Tuesday 16 June 2020

Struggling to get my trousers on

I hadn't worn them for a while,
But simple...classic...is their style.

Today I would these trousers don,
And started thus to pull them on.

This can't be true! This can't be right!
They never used to be this tight.

I hopped. I sat. I groaned. I swore.
And writhed upon the bedroom floor.

Another pull, another squeeze.
The waistband's just beyond my knees...

I yank them slowly up my thighs.
In secret, have they shrunk in size?

Inch by inch, am getting dressed,
As legs are ever more compressed.

"Just give up now," instructs my brain.
(But could I get them off again?

The force by which this garment edged,
Might render me forever wedged.)

Am sure I haven't put on weight,
So what had caused me to inflate?

A final tug...I reach a hip,
Then note I've not unzipped the zip.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Roman Britain

Welcome to new viewers from Bhutan, Guam, Saint Kitts and Nevis, British Virgin Islands, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.Your flags now appear on "Hello World":

The following recently rediscovered verse is a prequel to "Anglo Saxons, Celts and Vikings".

The Romans eyed Britannia,
Which they coveted with greed.
Caesar tried to grab it,
Though he didn't quite succeed.

But about two thousand years ago,
In 43 AD,
Yet another bunch of Romans,
Set sail across the sea.

To capture this fair island
Was their obvious intent.
Where they landed isn't certain:
It was probably in Kent.

Of subsequent resistance
There are many thrilling tales,
Like the stance of King Caratacus
(Of what we know as Wales).

Or the valiant Iceni tribe,
Whose leader showed no fear.
They knew her as Queen Boudica,
(Oft misnamed Boadicea).

The Romans' skills in battle
Eventually prevailed,
Then they tried to conquer Scotland -
Where, initially, they failed.

In time, they got to Inverness,
But then came to their senses:
What they stood to gain would fall far short
Of garrison expenses.

As the Scottish Picts were deemed a threat,
Defence was thus a need.
"We must build a wall to stop them,"
Emperor Hadrian decreed.

The Romans, whilst in Britain
Imported much of merit.
What exactly was the legacy?
Just what did we inherit?

They brought the modern calendar,
Complete with Leap Year trick...
The amazing quick-fire catapult...
And concrete, glass and brick.

They brought turnips, grapes and carrots,
Pears and apples... apricots.
They had strange new ways of cooking food,
By using separate pots.

They constructed mighty aqueducts,
In which clean water flowed.
And, between each major settlement,
A long straight Roman road.

On a small spot named Londinium,
They made an early start.
It developed very quickly
To become the nation's heart.

They were very fond of bathing
But it seems, once they had gone,
That their rituals of cleanliness
Had never quite caught on.

They left us in 410 AD,
And headed straight back home.
The soldiers perhaps were needed,
To defend their native Rome.

Or economic gloom here
May has caused them to withdraw.
Why they went is still a puzzle.
Historians aren't sure.

The Brits were never viewed as tamed,
They'd not quite thrown the hat in.
They were not completely docile,
And they never mastered Latin.

Until post the Norman Conquest,
When French proved to our liking,
Old English was a mixture,
Of Celtic/German/Viking.

Thursday 4 June 2020

Smart Shop at Sainsbury's

Am standing in the Sainsbury's queue,
And see a youth, with basket, who
Is handing out "remote controls".
Their benefits, this lad extols.

"Smart Shop's simple," now claims he,
Whilst proffering technology.
"The system's easy as can be!"
Except, of course, when used by me.

"You first must scan your Nectar card,
To register. It isn't hard."
And therefore this I duly tried,
To find that access was denied.

Some red lights flashed with true persistence...
No option but to seek assistance...
It all worked fairly well then on.
The gizmo beeped. A green light shone.

Was feeling chuffed. So good, so far.
I then picked up a mustard jar.
But something's wrong! There were no signs
Of zebra coloured little lines.

None at the bottom, nor the top.
I stood bewildered in the shop.
Another jar proved just the same,
No stripes. I'm tiring of this game.

Be sensible, I told myself,
And scanned the barcode on the shelf.
This action, which I'd thought astute,
Resulted in a "Can't compute".

With rapid plummet of my mood,
I realise the system's screwed.
"Ask a colleague for advice"
My screen suggests. I don't think twice.

I wander and I look around.
There is no colleague to be found.
The service desk...the queue is long...
In time, they sort out what went wrong.

I thus resume the merry dance,
But feel as though I'm in a trance.
The checkout looms. I know I've missed
A few key items on the list.

I won't go back. I've almost done.
I've had my fill of gadget fun.
There's just one hurdle left to clear.
I'll pay, and then I'm out of here.

A message at this final stage,
Suggests the store needs "proof of age".
The reason, and my latest folly?
Alcohol was in the trolley.

"I bought some wine. Was that so wrong?"
I ask the chap who comes along.
I care not what this man might think,
And only know I NEED A DRINK.

"I've reached eighteen," I reassure,
"And fifty and the rest years more."
At last, "Transaction is complete,
Please wait, and take your till receipt."

I stand until my brain goes numb.
The till receipt? It does not come...
This can't be right. This can't be proper.
I'm clearly not a Smart Shop shopper.

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Shopping at Tesco

At the start of lockdown, there were queues to get into supermarkets and some, like Tesco, operated a one-way system. Everyone shuffled round in one direction - or was supposed to...

Like Gormley statues, living stones,
We shuffle forwards, eye on phones,
Until we reach the double door,
Are granted access to the store.
The system then is all one way.
We grab our goods. We hope and pray
We don't commit the greatest folly,
And miss an item for our trolley.

Forgotten stuff from any section,
Means going in the WRONG direction.
It takes some doing, don't you think?
That surreptitious backwards slink?
Progressively, the trudge round goes,
With dodging, and with dosey does,
With shrugs, and all those rueful smiles,
As people traipse along the aisles.

And always, on this slow commute,
Is someone who has taken root.
She's stationed where we want to be.
She scans the shelves but cannot see
Whatever she is looking for.
Will this do? Hmm. She isn't sure.

She reads the label on the pack.
She frowns a bit, then puts it back.
We're waiting there, six feet behind.
In time, she'll move - a great relief -
But, like some tiresome leitmotif,
This ditherer who's such a pain,
Will pop up time and time again....

At last, we're out, and freedom sense,
And won't return till two weeks hence.