Archive for March, 2009

The boiling anger of Davy Jones

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


What brought about the fury of that dawn?
An ire that kept the harbour’s ships at bay,
And hid the folk of town in narrow streets,
That rose above the battered beach cafe.

The birds unsettled, taunted by the waves,
Though blinding sand the elements’ ordeal,
The sea a boiling mass that overflowed
To crash upon the castle rocks at Peel.

The ocean’s cities in ill-disciplined parade,
Their towering sides, skyscrapers of the storm,
Disordered buildings ranged in disarray
With roads, deep troughs, that met no shape or form.

That Davy Jones had risen from his grave
Seemed certain to onlookers in the spray,
He chose to punish miscreants abroad
Who should have better meant to stay away.


Then when at last the wind had sung its tune,
The clouds moved on to play to other halls,
And fishermen returned to ply their lines,
From high upon the granite harbour walls.

The Definitive Beetroot Sandwich

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

the definitive beetroot sandwich recipe

The beetroot sandwich can be a magnificent part of your culinary repertoire.

1 Large, crusty, unsliced white loaf
1 Jar pickled baby beets
Salt to taste

1 x side plate (or larger depending on the size of your bread) for presentation
1 x bread knife
1 x knife, fork, teaspoon

Using your bread knife, take your large unsliced loaf and cut two thick doorstop slices. If your bread is of the variety which tapers at each end (eg. a Bloomer), make sure you have two slices of the same size. Butter your bread liberally across the whole face of the slice.

Next, open your jar of Baby Pickled Beets. Note – it must be baby beetroot as the bigger variety can sometimes be too crunchy which detracts from the overall quality of the result. Using your teaspoon, select your baby beet, removing it from the jar to the plate. Take your knife and fork and cut the beetroot into generous, chunky slices. Arrange on the buttered bread. Apply seasoning as appropriate. Place finished sandwich on the same plate that you used to cut the beetroot as this will give you the opportunity to soak up all that extra vinegary, beetrooty, loveliness. Serve with large mug of steaming black filter coffee.

Some schools of thought state that the beetroot slicing should be on a separate plate. They are wrong. Others dictate that pre-sliced beetroot be used, and sometimes even the crinkle cut variety. I can understand this approach as it does take a step out of the process, and avoids dying ones fingers purple, but it does mean you cannot express your individuality in the chunkiness of your beetroot slices.

Loading your sandwich with too many beetroot chunks can result in mid-bite overflow. If you’re going to do this, make sure you’re wearing appropriate protective clothing.

Picture by Dex

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Dex owns the Art Gallery at the corner of Occupation Road and Burton Road. This is one of his pictures.  You can catch him on www.tapenoise,com

3 Games To Go

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Its three games to go and the situation is tight at the top of the table. We travel in convoy to Mablethorpe. It is a beautiful spring day and everyone is in buoyant spirits. What’s more the opposition only has 6 players. Huh, a walkover we think.

Disaster. They score first. No problem. We can recover. After all there are still 55 minutes to go.

Aargh. They score again. These are good little players. Their six are better than our seven who seem to have no idea what to do with the ball today. They just stand there looking at it. Hmm. This ain’t going to be so easy.

Three nil and it isn’t even half time yet! What is going on? This isn’t the team we recognize. We bring on a couple of subs to ring the changes.

Half time and the manager gives the lads a roasting in his team talk. More substitutions.

The second half starts and there seems to be little difference to the quality of our game. I start composing dramatic bits of poetry in my mind. “The season’s hopes dashed. Crashed on the rocks of Mablethorpe sea front. ” Not that there are any rocks in Mablethorpe. It is sand as far as the eye can see.

Fifteen minutes to go. We score. Hooray. A glimmer of hope, a chink of light. Come on lads, you can do it. Nerves are on edge.

Ten minutes to go. The game is picking up. We score number two. Hooray. Come on lads you can do it.

Five minutes to go. Number three. Sighs of relief all round. I begin to feel a little sorry for the opposition who have been by far the best side for most of the game despite being a man down.

Two minutes to go. Amazing. 4 – 3. Now an agonising couple of minutes whilst they pile on the pressure. The defence holds. The final whistle blows. We have all aged five years but the title hopes are still alive.

Well done boys.

Real Ales

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Abbot                              (5.0%)               £3.00

Bass                                  (4.4%)               £2.85

Bombardier                  (4.3%)               £2.85

Deuchars                       (3.8%)               £2.70

Ruddles                         (3.7%)               £2.45

Taylor’s Best               (3.5%)                £2.50

The Morning Star real ale tariff.

The last person to drive legally the wrong way down Cecil Street

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

As many of you will know Cecil Street, by the Turk’s Head pub, is a one way street that cannot be accessed from Newport.

Terry Mackown was the last person to drive down it legally coming from the Newport direction.  He had dropped a friend off by the Newport Arch to buy some meat from the butchers. There used to be a butcher’s shop there before it became the Klogz shoe shop.

He pulled in down Cecil Street to wait for the friend.  As he was parked there two workmen came and put up No Entry signs either side of the road.  To my knowledge he was the last person to ever drive down that street in a Westerley direction.

Somewhat poingant methinks.

The Burton Road Strip

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

The strip,
Furious confluence of disposable society,
Magnet for irreverents,
Cruising ground for hungry souls,
Melting pot for a global fondue,
Curry, Chinese, fish and chips,
Full English breakfast,
Even pork pies and sandwiches
From the Shell garage.
On your way home from the pub,
You can satisfy your needs
On the Burton Road Strip.

Guest Beers Today

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Batemans GHA                                (4.2%)      £2.85

Dixons Diabolical                          (4.4%)      £2.95

Grafton Lady Catherine              (4.5%)      £2.95

Adnams “The Bitter”                    (3.7%)     £2.85

Spire Brewery Overture             (3.9%)      £2.85

Watch out for Irish beers next week for St Patrick’s Day!

My eyes are stinging

Friday, March 6th, 2009

My eyes are stinging

And my nose smarts

From the sensory attack

That is the annual chutney cook-in.

The fruit soaks up the spices in vinegar

Swelling with proud absorption,

The spoon stirs until leaving a trail,

Standing in the rich, dark pool of preserve.

Hot jars await the plasma ,

Rubber seals close down the smell,

Weeks of virtuous patience are

Rewarded with palatable satisfaction.

The Trail (He Left Behind)

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Walking along the path
He left a noticeable trail,
It was a smell,
A feeling,
An impression,
A change to the landscape,
Even an attitude.
It was nothing new
But nobody had seen it before.
He left the path behind and
After a while the trail
Began to fade away,
Though the weight of his footfall
Made it last a little longer than
It might have done,
As it did for others.

He left a tip for the taxi driver
And bought a train ticket
With his credit card,
Spoke to the barman,
Sang in the street,
Winked at the girl,
Had an eye test,
Switched the light on,
Painted the garage,
Mowed the lawn,
Picked up a piece of litter and
Put it in the bin,
Had four children
Who left home and
Then he occasionally saw
Until he died…

The Page Turn

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Approaching the last line of the page.  Big long trill on the C for 8 bars.  Here we go.  One two, two two, OK turn now. Three two, four t.  Come on, turn.  Five two, TURN THE PAGE.  Turn to look at desk partner.  Seven two. AARGH.  Too late !  It gets complicated on the new page with mixed bars of 2 and 3.  One two, one two three, one two three, one two, one two , one two three.  Is this bar a two or a three one, and precisely which one is it ?  It’s nearly half a page before I find the way back in.  Note to self.  Write TURN HERE six bars earlier and in bigger letters.

The Football Match

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009


The game kicks off
I’m playing in defence
they have the ball and
they come running at me
I hear their supporters shouting and
my coach shouting at me and
I safely make a tackle and
I smack it to the forwards and
they are on the break
they do a 1-2 and shoot and score
its Welton 1-Moorlands 0 !


Yesterday was St David’s day

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Yesterday was St David’s day. It has no real significance outside of Wales other than, as a Welshman, I know it is synonymous with daffodils. This year has been different because of the dearth of these yellow blooms on view.

I’m not saying that everyone in Lincoln goes around wearing ‘daffs’ on March 1st but they have usually hit the hedgerows by now. As of today they have yet to flower.

An observation would be that they are late due to an unusually hard winter. One more akin to the way winters used to be. However one might ask why they have traditionally been worn on March 1st if winters of old were harsh and daffodils late flowering.

I don’t have the answer and am not really inclined to dig deeper.

Flight T3 4386

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

“This is a further and final invitation for passengers Davies and Burton to proceed to gate sixty eight for flight T3 4386 Eastern Airways to the Isle of Man”.  I didn’t know who passenger Burton was, but passenger Davies was definitely, and inescapably me.  Pushing aside the immediate feeling of unfairness, I hastily polished off my well-earned glass of wine, gathered my belongings, and hurried off in the direction of the departure gates.


It had taken me three and a half hours to get to this point, and had started with the mid-morning decision to leave work at midday, a little earlier than planned.  A warning bell had been clanging all morning after Classic FM’s traffic and travel news at 8.30am.  The usual place.  The right turn at St Fagan’s.  After her usual introductory banter about bagels, or her evening out yesterday, Jay-Louise Knight had announced that there were serious problems on the M5 somewhere. I couldn’t remember where.  I decided to err on the side of caution and set off very early for Birmingham airport.  So when I hit traffic in a very unusual place I was initially quite confident.  I had plenty of time.  But an hour later and scarcely two miles further on, I was showing signs of stress, and was wondering whether my ticket was flexible enough for a free transfer to the evening flight.  But I needn’t have worried.  Although there were further threatening ‘Queue Caution’ signs, none of these came to pass and I arrived at Long Stay Car Park 1 with enough time and in a calm state of mind.


The screens in the main departure lounge had showed I had twenty minutes before boarding, and I had decided to relax with a glass of wine and look forward to the weekend ahead.  “This is a further and final invitation for passengers Davies and Burton to proceed to gate sixty eight for flight T3 4386 Eastern Airways to the Isle of Man”.  It certainly hadn’t been twenty minutes, and I definitely hadn’t heard a first call.  By the time I got to gate sixty eight, Passenger Burton had got there before me, and I was the last to step aboard the bus, taking in my stride the faintly accusatory glances from the eight other passengers.


As we soared over the Irish Sea I looked down on the water glinting in the sun, and found myself smiling.  A weekend at home in Peel ahead of me.

For Clare at 40

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

What do you get a woman
When she turns forty?
She already has it all,
Good looks,
Lively personality,
Rich and caring husband,
Dutiful children,
Great friends,
A VW camper van,
Exciting tastes,
Stylish wardrobe,
Intelligent conversation,
Great sex drive (apparently),
A mansion near the cathedral.

You get her a poem:

There was a young lady called Clare
Who drove me one day to despair
For try as I might
A poem to write
But damn it the muse wasn’t there

Four Oh

The numbers game,
A milestone we celebrate,
Marching on,
Steadily ticking,
One more goes by,
There’s no going back,
Drip, drip, drip
A watershed
Life changing?
It all begins here!
Live for the moment!
Do it now,
Before bits start falling off.

Four Oh.