Archive for September, 2009

I saw a leaf fall

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I saw a leaf fall,
and thought to catch it
though this seemed futile as
I could not stem the flood
of those that would follow.

All I could do was sit there
looking out of the window
at the steady accumulation on the lawn
whilst the tree grew
an air of melancholy.

just desserts or poetic puddings

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

chocolate cheesecake (other flavours too)
sherry trifle (ahaa)
apple tart and custard (yep)
jam roly poly (okay)
chocolate mousse (other mousses are available)
bread and butter pudding
rice pudding (not a particular favourite I have to say)
rhubarb crumble (neither is this)
plum pudding (mmm)
steamed sponge pudding
sticky toffee pudding (uhuh)
ice cream (Davison’s Manx Ice Cream)
fruit salad (healthy option)
strawberries and cream (definitely especially with raspberries added in and topped with sugar)
lemon curd (ye-es – not yess)
lemon meringue pie (memories of childhood)
syllabub (in a champagne glass in my experience and never enough of it)
baked apples (bit boring in my book)
tiamisu (mm)
yoghurt (pronounced yo – gurt)
baked alaska (brrr)
barbecued bananas (ideally cooked with sugar and brandy then topped with cream)
flan (of all sorts though not quiche which is unsuitable as a dessert)
gateaux (fluffy ones are best)

and finally

cheese and biscuits (strong and smelly and including TUC and preferably eaten before the sweet and washed down with red wine)

sorry if I have missed anything out – comment if you like

Early morning at Newark Northgate

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

There’s something about getting up early to travel somewhere. There’s a smell to it, especially if the weather looks as if it is going to be nice. The roads are clear. The journey to the station is a lot quicker than it would have been a couple of hours later. When you get there the car park is fairly empty so you can pick your spot.

This morning I am in Newark Northgate station catching the 06.46 to the big city. The situation is exactly as described above. Last night there was a red sky and so of course this is a pleasant early morning.

On my way in from the car park a man runs past. The 06.26 has just pulled in to the station and he needs to be on it. In my mind he is not going to catch it but looking up at the screen I see that he has two minutes so he is probably ok.

The staff are all in. In fact at the Costa Coffee on platform 1 there are three staff and just me. I grab a latte and a croissant and make my way to the waiting room. There’s no one else on the platform although a couple of newspaper readers have staked out the waiting room. Detectives with nobody to watch but each other.

Gradually, as we approach train time, the platform is starting to fill up. Someone strikes up a conversation in the waiting room. That first word seems almost like a wake up call. The transition of night into day. It has disturbed my reverie.

The imminent arrival of the train is announced and I emerge from the comfort of the waiting room to stand on the platform. Outside the day has definitely arrived. Whirring noises and chatty teenagers mix with still stony-faced commuters steeling themselves for another day down their pit. I get on the train and leave Newark behind…

the masses wash onboard at Peterborough, disrupt the carriage and settle into their own personal mode of survival. Internet access slows to a snails pace or goes into reverse, resuming normal service

For the record the first leaves fell today

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

For the record the first leaves fell today,
The first act of autumn
As the season holds sway,
The swath of russett, withering wound,
Scars the hedgerow, then lies bloodless on the ground.

The rake renews the grassy sheen
Though thankless is the temporary stay,
For tomorrow battle will renew,
Continued work aplenty
As night descends on day.

5.30 am

Friday, September 18th, 2009

It’s early but I’m up. When you’re awake you’re awake. So I’m sat here on the settee in the front room.

Although we live slap bang in the middle of town there is a silence about the place at this time in the morning. It’s an unusual contrast of noise and no noise. I can hear lorries as they drive past outside. I don’t normally notice the noise of the traffic outside. I’m used to it.

Then there’s the clock. I didn’t even know it ticked but I can hear it clearly now. At first when I heard it I thought to myself “that’s a clock ticking! It must be in another room”. Upon investigation I realised that it was the clock on the mantlepiece in the room where I was sat. Amazing! My life will probably never be the same again. Every time I walk into this room I will hear the clock ticking. I’m not sure that this is a change for the good.

Ah well. It must all point to our house being a noisy house though because I don’t notice any of these sounds during the day. Actually the traffic is now also irritating me. How dare it intrude. I don’t hear it when I’m in bed and the bedroom is on the same side of the house as where I’m sat now – the double glazing in the bedroom probably accounts for that.

At 5.44 I can hear Tom move about above me. It isn’t natural for a teenager to be up this early ?. It’s still very dark out although there are plenty of lights in town. They seem to contrast with the darkness. There is dark and there is light. No in between.

The traffic has died down again but the clock still ticks…

My squeaky left foot

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

My shoe my shoe, it’s driving me nuts
Alternate steps squeak, no ifs no buts
I’ve altered my gait, tried to change my tread,
Every other pace taken makes a sound that I dread,
When walking along my damn foot’s too noisy,
And oil is no option because that’s too slippery
It wasn’t like that when I tried on the shoe
It seemed perfectly fine when it was brand new
But now it’s at home and I’ve worn it around
It’s too late to take back to the shop I’ll be bound
I can’t sneak up on friends and surprise from behind
They can tell that I’m coming coz the squeak springs to mind
My shoe my shoe, I’d be ever so glad
If someone could help me, it’s driving me mad


Thursday, September 17th, 2009


All trains delayed

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

All trains delayed
Overhead line problems
At Peterborough

Huge queues milling
On the platform
At Kings Cross

It isn’t quite the same
As the spirit
At Dunquerque

Adversity has not yet
united us – we are not
At one with each other

The commuters are tired
This is the last thing they need
At going home time.

The passing of a passing acquaintance

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I saw him in a bar in the City. He was stood on his own with a newspaper and a beer, dressed casually at a time when most others were pouring out of their offices in their city slicker suits. Although we nodded at each other as I caught his eye I made no effort to engage with him. I was in the company of business associates with a specific discussion to be had.

I had heard that he had moved on from his job with one of our competitors “to spend more time with his family” or some such motive. He was outside my threesome and suddenly it felt as if he was a total outsider. I no longer saw him at industry gatherings. He was completely out of the picture. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to him. I just had other priorities and now very little in common.

I continued with my closed conversation and when next I looked he had gone.

What happened to the lollipop man !?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

All last year he was there, ushering, waving, shepherding. I got the occasional nod of acknowledgement as I stopped at his polite but firm behest. Sometimes I stopped before he had even asked. I felt in tune with him. If I was early he would be there leaning against the hedge, waiting for his punters to turn up. Dressed in his bright yellow coat and carrying his lollipop he was always there. It was comforting. You felt good to be with him, albeit for the few short seconds it took to drive past, or to slow down and stop, then pass. You felt you were part of his community and that his short working day was a wonderful contribution to that community.

This morning as I drove to work it occurred to me that I didn’t see him on the first day back to school. Then I didn’t think about it for a few days. I must have been away for some of that time and so as I drove up to the traffic island opposite the school today I looked out for him. There he was, or so I thought from a distance. That bright yellow coat and black hat. However something didn’t seem right as I drove closer. It wasn’t the old lollipop man! It was a lollipop lady and not him. It depressed me. I have nothing against the lady but I felt that my links to that community were suddenly strained. I became concerned..

His was another walk on role in my life. Really a background piece of transient action as the tapestry rolled on.

Lilyana – flower of the Wiltshire plains

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Deep down amongst the grasses green
That grow on the Wiltshire plains
There’s a flower known as Lily
Who blossoms whenever it rains

It’s an odd way around I’m sure you’ll agree
But Lily’s no normal plant
Her golden petals and beautiful scent
Warm the heart of each passing ant

The beetles all love her and bees simply swoon
Each time Lily pops out of the ground
Every year in the spring when the sun comes again
In the meadows is where she’ll be found.

The cows are her friends and they leave her to bloom
Without adding her leaves to their cud
Though they have to take care not to tread on her stalks
When the ground all around churns to mud

Because Lils likes it most when the rains come to soak
– it’s the sky shedding tears of delight
At the thought of young Lily beginning to smile
What a beautiful, beautiful sight.

Have ye heard of the White Stag of Arran ?

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I’d taken the opportunity afforded by a flat, roadside patch of gravel to stop and capture the view back down the valley through the black clouds to the sunshine and blue sea in the distance below. I was in a buoyant mood having seen my first golden eagle an hour before. Heading back to the car I was approached by an old gentleman and his grandson who’d been quietly sitting in their car on the same patch of gravel, watching for wildlife through their binoculars.

“Have ye heard of the White Stag of Arran ?” (read with Scottish accent). I could hear the capital letters as he spoke. I fetched my own binoculars from the car and followed the line of his pointed finger past the white stones on the hillside opposite, and past the sheep until my eyes alighted upon a white(ish) red deer with a pair of the most enormous antlers I’d ever seen. Admittedly, they were probably the first set of antlers I’d ever seen that were still attached to their owner, and for this reason I was more impressed by the headware than the colour. I turned to the old gentleman who was by now heading back to his car, and gave him a smile and the thumbs up, and went on my way, his voice receding into the distance “Ye’re probably one of only a handful of people in the world (heavily rolled ‘r’) who’ve seen that’.

I checked later with people at the campsite, and it seems that albino red deer can be seen on Arran, but they are very rare. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the gentleman, who deserved a more emphatically impressed response than he got.

A golden eagle and a very rare albino red deer within the space of an hour !

The passing of the passing place

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Remote though they are, even the Outer Hebrides are not far enough away to escape the far reaching tentacles of European legislation. It seems the quirky, rhomboid shape of the passing place sign has offended the Keepeurs of the Livre de Standards (see Note 1), who have dictated that they must be replaced by square signs, an example of which below.

Copy of IMG_7134

Locals remain phlegmatic.

Note 1 – No attempt is being made to single out the French for blame, I just can’t do any of the other European languages very well.

The Passing Place (Noun)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


Ubiquitous feature of travel in the Western Isles of Scotland. A transient meeting place of generosity, where people wait for oncoming vehicles to pass, or to allow people uninterested in photo opportunities to overtake. Invariably involves a smile, a wave, or a short, polite parp of the horn.

internet dreams

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I dream my internet dreams
asleep surfing the screens
that lay inside my eyelids,
long slammed shut.
my brain clicks,
flits its way webward
visiting the sites that,
wide awake, I meander,
pondering the theft of
my most precious days.
my internet dreams
take an ethereal existence
virtually to new heights
but all too soon I wake,
history wiped clear,
no bookmark beneath my pillow
and my journey starts again.