which seems a very reasonable deal.

One more "no coupons" source -
Not for patriots, of course! -
Was to buy things from a rogue "black marketeer".
To purchase from his stash
Needed lots and lots of cash,
And the penalties, if caught, were most severe...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part Two

Mothers did their best,
There were recipes to test.
The variety was really quite incredible,
Like the goose-less "mock goose" dish,
Or the fishcakes (with no fish),
A lot were very probably inedible.

"Snook piquante" - this suggestion,
Guaranteeing indigestion -
By using cans of pike could be produced.
This fish didn't go down well,
Resolutely failed to sell,
And was later sold as cat food, price reduced.

That fine nutritious treat -
The "Woolton Pie" - lacked meat,
(Upon their tins of "spam" cooks would rely).
Spuds were "good for you" ... or not,
"Don't eat many" ... "Eat a lot".
The message changed depending on supply.

"Cat's eyes" Cunningham, a flyer,
Eating carrots would inspire:
It was said they helped his vision in the dark.
(This wasn't strictly true,
For the secret no one knew
Was that radar helped this hero hit his mark).

Monday, 22 July 2013

Life on the Home Front - Part One

Stuff to eat was hard to buy
And the major reason why
Was that most of Britain's food had been imported.
So one had to get to grips
With the fact that merchant ships
By enemy torpedoes were now thwarted.

With their coupons women queued
At the local shops for food:
The allowance for each person was quite small.
And it served well in the end
To become your grocer's friend
For the bit of "extra" added to a haul.

"Dig for Victory" inspired,
So allotments were acquired,
Thus allowing lots of folk to "grow their own".
Those with gardens forsook flowers
And instead spent outdoor hours,
Tending all the cabbages they'd sown.

As men went off to face
The Germans, in their place,
Young women had to work hard to fill in.
In factories, they trained,
Tilled the soil - some entertained
(Especially if their name was Vera Lynn)...

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Eating for two

Do I deserve a bun or cake?
What difference would a small one make?
The midwife said to lose some weight,
Be very careful what I ate,
At mealtimes, must be very firm
To reach my target, by full term.

And, heaven knows, I've really tried,
But salad's boring - even fried.
If fatty foods are so pernicious,
Please tell me why they taste delicious.
And choc'late, if I'm not mistaken,
Is on the list "to be forsaken".

My trip in here was quite unplanned,
But in a cafe now I stand.
I will be good. I will be strong,
Forgo the things I know are wrong.
So, "Just a tea for me, and maybe
That vanilla slice - for baby."

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ode to a cupcake


(Welcome to new viewers in Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Singapore. We'll be adding your flags to "Hello World". These three countries all begin with an 'S'. It's time someone in Sweden joined us please!)

Oh jewel of confectioner's art,
You truly have captured my heart.
The darkest of moods you can cure,
With your heavenly sticky allure.

And all I can think of when shopping,
Is your luscious swirled butter cream topping:
The prospect of which one to choose,
Can't compete with new handbags or shoes.

Overwhelmed by such fanciful flights,
I am drawn to your varied delights.
You entice, and are full of surprises
In all your delicious disguises.

Inside, who knows what I might meet?
Though it's sure to be gooey and sweet.
I love you. You're perfect...divine,
And the best thing of all is you're MINE!

With the sight of you, there on the plate,
It is certain my taste buds won't wait.
You've enchanted me, body and soul;
Am at risk of consuming you whole.

Then, at last comes the moment to linger,
As I lick that last crumb off my finger.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Complete version


Prince Arthur (died 1502)

Henry was a handsome king,
He liked to dance, he liked to sing,
He liked to read, he liked his sport,
But ate and drank more than he ought.

For reasons more than love or kicks,
He married not one wife but six!
(Henry, sometimes known as "Hal"
Would always note a pretty gal
And, as befits a man of action,
Allowed himself the odd distraction.)


Henry VIII
Kath'rine, his first royal bride,
Had wed before, but hubby died.
And that her first husband was none other
 Than Arthur, Henry's older brother.

(Hal wasn't born to be the heir:
As second son, he'd been the "spare",
On how to rule had never sweated;
With mum had stayed, adored and petted.)

Our Henry and his Spanish wife
To start with had a happy life,
Katherine of Aragon (1485-1536)
Mary Tudor
But Henry wanted just one thing:
A son to follow him as king.

He hoped and prayed but knew no joy,
Their child a girl and not a boy.
(That princess turned out really scary:
Was later known as "Bloody Mary")



Anne Boleyn (1501/1507-1536)
He thought, "My marriage is a sin!"
Then fell in love with Anne Boleyn...

As for divorce, well not much hope,
Except if granted by the Pope
Who played for time, while Henry waited
Getting more and more frustrated,
Not knowing what he could do next,
(he couldn't email, phone or text).
At last, he said "Enough's enough.
I'll break with Rome! I'll call his bluff!
The man's a joke. The man's a tease.
I'll do exactly as I please.

In this my kingdom, this my realm,
The monarch shall be at the helm.
The English church shall be my onus,
The Young Elizabeth
Its riches, though, an added bonus.

His ageing spouse was then dispatched
And Hal was free to get re-matched.
Dear Anne, he did himself convince,
Would certainly produce a prince.

So many gowns and jewels he bought her,
But baby was another daughter.
(Elizabeth, it will be seen,
Became fair England's greatest queen.)

"Another wretched female child,"
Cried Henry, "I have been beguiled."
Wife number two he sought to ditch,
"She's been untrue. She is a witch."

"I'm tired of her. I'm getting bored."
They cut off her head with a sword.
(She'd been accused of trumped-up crimes:
Jane Seymour
That's how it used to work sometimes.)...


And now, with Anne securely dead,
He turned to gentle Jane instead.
A year or so - time quickly passed
Then Henry got his son at last.

But once she'd borne that prince most royal,
Jane shuffled off this mortal coil.
Our Henry all alone was left,
Partner-less and quite bereft...
Prince Edward







England, as oft-times before
Was threatened by impending war.
To make an ally double-quick,
Anne of Cleves
Should Henry seek a foreign chick?

His men searched Europe for a mate,
And found one in a German state.
Hal did not meet her 'ere they wed:
A portrait had to do instead.

Her ugliness caused much despair,
He called his wife "The Flanders Mare",
And this resemblence to a horse
Led to the Anne of Cleves divorce,

To which she readily agreed
And proved herself a friend indeed:
He called his ex beloved sister,
If she had gone, he would have missed her.
Catherine Howard

And therefore Anne in England stayed
For many years. She died a maid.


 Next Henry eyed a bit of skirt,
Young and fair and quite the flirt.
Catherine Howard won his heart
But wasn't really all that smart.

Because of all the food he ate,
Our king, by now, had put on weight.
His once-great strength was quickly losing,
Legs all swollen, painful, oozing.

Henry in later life
Wife number five, his brand new queen,
Was quite repulsed, "He's fat, obscene!"
Younger men were her delight
(We've said she wasn't all that bright:
If, on the king, you're going to cheat,
You really can't be too discreet.)
And thus she faced the fate all dreaded,
Despite her pleading, doomed...beheaded...





Katherine Parr
His former energies abated
And, thinking passion overrated,
Hal knows exactly what is sought,
A more mature type at his court,

A woman who'll do as he bids,
Who'll dress his sores, who's good with kids.
He didn't need to look that far,
And wed the widow, Katherine Parr.

She played her part, she nursed, she tended,
Henry's offspring loved, befriended.
But proved more than a homely sort
And had her enemies at court.

Despite her dodgy new faith leaning,
Kate was rather good at queening.
When things got tight, she fudged and bluffed it:
Had kept her head, when Henry snuffed it.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Katherine Parr

His former energies abated
And, thinking passion overrated,
Hall knows exactly what is sought,
A more mature type at his court,
A woman who'll do as he bids,
Who'll dress his sores, who's good with kids.

He didn't need to look that far,
And wed the widow, Katherine Parr.
She played her part, she nursed, she tended,
Henry's offspring loved, befriended.
But proved more than a homely sort
And had her enemies at court,

Despite her dodgy new faith leaning,
Kate was rather good at queening.
When things got tight, she fudged and bluffed it:
Had kept her head, when Henry snuffed it.


Katherine Parr   Born 1508 or 1512 or 1520
                            Married Henry 1543
                            Died 5th September 1548 (post childbirth fever)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard
Next Henry eyed a bit of skirt,
Young and fair and quite the flirt.
Catherine Howard won his heart
But wasn't really all that smart.

Because of all the food he ate,
Our king, by now, had put on weight.
His once-great strength was quickly losing,
Legs all swollen, painful, oozing.

Wife number five, his brand new queen,
Was quite repulsed, "He's fat, obscene!"
Younger men were her delight
(We've said she wasn't all that bright:
If. on the king, you're going to cheat,
Henry VIII
You really can't be too discreet.)
And thus she faced the fate all dreaded,
Despite her pleading, doomed...beheaded........

Catherine Howard  Born 1520/1521 (possibly 1524)
Married Henry 28th July 1540
Died 16th July 1542 (executed)

Friday, 5 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves
England, as oft-times before
Was threatened by impending war.
To make an ally double-quick,
Should Henry seek a foreign chick?

His men searched Europe for a mate,
And found one in a German state.
Hal did not meet her 'ere they wed:
A portrait had to do instead.

Her ugliness caused much despair,
He called his wife "The Flanders Mare",
And this resemblance to a horse
Led to the Anne of Cleves divorce,
To which she readily agreed
And proved herself a friend indeed:
He called his ex beloved sister,
If she had gone, he would have missed her,
And therefore Anne in England stayed
For many years. She died a maid.

Anne of Cleves - born 1515
Married Henry 6th January 1540
Divorced July 1540
Died 16th July 1557 (cause not known)

Henry VIII and his six wives - Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour


Edward (later Edward VI) 
And now, with Anne securely dead,
He turned to gentle Jane instead.
A year or so - time quickly passed
Then Henry got his son at last.

But once she'd borne that prince most royal,
Jane shuffled off this mortal coil.
Our Henry all alone was left,
Partner-less and quite bereft,,,

Jane Seymour - born 1508
Married Henry 30th May 1536
Died 24th October 1537 (post childbirth fever)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Anne Boleyn

(Welcome to viewers in Greece)

Anne Boleyn
As for divorce, well not much hope,
Except if granted by the Pope
Who played for time, while Henry waited
Getting more and more frustrated,
Not knowing what he could do next,
(He couldn't email, phone or text).

At last, he said, "Enough's enough.
I'll break with Rome! I'll call his bluff!
The man's a joke. The man's a tease.
I'll do exactly as I please.
In this my kingdom, this my realm,
The monarch shall be at the helm.
The English church will be my onus,
Its riches, though, an added bonus.
Young Elizabeth
His ageing spouse was then dispatched
And Hal was free to get re-matched.
Dear Anne, he did himself convince,
Would certainly produce a prince.
So many gowns and jewels he bought her,
But baby was another daughter.
(Elizabeth, it will be seen,
Became fair England's greatest queen.)

"Another wretched female child,"
Cried Henry, "I have been beguiled."
Wife number two he sought to ditch,
"She's been untrue. She is a witch,
I'm tired of her. I'm getting bored."
They cut her head off with a sword.
(She'd been accused of trumped-up crimes:
That's how it used to work sometimes.)...

Anne Boleyn - date of birth not known (most sources give either 1501 or 1507)
Married Henry 25th January 1533
Died 19th May 1536 (executed)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Henry VIII and his six wives - Katherine of Aragon

Thank you to everyone who has been visiting this blog spot during its two week holiday, and welcome to new viewers from the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ukraine and Jersey. We've added your flags to the "Hello World" blog.


Prince Arthur (died 1502)
Henry was a handsome king,
He liked to dance, he liked to sing,
He liked to read, he liked his sport,
But ate and drank more than he ought.

For reasons more than love or kicks,
He married not one wife but six!
(Henry, sometimes know as "Hal"
Would always note a pretty gal
And, as befits a man of action,
Allowed himself the odd distraction.)

Kath'rine, his first royal bride,
Had wed before, but hubby died.
And that first husband was none other
Than Arthur, Henry's older brother.

Henry VIII

(Hal wasn't born to be the heir:
As second son, he'd been the "spare",
On how to rule had never sweated;
With Mum had stayed, adored and petted.)

Our Henry and his Spanish wife
To start with lived a happy life,
But Henry wanted just one thing:
A son to follow him as king.

He hoped and prayed but knew no joy,
Their child a girl and not a boy.
(That princess turned out really scary:
Katherine of Aragon
Mary Tudor
Was later known as "Blood Mary")

He thought, "My marriage is a sin!"
Then fell in love with Anne Boleyn...

Katherine of Aragon
Born 16th December 1485
Married Henry 1509
Marriage annulled 1533
Died 7th January 1536 (?cancer)