Wednesday, 28 August 2013


I seem to have been bitten by the gardening bug. 

So far in my life, my anti-gardening filter screen has worked well and I have spent as little time as possible out there but now I can't get enough of it.

There was even a day when I was out there at 7.45 in the morning before the day got too hot.

Even crazier than this, I have subscribed to a weekly gardening magazine. I eagerly await its arrival and then devour it ferociously as if it were a tasty titbit. 

But there is method in my madness. 

Having a weekly magazine means that you are kept informed and up-to-date about what needs doing in the garden at that particular time of year. 

Even more important, it is a weekly prod to get up off my backside and get on with it - in the rare cases when my wife has neglected to do so already.

So as I often say - I love gardening - I could read about it for hours. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013


In which I extract the poetry from well-known songs.

I regularly crew on a large canal boat which gives free day-trips to the deserving.

One day recently while I was thus engaged, I grew fascinated by the sight of the willow trees growing on the bank and the tall grass below them. 

The willow's branches swept against the grass and it was almost as if they were in conversation.

It was but a small leap to a song which was a favourite of my parents and also of my own.

It was first recorded in 1940, the most popular version being by The Inkspots. Lyrics were by Fred Fisher and his daughter Doris.

Whispering Grass

Why do you whisper, green grass?
Why tell the trees what ain't so ?
Whispering grass, the trees don't have to know - no, no

Why tell them all your secrets?
Who kissed there long ago?
Whispering grass, the trees don't need to know.

Don't you tell it to the breeze '
cause she will tell the birds and bees 
and everyone will know 
because you told the blabbering trees
Yes, you told them once before;
It's no secret any more.

Why tell them all the old things?
They're buried under the snow.
Whispering grass, don't tell the trees
'cause the trees don't need to know.

(Image by AdamR c/o

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


I've just been down to Brighton,
I went there to play bridge.
It was peeing down with rain
And colder than a fridge.

Despite the dreadful weather
It's a very lovely place.
I got to my hotel room 
And then unpacked my case.

I looked out of the window
But saw no sand or sea
Just the lady in the next door flat.
Who was staring back at me.

I quickly turned my back on her,
Went out and locked the door.
Though we'd had some food an hour ago
I fancied a bit more.

Later, having had my fill
Of chips and battered plaice,
I went back to my bedroom, 
Brushed my teeth and washed my face.

Then, having eaten all that food
I sat upon the loo,
Adopting the position
For what I had to do.

Given my situation,
Imagine my surprise, 
When I looked up, across the room
To see that lady's eyes.

The moral of this sorry tale
Is very plain to see
Make sure you draw the curtains
When you sit to poo or wee.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


I like dogs. We had a family pet when I was a child and I have owned cocker spaniels and let one have a litter. Dogs are man's best friend. 

Unfortunately my present wife is allergic to them so I am unable to have a dog at home. I rely on others to let me stroke and play with their dogs to get my fix.

My love of dogs might be because I may have been a dog in my previous incarnation. There is evidence to suggest this.

You will be aware that when dogs dream, they often start running in their sleep and there are many funny videos of them doing just that. 

I have recently had two dreams when I was fighting. In the first I was kicking my opponent and in the second I was punching his lights out. On both occasions my dear wife had to wake me up because she was being kicked and punched by me!

Thankfully she was not injured since my skills at sleeping combat are unremarkable. 

So yes, I like dogs. In fact, as I have often said, if I should ever lose my wife (perish the thought), I would get another dog.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


I've always thought it a curious phrase to say that 'you can't make bricks without straw' because of course - you can. In fact, to put it bluntly, bricks are not normally made with straw.

The meaning of the phrase is straightforward though. It means that you need the proper materials to be able to do a job properly. In this respect it's rather similar to Churchill's famous line, 'give us the tools and we'll finish the job'.

So why is it suggested that you need straw to make bricks? 

The answer is that back in Moses' time you did. His people were enslaved in Egypt and were forced to make bricks for their captors. Adding straw to the bricks, which were made from river clay, helped them to dry quicker.

When Moses appealed to the Egyptians to free his people, they obstinately refused and as a punishment, stopped giving them straw but still demanded the same production levels. In time of course, God helped them gain their freedom because quite simply, they couldn't make bricks without straw.

They might however, have been able to make hay while the sun shone.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


I've seen another glimpse of the future and it was scary.

No, I didn't visit the lady with the crystal ball but what I've learned was just as incredible.

They have learned how to grow your own meat. Yes I said meat. 

It's all done in the lab of course and is just a matter of growing a few stem cells until they are large enough for a meatball, a burger or indeed a joint of meat. 

It's a tempting idea when you think of it. No more fields full of cows and sheep ready to kill. No more slaughter houses. Just lots of laboratories churning out our burgers totally ethically.

The only snag at the moment is that the lab-grown burger which was on show cost £250,000 to make.

Do you want fries with that?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


It's good news week.

One of my many guilty pleasures when visiting a typical fête is to check out the homemade cake stall. The homemade cakes invariably have a dollop more cream, or an extra thick layer of icing, or maybe one more spoon of fruit for luck than the soulless cakes you find in the shops.

Of course the reason for this is that cakes made for shop sale are regulated and subject to stringent quality and hygiene control so they contain the minimum ingredients that the price dictates.

No such limits on the home-made variety until the bureaucrats started to interfere. Suddenly kids were banned from selling their Mum's cupcakes to classmates for charity because Mum didn't have a food hygiene certificate and doubts were raised about the 'legality' of selling cakes at the local fête.

Relax. Chill. All is well. The FSA (Food Standards Agency) has clarified the issue. It states that 'There is no rule banning the sale of homemade cakes at school fêtes or other Community events'. 

Crumbs. Who'd have thought they had common sense? You can have your cake, and eat it with a cherry on the top.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


Back from my typically British holiday and I thought I'd show you my holiday snaps.

Seagulls swooping; noisy, happy children; quiet, happy grown-ups; sand in my sandals; breezy sunshine; smells of the seashore.

Showing bits which haven't seen the sun in a long time; showing bits they shouldn't; sartorial inelegance; shorts, socks, sandals and silly hats.

Cream tea; clotted cream and jam with two scones; little birds pinching crumbs; fish and chips; ice cream; candy floss; sticks of rock; fudge.

Playing 'penny falls' in the arcade; mooching round gift shops and markets; listening to the band play in the park; a stroll along the prom.

Woken by seagulls; breakfast smells wafting up the stairs; kippers; check the weather forecast and off we go.

Sipping wine in a bar looking out over the harbour; watching the sun set over the sea.