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Sunday, 30 September 2012

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 30th September 2012

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – 30th September 2012

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
·       Police in Seend have arrested a Bromham farmer who was on the run with a consignment of unripe aubergines.  The aubergines, although still immature, were said to be in good condition.  The farmer had been caught on CCTV holding one of the aubergines as he crossed the border into Seend last Sunday night.  It is not thought that he will oppose extradition proceedings.

·       In a last-ditch action in the High Court in Trowbridge, radical Bromham cleric Abu Piglet has been granted an injunction which prevents him from paying for his round at The Wounded Ferret.  Piglet has been fighting this action for nearly eight years through a series of increasingly desperate legal moves.  The Bromham Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was forced to apologise to the head of the Parish Council after one of its correspondents unwittingly revealed that, in a secret conversation last year, he had asked why “that pillock Piglet wasn’t forced to buy his round years ago”.

·       The leader of the Carrot Rooters’ Action Party (CRAP) Ted Willybanned, in an interview given before the start of his party’s annual conference in the Snug Bar of the Social Centre, said that if he ever came power he would give free sweets to all Bromham children, pensioners would be given free supplies of carrots, and peace and love would reign throughout the parish.  Reporters were forced to duck as a flock of Pink Elephants swooped low over the press conference.

·       For details of these and all other Bromham stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station Carrot FM.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Careful With That Axe Eugene!

Blunt Axe

There was an executioner called Beck,
Who was paid to cut off heads by the neck,
But was exceedingly lax,
About sharpening his axe,
And of his victims made a terrible wreck. 

He gave his instrument a mighty swing,
But, though it was a frightening thing,
It just seemed to drop,
It didn’t actually chop,
And simply delivered a slight sting. 

The prisoner with his head on the block,
Whose knees had already started to knock,
Said: “For God’s sake, you dick,
Get on and make it more quick,
Much longer and I’ll expire here of shock!” 

This caused Beck to issue forth a great grunt,
And for the whet-stone started to hunt,
For it’s no use just tutting,
When you’re meant to be cutting,
And you can’t chop with an axe when it’s blunt.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

Sizzling Sausages!!


I’m a great fan of pork products:
To be deprived would be a great lossage -
So I’m here to sing you the praises,
Of the noble, and various sausage.                                                        

There’s Cumberland, and there’s your Irish,
And French ones from the town of Toulouse,
And they’re all bound to get juices running,
For soon as you cook them, fat’s starting to ooze. 

On the Continent you’ve got Saucisson,
In Germany there’s a thing called a Bratwurst.
It’s not Baloney to think of Poloney,
A nation without one should call itself cursed. 

The flavours come in all shapes and sizes,
To suit the rich and the hoi-polloi.
A chipolata’s good for a starter,
But pales beside the good old Saveloy. 

You can go the whole hog for a Hot Dog,
But salami, I think, looks perter.
You can be a hanger for a good banger,
Especially if it’s a Frankfurter. 

But I think we must look rather deeper,
And we’ve got to be really willing,
To delve into methods of production,
And to wonder just what’s in the filling. 

The casing might be natural or false,
But there’s lots of things can call themselves pork.
You’d be surprised if only you knew,
Exactly what’s on the end of your fork. 

They like to use up all of the animal,
And be sure that nothing can go to waste,
So everything gets ground up you see,
And reduced to a pink kind of paste. 

Mechanically-recovered’s the term,
With cereal and rusk they pack and they fill,
And then they do grind, lots of thick rind,
And the snout, the ears and the nostril. 

Most of the innards, and outwards, are used:
The guts, the toe-nails and the eye-lashes,
The pistle, the gristle and even the whistle,
Mixed all up into hashes and mashes. 

Colourings and plenty of flavourings,
Additives and seasonings to begin,
You’d wince, if you knew what went into the mince,
That was finally forced into the skin. 

The feet are mixed up with wheat, and even some teat,
Some spice, some rice, perhaps even some mice,
Then its ground and bound, and gently browned,
That’s the way to make it taste nice. 

For these are some of the ingredients,
The contents that the makers might favour.
After all, without all the e-numbers,
How would we ever get any flavour?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Journey To The Centre Of My Fridge

A Journey To The Centre Of My Fridge

The door makes a noise as it opens
Revealing the contents within
The lamp flickering with alarm
As it tries to illuminate the interior
The shelves sparsely populated
With a range of dubious items
Covered and clumsily wrapped
Concealing the substances
Whose origin is now unknown
And the subject of fervent speculation 

There’s something grey there at the back
Hiding itself from prying eyes
Crawling down from a mouldy plate
Along the wires to the edge
Attaching itself to the side 

There’s a gathering odour
Emanating from that crumbled blob
Which might once have been cheese
It’s building its own dairy culture
As it slowly turns into yoghurt
And drips its way towards the bottom 

And perhaps those grey flakes of something
Used to be fine fresh slices of ham
Bought to go with the salad
Which still sits in its packets
In the special crisper below
Transforming itself into liquid
In three different shades of brown 

It’s a sorry sight at this time of night
When you’re desperate for something to eat
It offers no hope of satisfaction
And may be a danger to health
The only thing you can do
Is to close the door with a sigh
And turn elsewhere for comfort
Whilst making a firm resolution
To clean it all out in the morning
Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sloe Gin

Now is the time of year to be making your sloe gin, damson vodka or whatever.  Here is the basic recipe.

Recipe for: SLOE GIN                  


  • 1-2 lbs sloes, bullaces, damsons or plums (or sour cherries) - see below
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 litre (or more) of gin (or vodka - see below)
  1. wash the fruit, but no need to stone
  2. prick every fruit with a fork & place into a clean demi-john or very large kilner jar
  3. add the sugar & vanilla extract
  4. cover with the gin
  5. stopper the demi-john with a bung or air-lock
  6. shake the demi-john vigorously until the sugar is dissolved
  7. place demi-john in a cool dark place, label with contents & date
  8. shake the contents every few days for the next 3 months
  9. when the liqueur is ready, remove the fruit (depending on what it is, this can be eaten in small quantities as a VERY boozy sweet with cream/ ice-cream/ yoghurt)
  10. filter the remaining contents through several layers of muslin & a funnel into another demi-john.  You may need to do this more than once, until you have a fairly clear liquid.  Try to let the liquid drain through itself, rather than squeezing, as this will help to keep the liqueur clear rather than cloudy
  11. then decant again into sealable bottles. 
  12. label the bottles
  13. empty into gullet in small quantities
What else you need to know: 

  1. traditionally, the fruit is picked in August/ September when it s fairly ripe, and the resultant liqueur can be bottled in time for Christmas (sloes are best after a frost, but this is not vital)
  2. the liqueur will keep for years, and improves after a year or two
  3. if a sediment forms in the bottom of the bottle(s), it can be re-filtered & re-bottled
  4. fruits with a hard stone work the best.  I’ve used apples, peaches, plums, damsons, black-currants – they all work OK, but sloes are the very best.
  5. for sloes use gin, but vodka works OK too.  For other fruits you can use either - the basic recipe is the same.  Just remember to label the bottles so you know what you've got
  6. for a real treat - a glass of sloe gin + large slice of home-made Christmas cake + large wedge of English crumbly cheese (Wensleydale, Lancashire or Cheshire)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


A faintly-trembling hand
Reaches out across the beer-stained table
To grasp the glass half-empty
And drain it to its dregs
Before slowly rolling a cigarette
With the last of this week’s tobacco
Licking a delicate line of spittle
To seal the thin white paper
Tucking it behind the ear
For later consumption
On the way home
Through deserted streets 

Deep-set wistful eyes
Survey the scene unchanging
Stare out through grimy windows
Enduring day after pointless day
In a waiting-room of rejected men
Pensioned off into retirement
That holds no ease or comfort
Nor any better prospects 

Sitting with the others
Staring across the bar-room
Where no-one’s talking today
Since there’s nothing much to say
Exhausted by each day’s striving
Arms rendered thin and scrawny
Through their life-long labour
On the shop-floors and in the yards
Which now sit quiet and deserted
Worn-out by heavy work
Sinews lacking strength
Old muscles wasted
Veins standing proud and blue
Upon the wrinkled skin
Of these tired men
Hollowed out inside
Shells of what used to be

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

Decisions, decisions.....


There’s a single egg in the fridge
Sitting alone and forlorn
Abandoned by the rest of its dozen
The only occupant
Of that strange frame in the door 

It’s a quandary just how to proceed
Since it’s not enough on its own
It really needs a companion
To make up a proper omelette
Or to be scrambled with butter 

If there were some bread
I could summon some soldiers of toast
And have it soft-boiled
Before knocking its head off
And dunking them in headfirst 

Or swiftly poached in hot water
Swirling in a vortex of bubbles and steam
Maybe gently baked in a ramekin
In a bain-marie in the oven
Or hard-boiled for a small sandwich 

There’s a single egg in the fridge
It probably thinks it’s escaped
Because I’m feeling sorry for it
But it’s very much mistaken
I can see it’s going to get fried
Since here is a packet of bacon

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Sunday, 23 September 2012

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 23rd September 2012

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – 23rd September 2012

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
·       Dicky Legge, leader of the Workers’ Horticultural Organisation (WHO), was forced to apologise this week for his failure to make a pledge regarding a promise that he was reputed to have made several years ago, regarding an undertaking on the subject of a possible understanding about the way he might vote, on the off chance that he ever got into power on Bromham Parish Council.  Mr Legge admitted that he himself was “totally confused” about what he may or may not said during the heat of the moment when discussing politics in the saloon bar of The Wounded Ferret.  He said that the whole thing was “a very sorry business”.

·        Mr Legge was shouldered out of the way by several regulars of the Public Bar who each wished to apologise for swearing in frustration at the old crippled beggar who tends the lych-gate at the parish church.  Each had been denied access to the church-yard whilst riding their bike, and forced to wheel it round by the side.  In turn, the old crippled beggar apologised for any misunderstanding that may have occurred.  The church sexton issued a statement in which he apologised to the old crippled beggar for forcing him to stay outside the lych-gate.  The lych-gate itself was not available for comment, but was thought to be considering legal action.  Or issuing its own apology.

·       We would like to apologise for the number of apologies in this bulletin.  We are really, really, really sorry about this.  Really.  Very sorry.  Very, very sorry.

·        For details of these and all other Bromham stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station Carrot FM.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

She always said there was a simple choice
To be made each day
When waking out of easy sleep
Heavy dreams untroubled
By prickles of anxiety
To lie in tangled bedclothes
Lazy with the feeling that all is well
Comfortable with easy thoughts
About the well-worn path of the day ahead
Merely coasting
Through the normal routines
Along the daily groove of habit
And the same old, same old 

But she said there was another way -
The spirit of adventure
To step outside oneself
And take the plunge
Without anticipation
By diving into the hard, cold water
Of novelty, of originality
And face up to something scary
The uneasy feeling of standing near the edge
The fierce wind blasting from below
A rising fear of danger
Nerves taut and jangling
With the sheer exhilaration
Of knowing that we’re really alive

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Brock In The Dock

Badgers are again being blamed for spreading bovine TB, despite the highly dubious nature of the the scientific "evidence". Even the chief scientist who conducted the most extensive reasearch on the effects of culling called the latest plan to issue licences to shoot badgers as "crazy".
Brock In The Dock

There was a young badger named Brock,
Who was in for a hell of a shock.
There’d been a directive,
That his body’s infective,
And now he’s got to stand trial in the dock. 

There’s been a lot of tittle-tattle,
From landowners and farmers who prattle.
They say that it’s he,
Who’s spreading TB,
And causing diseases in cattle. 

So Natural England’s got a new will,
To employ marksmen with deadliest skill.
The triggers they’re pulling,
They’ve kicked off the culling,
And now they’ve got a licence to kill. 

But it could be a home-goal we’ve scored,
For Defra’s studies are known to be flawed,
Surely it’s insane?
Is it really humane,
To be putting our wildlife to the sword?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Christmas Cake

I know, I know, you're probably thinking it's a bit early for this - but it's not.  You've got to give the cake two or three months to fully mature, by which I mean FEED IT WITH ALCOHOL.



  • 1 lb currants
  • 8 oz raisins
  • 1 lb sultanas
  • 6 oz mixed peel
  • 4 oz glace cherries
  • 4 oz shelled almonds (optional)
  • 10 oz butter, warm or softened
  • 10 oz caster sugar
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 12 oz self-raising flour (or plain + 1 tsp baking powder)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsps mixed spice
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Splash of milk or buttermilk

  1. get two big bowls out.  In the first assemble all the dried fruits, nuts & peel.  Put aside.
  2. in the second bowl, put the butter & caster sugar.  Cream them together until light & fluffy.  Be prepared for your arms to hurt a lot while doing this.  While you’re having frequent rests, line & butter a large cake tin with grease-proof paper & set it on a baking tray.
  3. when the creamed mixture is ready, add the eggs one at a time.  It’s easiest to do this by lightly beating each egg in a small bowl first, then adding it.  Make sure each egg is properly incorporated before adding the next.
  4. when all the eggs have been added, gradually sift in the flour, salt & mixed spice
  5. when that’s done add in the lemon & the milk
  6. when that’s done, gradually mix in the pile of dried fruit & nuts from the first bowl
  7. the mixture should now be a solid mass of ingredients held together by the sponge mix.  It should be of a stiff dropping consistency
  8. pile the mixture into the prepared lined cake tin & pat down gently to avoid any major air bubbles.  Smooth the top with a spatula.
  9. bake in a low to medium oven (160C/ 150C fan) for about 3 hours.  It’s hard to be precise, depending on heaviness of mixture.  Test from 2 hours onward with a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked.  The cake should be browned on the top and the sides just starting to come away from the sides of the tin.  If in doubt, give it another 20 minutes, then test again.
  10. remove to a wire rack to cool completely, then store & begin feeding (see below).
What else you need to know: 

  1. the cake should be made in August/ Sept if possible because it needs time to mature & to be fed before Christmas.  Store in an air-tight container;
  2. feed the cake weekly.  You can use rum, brandy or sherry or any combination you like.  Prick the cake all over the top with a fork or a skewer.  Use a tea-spoon to gently pour your alcohol of choice into the holes, then re-seal in the cake container;
  3. this cake is wonderful on its own, but is improved when accompanied by a wedge of a white crumbly cheese such as Wensleydale, Lancashire or Cheshire.
  4. to say nothing of a glass of home-made sloe gin!


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Last Resting Place Of A Monarch

A Grave Problem (the apparently sad & ignominious end of Richard III)

I’ll tell of a weird thing that occurred,
Tho’ the picture’s become slightly blurred.
It’s a devilish mystery,
To find the right history,
Of just what happened to Richard The Third. 

At Bosworth, Henry won and was bester,
Determined to let Richard’s bones fester,
He killed the old Plantagenet,
Then laughed and just for a bet,
Buried him in a car-park in Leicester.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


There's been a tiny storm in a microscopic teacup these last few days - yes, I refer to the the furore over Waity-Katy Middleton's unfortunate encounter with a photograther's longe-range lens while on holiday.

There was a young Duchess called Kate,
Who suffered a terrible fate.
A photographer not loyal,
Took long-shots of the royal,
And the pictures were shown in the Tate. 

Her husband realised it was silly,
To get so het up all willy-nilly,
When he thought of his mother,
And Prince Harry his brother,
Who in Las Vegas showed off his willy. 

I know this story at your heartstrings tugs:
Now they’re selling commemorative mugs.
Despite Harry’s injunction,
I can’t see the function,
Of a pair of matching porcelain jugs. 

Into farce this story starts to tipple:
Not so much a great wave, as a ripple
But as you’ve probably guessed,
There’s great public interest,
In the sight of a future Queen’s nipple.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Monday, 17 September 2012

Vive La Difference!

Vive La Difference!

I could never learn a foreign language:
I’m far too proud of the English for that
And, as for French, in particular,
My attempts at it always fall flat.

I’m too laissez-faire, I don’t really care,
But I think I should mention, en passant,
That I’m happy to enjoy their French food,
In a café with coffee and a croissant. 

Some hors d’oeuvres would go down quite a treat,
Or the tastiest plate of Coq au Vin,
Moules mariniere and a bowl of frites:
I could eat them all, with chic and élan. 

The grand fromages of France I simply adore:
Camembert, Brie and Roquefort for a start.
The fierce Maitre D’ holds no fears for me,
Working my way through the a la carte. 

And the great wines of Burgundy and Loire,
From the Cotes Du Rhone, Provence and Bordeaux.
No sommelier’s gonna put me down,
Though far off-piste I’m willing to go. 

Entre nous, I’m probably just lazy.
I’m blasé you can easily see,
For I just won’t put in the effort:
I want it all as a fait accompli. 

Mon Dieu! I’d love to be a linguist,
But I find it tricky and hard:
So many Gallic twists and turns:
One has to be constantly en garde! 

There’s the masculine and the feminine:
From these genders I’d need to be spared.
Sacre bleu! If you don’t watch what you say,
It’s easy to end up in the merde! 

I could cause a major brouhaha,
My feckless faux pas considered crass.
The entente cordiale might be at risk,
Before I deliver the coup de grace.

There’s no obeisance in my renaissance,
I think I would lack the je ne sais quoi;
I just wouldn’t look right in a beret,
Casually smoking a Gaulois. 

My daily entrée to every new day,
Is too lazy for many to ignore:
I just can’t get myself ensemble -
I think I lack the esprit de corps. 

You see - I can’t speak a word of the French.
It’s obvious and easily seen,
So I sit and fume, with my nom de plume,
And on the debate bring down the guillotine. 

Yes - I’d best stick to ‘Allo ‘Allo,
And try and do the best that I can.
I’ll hang on to my plain old English,
And sadly say “non – je ne regrette rien”!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Sunday, 16 September 2012

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 16th September 2012

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – 16th September 2012

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
·       Opinion was divided this week over the decision by the Bromham Bugle to publish pictures of a semi-clad female Romanian field-worker who had stripped to the waist to pick beetroots.  The pictures, which were taken with a long-distance zoom lens from a public road, were claimed to be a gross invasion of privacy.  Others, however, took a different view.  The Bromham Souvenir Shop is already stocking a range of matching souvenir jugs.

·       Fears for the safety of Harry Piglet were raised this week when Camp Bromham came under sustained attack from the Seend Separatist Movement.  Several tractors were damaged in the raid, but carrot-picking operations were not expected to be affected.

·       After a tip-off, archaeologists have spent the week excavating parts of the village car-park, in the hunt for the bones of King Piglet The Unworthy.  A series of bones were unearthed, leading to speculation that this could indeed be the grave of the long-forgotten and not-much-lamented monarch.  However, hopes were dashed when it was discovered that the area had been the rubbish-tip for Knuckle & Gristle Ltd, the village butchers for the past thousand years (special freezer-packs available, and sausages at bargain prices).

·       For details of these and all other Bromham stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station Carrot FM.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012

Friday, 14 September 2012

For The Hillsborough 96

The Reckoning

 I’ve been doing some reckoning,
Even though you may think that I’m dense,
Trying to make some numbers add up,
To see if they’ll make any sense. 

They set off to watch FA Cup football,
A semi-final they wanted to catch,
A vital game of the season:
They said it was a killer of a match. 

Two were the hours to get to South Yorkshire,
Two more to get into the ground,
Herded like cattle by police horses,
Abused, and given the run-around. 

Crammed into standing terraces,
The over-crowding was insane,
They all knew about Hillsborough,
Waiting for kick-off in Leppings Lane. 

The push and the crush, then emergency,
Bodies spilling over onto the grass,
The dying piled up everywhere,
An awful disaster had come to pass. 

Fifteen after three when it happened,
Twenty-three years since the event,
The denigration of the deceased -
Hard to understand what it all meant. 

The Sun said the Scousers were drunk,
The police tried to shift all the blame,
They said it was the fans’ own fault,
And worked hard to polish their own name. 

Under thirty years were most of the victims,
We know that forty-five might still be here,
But ninety-six in all died that day,
Cos the ambulances were nowhere near. 

Eighty-nine – the year of the tragedy,
When the powers-that-be protected their own,
And stitched up all of the evidence,
Hoping the truth would never be known. 

One hundred and sixteen statements were fixed,
Of so many crimes, that was the chief:
Contempt for processes of democracy,
In a cover-up beyond our belief. 

Three hundred and ninety-five pages’ report,
Is what it took to force the exposure;
Four hundred and fifty thousand documents,
Just to give the families some closure. 

Now Cameron says “profoundly sorry”,
As if that were enough after all this:
We’ve finally forced out the truth,
But what we need now is some justice. 

This sorry tale should not have to be told,
And one the Government must not condone.
How could they have treated people like that?
How could they have let them Walk Alone?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2012