Monday, January 31, 2011

Personal Hygiene!

A story in very few words


The girls will like you a great deal more
Without that damned B.O.!
Come on, Matie, dive in and wash!
 Froth-up in the undertow!


I was strolling along in town one day when this Junk Shop caught my eye.
Now I was only idling, dreaming as I passed by.
I was thinking of writing a poem about Red, White and Blue;
( When a Meme suggests it, that is what must I do.)
'I must avoid the Union Jack!' was going through my mind
Followed by 'What alternative am I possibly going to find?'
Being a Brit, 'Red, White and Blue' had me standing to attention,
But then it seemed too obvious to even rate a mention.
When suddenly a window seemed to flash across my gaze!
And it filled the said criteria in really perfect ways!
Now, when the owner made a plan to change her window theme,
What made her think of this decor, this blended colour-scheme?
And what made me walk down that street? It's not my usual route!
And what made me glance at her window, so crammed with pre-loved loot?
I'm really not superstitious! I prefer reality.
But this was a great example of SERENDIPITY!

Not Yet!

Verses for Children


Goodnight Horsie! Goodnight Bear!
Time to climb the wooden stair.
Bertha has the candle lit
But I don't like it, not one bit!
Look at Donkey! He's sad too.
What will all my treasures do
When they're left downstairs alone,
Without a playmate, on their own?
Bertha doesn't understand!
She keeps tugging at my hand.
I can take my book to bed;
That is what my Mummy said,
But books don't cry, books don't feel sad.
Leaving pets makes me feel bad.
Never mind. I know, tomorrow,
We'll forget about our sorrow.
Goodnight Horsie! Goodnight Bear!
So long as you know that I still care!



A poor old mule was listening as he stood at the cottage door
And he heard the farmer grumbling 'Goodness knows what he's for!
That old mule is worse than useless!' And then the good wife said
'I agree! He's certainly much too old! I think he'd be better dead!'
The mule heard his owners planning to put an end to his life,
Though he'd given such faithful service to the farmer and his wife.
'I'll not stay in this place any longer' said the mule, and then he planned
To escape and run off to Bremen, where he hoped to play in a band.
'I'll be off on the road by morning; I certainly know the route.
And when I get to Bremen I shall learn to play the flute!'
Sure enough, the very next morning, before it got too late,
The mule ran away from his masters, kicking down the farmyard gate.
He hadn't gone a great distance when he saw a doleful sight;
An old dog lay shaking and panting, having slept in the grass all night.
'What ails you?' the mule then asked him and the poor old dog replied
'If I'd stayed with my faithless master by now I would have died!
He says I'm too old to work now. He wont even feed me crumbs!'
'Then join me and travel to Bremen! You can learn to play the drums!'
Thus the mule encouraged him and they made a curious pair
As they set off going to Bremen to be musicians there.
Before long the two friends met with a poor old mangy cat,
Scrawny and thin and sickly, which once had been sleek and fat.
'I've been cast-out into the wide world, from my life-long cosy house!
Since my teeth fell out I've been useless; I can't even catch a mouse!'
So spoke the cat, with a whimper, but the mule said 'That's alright!
You can be a musician in Bremen for you know how to sing at night!'
So now there were three fellow travellers, and soon they gave a shout,
For they chanced upon a rooster whose feathers were falling out!
The rooster was weeping and wailing and this is what he said
'If I hadn't left my farm tonight tomorrow I'd have been dead.
I heard my masters talking and I understood their plot;
Because I'm old they were planning to cook me in a pot!'
'Now you're a great morning singer' the welcoming mule declared
'Come with us to Bremen and our troubles can be shared.'
Now, on the road to Bremen, in the middle of the night,
They passed a little cottage; from the window shone a light.
So they crept up to the window and peeped inside to see
A band of wicked robbers, all feasting  merrily.
Before them on the table lay, oh wondrous to behold, 
Enormous piles of tasty food, and bulging sacks of gold.
The mule and his new-found friends declared they would wait until the night,
And then they would raid the robbers' house, giving them an awful fright.
With all the robbers sleeping and enjoying pleasant dreams,
The musicians broke into the house! And then imagine the shouts and screams!
The robbers dashed outside post-haste, trying to work things out!
'That was one awful Monster' said one 'Without a doubt!
It had terrible feet to kick with! It had great big yellow eyes!
It had teeth as sharp as needles! And it made the most awful cries!'
'We dare not return!' said another. 'Let the Monster keep the lot!'
And all agreed that the Monster was welcome to all they'd got.
The robbers slunk off in the shadows and never returned again,
While the four Musicians sat down to feast, eating with might and main.
So they never became Musicians, for the gold let them live in style,
And all they did for the rest of their lives was smile and smile and smile!


Deadlier Than the Male!



Great, noble, yellow beast;
Predator most feared,
With your gleaming golden eyes
And your straggling beard;
With your teeth as sharp as nails
And your claws to match;
Always on the look-out
For another prey to catch.
With your roar that chills the blood,
And makes us run and hide......
What's this anomaly that I see?
You're  hen-pecked by your bride!
'Did you put the garbage out?'
'Why were you home so late?'
'You always forget my birthday!'
'Call yourself a mate!'
You're even trying to run away!
Your muzzle looks quite pale!
It must be true that the female
Is deadlier than the male!

(A True Story)

The greatest injustice of my life occurred when I was five!
And it's lingered in my mind for all these years!
It was such a little injustice but I know that, at the time,
I ended up in floods of scalding tears.
We were sitting in a circle on our little wooden chairs,
And the knitting-lesson was about to start,
When the teacher opened-up a tin of toffees on her lap;
And I felt a jump of pleasure round my heart!
'Toffees at school!' Unthinkable! I couldn't believe my eyes!
For teachers were so severe in days gone by.
My mouth began to water at the thought of this excess!
And my expectations were so very high.
'We're going to learn to knit' the teacher said as we sat there.
' But children are taught to knit well before school.
Put your hand up if your mother has taught you how to knit.
It's a task we learn in our own homes as a rule.'
Every other hand was raised, but my Mum had been remiss!
She hadn't taught me how to plain and purl!
Everybody looked so happy to be putting up a hand.....
Everybody but one shame-faced little girl!
'Excellent!' the teacher said; 'There's a toffee for you all!
Your Mothers have behaved as Mothers should.
Except for you, Brenda Gillbert! I really am quite shocked!
You don't know how to knit and that's not good!'
So they all chomped on their toffees as I just sat and scowled,
With the bitter tears just dripping off my chin.
I felt an utter outcast, and a positive disgrace;
It seemed that I'd committed quite a sin.
But, as they all chomped round me, licking their silly lips,
And giving me a supercilious stare,
I suddenly grew quite stroppy and I rudely blurted out
'It isn't my fault! You're not being fair!
It's not my fault that I can't knit! My mother is to blame!
I really ought to have a toffee too!'
'Go to the Headmaster!' the irate teacher said;
'He's the one to deal with the likes of you!'
I didn't get a caning; after all, I was only five;
But I got a telling-off for being rude,
And never, in my eighty years, have I felt injustice so
And I never forgot that little interlude.
Fairness still means a lot to me; I like to think I'm fair,
If I'm unfair it is usually unwitting.
But that little schooldays' episode had quite an effect on me!
I've done the barest minimum of knitting!

Two rather odd photos today, neither one being what it was supposed to be!
Here are Max and Harry waiting for Charlie our resident blue-tongued lizard to emerge from under the shed. Malcolm puts out bits of fruit for him and he usually comes out and eats them as soon as they're there. You can see the bits of grape but not Charlie! The loud whispers of two excited children made him cower back in his den. So we went inside and had a game of junior Scrabble and when we came out the grape pieces had gone. One very crafty lizard!

This shot is even more odd. It was intended to be a shot of the garden, but something went very wrong. Instead I got a shot of Mike's reflection. He was watching me with the camera. And there is Malcolm clearly making a phone call! The strangest thing is a target on Mike's torso! I presume it's something in the shed. I must investigate!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Being Safe

I have never felt safe in my adult life!
Safety is an illusion.
Dangers have beset my way
Sometimes in profusion.
I have lived my eighty years
In a constant state of dread!
Will Ebola reach these shores?
What's that under the bed?
I fear I am a pessimist;
I always fear the worst!
The sun may shine on my perfect life
But, undoubtedly, I am cursed!
Is that pimple on my nose
Something I dare not mention?
Will the Government, suddenly,
Remove my old age pension?
Is the man in front of me in the line
A member of a gang?
Is there a bomb in this aeroplane
That will suddenly go 'Bang!'?
The World is a terrifying place;
Safety is unattainable!
What about all those fossil fuels?
Is their use sustainable?
I've lived a life that's been long and safe!
Retribution's overdue!
How can I have done so well?
How can I have struggled through?
It's all out there, the Danger!
It will get me in the end!
Safety is an illusion.
On that you can depend.


Tearing across the sky
Overtaking lesser clouds.
Rushing, reeling, rolling by,
Nothing escapes....buildings, crowds!
Angry, a tube of wicked misery!
Dive for cover!
Or blow to eternity!

The Childrens' Hour

This week we are asked to use the first verse of the Longfellow poem of the same name.

"Between the dark and the daylight
When the night is beginning to lower
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations
That is known as the Children’s Hour"

Two small words to conjour with......two words.....  just 'Children's Hour';
A tiny phrase that hardly seems to speak with any power.
For what could be more gentle than the scene you see above,
A delightful motherly picture, embued with parental love?
Between the dark and the daylight, when the shadows began to creep,
The children were read a story, before they went to sleep.
These days, when the night is beginning, life is hardly the same!
The modern child will be occupied with the latest computer game!
The parents are certainly not relaxed! They've exhausting occupations!
And when evening comes there is no pause! Life's full of complications!
No time to lower the lamps to dim or cuddle on the settee,
No time to devote a whole long hour to home and family!
But wait! This picture also recalls a time when the Ma and Pa,
Were often very distant souls, only seen from afar!
In high-class families Nannies lurked, ready to whisk away
That dear little girl who only saw her Mother once a day!
Not for them the hurly-burly, that is known, world-wide, right now!
Not for them the spat, the laugh, the hasty kiss, the row!
In  days gone by, there was a lack, as far as I can see
Distance lends enchantment!
Enjoy your family!

How would you care to be beaten with a stick as thick as a thumb?
No doubt you'd end up black and blue, very sore and numb!
Well, in the fourteen hundreds, a husband had the right
To beat his wife in this very way; the law said that he might.
However, the stick must be 'slender', bigger than a thumb was banned,
Although he could beat her as hard as he liked, just with his open hand!
And the women had nowhere to run to and so they had to stay!
That's how arose 'The Rule of Thumb' we hear about every day!
The Good Old Days? I think not! For us, those days have gone,
But in some parts of this sad old world something similar still goes on!

The Blue Hole of Belize



Unknown to generations before us
It gazed, unblinking, up at the sky.
Only from the air is it visible,
That great impossible eye.
Sailors may have guessed at it,
As they crossed the ocean wide,
But they never saw it as we do,
Entire, and side to side.
I wonder if we appreciate
The wonders that we see,
All brought about by modern life
And bold technology.
Now even I can see it,
From the comfort of my chair,
And I can marvel at the fact
That the hole is even there!
I can even dive way into it,
And find the caves below,
All with TV cameras
Putting on a show.

I'm blessed with imagination,
As so, I hope, are you,
And, with such a wonderful gift,
 There's nothing we can't do.
We can swoop from blue to turquoise,
We can dive to darkest black,
We can glide through high cathedrals
And then we can rise back
Into the world of sunlight,
To feel the salt-sea breeze,
Rejoicing in the memory
Of the Blue Hole of Belize.


We were waiting in the theatre.
Hushed was the eager hall
When late arrivals pierced the gloom,
Painting shadows on the wall.
A shaft of light from the doorway
Lit up the silent rows
And the shadow-puppets revealed themselves
In a dark and threatening pose.


More photos for Ruth. Mike has been immensely lucky with the weather so far. Our summer was very much delayed by the Queensland floods as we caught the tail-end of them in the form of weeks of dull weather, but ever since Mike (my cousin's son from the UK) arrived the weather has been perfect, even a little too hot. Yesterday we had our afternoon tea in King Edward Park.

Here is Mike and the Newcastle sky-line.
And here am I relaxing. My sun-hat looks a little like a 1920s cloche! I found these little cloth hats in a pharmacy and I bought three in different colours, because I can roll them up and shove them in a handbag. Floppy-brimmed hats are all very well, but they're a nuisance if the sun goes in. In any case, big hats make me look like a walking mushroom!

Saturday, January 29, 2011




Ask them to smile as they're sitting in their places!
They'll purse up their lips or pucker-up their faces.
Some will look 'practised', others rather shy;
Some of them will blush, though I can't think why!
But catch them indirectly and what do I see?
Ladies of the afternoon, chattering at tea.

As you can see, this poem was written for a poster for schools, when I was working as a copywriter, after my retirement from teaching. I've re-typed it to make it easier to read.


Family Trees are enormous plants,
Sprouting with parents and uncles and aunts;
With brothers and sisters in every cranny
And, here and there, a special Granny.
Small baby cousins soon appear
For there's someone new almost every year,
 And weddings may bring us new relations
Who may even come from different nations!
The roots are down in the sweet, rich earth
Of a faraway land or the land of our birth,
And the future branches will sweep the sky,
Ever more leafy and ever more high.
Someone in the future will bear my name
And maybe their features will look the same!
Oh how lucky we are to be
Part of a beautiful Family Tree!


                                       Press Photograph



Mankind, heading for the stars.
Detained  by its own birth sphere.
Maybe for ever.


'Come on darlings! Smile or laugh!
Mummy wants a photograph!
Do as you're told kids! Mummy's boss!
We given you ice-cream, candy-floss;
We've given into your every whim!
Now you're looking absolutely grim!
We've just come out of Disneyland!
Enjoy yourselves, the way I planned!
Daddy, come on, you have a try.
I'll jump about and play 'I spy'.
They're fed and cosseted, cuddled, hugged!
Now they look like they've been mugged!
Enjoy yourselves! Do as you're told!
How can you stand there being bold!
All three of you are so adored!
How can a small child say it's bored?




A shadow on the playroom floor;
I wonder what it came there for.
Stretching lazily as if to say
'Look at me! I'm here to play'.
Use me as a road for cars;
Ramps for rockets bound for Mars!
Tell me I'm a track for trains;
Or a runway for your planes.
I'm here! I'm here! Look at me! I'm great!
Play with me! I can hardly wait!'
But then some clouds rubbed the shadow out!
Oh well, they'll just do without!

Many men would like to say
That they don't small-talk the female way.
They say we gossip at this and that,
Talk inanity, having a chat.
Whereas,(this is their view), being men
They only discuss things now and again,
And, when they do, they cover ground
Which is always vital and profound.
Politics, they say's a must
So they go at it with stab and thrust.
Sport's another important item;
They chunter-on ad infinitum.
Sex is a topic that get's an airing;
Experience-swapping gets quite daring!
So there you have it, one, two, three,
The sum of men's verbosity.
Whereas we ladies, so I've heard tell,
Discuss a lot and do it well.
Gather together a female group,
Over a lunch of home-made soup,
And the conversation will surge and eddy,
Sometimes dazzling, sometimes steady,
Covering things of depth and meaning,
While, all the while, each one is gleaning
Good advice and information,
With sensitive anticipation.
World affairs, the price of cheese,
What to do should baby sneeze,
The latest title to be read,
How to make lovely home-made bread,
How to cover an antique stool,
How to help Johnny with work from school;
What we think of that young Obama;
How to make a suit of armour....
Well, maybe not that final one,
But the topic does sound rather fun!
On and on in a seamless way
We ladies small-talk our time away.
But scientists at last have found
That girl-talk makes the world go round!

Friday, January 28, 2011



The British have 'stiff upper lips'; they're good at fortitude.
They treat decapitation as a little interlude!
See how this jolly fellow smiles! He's definitely British!
The more he's pierced and knifed and cut the more he's growing skittish!
His foot's on fire! He's lost both legs! And his arms aren't too secure!
As for his head, it's been attacked by something like a skewer!
I see he's hanging by the neck! No wonder he's kaput!
His insides seem to be falling out! And a nail has pierced his foot!
I see there are 'illustrations'! I bet they're pretty gory!
'Read all about it!' Yes, indeed!
It's the gaping-inside story!


When did all this kissing start
(Of which I don't want any part)?
When did the stern and steady Brits
Start these kissy-kissy fits?
When was it that this double-kissing
Filled a void we'd not been missing.
I like my friends, I'm even fond,
But kissy-kiss goes quite beyond
All that's required of any greeting!
Oh the joy of a smiling meeting!
Half the time they kiss the air
Or get a mouthful of my hair!
When I'm approached by pouting lips,
Something inside me sort of flips!
I back away (though it's not polite)
While uttering welcomes of delight!
Hypocrisy is my undoing
When it comes to all this friendly 'wooing'.
Not brave enough to say 'Get off!'
I give a little nervous cough,
Pretend I'm otherwise engaged,
And no doubt leave the 'friend' enraged.
The French have always kissed like this;
They invented the kissy-kiss.
They're used to offering 'the other cheek'
But I feel quite a sense of pique
When good old Brits get Frenchified
And kissy-kiss from side to side.
Next time,(my strategy is planned....),
I'm going to damn well shake your hand!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bucket List



This is someone else's Bucket List;
I discovered it on line.
When I saw the word 'bikini'
I knew it wasn't mine!
I haven't got a Bucket List;
There isn't time for one.
I'm very nearly eighty,
So my life will soon be done!
I expect that sounds quite morbid,
Sort of hopeless and distressed,
And anyone under thirty
Must be madly unimpressed.
But I am one of the fortunate
Who, almost without trying,
Finds myself, at the end of life,
In a state that's satisfying.
Daredevil tricks like abseiling
Have never held appeal
So, even in my early days,
They were never part of the deal.
My Bucket, if I'd had one,
Would always have been achievable;
No jumping off Mount Everest.....
For me quite unbelievable!
No, my list would have been simple,
Had I made one in my youth.
Travel, Writing, Family.
That's all, and that's the truth!
So now my Bucket's empty,
With nothing left to hold.
It all came true, so here I am
Simply growing old.


(A true story.)
When a journey begins badly it rarely ends too well.
Too many unwise  travelers have a sorry tale to tell.
Take my friends, Alf and Noela, in their nifty caravan.
They should have guessed their trip would fail from how badly it began!
Alf is not too fond of cats! Well, there are folk like that!
He gets all sort of twitchy when confronted by a cat.
But he bore up very bravely when they called in on old friends,
And, when the cat came up to him he tried to make amends.
While they were sitting chatting and drinking cups of tea,
He let the cat get friendly and purr around his knee.
Next morning, thinking all was well, they set of home once more,
Cheerily saying their goodbyes at their old friends' cottage door.
But their journey started badly as you will soon find out;
Although it was a good four hours before things went up the spout.
They stopped at a wayside picnic spot to have a little snack
And Noela went to get things from the caravan at the back.
With a piercing shriek she called 'The cat! The cat is here inside!'
And, sure enough, the moggy had hitched a little ride!
Alf stamped and stomped and carried-on, as do all angry men,
But they both agreed that they must take the cat back home again!
So four hours back they drove at speed, so the cat could be returned,
And then they started off again! You can guess how rubber burned!
There's a sequel to this little tale! You may find it amusing.
But animal-lovers may, I fear, find it pet-abusing.
Two weeks after their return a phone-call was received.
And Alf and Noela found the message hard to be believed.
The little cat had met its end going underneath a car!
As Alf said 'What a waste of time driving back so far!'

In Perspective!




Consider size if you will.
That great moon
That illuminated
All your youthful follies;
That ballooned over you in majesty
And filled your sky;
That squeezed the blackness of night
Into the dusty corners
Of the universe.....
Is a speck!
Against the azure firmament
It is a mere morsel,
A pea,
A pin-head
A little dot of dust.
Easily lost.
Easily overlooked.
Compared to a planet
It is nothing!
So what are we?
We who gasp at the 'huge' moon,
Who bathe in its harvest splendour,
Who are certain it fills the sky?
We are less than
A pea,
A pin-head
Or a dot of dust!
It is almost Biblical!



I won it in a raffle, this delicious fruity cake.
To win anything at all was a surprise!
It lay there in it's glory and I said 'For goodness sake!
That cake itself is quite sufficient prize!'
But the Lily had been Gilded, with these lovely yellow flowers,
Frangipani blossoms, seeming to belong!
Both cake and frangipani should have lasted days, not hours,
But neither goody lasted very long!

Yesterday was Australia Day. Not that we did anything particularly Australian, but we had a celebratory day anyway. The temperature soared to 38 degrees celsius, so it was fortunate that we had been invited to friend Vera's cool house! She and Angus were keen to re-meet Mike, our overseas visitor, and Allan, the genial next-door-neighbour we know well, was there as well. Vera produced a delicious meal in her usual capable manner.
Snacks in the lovely poolside room. 
With Alfie, the dog, who, incidentally, chewed up a shoe of mine! I'd kicked my shoes off under the table (I know our hosts very well!) and Alfie ran off with one and destroyed it! Fortunately, it was an old shoe!

Slanging Match!


Slang words this week
'conniption, janky, scooch'

When I woke up this-morning
And made an attempt to blog,
I found the computer had problems
(Maybe a minor cog!)
Well, I had a conniption fit right there!
How dare it be so janky!
What a way to start the day!
My! Did I feel cranky!
I fiddled here, I fiddled there,
Much fortified by gin!
And in the end I took it
And kicked it in the bin!
'Scooch!' I yelled, with vehemence;
'Get going! On your way!'
So that is why I cannot write
A poem for today!


Cold sand; cool water.
Holiday homes, empty for Winter,
Cast long shadows on the beach.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Written to Annoy You!



I'm one of those annoying people who wakes up feeling bright!
I'm quite refreshed, nearly always, after a restful night.
I don't look like this lady I hasten to admit,
But I do reflect her attitude more than a little bit.
As the sun peeps into the bedroom I yawn and stretch and say,
' I feel ready for anything Life can throw at me today!'
But my come-uppance comes in the evening, when I literally droop;
When all my morning energy has simply flown the coop!
I'm a terrible party-pooper! I keep on thinking of bed!
'Dance all night'? I think not! I want to sleep all night instead!
I'd like to tell you more about the hours that I keep,
But I just haven't got the energy.
It's definitely time for sleep!



Enter the World of Literature, the Theatre of the Mind.
Stand entranced at the miracles that you will surely find.
All that you ask of life is there, all that your spirit needs.
Piety, bravery, wit are there for anyone who reads.
Fantasies rich as tapestries hang for your feasting eyes,
Facts that may seem fantastical, truths from the sage and wise.
The Vision Splendid beckons, you need no further look.
Enter the World of Literature.
Simply pick up a Book.

Pipe Dream



Just a big old pipe in the shadows,
Curving its way along,
Snaking over the pastures,
Far from the city's throng.
Weaving it's way through the valley
Where the Hunter River flows
Appearing to have no purpose,
Inert even as it goes.
Yet, inside, it is churning, rolling,
Inside it is in full spate,
Inside it is racing madly!
It seems that it just can't wait!
Chichester Dam gives the water
That rushes along within.
It will end in our taps tomorrow.
But it's here we see it begin.

I got permission to publish this shot but I can't remember who from!


Of course I look disdainful! It's quite true!
I'm stuck here for the passing world to view!
I looked so gorgeous only yesterday!
And now I'm treated in this awful way.
My cheekbones still look good, likewise my hair;
And my expression, still, is nose-in-air.
But they have dressed me in a paper bag!
Like any other old, discarded hag!
I, who looked so very smooth and svelte!
They've got me really right below the belt!
Except that belts are missing, likewise darts!
I look the same as all the other tarts!
I, who have worn the very latest fashions,
Have suddenly been put on meagre rations.
Yves Saint Laurent was quite my top designer,
In his confections I looked ever finer.
The swathes, the swirls, the clinching and the flow,
I was a clothes-horse, I was such a pro!
This paper 'thing' just hasn't any shape!
It's fastened at the back with sticky-tape!
The length is wrong! It's barely to my knees!
It's winter and I know I'm going to freeze!
But pity poor Minette! Her plight is oddest!
In fact it's verging on the quite immodest.
To seat her in that pose looks really shocking
Invites the passers-by to be more mocking!
And, worst of all, (the thought makes me go pale)
They've labelled us with that great insult.....'SALE!'