May 31st


By Mat

Well, masterpiece did not attract single reader on the web - save for my stalker pensioner buddy.  I'll try beloved Wordcloud.


by brightonsauce

silly dr1/possible tense conf issew

Brighton Winter

Photograph from personal portfolio available @12.99 per signed copy from Mat Scarborough, YO11

Drigby Foreshore

Inside the beach management office, the office I manage on a weekend basis as the beach management weekend superintendent there is a collage of photographs and snaps on the wall.  The great storm of ’79 shows the beach chalets smashed against the headland – like matchsticks [out the box].  The residents of the said chalets are spread and tagged at the ear.  A suprintentendent of yesteryear wears his fisherman’s smock and attempts in his futility to match kettle to corpse, teabags to twisted remains.

Thankfully, with the internet there is no such chance of big waves destroying my beach management complex office-hut affixed sturdily to the café next door, and where their jacket potatoes are a masterpiece of cuisine, and I get a discount.  If I wanted to – I might eat potatoes every day, and we don’t have internet connection actually, only a wind-up telephone and a clutch of beautiful lifeboys [RNLI].

Now, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Collages are on the wall, indeed.  Staring into the crowd of faces from ’33, I sense the tea dance is over[,] and there[,] amidst the folk a most beautiful handsome blonde man stares into camera.  My god it is me.  Yes, I have returned to the foreshore.

‘Look, it’s me!’ I say to Derick the maintenance chief.

‘Aye, and there’s me,’ he says, and actually it is him.  ‘Demobbed after Paschendale,’ he says, ‘I needed a job…’

‘But that would make you 122 years old,’ I say.

‘121,’ he says, ‘but don’t tell gaffer.’

‘Of course not, buddy,’ I say.

‘Reckon no, kiddo,’ he confirms.  He calls me Kiddo, I like that familiarity.

The only problem to date with the new posting has been the fog.  The fog has bleached my vista.  I stand on the slipway.  I might as well stand on a cloud.  I believe the sea is there somewhere, and also the beach, and possibly people on the beach, and possibly dogs – illegal and criminal dogs.  But I cannot chase the dogs if I cannot see the dogs.

I said to Derick ‘I can’t see any dogs…’

‘You are doing a brilliant job, Kiddo,’ he says.

On Drigby foreshore there is the one [other] disconcerting aspect to the posting.  That would be the toilet.

‘You will show me, Derick?’ I say.  ‘Last Saturday I lacked moral fibre and tossed rolls like hand grenades through the door.  The ladies, they were standing everywhere.

‘A great terror, the Ladies,’ says Derick.

‘Are you sure that’s my job?’ I say. ‘Head office wouldn’t just give me a baseball cap for nothing, eh?’

‘I’ll run you through [cubicles] when we have a quiet moment,’ he says, and I ruminate the possibility of sneaking a widdle – solo in the ladies’ lavatory.  Fight the power.

Mainly I must chronicle two achievements:

  1. Lifebelts – What kind of council official dictates that the beach manager Drigby Central beach seasonal must also inspect the lifebelts over at Coalsteeth Harbour – which is 4 miles away?

Thankfully, Derick has a BMX for me and so I pedalled and discovered this most beautiful attractive village that markets toward sophisticated book-reading artist people like me/us.  For whilst Drigby is renowned for its whelk and mussel harvest, Coalsteeth is rather more lobster restaurant.  AND all the lifebelts above the waterline are in [good] working order.

  1. The tree

It may not be ambergris or jet but I retrieved a tree from the North Sea.  I gave the tree to Derick.  I feel there is love between us – blossoming as I have established credentials of great strength, and for his part Derick said ‘come September we’ll have a mushroom each to sit upon.’

If I find more trees I shall blog details, possibly market my sea trees, God knows where Neptune plants them all?



May 31st

Unknown, Alternative Historical Facts

By Dolly



During his first time in exile, and just before his return to France, and his subsequent defeat at the hands of Wellington, Napoleon became increasingly paranoid about his height. He would often walk around the island, closely followed by a servant, who would be carrying sheets of paper, a quill, and some ink.

During these walks, he would frequently stop some of the local males and ask them for their shoe size. The logic behind this was to do with height. The smaller the foot, the smaller the person, and vice-versa. Unfortunately for Napoleon, this wasn’t always the case, as he found someone with small feet who was almost six foot!

Realising that this gave results that weren’t always accurate, he resorted to asking their inside leg measurement as well as their shoe size, thereby hoping to find someone with shorter legs than him. Logic decreed that if they had shorter legs, they would be shorter in height. To his delight, he found the system worked perfectly. When he did find someone, he would ask their name, which would be recorded by the servant, along with their address, marital status, religion, where they were born, shoe size, and inside leg measurement.

Finding someone with shorter legs than him, gave Napoleon a great amount of pleasure, as it meant that person was shorter than he was. It also meant that he could have a good old gloat, and call the person ‘short arse! Or, due to the peculiarities of the French language, ‘the arse that is short!’ Unfortunately for Napoleon, the locals began to rebel, by pretending not be in, and even going to the lengths of hiding or building the equivalent of


priest holes and secret places in cellars and attics. However, Napoleon soon got wise to this, was having none of it, and started carrying a tape measure around with him along with two or three hefty armed guards, who would drag the unfortunate screaming islander out from his hiding place, where his inside leg measurements and shoe size were forcibly taken. Napoleon even tried to introduce a law which made it compulsory for every male to go to designated points on the island and have their inside leg measurement and shoe size recorded yearly.

Shortly after the episodes of shoe sizes and inside leg measurements, and when Napoleon had more or less gone through the entire male population of the island and knew all the short arses, he started using the word ‘wack-ado’ in various forms. Sometimes he would use it as a reply to a greeting.

'How’s it going Bony?' someone would say.

Napoleon would often reply with a wink, a wave of the hand and “Wack-ado!' Or even, 'Wack-ado, wack-ado!'

There were times when he used it almost as a question, and would frown and say, 'Wack-ado?'

Then, one day, he found he could sing it, and spent the next few days singing nothing but, 'Wack-ado, Wack-ado, Wack-ado!'

No one knows where he got all this stuff from, perhaps it was some form of mental aberration caused by his fall from being the most powerful man in Europe, to someone taking inside leg measurements and shoe sizes on Elba. Whatever it was, the locals took quite a shine to it, and is still used to this



day on the island. On Napoleon’s birthday, all the males on the island go to designated ’polling booths’ where they have their inside leg measurement and their shoe size recorded. Later, in the evening, everyone gets kitted out in traditional dress, gather round large bonfires, and sing Wack-ado, Wack-ado, Wack-do! All night long.

Rumour has it, that in the early nineteen fifties, an American songwriter visiting the island, heard it and said, 'I can use that for backing singers in a song!'



May 30th

Be afraid...

By RichardB

Newspapers are dying. And the internet is suddenly there... It's all to do with this phenomenon of people not trusting what they are told by their governments and newspapers. They seek around to find some remedy to this. And they find me. I am part of the remedy.


Good news, eh? Well, we all know that politicians lie, that newspapers distort and selectively report facts to suit their political agendas. So if people are ceasing to believe them and casting around for alternative sources of information, that's got to be good, right? Shouldn't we be giving the man who said this a round of applause?


Oh, but wait a minute. The speaker of these pearls of wisdom is David Irving, whose 'history' books have been proven in a court of law to be full of distortions and lies, and to have been written not to present the truth but to further his own (rather unpleasant) political agenda. David Irving, who maintains that Adolf Hitler was a pretty decent fellow really, and that the genocide of six million Jews is propaganda, a myth. And as for the internet, let me tell you a story.


Four years ago, my curiosity piqued by something I'd read about D Day, I googled a particular detail in Dwight D Eisenhower's life. I was surprised to find that one of the links on the first page of results directed me to a vitriolic character assassination on a neo-Nazi website, claiming that Eisenhower was 'a Jew-lover.' That this result should have had such high priority in a search concerning a man who had so many other claims to fame – such apparently minor matters as having been the supreme commander of the Allied invasion of Europe and twice President of the United States – I found deeply disturbing. I didn't even understand what had provoked that rant. The man was a conservative, a military man, the sort of person that right-wingers usually like.


I went looking for an answer and  learned that, after Allied troops had discovered the death camps, Eisenhower insisted on going to see them for himself, and that photographs be taken. He didn't want to: he knew he'd be sickened, that the photographs would be the stuff of nightmares, but he felt that it was essential. With rather awe-inspiring prescience, he'd already anticipated that people would try to deny the truth about those camps. He wanted hard evidence, and to be sure he knew what he was talking about. 


This seems to have been what was behind the hate. Because oh no, none of this is true, is it? Those enlightened souls who shun establishment lies to seek the real truth know that Eisenhower, in the pay of the international Jewish conspiracy that pulls secret strings all over the world, betrayed his race by telling lies and faking photographs to back them up, to assist the big Jewish lie about the Holocaust. From which it follows that every one of the death camp survivors who told his or her story was a liar.


This is the sort of bilge you can find any day on the internet without even looking very hard. It certainly wasn't what I was looking for. And this was four years ago. It hasn't got any better since. It's got quite a lot worse.


A YouTube posting of the trailer for 'Denial', the film dramatising the famous trial in which the judge concluded that Irving was a racist and a liar, has attracted over four thousand comments, and there is hardly a dissenting voice in the strident chorus of support for Irving. The film is apparently nothing but pure pro-Jewish propaganda, despite the inconvenient fact that much of the dialogue in the courtroom scenes was taken verbatim from the trial transcripts. The judge had been got at by the international Jewish conspiracy, and the verdict was a mockery. Irving is a hero, a martyr persecuted for bravely telling the truth. This, in wilful ignorance of the fact that Irving wasn't actually being prosecuted at all: it was a private prosecution for libel brought by Irving himself, and (like Oscar Wilde) he lost the case and brought himself down in the process.


That isn't even the worst of it. Such comparatively sober comments are far outnumbered on the page by offensive outpourings of unfocussed anti-Semitic hate. There are gloating, sick jokes about the death camps. I soon gave up, too revolted (and depressed) to read further.


But Irving is right about one thing. The internet is indeed taking over from the established media. God knows I am no fan of politicians or the press, but it seems to me that we are exchanging one evil for another that is worse, much worse. Because, unlike the media, there are no restraints on the net. Anyone with internet access, no matter how deluded or misinformed, can put up anything they like. There are no guidelines, no checks. Facts are irrelevant to such people: anything that doesn't square with the agenda being promoted is dismissed as fake, the product of an elitist / liberal / Jewish / Islamic / multicultural / whatever conspiracy to keep the truth from the people. And this stuff is being swallowed wholesale, it would appear, from the ever-increasing flood of bigotry and ignorance out there. People disenchanted with their traditional sources of news and opinion are turning to the internet, and they are finding drivel and hate. And some of them are believing it.


And there is no answer to it, no balance. As far as I can see the left's presence on the net is negligible in comparison. It's a one-way traffic. What does this say about the way our society is heading?


Well, I suppose it depends a bit on your political persuasion, but to my way of thinking David Irving, far from being 'part of the remedy,' is part of the problem. Not that he cares. Although the court costs of that trial bankrupted him he has since received enough in the way of donations from supporters to live in a mansion and drive a Rolls-Royce. Despite his academic standing having been destroyed he is unrepentant. He calls his website 'Real History.' (It has been my experience that any website using words like 'real' or 'truth' in its title is more than likely to contain anything but.)  The home page displays pictures of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich (aka the Butcher of Prague), the driving force behind both the Holocaust and the Gestapo, a man of such cold-blooded ruthlessness and remorseless brutality that Hitler himself called him 'the man with the iron heart.' 


Irving boasts that his internet presence (there, on YouTube and elsewhere) prompts lots of correspondence from kids of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, just the age at which adult opinions are starting to form. He makes a point of answering every communication, in the cause of truth and enlightenment.

May 20th

Gerry' blog

By mike

Dear Gerry,

     I had attended a sermon of sorts during which the vicar discussed how Mozart’s Mass in C related to the service he conducted on the Sunday.   This  was some months ago, but I recall the service is very much as you describe.

     Last Monday I saw a stage production of Paradise Lost.  This was in a theatre and drew comparisons between the theatre and a church.  It was a work in progress.          During April I attended a Catholic Mass.  It was staged in a concert hall and had been composed by Bernstein.  I think the Mass could be described as a melting pot of cultures.


May 17th

Coffee Table Book

By Mat


by brightonsauce


Another early start with my beach photography of pets.

Nothing says springtime on the sand to me more than a Springer and his owner springing, and frolicking in the early morning light.  Something about the light that captures my art egg, if you catch my drift?

Driftwood is another thing.  Driftwood gives me wood in a photographic sense.

But then people are not always as friendly as their animals.

She was maybe thirty years old on the beach.  I was chasing after her on the beach but then she started jogging so the game was over, and her Snauzer was sitting on nobody’s coffee table, or maybe under hers?

Another unsuccessful portrait was with the Labrador.

‘Can I take a discreet photograph of your puppy, sir?  I said.

‘No,’ he said, ‘I’m calling the police.’

So, I’m home now and this ‘darkroom’ I have all set up and ready is kind of useless.  Unless I can think of a different activity for a dark room?  Maybe take off these shorts, just quickly and twirl.

But then that coffee cup, I don’t know how it hooked on the handle?  It’s a gift that means I am communicating on this fuckin kindle in the dark.  Suppose I could open the curtains?

That would ruin everything.  No coffee, no clothes on, it started as such a good day.  Worse of all in less than four hours I have to get my own photopass photograph down the council office for my Poopascooter ID.  I should wear a tie, people will be looking at that photo all summer, but my wife cut my hair and she didn’t leave my flap at the front.

‘I need the fucking flap,’ I told her.

‘But you look like a monk,’ she said.

‘Now look at me!’ I kind of screamed, ‘I look like an ass, or arse.’  – it all depends on which lobe I’m utilising for my communicating.  But definitely a shiny lobe with a tie.

My God, they’ve given me a chance with the employment; did it have to be this, the Regional Seasonal Dog Mess Enforcement officer?  They lured me with the free motorbike.  I thought I’d wear leathers on Route 66.

Fight the Power,

after work.

May 15th

Giving up football

By Colin

Five years ago I wrote my very first, and ashamedly my only blog to date. The title was giving up football and that was what I intended to do. To stop following the team I had supported since my father had taken me to watch as a five year old. One comment on the blog proffered that I could do no such thing and how good it would be to see my team rise again.  We had just been relegated from the Premiere League at the time.

      Well after six seasons in the second tier we are back.  Not only are we back, but we are playing the best football I have ever witnessed at the Molineux.  We have the backing of a mega wealthy Chinese company and it seems that this time we go up to compete and not just mearly survive.  I get so excited at the prospect of Wolves being one of the top clubs in the country again (the Chinese company's ten year plan) that I fear I shall soon have to invest in some of those incontinent pants so often advertised in the loo's of motorway service stations, I think they cost under a TENA.

     I moved from my birth place to Cornwall thirty years ago, but never stopped following my beloved Wolves.  I remember my then wife saying 'Why dont you support one of the local teams now'  I almost had a Rene from Allo Allo moment.... You stupid woman!!!  For a start you canot just change your team as you change your address (with the exception of glory hunters). Plus there are no football league teams in Cornwall. The 'local' team where I live in Bude is in fact Plymouth Argyle a mere 45 miles away. Most locals seem to follow one premiereship team or another, usually the ones at the top of the league.

       I have a Barbershop in Bude and as such we have some banter about football especially on a Saturday morning.  Over the years I have come in for a fair bit of stick from the glory hunters, fair enough, I can take it.  My children, especially my son were ridiculed at school for wearing the old gold and black but stuck with it.  They are now both proud Wolves supporters and that makes my chest swell with pride.

      Back on February 3rd (my birthday) myself, my son and dauaghter, my partner( a Welsh woman of rugby background) and a mate (Man Utd fan) and his girlfriend travelled up to see Wolves take on Sheffield Utd. It was an evening KO and a few drinks were imbibed in before heading to the stadium.  I was slightly aprehensive as I had been 'bigging up the Wolves' for months to my Man Utd mate, and I was praying for a good performance at the very least.  Well what a night, not just a good performance but a 3.0 thrashing of the blades.  My mate was impressed by the team and the stadium, it was my partners first ever football match and she loved it, and my son and daughter want to go again as soon as possible. The night was rounded off with a superb indian meal in Bridgenorth and fabtastic accomadation at my cousins B&B.  

     So as far as giving football up?  Not a chance.  We are just entering an exciting new era and I want to be part of it.


May 14th


By Mat

During the depths of recent unemployment - a submission - FAIL - to King's Cross SlamDunk poetry siesta - something something

May 13th

A neglected talent

By RichardB
In 1983, on a commission from a Japanese publisher, the novelist and critic Anthony (A Clockwork Orange) Burgess wrote a book called Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939 – A Personal Choice. Why he chose 1939 as his starting point I don't know, but what emerged was a list of the seminal novels of the mid-twentieth century. Catch-22 is in there. So are A Farewell to ArmsSaturday Night and Sunday MorningThe French Lieutenant's WomanThe Catcher in the RyeBrideshead Revisited. Just about every mid-twentieth century author of any reputation puts in an appearance.
But there is one entry which must sorely puzzle many, even most, of the people who see that list. Pavane, by Keith Roberts. What book is this? Who is Keith Roberts? And if his book is so good, why is it so little-known?
A clue to one possible reason is that prominent among those who have praised it are Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and George R R Martin. Roberts wrote mainly various forms of speculative fiction, and science-fiction has always been a bit of a poor relation. People don't take it seriously. It's the trainspotting of fiction genres. You probably don't need me to tell you that SF is about the commonest no-no on agents' lists of types of MS they won't consider.
Even so, there are one or two other works of SF on Burgess' list, but they are all better known than Pavane.
But not to me. I bought and read Pavane when it first came out in paperback. I fell in love straight away, and nearly half a century (My God!) later it remains one of my very favourite novels. I still have that first-ever paperback edition, yellowed with years, softened and worn by many re-readings, but still just about holding together in one piece.
So what is this overlooked gem?
First off, it's what is known in SF circles as a fix-up, a series of separate episodes linked together by characters and place. AndPavane isn't quite science-fiction as the term is usually understood. Like Robert Harris' much more recent bestseller Fatherland (which, however, has not been pigeonholed as SF), it is a tale of alternative history, a big what if...? Taking advantage of a nation riven by Catholic-Protestant civil war following the assassination of Elizabeth I, the Spanish Armada successfully invaded England, setting off a chain reaction in which Protestantism was wiped out all ever Europe and the whole continent came under the domination of the Catholic Church. Over the centuries since, it has kept its grip on the minds and souls of the people by suppressing or even reversing progress, both technological and social, and so we are presented with a twentieth century England in which something close to the feudal system has been reimposed, and where technology has not advanced beyond the steam age. Road haulage is by traction engine, castles and monasteries are still thriving, and communication is by semaphores on tall towers (the inspiration for Terry Pratchett's clacks: I'd lay money on it). There are still large tracts of wilderness, where wolves and wild cats survive. People still believe in the Old Ones, the Fairies, the People of the Heath. And with good reason.
Roberts' world building is a bit of a Marmite thing. Some readers find his loving detailing of obsolete and imaginary technologies tedious and complain that it gets in the way of the story; others, myself included, find the very same thing captivating, bringing the imagined world vividly to life, because he doesn't describe those technologies in a cold mechanical way but brings them alive by putting the reader right into the heads of those who use them – for example, writing of the screaming muscles of a trainee semaphore signaller after a hard test at the signal levers.
But Pavane isn't about technology, the strangeness of a re-imagined England or the politics of repression and rebellion. What it's really about, like any good novel in any genre, is people: their dreams, fears, passions, and tragedies. Its real strength is in the characters who step, living and breathing, off the page and into your heart: the road haulier whose heart is broken in love and by the inadvertent killing of his friend; the boy who dreams of becoming a signaller on the semaphore stations; the monk who, his mind turned by witnessing the horrors of the Inquisition, foments unrest by his heretical preaching; the noblewoman who provokes the first armed insurrection against Papal rule by refusing to pay an unfairly levied tax to the Church because it will cause hardship and starvation in her lands.
Its other strength is the power and grace of its prose. There are books, not many of them, that I will read and re-read, almost regardless of the content, for the sheer pleasure I get from the quality of the writing, and Pavane is one of that select few. Two brief examples, chosen more or less at random:
In the yard the puddles had crashed and tinkled under his boots, the skin of ice from the night before barely thinned.
On either side of the knoll the land stretched in long, speckled sweeps, paling in the frost smoke until until the outlines of distant hills blended with the curdled milk of the sky.
And Roberts deploys the power of that prose and of his fertile imagination in creating dramatic and moving scenes that stay with you long after you've closed the book. For my money, this is not just a great writer of science-fiction: this as a great writer, period. So why is Keith Roberts so obscure?
As if the handicap of working in a marginalised genre weren't enough, he was his own worst enemy, the archetypical difficult author. Sooner or later he'd pick a quarrel with everyone who published him, usually over royalties, and shower them with vitriolic, abusive letters, until no one would touch him except small presses run by enthusiasts of the genre and his writing. Even these ventures usually ended in tears. Until the advent of digital publishing, nearly everything he wrote was out of print and unobtainable except by scouring second-hand bookshops.
His private life seems to have followed much the same pattern. He lived alone ('in some squalor,' as someone who knew him once wrote) in a small rented flat, apparently unable to sustain lasting relationships of any kind. Particularly with women. Barmaids keep cropping up in his fiction, not only, I suspect, because he liked his beer but because the casual cameraderie of the bar-room and an arms-length chat with a girl over a bar counter were all that he could handle: friendship and romance from a safe distance. And no story of his is quite complete without a young, feisty heroine, a dream-girl conjured up from his imagination (inspired by some barmaid he'd encountered?) as a substitute for the real thing. It's a measure of Roberts' talent that he gets away with it: the results are not mawkish self-indulgence but vivid, breathing, believable characters.
And that's not all he got away with. In one of his other novels,Molly Zero, he took the huge risk of writing in present tense second person (It begins 'You're shivering inside your coat.'). I was doubtful until I started reading, when I was hooked instantly and stopped noticing within half-a-dozen pages. He even set two linked short stories in a public toilet. In Kaeti and Company, a set of linked short stories, he subverts the relationship between writer and characters, engaging in conversations with Kaeti, his heroine, between the stories, and recycling the same characters as if he were casting actors in a series of plays (hence the title).
Everything I've heard about Roberts points to him being a deeply troubled, unhappy man, but from that torment (if that's not too strong a word) emerged some wonderful writing. At least I think so. He never quite regained the heights of Pavane, which was his second published novel, but there are enough gems scattered through his works to make me eager to read anything he wrote.
Keith Roberts died in 2000 at the comparatively early age of 65, a victim of complications of MS.
Indulge me with a few minutes of your time while I leave you with a taster from Pavane. The scene is at the lowered portcullis of Corfe Castle, which in Roberts' alternative England is far from ruinous. 'This Isle' is the Isle of Purbeck.
She halted by the breach of the great gun, one hand resting on the iron. 'Well, My Lord,' she said in a low, clear voice. 'What will you have of us?'
Henry's rages were famous and spectacular; spittle flecked his beard, the standers-by heard him grind his teeth. 'Deliver me this place,' he shouted finally. And your ordnance, and yourselves. In the name of your ruler Pope John, through the authority vested in me as his lieutenant in these islands.'
She straightened her back, staring up at him through the gate. 'And in the name of Charles?' she asked cuttingly. 'For my liege ruler is my King. So it was with my father and so with me, My Lord; I took no vows before a foreign priest.'
He drew his sword, and pointed through the bars. 'That gun,' was all he could speak.
She still remained standing by the greatgun, fingers touching its breech and the wind moving in her hair. 'And if I refuse?'
He shouted again then, waving an arm; at the gesture a soldier spurred forward, lifting a bag from the pommel of his saddle. 'Then your liege-folk in this Isle pay with their homes and their property and their lives,' panted Henry, slashing at the cord that held the canvas closed. 'It'll be blood for iron, My Lady, blood for iron...' The string came free, the bag was shaken; and down before her dropped the tongues and other parts of men, cut away as was the custom of Henry's soldiers.
There was a silence that deepened. The colour drained slowly from Eleanor's face, leaving the skin chalk-pale as the fabric of her dress; indeed the more romantic of the watchers swore afterwards the blue leached from her very eyes, leaving them lambent and dead as the eyes of a corpse. She clenched her hands slowly, slowly relaxed them again; a long time she waited, leaning on the gun, while the rage blurred her sight, rose to a high mad shrilling that seemed to ring inside her brain, receded leaving her utterly cold. She swallowed; and when she spoke again every word seemed freshly chipped from ice. 'Why then,' she said, 'you must not leave us empty-handed, My Lord of Rye and Deal. Yet I fear my Growler will be a heavy load. Would not your task be lightened if his charge were sent before?' And before any of the people round her could guess her purpose or intervene she had snatched at the firing lanyard, and Growler leaped back pouring smoke while echoes clapped around the waiting hills.
May 13th

Neither Of Us

By Dolly

A few days ago, I woke up to a blue sky. No cloud. Well, there might have been a few wisps about, but nothing of any consequence. The sun was up, and not even a hint of wind disturbed the warm air. The tree outside my window, was starting to push leaves out. I had cereal for breakfast, and ate it standing up, admiring the morning through an open window, and thought it would be a good idea to expose the bottom half of my legs to the elements with some shorts, sandals, a tee shirt, and go out in it.

So off I went. Not exactly whistling, or tum-te-tumming a happy tune, but entering into the spirit of it all. As I walked, I considered my destination. Around the area where I live there are a number of rivers, all of them clean, and unlike canals, devoid of rusty bikes, supermarket trolleys and old television sets, although I have seen one or two footballs heading downstream towards the distant sea. Besides these, there are areas where fisherman drink coffee, eat sandwiches, and generally while away the hours. These places are not exactly ponds, neither are they lakes, but a sort of an in-between. I don't know what you could call them. Plakes? Londs? Anyway, I headed towards a river with a plake near it. After the drab, wet winter of unending grey, and a spring of cold winds, I felt as though I had been transported to a different planet, absolutely bloody wonderful! I took my time, ambling along, absorbing colours, feeling the sunshine, and taking the odd photograph of nothing in particular.

Having decided that I had reached my destination, which is usually determined by not wanting to walk any further, I turned about and retraced my steps. Now, in order to reach where I live, I have to cross the road via a zebra crossing. When I reached the crossing, I stopped, and lo and behold, you could have knocked me down with a paper bag. On the other side of the crossing, I thought I saw Jeremy Corbyn, he looked straight across and thought he saw me, but when we crossed over, it was neither of us.

May 6th

A crystal view

By mike

  I was interested in Gerry’s poetic vision of the supernatural; the universe viewed from the perspective of a crystal.  Progressive politics suggest a continual expansion of universal rights. I had wondered when these would be assigned to the mineral kingdom.  I now think these rights should be included in the Labour Party manifesto.


      I had researched the life of a composer of English regimental quick marches.    There will be a military band present at the Royal Wedding at Windsor. The papers report this band is that of the Irish Guards.

     However, London has become a venue for popular music and little else gets much play.  I suspect Windsor will be no different and rock bands will provide the music.  On the other hand, massed bands often perform on prime London sites; Horse-guard’s Parade being one site and Buckingham Palace  another!

    Evidence suggests that the composer’s most popular work had not been a military march but a ‘salon’ piece.  This music genre  is seldom played today.  It was the music performed in Victorian drawing rooms.  This work is scored from anything from a piano to full orchestra.   The original theme had been composed for a zither.

        My mother had been quite enterprising and added words to the piano score of a march.  The result was then sung by a local primary school.  A tape was sent to Blue Peter but they declined the offer. My mother’s Royal Wedding march was easily the best and most appropriate work that was not sung at Lady Di’s wedding!


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