Lockdown Limericks #poem #poetry

A doctor called Frederick Lee

Tried sex at his desk with nurse Fi.

It wasn’t successful

And made them quite fretful

Till she dressed in her full PPE.


George was a confident chap

Who’d woo nurses with banter and chat.

Till one Thursday Louise

Made George’s blood freeze

When she told him she’d give him the clap

Posted in humour, limericks, miscellany, poems, poetry | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Light And Dark #carrotranch #morganandlogan #flashfiction

‘What are you doing, Morgan?’


‘My bad. I…’

‘Did you say, “my bad”?’

‘Sorry. Why are you hiding?’

‘I was at the store…’


‘We’re in America. This guy asked the cashier if he had small arms. I said that was a bit rude and he gave me a look and showed me this gun.’

‘I don’t blame him.’

‘He looked pretty upset. I thought I’d better hide.’

‘And that’s why you bought the Doritos and 100 candles.’

‘If he cuts the power we won’t be in the dark.’

‘Any these toilet rolls?’

‘He was very scary, Logan.’

This piece of fluff was written in response to this week’s #carrotranch prompt

May 21, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about 100 candles. What do they light, and why? Think about contrast or symbolism. Are the candles large, small, or stars in the night? Go where the prompt leads!

Posted in carrot ranch, creative writing, flash fiction, logan and morgan, miscellany | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Modern Manners #sonnet29

From time to time I like to take the first line of a favourite poem and rewrite the rest. Sonnet 29 is one of Shakespeare’s most famous. This is it

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

It’s about all sorts: self pity and self loathing and envy. This is my take, from a modern perspective.

When in disgrace, with fortune and men’s eyes,

I binge on chocolate and crappy box sets.

The world is fucked and I really despise

All those smug sods who post about their pets

And photograph their food, and their taut abs

While they try to influence some weak fool

With products that promise to fight the flab

And change them from dork to the super cool.

I don’t need the fix of counting likes,

And emojis are a stupid drug

For those for whom the latest Nikes

Are free in return for a casual plug.

So what if I’m thought a pariah?

My moral plinth could not be higher.

Posted in miscellany, poems, poetry, sonnets | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Legging It #writephoto #shortfiction

‘Stop, or forfeit!’

Martin Underlay stopped and frowned. The voice sounded intimidating but its source remained hidden. Was this some teenage trick? He took half a step towards the bridge and squealed as what appeared to be a small hairy rodent with waving arms rushed him. This apparently bimanual squirrel grabbed him round the left leg and drew back some sharp brown teeth intent on biting Martin’s shin.

‘Gerrof.’ Martin’s reaction, both instinctive and born of many years as his club’s centre back, was to kick out hard and launch the hairy attacker over the bridge. It landed with a grunt and followed it with a furious howl, before righting itself and hurtling back across the bridge, still determined, or so it appeared to perforate a soft fleshy part of Martin’s anatomy.

This time Martin was ready. It was much like receiving a hard but direct back pass, only with arms and hair. He brought back his leg and connected sweetly.

Whatever it was flew even further and landed in a gorse bush. This time its howls were of the affronted and pained kind, but, once again it stood, a little unsteadily, eyed Martin with a deep visceral malevolence and began to run.

Martin had to admire its resilience while marvelling at its stupidity. He watched as the creature’s little legs pumped, though by the time it reached the bridge, he could see it was flagging. He braced himself and rocked on the balls of his feet as his delusional opponent began to cross the rickety wooden structure. It reached the near side and stopped abruptly, holding up one hairy-backed and gnarled hand.

Martin kept his position, fearing a trick.

‘Do you know what I am?’ The yellow-eyed nobbly thing peered at Martin.

‘A loony?”

Whatever it was did a stretching thing that increased its height to about two foot six. ‘Well, that’s nice, I must say. How often do you come across mythical creatures?’

Martin stopped rocking. ‘I… never.’

‘Quite. We’re rare and should be treated with respect.’

‘You tried to eat me!’

‘You didn’t stop so you agreed to a forfeit.’

‘I did not.’

‘Yes, you did. I said ‘Stop or forfeit,’ and you kept coming so forfeit it was.’

‘No, hang on, just because you said it doesn’t create some sort of contractual nexus between us.’

‘Contra….? Are you a lawyer?’

‘Well, as it happens, yes.’

‘And you know about custom and practice, ancient rights that pertain to the use of certain lands?’

‘Yes , of course, but I’ve never heard of one that involves forfeiting a limb to a maniacal rodent.’

‘Well, you have now. This is my bridge, has been since before time immemorial…’


‘Well done. Anyway…’

‘But you can’t be…’ Martin did some mental arithmetic, ‘over 900 years old?’

‘Why not?’

‘No mammal can survive…’

‘For a lawyer, you don’t listen, do you? I’m mythical.’

Martin began to feel he would have been better going shopping with Sharon rather than trying this new walk. ‘There aren’t any mythical creatures.’

‘Ok, smart-arse, what am I?’

‘I… well… that is…’

Whatever it was held out its arms and titled its head while it waited. ‘You want a hint?’

Martin nodded.

‘Billy goat gruff.’

‘Bill…? You’re a troll?’

‘Tada! Top of the class. And what do trolls do?’

‘Guard bridges,’ Martin proffered tentatively.

‘Two points to the lawyer with the mule kick. And if you try and cross a bridge that’s guarded by a troll without paying the fee, what happens?’

Martin looked around quickly. This had to be one of those TV set ups and this fluff ball with fangs had to be animatronic or something. ‘This is a joke.’


‘I… because I’ve crossed countless bridges and not once have I met a troll working as some sort of carnivorous toll gatekeeper.’

The troll sighed. ‘Have you seen a dodo? A roc? No, they’re extinct. It’s not easy trying to maintain the old standards, at least not since the introduction of the motor car.’


‘Oh use that sharp legal brain. We’re just so much roadkill. No one looks hard a squished smear to see if it’s a badger or a troll. And then there are the guns and…’ it shuddered.

‘Extraordinary. You really are a troll?’

‘Cross my heart and hope to get a slice of your calf before you go.’ The troll dribbled a green gunk making Martin step back.

‘But you’re so… you know. Small.’

‘Sizist are we? I’m diminutive, of limited stature, altitudinally challenged but I am NOT SMALL. I am average for a North European troll.’

‘But the books have you as these fearsome giants.’

‘If you average farm labourer thought we were this size, how likely are they to pay up? And given we are naturally ferocious, if we took a piece out of their leg, how likely are they to admit they’d been bitten by something smaller than their pet cat? Myths suited them and us. Symbiotic, see.’

‘Is the only way to cross the bridge to forfeit a body part?’

‘No, you can pay. One gold coin.’

‘I… Er I don’t think anyone has gold coins. Well, not respectable lawyers.’

‘Respectable lawyers? Isn’t that an oxymoron? I’m currently accepting five different sorts of hard currency or cryptocurrency and all major cards.’

‘Your kidding?’

‘Of course I’m sodding kidding. Cross this bridge and I eat a part of you.’

Martin looked at the the defiant troll, its arms approximating a double teapot. ‘I’ll go back. Thanks, but I’m rather attached to me.’

‘You could fight me. You’ve kicked me twice.’

‘I don’t want to hurt you.’

‘Oh and you think depriving me of my one chance of a meal is being kind?’

‘Is this all you do?’ Martin couldn’t help but be interested.

‘I scavenge a bit. Some food banks are run by the serially myopic and with a hat and an old shirt I can get away with being Italian or Spanish. But the pickings are slim and two tins of tomato soup and a chorizo sausage are no substitute for a couple of fingers.’

‘I could bring you some meat. Not human and it would have to be dead but still…’

‘Really? I’m quite partial to game. A bit of lamb too.’

‘You know, these days with online trolls you should market yourself as a brand leader for the legions of contrarians and disputives out there.’

‘Nah. Just a couple of chops and I’ll be okay. But thanks.’

‘Does that mean I can cross the bridge?’

‘Sod off. I may be mythical, but I wasn’t born yesterday.’

This was written in response to the latest #writephoto prompt

Posted in #writephoto, creative writing, humour, miscellany | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Weather Or When #shortfiction

Good morning, people and who do we have here?’

Janice shuffled nervously forward, avoiding the over large hailstones that obstructed her path.

‘Tsk,’ Rodney Carbuncle clapped his hands and a broombot scuttled across the terrace and swept the debris away. ‘Wagner,’ Rodney whispered. ‘The producer wanted a spectacular without the usual drenching. Now, don’t tell me,’ his oily smile was as slick as the sheeting rain that filled the neighbouring field, ‘wedding plans?’

Janice nodded and looked lovingly at her fiancé, Darren. He, meanwhile stared open-mouthed at the vortex that had engulfed the arena to his left, pulling a bonfire from its moorings and creating a spectacular fireball. Rodney sneered as he looked at the display. ‘Footballer. Celebrating some win, I expect.’ He leant towards Janice and whispered, ‘Nouveau, of course. About as much taste as quorn soup. So, what are we thinking? Dappled woodland? Sussurating sycamores? We at Weather Or Not pride ourselves on creating the perfect microclimate for your big day.’

The smarm was professional and overwhelming. The lovebirds gazed at Rodney before saying, both at the same time, ‘Sun’ ‘Snow’.

Darren and Janice exchanged looks, hers horrified, his sheepish. Rodney slipped between them, gracelessly hurrying them towards two large screens at the rear of their arena. ‘I think I know just the thing. Bride arrives in a carriage, furs elegantly draped – classy, my dear, none of your sub Doctor Chivago – with snow gently falling. She steps from the broom,’ he waved impatiently as a bot mistook his reference and began sweeping again, ‘and throws back her cloak as she strides into the sunlit uplands for the ceremony…’

Darren’s eyes were wide open, ‘You can do all of that?’

Rodney picked up a remote and the screen filled with exactly that scene, ‘Darling, for his second inauguration, we made Donald Trump’s tan look real. Believe me, after that it’s not Weather, but when.’

Posted in creative writing, humour | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Sonnets For My Love

Over the years of knowing the Textiliste and the 36 years married I’ve written a few poems to that love. Here are two sonnets, the first based on the Elizabeth Barrett Browning classic

How Do I Love You?

(Sonnets From The Portuguese XLIII, Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.

I love you when the mundane morning chorus

Of the prattling radio wakes us

And you mine the duvet like it’s the End of Days.

I love you when you leave me at the station

To walk home in the rain, dripping clothes and oaths.

I love you for understanding what no one else knows

In my silences and wordless impatience.

I love you for laughing at oft-told stories

Never querying my many variations.

I love you for ignoring my aberrations

And allowing me my unworthy glories.

And if grief comes to me, dripping slow

I will love you more than you will ever know.

The Hand That Guides

Your consoling hand sits light on my sleeve,

A confident tap to release me on four;

We set sail, in step, gliding with ease

Past blind spots and missteps strewn on the floor.

I fumble to catch that elusive toe-tap

Which, if I could, would allow me my head.

You remind me, by way of a quick finger snap,

Of the dangers where taking that path might lead.

I continually try to do it my way,

To give into weakness of flesh and of soul

But you hold my love tight; I cannot stray

And we remain linked; two parts of one whole.

May it always be thus as we gib and we tack;

Both looking forward, your hand at my back.

Posted in poems, poetry, sonnets | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

May Garden: A Half Month Report And An Anniversary #garden #springcolour

Yes, it’s been fab, here in South London. Lockdown means lots more time to improve all aspects. I’ve even had the time to follow a short video on how to make a cold frame from an old pallet – we collect these from skips to make compost bins so there’s always a few spares stacked here and there. Here’s a few shots..

As you can see Dog helped.

And so to the plants and veg…

And for those who need some pictures of Dog in his natural habitat…plus Vicky (the tortoise) Nutmeg and Tikka (our 22 year old twins)

And the anniversary? From this

to 36 years of marriage later to this

at our daughter’s wedding last year; one of us hasn’t changed much…
Posted in gardening, pets | Tagged , , , , | 57 Comments