Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tunnel Vision

Well there I was, explaining how I am fascinated by philosophical perspectives on life and death, and up pops Speckly Woo with a dinnertime theory guaranteed to make us think, and splutter a little.

SW - I suppose our bodies are like tunnels, aren't they?

Mum - Tunnels?

SW - Yes. I mean, we put food in one end and…

Mum - Ah, yes, I see where this is heading.

SW - The food we eat is a bit like a train, isn't it?

Mum - Don't forget to finish your peas.

SW - But isn't it, though? It goes in our mouths and comes out of our…

Mum - Peas! Don't forget to eat your peas.

A short pause ensues.

SW - When we parmp, that must be the train sounding its hooter in the tunnel.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Who Gives a Hoot?

For the past few weeks an owl has taken to hooting, in the trees behind us, at around 05.00. The calls are returned as a weak echo, from a distant wooded area, beyond the village green. This exchange has been known to continue way into our second cup of tea.

Stay with me, as there's a theme to this post, but we have to consider a character from 'The Gruffalo' en route. I've become familiar with the owl in the story, along with the other creatures - who wouldn't, after repeated viewings -  and, I've learnt something else. Whilst one of our twin granddaughters is content to see herself as a little mouse, the other is a more fascinated with the role of the owl. Let's hope this isn't sibling rivalry taken to the extreme.

And then, there's this little creation. Okay, I've added a few stars, a moon and a tree, but the owl is the product of our daughter's five year old imagination. It had gone to roost between the pages of a 'schooldays treasure album' more than a quarter of a century ago, and has only emerged quite recently. So, who gives a hoot? Well, I do, of course.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Sepia Saturday: Ten Tens, Through a Lens

As is often customary on landmark occasions, one or two thank-you's are in order. So, I'd like to begin by thanking Alan Burnett and Kat Mortensen for dreaming up this wonderful idea of a place where living memories, carefully researched family histories, and speculative tracings that reach into the past, meet on a weekly basis. I've learnt so much from the stories of other contributors, worldwide, and enjoyed a privileged peep into treasured family albums and collections. Long may it continue.

Okay, now down to business.

For the second week in a row, I make no apology for re-posting. This slightly edited item first saw the light of day in January, 2010, and as Sepia Saturday reaches its first century, it seems perfectly appropriate to write about the very first centenarian I ever knew.

Captain William Clark, or ‘Pop Clark’ as he was known to neighbours, Spent more than fifty years on sailing ships, having left home at 12 years of age to work on a Thames sailing barge.

He graduated to seven week fishing trips on the North Sea and was sailing round Cape Horn when Queen Victoria was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.

As youngsters, we would sit with mouths gaping wider and wider as he told tales of life under sail and towering seas that threatened to swallow the ship and all hands alike.

He captained a sailing ship for eleven years and took part in several transatlantic races.

I remember him walking up and down the length of his garden to ease his arthritis. For years, the doctors had been telling him his walking days were numbered. In the event, he was still managing the two mile round trip, with the aid of a stick, to tend the grave of his late wife, even after he had reached 100.

I have an abiding memory of him walking to his woodshed in the summer. The sun hat perched lightly on his head was always partially obscured by clouds of smoke from his charred pipe. His objective, to saw logs for the coming winter. He was ever the optimist, and eventually passed away aged 106. The pipe smoking stopped a couple of years beforehand though, as the medics considered it might damage his health.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Sepia Saturday: Musical Refrain, or...I'm Repeating Myself

I've shown this photograph before, but I make no apologies for posting it one more time. It was taken, back in the day, as they say, and like much of what occurs during rites of passage, it all seems so unreal now. Then, all things were possible. Grab your guitar and play the world. The working days may have been mundane, but they were little more than tolerable pops and crackles on the vinyl of our dreams.

Endless hours of toughening up our fingertips, ignoring the time, leaving the doors to our minds on the latch, and laying a 'welcome' mat outside for ideas that turned up, unannounced. We were always home to inspiration.

I posted this poem in January of this year. I think it goes some way towards explaining what occasionally drives young men to frame their feelings in little more than three chords.

The Rocker

You came into town on a big tune,
Trod the boards, and raised dust,
Struck the chords and freed the rust,
Thrilled the hordes and became a must.
All across the sprawl, they danced,
Hung long and loose, and dropped their guard,
Hurled abuse and shook the yard,
Broke the truce and thought real hard.
You made your play with a forty-five,
Screamed and flipped, and stirred the loins,
Tore the script and blessed the joins,
Stood, curled lipped, and took the coins.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The First Lady

While the grown-ups wring their hands over pensions they may never get, lose sleep in the Eurozone, and talk as though lives depend on who gets voted off 'Strictly Come Dancing', trust the children to be asking the sensible questions.

Yesterday, about mid-way between her home and ours:

Speckly Woo -  "What did the first lady, ever, in the land, do?"

Mum - "How do you mean, 'do'?"

Speckly Woo - "What job did she do?"

Mum - "Oh…um, right. What job…well, she…I mean, perhaps…

Speckly Woo - "She would have been a nurse."

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I once had the ability
to shift the sand,
to shape the sea,
to paint in all simplicity,
how the world
appeared to me.

Artwork - Speckly Woo!

I once could think
it totally fitting
to stroke bright pink
where folks were sitting.

Artwork - Speckly Woo!

And, butterflies,
aboriginal blues,
filled the skies
if I should choose.