Thursday, 29 June 2017

Fun With Iambic Pentameter (For Fans of Downton Abbey)

The Elopement

What a kuffufle: Hear the tirade!

The chef's ran off with the scullery-maid!

Her Ladyship's fainted, and when she comes to

No-one'll escape the hullabaloo!

"How could these ingrates do this to me? 

They KNEW Lady Westmorland's coming to tea!"

The chauffeur, who loved her, won't leave his bed

And Pardoner, the gardener's, locked in his shed

(He had a crush on Monsieur, though nobody guessed

He stayed in the closet, at his lover's behest.) 

His lordship has wisely left for his club

Constitutionally unable to withstand the hubbub.

He was wounded in the whatsits during The War,

And leads a much quieter life than before ... 

Bounty, the mastiff, rolls over, plays dead -

And King Henry's armour now stands on its head.

The Tweeny, when quizzed, swore not to know

That Nancy (the hussy) was planning to go.

And what, you might wonder was the fate of this pair?

Decamped, with no character, they might have despaired!

But no! Holed up in Brighton, renowned for it's crooks,

They're living off the proceeds from cooking the books! 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

What I Did In My Holidays ...

I taught for nearly forty years, and every year you can bet that by September 10th my nine-year olds (give or take) would have had to write a piece on 'What I did In My Holidays'. Yes, I was a spectacularly predictable pedagogue, and this was one of my mainstays. In my defence, every one of my colleagues presented their long- suffering charges with the same challenge, so I'm not going to feel too badly.


However, to atone, here's my piece for 2017.


My 'SmarterThanMe' 'phone does this really clever thing. It takes it upon itself to make a mini-movie of surprisingly random photographs, fades them in and out, and supplies a musical theme to embrace a second sense. I am absolutely impressed, and very grateful. There are some surprising additions, the Labour Manifesto pops up between an arial shot of Crater Lake and advice on how to fend off a mountain lion, but that's OK, I like it.


Anyway, the mini-movies are proving a marvellous aide-memoir to scenes that might otherwise have slipped away for good, and I am grateful. So what DID I do during my holidays?


Train Rides Two. One long, the other very long. Colorado, Utah, California

Pennsylvania Avenue. Long. Hot. Washington Memorial closed, African-American Museum amazing.

Camper van 6 days Yosemite. Waterfalls, rumours of bears, handsome rock formations, with people suspended from them, spectacular views. Just go.

Friends: Stephen in Florida, John and Linda in Omaha, Darlene and Steve in Redmond. The Hanner Clan in Bellevue. Thank you!


Saw Bison, wolves, pelicans (captive) flowers (wild), a Lego exhibition, terracotta warriors, butterflies in a hot-house, an alligator, a few bald eagles, several hummingbirds, prairie dogs, Jack the dachshund, lakes, mountains, deserts, oceans, and forests.


Not really sure how to wind this up after all that. Maybe a few photos?