Thursday, September 30, 2010

A True Story

supplied the picture of the oil lamp.


Olive was my father's sister; she lived in the West Country,
And my father often told this quite macabre tale to me.
It happened in the eighteen-nineties, when Olive was at school,
And when doing chores was a common part of childhood, as a rule.
Her parents had a little shop, selling oil, a useful thing,
And Olive used to tour the town knocking doors and delivering.
All lighting was done by oil lamps, and so the trade was brisk,
And Babbacombe was a peaceful place so there was little risk.
Miss Emma Keyse lived all alone in a cottage by the sea;
Her house was down a steep cliff path, which was often slippery.

Olive knew Miss Keyes quite well in a mistress/servant way,
For the girl was often delivering oil and passing the time of day.
Imagine the horror that she felt when she heard Miss Keyes was dead!
Her throat had been cut and she had died from a terrible blow to the head.
John Lee, one of her servants, was soon accused of the crime,
And it caused great consternation in Babbacombe, at the time.

But this isn't the end of this sorry tale, for justice had to be done
And events surrounding the hanging, mystified everyone!
Three times they tried to hang John Lee, but the trap-door failed each time,
While, all the while, he vowed that he was innocent of the crime.
After three attempts the authorities said that a pardon was a must;
God clearly thought Lee was innocent so the law, too, must be just.
So Lee walked free, to write a book and make money from his story!
The criminal was never found. Lee covered himself in glory.
He became a minor celebrity,in his praise the people sang.
'The great John Lee of Babbacombe! The man they couldn't hang.'
And what of my Aunt Olive, well, no-one recalls her name,
But, just for an instant, in a way, Aunt Olive was touched by fame!



(For teaching the 'w' sound.)

A wasp flew in my window and wandered down my wall.
It waved a wing
And wagged a sting
And I didn't like that wasp at all!
I wished I were a witch so I could make it disappear,
But it came zoom
Across the room
And stung me on my ear!

With weeping and with wailing
I watched that wasp go by.
It winked at me
Quite wickedly
And I never even wondered why!
My ear was red and burning where the wasp had had his fun,
But it swooped back
With a new attack
And bit the other one!

Spring Simplicity



A simple blue and a simple green,
With a little woodiness in between;
They hardly make a dramatic scene!
Is it really worth recording?
Ah yes! For here is the majesty
Of Nature's sappiness set free,
The buds of Spring on a wintry tree!
What could be more rewarding?



I was visiting a monastery up on a mountain top
With a sheer cliff face below it and a truly awesome drop.
The way up was by basket........ the drop was an awful sight
And only a rope was holding us as we swayed at that great height!
I became terribly nervous as the basket turned and swayed;
It would be putting it mildly to say I was afraid!
A monk was traveling with me so, seeing how we were placed,
I said to him 'How often is the monastery rope replaced?'
When he gave me his reply I really got the shakes!
'Oh we replace it frequently......
Every time it breaks!'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hot Stuff!


'engulf, imminent, tamper'


Oh what a trap for the unwary!
A thought that's positively scary!
The fact that millions of years ahead,
After you and I are dead,
The sun will engulf the earth! It's true!
That is what it's going to do!
As it dies the sun will expand!
(Yes, I know it's hard to understand).
The earth will be swallowed-up by heat
And we will all admit defeat.
If mankind is still around
Into the oven we'll be bound!
This isn't imminent, of course;
Life is still a powerful force
And, in the event, should we survive,
It could be that we'll contrive
To tamper with an asteroid,
To spin us into a cooler void.
That would not exactly be a boon,
As we'd have to leave behind the moon!
Let's leave that worry to generations
Who'll have to deal with such situations!
Let us just enjoy our privileged place,
On earth, right heat, right time, right place!



Three handsome dogs walked out one day and all of them were males.
They walked with a casual canine air, wagging their little tails.
The first was a smart Retriever, and a Labrador was following.
The last was a little Chihuahua, small enough for swallowing!
Young men of every species have an eye for the main chance,
And to every dog upon their way they gave a second glance.
At last they chanced on Fifi, a Poodle and a girl!
The sight of this sexy female sent their hormones in a whirl!
Fifi was white and fluffy, with quite adorable eyes,
And Rex and Lex and Charlie all desired her as a prize.
They lined-up for her favours, but Fifi was no fool,
Even with three smart suitors she certainly kept her cool.
'The first one' giggled Fifi, who was quite inclined to tease,
'To utter these two words….one's LIVER and one's CHEESE…'
'Liver', 'Cheese!' they shouted, eager to pass the test!
'Hold on!' said little Fifi 'You haven't heard the rest!
You must make-up a pithy sentence to prove that you are clever!
I could never mate with a stupid dog! Never! Never! Never!'
The Retriever, Rex then cleared his throat, hardly able to wait;
'Cheese and liver; these are foods I absolutely hate!'
'Utterly dull!' said Fifi; 'You lack imagination!'
Rex slunk off, despondent, shocked by the situation.
Then up spoke Lex, with a dog-like grin, very eager to please;
'I know! I know!' he blurted out 'I love liver and cheese!'
'No better!' said Fifi, 'And, whatsmore, I think it's even duller!
I want a sentence full of life, and wit, and charm and colour!'
Charlie Chihuahua stood apart, waiting to be invited.
His friends looked on, knowing he, too, was just about to be slighted.
'And what about you?' said Fifi, as Charlie stood in line.
Charlie smiled then he spoke up….

'Liver alone! Cheese mine!'

Error 503

                                    Gerald Gee



It seemed to me
Error 503
Was something purely numerical!
But Gerald Gee
Took 503
And made it something hysterical!
He says it lurks
Within the works
Of his personal computer.
He says it's a her
But I prefer
To consider the beast is neuter.
Its extra eye
Looks rather sly,
Its jaws with gore are oozing.
Its slobbering lips
Have come to grips
With the data we keep losing!
Its eye's on YOU
So, whatever you do,
Watch out for 503!
Disturb at your peril!
This creature is feral!
Or so says Gerald Gee.



A Carpenter in days gone by
Never merely made a chair
Also included were extra 'limbs'
Representing, each, a spare.
Money was scarce in those far-off days
And nothing was neglected;
Nothing was 'throw-away' back then;
Decades of wear were expected.
As arms and legs might wear out first
Leaving the owner short
Each Carpenter supplied the spares;
(Greater profits, I'd have thought!)

Green plus Blue

suggested Favourite Colours


Green plus blue
Makes a turquoise hue
And that's my favourite colour,
Without those two
What would we do?
 The world would be much duller.
I took this shot
From a favourite spot
On a ship when we were sailing.
The sky was grey
On a rainy day
But turquoise is never failing.
The swimming-pool,
Thronged as a rule,
Was lying unattended,
The blue surround
And green sea, I found,
Were cleverly, subtly blending.
The sea's grey-green
Added to the scene,
And the dull sky threatened thunder.
But the turquoise hue,
Made of green and blue,
Was still a colourful wonder.


(This was once a party-piece of mine in my more vulgar days!)
In twelve-oh-nine,
We were doing fine
In our castle on the hill,
And, if the Infidel hadn't raised some hell,
We'd all be happy still.
But my Noble Lord was getting bored
So he went to the Crusades;
Put my chastity under lock and key,
And that of the serving maids.
It was twelve-sixteen
And I hadnt seen
My Lord for several years.
I'd learned to tat,
And I'd grown quite fat,
And I'd shed some wifely tears.
Oh, a minstrel's tune
Passed an afternoon
And the weather could be discussed,
But I have to admit
I couldn’t sit,
On account of increasing rust.
In twelve-twenty-four
Came a herald to the door,
And I learned, with bated breath,
That my Noble Lord
Hadn't perished by the sword!
He'd been plucked from the jaws of death!
'I'll resume my life
With my lovely lady wife.'
Were the words he wrote to me.
Then he added a bit……
'I'm sorry to admit
That I've been and lost the key!'
In twelve-twenty-five
Came the day he would arrive
Victorious from the war!
We went to our room
In the hope we could resume
Our relationship, as before.
I felt depressed,
But I should have guessed
That my lord was a resourceful man.
When we'd closed the door
In his upraised hand I saw
The key to a sardine can!
By twelve-twenty-six
We were really in a fix,
For the key just wouldn't fit!
Though he gave a twist
And a jiggle of the wrist,
He couldn't get the hang of it.
By twelve-twenty-eight
We submitted to our fate
And stopped looking for ways and means.
And in twelve-twenty-nine
We both sat down to dine
On some very, very stale sardines.

Walking by Water


When we walk down a busy street
We hear the thrum of the traffic's beat,
We see the myriad frowning faces,
We're very aware of humanity's traces.
When we walk by the water under the trees,
Where every prospect seems to please,
We know we're where we ought to be
And everything's in harmony.


(An Acrostic)

Divided we fall, united we stand!
Isn't that message rather grand?
Visualise a world improved
If by that message we were moved!
Division leaves us all in pieces!
Every noble aim decreases!
Double! Treble our situation!
Witness nation joined with nation!
Empathy! And brotherhood!
Fantasy? Oh that we could
All combine to stand as one!
Leave behind the bomb and gun!
Leave behind the jingoistic!
(Let's pretend I'm realistic!)




'Oh what attractive ornaments!' I'm sure I hear you say!
'They'd look so charming hanging on the wall!'
But these are not attractive items, not in any way.
And they're not for buying in your shopping-mall.
They're knuckle-dusters, weapons that are favoured by 'the mob',
Street-fighters like to use them in a brawl.
Any punch can be a killer as they do a lethal job,
And with broken bones a victim's bound to fall!
Put the fingers through the holes and you're armed up to the hilt,
If you've ill-intent you've got the wherewithall!
You can smash another's face in and feel not one bit of guilt!
And just the thought of it makes my skin crawl!



Harry wasn't yet quite three
When he was over in Fiji.
He loved to dance, he loved to sing;
The feet could stamp; the arms could swing.
And all the Natives made a fuss
And said 'How sweet! He's one of us!'
What a pity he wont recall
How he traveled there and had a ball!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Brief-Case

supplied the photograph.


We had had a good time at the office;
Some birthdays do turn out that way.
The girls brought a cake with some candles
To celebrate my special day.
I didn't think Mary-Lou liked me;
She'd always been rather uptight,
But no! Mary-Lou brought a present!
I expressed gratitude and delight.
She said 'Don't open it in the office!
Leave the opening till back at your place!'
I thought this request rather curious
But I hope I agreed with good grace.
I took the short cut through the alley,
I mustn't be late for my train.
Then, suddenly 'Tick tick' I heard it!
Yes! 'Tick, tick'! I heard it again!
I stopped dead in my tracks, apprehensive.
It was Mary-Lou's present, for sure!
I was right thinking she didn't like me!
She was planning to settle a score!
As her boss, I'd, at times, been demanding
But I didn't deserve punishment!
Mary-Lou must be slightly demented,
To plan with such evil intent!
I dumped the brief-case in the alley
And ran for my train in a whirl.
Very soon I would hear the explosion!
A bomb! What a terrible girl!
Next morning  I went to the office;
It was then that I got quite a shock.
Mary-Lou, with a smile, came up to me
Saying 'What did you think of the clock?'



'Make a list' my Mistress said;
'We need some milk, we need some bread'.
But something else was in my head.....
Peter! I miss you!
'Buck up!' I heard my mistress say,
'You know it's market-day today!
But still it seemed I heard you say......
'I want to kiss you!'
'Write it down, girl! We need cheese!
Don't stand mooning if you please!'
Last night we stood beneath the trees;
The wind was sighing.
'Have you checked our flour supply?
Think now! What else must we buy?'
So many stars were in the sky!
I felt like crying.
'Now don't forget to buy some meat.
And then some biscuits; plain, not sweet.'
It's always like this when we meet;
You do it to me!
'Pull yourself together, Ann!
You need ingredients for the flan!
I don't! I need my lovely man
To come and woo me!
'Let me see! Give me the list!
Is there anything we've missed?'
Are there other girls you've kissed?
They mustn't kiss you!
'Goodness me! There's not a word!
I wonder if you've even heard!'
A shopping list! .........Oh how absurd!
'Ann! I dismiss you!'


Spring Market



Spring, the sweet Spring
Is the year's pleasant king'!
Oh dear! Somebody said that before!
Oh well, he was right!'
When it's sunny and bright
The phrase has a definite ring!
And say, what great fun it's
Pursuing the punnets
To make sure that the garden's ablaze!
Be sure you can collar
Some blooms for a dollar
And prepare for some colourful days.



Ben said 'A place for everything
And everything in it's place'!
How did the old chap realise
My drawers are a disgrace?
His words have echoed in my ears
Each day, more or less;
Always in my mother's voice;
Yet I'm always in a mess.
But deep inside this muddler
Is a person who is neat.
And even in my waning years
I can't admit defeat.
I buy big boxes from the store;
This time I'll organise!
This time I'll follow Ben's advice;
There will be no compromise.
But then I forget to label them,
So I scrabble deep within
To find an item I've mislaid!
I simply cannot win!
Sometimes I tip the boxful out
Then shove it back again.
I really will be neat next time.
But when is next time? When?
But I wonder if old Benjamin
Was such a neatness freak.
If I could find his chest-of-drawers
I'd like to take a peek.
I bet they were an awful mess,
If only we could see.
Maybe he wasn't as honest
As little old scruffy me!
Have a look at my picture!
See 'stuff' strewn on the floor!
Goodness gracious Benjamin!
That's what boxes are for!
So now I'm going to rustle up
A homily myself.....
'Don't believe Ben Franklin
Till you've checked-out every shelf!'

Tasty Morsel!



A clown went and swallowed our Max!
And it isn't as though we were lax!
We were drinking our coffee (oh how much a sip meant!)
While Max was off playing on all the equipment!
We lingered a while over slices of cake,
But we didn't neglect the child! For heavens sake!
He was running around! He was shouting 'Yippee!'
And he was enjoying his life at age three!
We started to chat when the titbits were downed
Saying 'Isn't it great to see Max running round'.
Then we looked at the children that swooped down the slide,
And not one was Max! So he'd run off to hide!
It was then that we saw him, not west, north or south,
But right there inside an enormous red mouth!
'Please don't eat our Maxie!' we begged of the clown,
'Please don't chew him and bite him and swallow him down!
So the big clown relented and Maxie got free.
A day of adventure, I think you'll agree!

From one of my melodramas. Sing to the melody of' 'Love is a Many Splendoured Thing.'

Once, on a high and stormy sea,/ We were tossing up and down before our calamity./ There were clouds like purple pillows/ And great high-rising billows./ Then came the wind, like some monstrosity!/ Waves, that came washing on the decks,/ Soon were rising, rising, rising until they reached our necks!/ Then the power of nature did it's worst and drove us right aground!/ Disaster!/ For everyone was drowned./

Once, on a rough and sandy shore,/ I came-to and found that I was safe from the oceans roar!/ There were bodies lying near me!/ I called but none could hear me,/ And I was somewhere I'd not been before/ So, I was saved, in some strange way,/ And I lived to walk and talkand laugh for another day./ But, although I seemed quite normal, I felt oddly vague and dazed!/ Disaster!/ My past had been erased!/



We performed 'Jewelled Jeopardy' for our own club today. I felt quite nervous as I felt some people would be hyper-critical. I even forgot my lines at the start because I felt insecure. But it turned out to be a very successful show.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comfort Zone


I lived inside a discomfort zone
For most of my years on earth.
I've felt self-conscious dancing,
Ever since my birth.
(Well, maybe not since birth, of course!
For at that early age,
Kicking my legs up in the air
Was  certainly the rage!)
But, ever since my discerning years,
I've felt a perfect fool
Trying to dance like the other girls
Who pranced about at school.
I always felt off-balance
And as though I were pigeon-toed,
While other girls were light as air
And dancing 'a la mode,'
It's not that I was ever shy......
I'm a show-off, truth to tell.
But dancing left me feeling 'spare'
For I couldn't do it well.
When ballroom dancing came along
My feet still misbehaved
But I simply 'followed' where strong men led
And thus my 'face' was saved.
I've been a staunch 'non-dancer'
In every amateur show,
And I've always 'moved' instead of 'danced'
While placed in the back row!
This involved doing hand-rolls,
Or perhaps an easy sway;
Neither of these movements
Added much to the play!
But now I'm geriatric
And I've entered a different phase!
Not for me the hand-rolls!
I'm not the one who sways!
I admit I'm not too agile!
I admit I'm not too lithe!
But I intend to dance, my friends,
Till the Old Man comes with the scythe!
Those girls who danced so serenely
And did such pirouettes,
Are just as old as I am,
And no longer sweet coquettes.
We kick up our heels in 'The Lambeth Walk',
When asked to, in the choir.
Our choreography isn't great
But you should see us perspire!
'All things come to those who wait'....
As I wish I'd always known!
 See!  I'm dancing, dancing, dancing , Mum!
I'm in my Comfort Zone!


(The title if an all-Aboriginal musical.)

They have lived here
Since the end of
The last Ice Age,
Forty thousand years ago!
Captain Cook,
A 'Johnny-come-Lately',
Came here
Just over two hundred years ago!
Since then
'We' have been White!
'They are from the Stone Age!' 'we' said.
They were
They were also treated kindly.....
But on a lesser scale.
'We' are a nation of Twenty Million.
'They' are a nation of Twenty Thousand.
'We' say
'But they hadn't progressed at all!'
Look where progress has got us!
In debt!
Out of luck!
Choking on our own progress!
They had no need of progress.
The Earth gave them
All they needed....
Food, Warmth, Water.
They thanked the Earth
By being kinder to it
Than we were to them.
Our worst sin was taking away
Their self-respect.
From this arose problems
With drink, violence,
And worse.
People of goodwill everywhere
Long for them to have
A 'Bran Nue Day!'
Bran Nue Dae tells the story of Willie, a young man growing up in the pearl fishing region of Broome. His mother Theresa, who has high hopes for him, sends him to a religious mission for further schooling. Willie is kicked out by the school after an incident and ends up meeting Uncle Tadpole. Together they con a couple of hippies into taking them back to Broome where more revelations await.  

Of Course!



Where is this plaque? I've forgotten.
But it must have caught my eye
While strolling in a park one day,
And simply passing by.
A bit of Lewis Carrol,
That master of the fey,
That writer of the impossible,
The Writer of his day.
It struck me as almost 'Irish',
The conversation recorded,
And yet it's utterly sensible,
And I, mentally, applauded.
It seems they've attached it to a bench;
That's where we should sit and dream
Of the wonderful world of 'Alice'
Where nothing is as it may seem.


Someone mentioned that their friend, Miss Robbye was Celebrating a Birthday


A name that has an old-world chime....
Miss Robbye.
It takes us back to a gentler time......
Miss Robbye.
Once Christian names were used by few,
Only relations, one or two,
People who intimately knew
Miss Robbye.

Her first name must have signified
Her hobby.
Gardens and flowers were her pride,
Her hobby.
Maybe her parents called her Rose,
Poppy, Iris, one of those.
Her name was certain to disclose
Her hobby.

Your hundredth birthday comes and goes,
Miss Robbye.
And time and tide forever flows.
Miss Robbye.
Today your seeds are saved and sown
Your plants have multiplied and grown
And how I wish that I had known
Miss Robbye.

Sunday, September 26, 2010




The sacred circle, aid to meditation.
The unseeable becoming seen.
Meditate upon it and become whole.

"Drawing or creating a Mandala (a Sanskrit word meaning sacred circle) is a meditative art which reflect our consciousness through symbolic patterns - making our inner spiritual essence visible. In religious and pyschotherapeutic traditions worldwide, mandalas are created to help the process of wholeness, healing and spiritual transformation"



When I was young
The River Thames was old.
It was murky,
Like some malevolent soup,
Flowing past the ornate buildings
And the fresh green parks.
We were warned about
The Thames.
We were advised
Not to fall in!
One gulp and we'd be dead!
As young lovers
We strolled along its banks.
It was opaque,
Not that we minded.
We were in love.
When I was young
The London fog
Was legendary.
Thick, almost solid,
And sulphurous.
Policemen with torches
Loomed up out of the ghostly mist
To guide us home.
It hurt to breathe.
When it finally blew away
We were left with the yellow stain
On clothes and skin.
For weeks.
Not that we minded.
We were in love.
Now the young lovers walk
Beside almost pristine waters
And the mists
Are relatively light and gentle.
Surely the story of London
Gives hope for the future.
A future in which
The Earth itself
Will have healed.
A future in which
Will be an archaic word.
And the young lovers,
Who will know no better,
Wont even notice.
They will be in love.



The words in blue are the first words of
Regina Spektor’s song 'The Call'
'It started out as a feeling which then grew into a hope'


It started out as a feeling
As I lay there in my bed.
I gazed up at the ceiling
Knowing overwhelming dread.
I knew that I was suffering
From some terrible malaise
Which would carry me off in agony
In only a matter of days!
I felt my forehead! It was hot!
But I shivered all the same!
No doubt I'd caught a bad disease,
But I didn't know its name.
I dragged myself, very bravely,
To Google my dread disease,
'Let me die of it quickly!'
This was one of my pleas!
What if I had a nasty growth
Which grew into my liver?
I sat there at the computer;
All I could do was quiver!
Was it cancer or arthritis,
Or a block in a vital tract?
Was I heading for amnesia?
Was it a vitamin I lacked?
The diseases that were listed
Were dreadful in the extreme;
Dying in awful agony
Seemed to be the theme.
My fear grew into an anguish!
'I'd better make my will!'
'I hope it isn't that one!'
'Oh! That one's nastier still!'
Then I turned to 'hypochondria';
That sounded pretty grim!
If I'd got that my chances
Of recovery were slim!
Yes! That was it! Hypochondria!
I liked the sound of it.
I braced my shoulders to face the world,
And suddenly felt quite fit!



My Saturday Nights aren't fevered!
My temperature's gone down!
At the end of the week
I no longer seek
A night out on the town!

In the days of my youth, I remember,
Shenanigens were a must,
I'd take my chance
On the great romance
Or, at least, a bit of lust!

I'd dream of meeting a lover,
Who'd be dark and slim and tall,
Though I must admit
I wasn't a hit
At the Kensington Town Hall!

I'd be squeezed by paunchy patrons
Who were horribly past their best!
I'd be clutched and mauled
And overhauled,
Grasped tight to a manly chest.

Very rarely, the magic happened,
'Across a crowded room',
I'd think 'Here we go!'
When we said 'Hallo'
And my heart would go 'Boom boom boom!'

But, more often, on Sunday mornings,
I'd wake with that old 'So what!'
The night before
Had proved, as before,
That my property wasn't hot.

And now, as I'm nearing eighty,
I find that my greatest thrill
Is a cup of tea,
The cat on my knee,
A bag of sweets and 'The Bill'.

The young will find that ghastly!
They'll think my cupboard bare.
But I finally found
A man, who's around.......
Asleep in the other arm-chair!




The lady in blue is weeping. Let's imagine her distress.
The picture does not give us clues so we can only guess.
It would have been so easy to paint a ravaged face,
The eyes red-rimmed and blotchy, devoid of charm or grace.
The artist could have shown a mouth distorted and awry,
The lips grimacing in their grief, or opened in a cry.
The lines of the body are graceful, the blue of the dress is pale;
Everything is in keeping with a sad romantic tale.
But we are left in darkness, and we cannot discover
Whether she's lost a handkerchief or her one beloved lover!



Not the 'Kennedy' grassy knoll
(An assassin was lurking there)
But a special sort of garden seat;
A wonderful green chair.
One buys the cardboard underlay
And places it on the ground;
Then one gets barrow-loads of soil
And packs it all around.
Grass-seed is scattered on the shape
Covering every bit
And when it grows it's a lovely chair
On which anyone can sit.
The cardboard gradually rots away
But the shape's still plain to see.
What a lovely place to sit
Underneath a shady tree!


We went to a Fashion Parade in one of The Junctions many boutiques yesterday afternoon. I found most of the clothes too 'overwhelming' (boldly patterned or voluminous) for a dumpy person like me, but I did buy rather a nice short black jacket with ruffles! Goodness knows when I'll wear it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Whimsical Flib



A Flib cannot digest it's food
Unless it's cut in pieces,
And then it likes to share the lot
With its nephews and its nieces!
They sit around the snipty trough
All wary with their flerkins,
And tuck their snops beneath their chins
So as not to stain their jerkins.
The flib takes out a snarping tool
To cut the plog in sections,
The juice runs out all zumpling goo
And flows in all directions.
The rudest niece cries out 'Me first!'
And  the Flib gets quite irate.
'I'll podge your snup, you skiddy girl.
You've got to learn to wait!'
At last, all served, they grab their garks
And splug and squib and squeal!
Then, big and fat they all go 'Splat!'.
Oh what a lovely meal!


A fantasy woven around a true story.
Written in 1951

It fell in nineteen fifty one upon an April day
That out into the channel went the submarine 'Affray'.
Her back was shining like a seal's and strong and thick besides.
Three score and fifteen mariners were locked within its sides.
'Go up into my conning-tower! Look out and spy the land,
For we must surely plunge below when ten leagues from the strand.'
Thus spoke the captain heartily; the engine throbbed and sang;
The galley and the engine rooms with merry voices rang.
'Oh sir! I see some land ahead and it will soon be night!'
'Surely!' the Captain answered him, 'It is the Isle of Wight'.
'Oh sir! I see an albatross! An omen I have heard!
'Surely!' the Captain answered him; 'A foolish sort of bird.'
'Oh sir! I fear we all must die! I fear some dreadful fate!'
'Surely we dive! the Captain said 'And we surface again at eight.
Go up into my conning-tower! Look out and spy the land
For we are going to go below exactly as we planned.'
The night was dark, the moon but new, the sea on every hand,
When the Captain gave the order 'Dive! We are ten leagues from the land!'
Oh hearty, hearty was the crew, three score and fifteen men.
Oh little, little thought the crew they would never rise again.
'Oh I've a maid in Dartmouth town and for me I know she'll wait
Until the time that duty's done and we rise again at eight.'
The sea closed over the 'Affray' and the crew was full of hope
For they saw the sea was calm as glass from the little periscope.
'Go up and look through my periscope! See if other vessels pass.
If our luck holds good we shall rise at eight, for the sea is calm as glass.'
'Oh sir! The sea is smooth and black and the moon is round and white.'
'Surely!' the Captain answered him. 'We're in for an easy night.'
'But sir I see an albatross upon our periscope!
It's eye is looking back at me! I fear there is no hope!'
'Surely' the Captain answered him, 'A bird is but a bird.
Forget the childish fairy tales you foolishly have heard.
But since your heart is full of dread I'll respect your foolish whim.
If we dive down deep he will fly away and we'll be rid of him.
Pull in, pull in your periscope! We will dive six fathoms more
And be rid of yonder albatross, which seamen feared of yore.'
The black sea closed on the 'Affray' and the moon shone large and white
And the landsmen slept in their cosy beds on the shores of the Isle of Wight.
For all your ships, your radar sets, your aeroplanes and men
The lovely submarine 'Affray' will never be seen again.

At the time Affray went missing it was such big news in Britain it relegated the first events that culminated in the Suez Crisis to page two of the national newspapers. There was some urgency in the initial 48 hours of the search as it was estimated the crew would not survive much longer than this if they had survived whatever had sunk the submarine in the first place. During the search a morsecode signal (via tapping on the submarine hull) had been received by two of the searching ships reading "We are trapped on the bottom", but this did not help in locating the sub. After three days the search was slowed down and fewer ships were used to locate Affray. In Britain the missing submarine was getting a lot of publicity. Rumours abounded of mutiny, seizure by the Russians etc. Meanwhile the Royal Navy continued its search. During the search many strange things happened, the strangest was a massive object found on the bottom by sonar, the search vessel realising it could not have been Affray due to its size continued on, when it returned several days later to establish what it was, it had gone. Another strange event was the wife of a skipper of one of Affray's sister submarines claiming to have seen a ghost in a dripping wet submarine officer's uniform telling her the location of the sunken sub (this position later turned out to be correct) - interestingly she recognised him as an officer who had died during World War II, not a crew member of Affray.