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Friday, 26 April 2013

As Thyme Goes Pie

This day and age we’re living in
Gives cause for desperation.
Fast food – low concentration
And  additives. All so wrong.

Yet we eat a trifle rarely,
Don’t cook at all, or barely.
So you must get down to earth-
Relax – and run a restaurant!

And no matter what the progress
Or the money that you make,
The simple foods of life are good
Once you have learned to bake.

You must have found your niche,
A quiche is still a quiche,
 A pie is just a pie,
The fundamental things apply,
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo,
They still say ‘I love stew.’
On that you can rely.
No matter what the waiter brings
It’s fun to try.

Lamplight and love songs
Charm them while they eat.
Tarts full of passion
Fruit are such a treat.
Woman needs Man and Man must have his meat,
That no one can deny.

It’s still the same old story,
Great dishes are a glory ,with
A case of something dry.
The world will welcome good food lovers
As time goes by.

Bill’s Joy
The Joy of Bill’s life

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Walrus and The Carpenter

The Walrus and The Carpenter
Were governing the land:
They fought like anything because
Things weren’t going as planned:
‘If only we could see as one,’
They said, ‘it would be grand!’

‘Should the referendum say that
First Past The Post wins clear,
Could you please drop the AV thing?’
Asked The Walrus with a leer.
‘I doubt it,’ said the Carpenter
And shed a bitter tear.

‘O Voters, come and back my cause!’
The Carpenter implored.
‘Let’s change these bally voting laws,
I’m sick of being ignored!
This coalition is a sham:
As doormat I am floored.’

The Wily Walrus looked at him:
His eyes were button small.
‘You’ve me to thank for being here
Your mandate is f**k all.
We like the voting status quo
So kindly, please, play ball.’

The Number One in Number Ten
Is what voting’s about.
The Carpenter was deeply miffed,
How could he get him out,
This party-pooping one in charge,
This Walrus big and stout?

Alas dear reader, there’s no end
To tale of love and hate,
For when you enter partnership
Be quite sure you don’t date
The one who claims to share your dreams
But won’t share from his plate.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Badger tries to plan an outing

It was a quiet Saturday morning and only the slightest breeze whispered through the new green leaves of the willows along the river bank.  They had finished breakfast and Badger was reading the paper, Ratty was occupied on his netbook and Mole was ruminating.
‘Have you read this about the sports day?’ Badger asked them.
‘No, what?’   They both looked up.
 ‘You can buy tickets now, on the website’ said Badger. ‘I’d like to go.  Let’s all go!’
‘Give me the address,’ said Ratty.  Badger called it out and Ratty tap tapped on his netbook and the site came up.

Parp!  Parp!  A car hooter sounded outside the front door of Badger’s tree trunk, and there was the low rumble of an idling motor.  Badger opened the door.  Mr. Toad waved at him from the driver’s seat.
‘I say Badger I thought I’d call round to see if you’d like to go for a spin.’
‘Perhaps later, Toad.  We’re busy buying tickets for The River Bank Sports Day.  Would you like to join us?’  Toad went inside and they all gathered around Ratty’s netbook.  Toad was enthusiastic. 
‘Gosh, what a huge number of sporting events!  What do we want to see?’
‘We can’t do that yet’, said Ratty, taking charge, ‘we have to create an account first.’  He was twitchy and impatient.  ‘There’s a link here’.  He clicked on it and his brown whiskers dropped in dismay.  ‘Oh!  Look at all these questions. Who’s going hold the account?’  They decided Badger should do it, and by coffee time they had created it.  After refreshments, Badger asked,
‘What events would we like to see?  There’s a whole list of them here at different locations.’  They all went quiet while Ratty explained the instructions to them.
‘We have to choose what we’d like to see and they let us know if we can see them or not...’  Ratty was scrolling through pages and pages of instructions, ‘...and we have to pay’ he scrolled a bit more,’...and we can only pay with a River Bank Card and we have to give our card details now.’
‘Oh no!  Has any of us got a River Bank card?’ asked Mole.
‘Not me,’ said Badger, ‘Never run up credit.’
‘Nor me’, added Ratty, ‘all my assets are in my hedge funds.’
  A sense of disappointment filled the room but Toad was searching his wallet.
‘I’ve got one!’ he announced triumphantly, flashing the necessary plastic.
'Phew’ said Mole, ‘that was close.  I thought none of us would be able to go.’
            ‘Let’s get on and choose our events,’ suggested Badger.  There followed a lively discussion for half an hour until they came to some agreement about what to book.
‘What do we do now, Ratty?’ asked Mole.
‘Well,’ said Ratty squinting at the screen, whiskers quivering, ‘It says here...’ he paused as he read it all,’ it says here we have to register our choices and they’ll tell us what we can see and then they make the charge on the card, but if we don’t get the tickets then they don’t charge us but if we do get the tickets and our card expires before the designated date, then we can’t...’
‘Enough!’ shouted Mole who was not normally short-tempered, ‘it’s too complicated.  Besides, it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry.’
‘Let’s stop for lunch,’ suggested Badger, ‘and after we’ve registered our choices we should work out our travel arrangements.’
‘But if we don’t know what events we’re going to see, we don’t know which locations we’ll have to travel to,’ protested Mole with perfect logic.
‘We could go in my car; that would be jolly’ offered the Toad, not because he was kind but he saw an opportunity to show off his motor.
‘I fear that would be worse,’ said Ratty, ‘if we all end up with tickets for different stadia and you have to drop us all off at different places...’ he was studying the screen again, ‘and if you have to stop halfway on a Park and Ride scheme and then we all have to...’
‘Stop!’ shouted Mole and the friends stared at their normally placid friend in astonishment. ‘It’s all too complicated.  Can’t we just go on a picnic instead?’ and he disappeared off to the kitchen to find some food.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pooh and Piglet go shopping on line

 ‘Move over Piglet.  You’re taking up the whole bed.’
‘No I’m not.  It’s you, you’re too fat.  I don’t take up any room at all.’
‘You do.  You’re a waste of space.’
Piglet wriggled up on top of the pillow, occupying less than a quarter of it.  He clutched one of the bars on the metal bed head so he wouldn’t roll off.  It was uncomfortable to say the least.
‘Is that better?’
‘S’pose so’ grumbled Pooh, ‘but my tummy’s rumbling.  We need some food.  We need some cash.  Where is Christopher Robin anyway?’
‘I don’t think he’s back from his ski-ing holiday yet.’
‘Well he jolly well should be.  He’s in charge of our welfare and somebody needs to do some shopping round here.’
‘We’d better get up then, if we want some breakfast.’
They got off Christopher Robin’s bed, dropped onto the floor and went down to the kitchen.  Pooh was tall enough to open the door of the fridge.  He stuck his head in it.
‘It’s still empty, Piglet,’ he complained, but Piglet wasn’t there.  Piglet had scrambled up one of the chairs onto the wooden kitchen table.
‘Hey look at this, Pooh’, he called excitedly.  On the table was an open netbook computer and it was switched on.  The screen glowed blue and a colourful soft-edged symbol shimmered gently in the centre of it, inviting them in.
‘Have you ever done on-line shopping, Pooh?’
‘Yes.  I always sit with Christopher Robin and he sits on Mr. C.R. Senior’s lap, when he’s doing it.  Christopher Robin helps him choose things.’
‘Let’s order some food,’ Piglet was standing knee-high to the screen jiggling his little arms excitedly.  Pooh sat down and started prodding the keyboard.
Nothing happened.
‘My paws are too fat, Piglet.  You’ll have to do it.’
‘What do I do?’
‘I’ll call out the letters and you hit the keys.’  They set to work.  Piglet tapped away with the tips of his trotters.  A few seconds later they were on the grocery page of Mr. C.R. Senior’s shopping account.  They selected their delivery slot and then arrived at the colourful and tempting virtual grocery store.  Piglet waved a trotter over the key pad.
‘What shall we order, Pooh?’
‘No we can’t.  We’ll be here all night.’
‘Okay.  Start with honey...that one.  Get two of those and we’d better have a few spares as well.  We need bread to put it on and...some of those honey biscuits...honey waffles and the honey ice-cream...and-’ Piglet interrupted,
‘I’d like some apples.’  He went tap, tap, tap on the keys, bristling with concentration.  Eventually he said, ‘we’ve got quite a long list now, Pooh.’
‘Alright, finish the order.  Click on that green arrow.’ 
Piglet clicked and the screen changed.
‘Finish and pay!’ he read excitedly.  ‘Oh, pay!  We can’t pay.  How do we pay?’ He was immediately crestfallen. 
‘Don’t worry, I know the numbers.’
‘What numbers?’
‘The ones they use to pay with - from the little plastic card.  I’ll call them out.  Listen carefully and tap them in.’ When they’d done it, Pooh said,
‘Click on ‘confirm order’.’
‘Oooooooh!’ the little pig exclaimed.  He was SO hungry.  They held their breath while the machine did its thing.  An official and important-looking message came up on the screen.  It said,

‘This is a message from your bank.
Your payment is refused.
You’ve maxed out your credit card, moron.  You do not have permission to borrow any more money. The only thing that interests us about you is the interest on your debt.  Ha! Ha!
 In fact, while we’ve got your attention, could we ask you to flog off a couple of family heirlooms and send us a few bob too?  We’ve got bonuses to pay.
Excuse us now, but our dinner’s ready.’

Pooh slammed down the lid of the machine in disgust.
‘What does it mean, Pooh?’  Piglet was stricken. 
‘It means Christopher Robin and his ilk have been hiding the true facts from us, Piglet, my diminutive, pathetic side-kick.  We're broker than we thought and if we are ever going to eat again, we'll jolly well have to DO something.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

In Desperate Measures

Pooh and Piglet were sitting on a green painted curlicue bench in Christopher Robin’s garden, dangling their little plush legs which were too short to reach the ground. They were chewing on stale crusts, which in happier times they would have taken to the duck pond. Pooh thrust his paw into the tired brown paper bag which Piglet was holding, and pulled it out again.
‘Hey!  You’ve eaten the last one, you greedy pig.’
‘The word ‘greedy’ I resent’ said Piglet drawing up his shoulders with hurt pride and crumpling up the bag, ‘I’ve only eaten one.  You had the rest.’
‘Whatever.  There’s not enough food in this place to keep a gnat alive.  My tummy’s rumbling.’
‘I know.  We’re stony broke.  If Christopher Robin and his lot hadn’t been whooping it up on the credit cards for the last thirteen years, we wouldn’t be in this mess.’
‘Retrospection is all very well, you pocket-sized politician, but it doesn’t put food on the table.  We need a plan.’  Pooh slumped mournfully.
‘I know!’  Piglet threw the balled paper bag up in the air and caught it again.  ‘Let’s have a Royal Wedding.  We’ll make loads of dosh.’
‘Well I don’t know.  I don’t think selling a few tatty commemoration ceramics and setting up a ginger beer stall is going to solve our problem.’
‘But it’s a start, Pooh.  It'll bring in the crowds.’
‘Two difficulties:  We need a prince and we need a bride for him to marry.’  Pooh was scornful.  ‘There aren’t any of those round here.’
‘Christopher Robin is posh, he’ll be perfect,’ declared Piglet.
‘But he’s only nine.  I don’t think you’re allowed to marry at nine in this country.’ 
Piglet was not dismayed.
‘How about Eeyore?  He’s single.  Getting married might cheer him up.’
‘Cheering him up isn’t the point.  He’s not photogenic.  Imagine the wedding portraits.’
‘What about that Mr Toad, from the other book?  He’s got gold taps in his bathroom.’
‘Who’d marry an ugly mug like him?  Nobody.’
‘I’m not so sure, Pooh.  I’ve read stories where princesses marry amphibians all the time.’
‘I suppose so, but where do we find the bride?  All our friends in the Hundred Acre Wood are boys.  There’s a distinct shortage of women round here.’
‘There’s Kanga.  She’s quite pretty - for a marsupial.  Put her in a white dress and a veil.  She’d make a smashing bride - oh, and a long train to cover the tail.  No-one’d ever guess.
‘No can do.’
‘Why ever  not?’
‘Roo,  in a word.  Sad little bastard.’
‘Yes.  You never hear any talk of a Mr Kanga do you?  I think Kanga’s got a murky past.  Our bride has got to be whiter than white.’
‘I can’t think of anyone else, Pooh.’  Piglet was unhappy that they hadn’t solved their cash crisis.  ‘No wedding then.  I guess we’re back to square one.’
Pooh gave a huge sigh.  They'd have to think of another way of raising money.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Supporters and the Statue

by E. Sopp.

A Welsh rugby supporter and an English rugby supporter were discussing the might of their national teams. Dai Llaffing insisted the Welsh pack and forwards were far mightier than the English due to their great strengh. Rupert Allbottom disagreed. 'My dear chap, we have by far a more superior team than you Taffy types,' he said. 'We have sooper wingers with both speed and agility. Come with me, my good man and I'll prove to you how right I am.' So Rupert took Dai along to the town centre at Much Warbling in the Weir and showed him a statue of Bill Beaumont overcoming the Welsh forwards, snarling with the ball under his arm. Dia looked up at the statue and said, 'Du, du. That proves nuthing mun, for it was an Englishman who made the statue.'

"We can easily represent things as we wish them to be."

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


By O.W. Ilde

From conversations between Lady Brackwater’s nephew, Algernon, and his friend, Jack, in Act 1 we’ve already heard about Algy’s imaginary friend, Albert, who he uses as an excuse whenever he’s required to attend his aunt’s interminably boring dinner parties.

Act 2

Lady Brackwater’s drawing room, Belgrave Square, London 1895

Lady Brackwater: But Algernon, If you cannot attend my dinner this evening you will put my table completely out. Who can I possibly find now to go down with Lady Frumpington whose fifth husband, as you know, is otherwise engaged?

Algernon: (Mumbling): Not only engaged, Aunt Augusta, but practically married.

Lady B: Kindly speak up Algernon, you know very well my hearing has not been the same since my chaperone on the grand tour took a wrong turn that led us both into the battle of Waterloo.

Algy (loudly): I was merely saying, Aunt Augusta…

Lady B: Do not shout, Algernon. Shouting is the prerogative of the costermonger.

Algy: Sorry, Aunt Augusta.

Lady B: Now about your friend in the country, Algernon, the one you feel obliged to visit whenever I need you to make up my dinner party numbers, he may be the answer to a most pressing problem.

Algy: Yes, Aunt Augusta?

Lady B: Well as you know, Algernon, our dear daughter, Gwendolyn, is still unmarried, and Lord Brackwater and I feel that time is fast running out. She is, after all, fifty five next Tuesday.

Algy: Dear cousin Gwendolyn, she keeps in good health, I trust?

Lady B: Perhaps not fully at her best, Algernon. But a combination of bad breath, varicose veins and a squint is no impediment these days to a woman’s marriage prospects. You only have to look at Lady Birkenhead who, since her husband’s unfortunate demise beneath the wheels of her carriage, looks positively radiant. But what is not generally known is that her lavish mourning apparel conceals one, if not two, wooden legs. Under the terms of her husband’s will, however, she now owns much of London and a vast estate in Bedfordshire - a situation not entirely disregarded, it is said, by her numerous suitors.

ALGY: I do not think my friend, Aunt Augusta, would be the ideal husband for dearest Gwendolyn.

Lady B: I and Lord Brackwater will decide that, Algernon. (Produces notebook and pencil from handbag). What is your friend’s name?

Algy: Albert, Aunt Augusta. Albert Smalltackle.

Lady B: Not a good start, Algernon, for although his first name has a princely resonance, his surname hardly accords with what, I am reliably informed, attracted our dear queen to Prince Albert in the first place. Are the Smalltackles active in society, Algernon? They have a country estate, I assume, and a town house, but where exactly?

Algy: Albert lives near Liverpool, Aunt Augusta.

Lady B: Ah Liverpool. One of our newer colonies, I believe. But how sensible of Mr Smalltackle to live outside the city. Within its boundaries the Church Missionary Society has its work cut out dealing with the barbaric behaviour of its citizens which is reminiscent, I am told, of the worst excesses of ancient Rome. What about Mr Smalltackle’s parents, Algernon - who are they?

Algy: He has no parents, Aunt Augusta.

Lady B: No parents, Algernon?

Algy: As a baby, Aunt Augusta, Albert was discovered.

Lady B: Discovered? Where exactly, Algernon, was your friend… discovered?

Algy: In a cabin trunk, Aunt Augusta.


Algy: Yes, Aunt Augusta, a cabin trunk, in the hold of a cargo ship en route for Buenos Aires.

Lady B: To be found in a cabin trunk is one thing, Algernon. But to be found in a cabin trunk on its way to the most dubious of destinations in anything other than the first class accommodation provided by the White Star line, is more than a little suspect. Lord Brackwater will concur with my view that your friend Mr Smalltackle is indeed no match for our dearest Gwendolyn. She will be told later this afternoon that the marriage I and Lord Brackwater were about to arrange for her is off.

Algy: Of course, Aunt Augusta.

Lady B: I am surprised, Algernon, there was nothing left in the cabin trunk with the foundling child? A note perhaps?

Algy: Only a will, Aunt Augusta. A will written by, a mysterious, well born lady, who subsequently left him the estate near Liverpool and rather more than a small fortune in bonds and gilts.

Lady B: How much more, Algernon?

(Algy whispers into Lady B’s ear)

Lady B: (Clearly impressed) Really… (Notebook and pencil are swiftly returned to handbag). In that case, Algernon, Lord Brackwater and I will completely overlook the cabin trunk, the cargo ship and Buenos Aires. I will instruct the archbishop today to make arrangements for the nuptials

Algy: But you can’t, Aunt Augusta, Albert Smalltackle is already wed.

Lady B: Being already wed these days, Algernon, is no …..

Algy: Sorry, Aunt Augusta, I meant dead, not wed.

Lady B: But five minutes ago, Algernon, Mr Smalltackle was alive and well. As much alive, that is, as anyone interred in the colonies can be. (Enter Brightman, the footman) What is it, Brightman?

Brightman: There’s a gentleman downstairs m’lady who wishes to see you urgently.

Lady B: But I’m very busy, Brightman, did he not leave a name?

Brightman: Mr Smalltackle, m’lady, Mr Albert Smalltackle.

Lady B: (Giving Algy a withering look) Really. Show the gentleman up, Brightman.

(Lady B turns to face the door, lorgnette at the ready. Behind her, Algy is seen disappearing behind a Chinese screen.)

Unaware that Algy was with his aunt, the gentleman visitor turns out to be Algy’s friend, Jack. He was hoping, by pretending to be Albert Smalltackle, to ingratiate himself with Lord and lady Brackwater in order to further his latest, shady business venture.