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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year

New Year

Haven’t we been here before?
Weren’t we here last year?
Didn’t we sing that same old song
When we couldn’t remember all the words?
Didn’t we shake hands, embrace or kiss
Our dearest loved ones
Or those who were merely nearest
Who we may never see again
And ardently wish them All The Best
For yet another year?

But what exactly lies ahead?
Surely just another set of days
Of twenty-four hour periods
Of dark and light
Dictated by the planet
As it spins upon its axis
And orbits around its feeble sun
In our lonely, empty Solar System
Where the ticks of Time
Are dictated by space
Gravity and physics

But then these groups of seven
That regulate our working and our resting cycles
The days and weeks and months
With their pagan and Roman names
That no-one can quite explain
That set out and delineate our lives
The paying of wages and the salaries
Shopping, driving, eating and sleeping
Laughing and loving, screaming and shouting
And the same old, same old for another year
Are those of mere mortal star-gazers
Astrologers and mathematicians
Emperors and philosophers
Who chose to give their names
To bring about some apparent order
In to our chaotic lives

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Monday, 30 December 2013



Admire the blank and empty canvas
Upon which delicate brush-strokes have been drawn
As if to create a pretty picture, an illusion

There, across her angled shoulders
A golden sash is lightly drawn
An elegant sweep of colour
Upon the whiteness of her milky flesh

There, around her neck
A delicate filigree thread
Suspends a single diamond
Upon the gossamer cloth
Above her gently-rising breast

There, along her naked arms
A rack of gilded circlets
That click, and sing like cymbals
Resonating to her body’s movement

There, between her slim and elegant fingers
Twine delicate rings
The silvered settings of topaz
Jewelled in harmony
With her carmined nails

There, beside her pallid face
Lie invisible, tiny blonde hairs
Along the nape and cheekbone
And from the faintest pinkness
Of curving ear-lobes
Hang heavy hoops of gold

There, up to the very edges of her pretty mouth
Runs the painted line of lip-gloss
A precise and perfect butterfly
Beneath the pertness of her nose
And its tiny jewelled stud

And there, across her sculpted face
Sits her calm and cool expression
That speaks so little of the effort
That it took to look so natural

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Sunday, 29 December 2013

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 29th December 2013

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 29th December 2013

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:

1.       Villagers are still coming to terms with the fact that over Christmas there has been a lot of weather.  Weather first struck on Christmas Eve, continued through Christmas Day and persisted all the way in to Boxing Day.  “Well, it’s global warming, innit?” was the general reaction when opinions were canvassed in the snug bar of the Wounded Ferret.  The weather has receded for a couple of days, but forecasters at the world-famous Bromham Meteorological Station have said that yet more weather is to be expected today and tomorrow.  The New Year, 2014, is predicted to have a lot of weather.

2.       Christmas came early for at least one villager, who discovered that a pound of sprouts that he bought in Sainsburys on the Monday before Christmas for only 45p, had rocketed in value to almost 70p by closing time on Christmas Eve.  He had kept the sprouts in a plain paper bag for almost two days, unaware of how much his purchase was really worth.  The true worth of the vegetables only came to light when the man, who wishes not to be named for security reasons, took them round to his daughter-in-law’s house for preparation.  The man says he is going to put his financial windfall towards half a pint of shandy.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Saturday, 28 December 2013



Because now that I know
…I wish that I didn’t
                …a rabbit that’s out of the hat
Because I keep thinking about it
…dreams of engulfment
…nightmares too bad to bear
Because when I wake up it should just go away
                …dissolve like the rest of my night terrors
…into great gulps of relief
…but this time it doesn’t
Because this time it’s true
…and I can’t the thing shake it off
                …stuck to me limpet-like
Because there’s no easy solution
…no simple way out
                                …nor way to avoid it
Because there’s no amount of money
…that could be scraped together
…that would pay this thing off
Because it doesn’t take bribes
                …no price of my ransom
…nor even listen to reason
Because it’s unfeeling
…it doesn’t know what it’s doing
…nor realise what it’s doing to my life
Because my peace of mind is failing
…because this is it
…because this time it’s real
…because it’s so frightening
That’s why I’m shouting
…calling out in my sleep
…because I’m afraid

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

Post-Natal Depression

Post-Natal Depression

They’ve all gone back to work,
And the kids are back at school.
Here I am in the middle of all the mess,
Clearing up like a bloody fool.

And as I look around & survey the site,
In the fireplace there’s a fall of soot,
An empty sherry glass & mince-pie crumbs,
And a mark where Santa placed his foot.

The carrots we left for his reindeer,
Have been quite nibbled away,
But the droppings on the carpet,
I think is a price too high to pay.

There’s paper wrap & discarded boxes,
Where presents were pulled out in their haste,
Played with for half an hour,
Before joining the rest of the waste.

There’s food left over in the kitchen,
And I think I’m starting to droop.
If I have to eat one more leftover sprout,
Or face another bowl of turkey soup.

The Christmas tree is looking all forlorn,
As its needles drop upon the floor,
And get blown around the house,
Every time someone opens a door.

We’ve started our own recycling skip,
With empty bottles of every sort.
It’s not just the beer & the mixers,
But the gin, the vodka and port.

We’ve watched all of the Christmas specials
They put on the box this time of the year.
Shame they can’t do it the rest of the season,
Instead of the usual rubbish so drear.

We’ve sent home the old relatives
Those aged wonderful old dears.
Now it’s time to take down the greetings cards,
From people we’ve not seen in years.

We’ll take down the lights that cover the house.
Our neighbours think that we’re soft.
Yes, we’ll pack up the baubles & lights,
And put them all back in the loft.

The sparkle’s all gone from the occasion,
All the drinking & eating & that.
They’ve stopped playing Christmas records on the radio:

At least we can be thankful for that.

Now the shops are full of bargains,
The stuff they just couldn’t shift.
Now’s a good time to stock up for next year,
With every possible gift.

I know it’s been quite enjoyable at times,
But now that it’s over for another year,
I’m seeking to get some normality.
So I’ll see you – I’m off down the pub for a beer.

Then I’m off to the dump with the recycling,
But I won’t be coming back in a hurry.
I’m not looking forward to dinner -
It’s turkey & cranberry curry.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

The twelve things of Christmas which are such a pain to me:
  • Twelve tuneless Christmas carols,
  • Eleven stale TV specials,
  • Ten "Batteries Not Included",
  • Nine No Parking signs!
  • Eight Charities collecting!
  • Seven round for dinner!
  • Six pies a-mincing!
  • Five months of bills!
  • Four days of drinking!
  • Three santas fighting!
  • Too much Christmas pudding,
  • And finding a bloody Christmas tree.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

While Shepherds Washed

While Shepherds Washed

While shepherds washed their socks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The Angel of the Lord came down,
And passed the soap around.

“Fear not”, said he, for mighty suds,
Had filled their washing sink.
“Persil washes whitest of all
And does not leave a stink”.

“To you, in Devizes Town this day,
Is given a washing-line,
A tumble-drier, built by Bosch,
And this shall be the sign.”

“An extended warranty you shall get,
But in the smallest print,
All meanly wrapped in weasel words,
Until you’re nearly skint.”

Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of Comet salesmen on the make,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All discounts be to you the buyers,
Please accept your guarantee,
And if it should go wrong all too soon,
Please don’t you bother me.”

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Monday, 23 December 2013

A New Christmas Carol

A New Christmas Carol

Christmas comes but once a year,
So let’s thank the Lord for that.
The turkeys are becoming nervous,
And the geese are getting fat.

There’s fake snow everywhere,
And decorations that look tired.
Whilst down at the Job Centre
Some Santas are getting hired.

For it’s that season of good cheer,
With yuletide adverts day & night,
But with early carol-singers
It’s hard to get a Silent Night.

The season starts sooner every year:
In the shops they’re already selling holly.
But with all these xmas jingles about,
I’m finding it hard to keep things jolly.

In the gloomy shopping precinct,
They’ve put up the civic lights.
But it’s hard to start getting all yo-ho-ho,
When there’s still some weeks beforeholy night.

And in the shops they’ve got yuletide offers,
With Santa sitting in his grotto,
Selling booze at half the price,
With the promise that we’ll all get blotto.

With new ideas for Christmas gifts,
Re-packaging of every blessed thing,
And people buying presents -
Hark! - the herald cash-tills sing.

But Yule can be a lonely time,
Especially for those still single,
Serving to remind them of their state,
With every irritating jingle.

TV adverts showing happy families,
Like some cosy scene in Dickens,
Gathered round a roaring fire,
Whilst we shop online like headless chickens.

Once in Bristol’s Royal City,
You could hear a festive carol.
The prices have gone up till January:
They’ve got us over a barrel.

So deck the halls with boughs of holly,
And ding-dong merrily on high.
When you’ve spent more than you can afford,
It’s getting time to question why.

Good King Wenceslas didn’t have to go shopping,
Even on the Feast of Stephen.
So why do we have to try so hard,
When we’re fighting to break even?

It’s all got very mixed up these days:
I think there’s quite a danger
Of having three TV pundits
Voting to put reindeer in the manger.

You can’t make a snowman out of rain or sleet,
Nor find three wise men to employ.
There’s no good reason to be cheerful,
Nothing to bring tidings of comfort & joy.

God rest ye merry gentlemen,
But you know it’s not very funny.
It’s no longer a celebration,
It’s just about the money.

And “do they know it’s Christmas?”
Is a song you’ll probably sing.
But it’s not just about Africa
Do we really know what we’re doing?

But I suppose I should have greater cheer,
And stop with all this huffing,
So now I’ll just say “Bah humbug!”
And “could you pass the stuffing?”

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 22nd December 2013

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 22nd December 2013

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:

1.       Bromham Crown Court was again in shock this week when star chef Nigella Piglet revealed that on a number of occasions in the past she had eaten raw carrots.  She claimed that she was not an habitual carrot-eater, but had indulged on a number of specific occasions when the stress in her marriage to world-famous horse-massager Charles Scratchy had become too much.  However, she denied that she had ever sautéed parsnips in front of her children.

2.       With only ten days to go before the expiry of the restriction on the free movement of people from the other side of Trowbridge into Bromham, the political heat has been raised.  Emergency legislation has been rushed through the Parish Council to prevent any such out-of-village scruffy oiks from being served in the lounge bar of The Wounded Ferret, or from being served in the village shop without being patronised and insulted as unwelcome newcomers.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013



He sits there in the corner all alone,
Absorbed in reading the latest text,
The most amazing fun he ever has,
Almost better than even having sex.

He can’t hear what I’m saying – he’s too far gone:
His social manners are quite uncouth.
His dearest object is his smart-phone,
His only worries are wi-fi and Blue-tooth.

He always likes to be connected:
To be abandoned would cause a frown,
So he texts and tweets and emails,
In case he misses what’s going down.

He’s got all the very latest gadgets -
Wireless hardware, and some software apps.
There’s nothing he can’t find out, or look up -
In his world, there aren’t too many gaps.

He aims to be online completely wireless,
Accessing his friends and data on the move,
Reporting on his every whereabout,
To let them know he’s in the groove.

You could be talking and he wouldn’t hear you,
He’s engrossed in looking at Facebook -
It’s as if he’s not really with you,
Just as if he couldn’t give a fuck.

His skin has assumed a ghostly pallor,
And his finger-nails are turning green.
Unearthly shadows flick across his face,
Reflected from his i-Phone’s tiny screen.

His brow is furrowed in concentration,
As he reads what’s recently occurred,
Crouched over the device within his hands,
And his fast-texting thumbs are blurred.

He’s terrified he might lose his signal,
Or his life as a connected man,
The phone he’s clutching, and frequently touching,
Just two seconds is his attention span.

Each incoming message holds promise,
Of some earthly contact electronic:
As if it’s asserted that he’s not been deserted,
Though his responses are mostly moronic.
His hearing has almost deserted him,
His eyes are hooded, his jaw it hangs slack.
He’s not really with us here in the room,
As he sits there emailing at the back.

Yes he’s got to be Mister Connected -
His concentration must be concerted,
But one of these days, he’s gonna look up,
And find himself totally deserted!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Friday, 20 December 2013

Mermaid In Heaven

Mermaid In Heaven

‘Twas upon a stormy day that I chanced,
To walk the shore in thought deeply enrapt,
When I heard a pitiful sound of woe,
And saw a poor girl on the rocks, entrapped.

It was her fishy tail and scaly flukes,
As the waves on the rocks crashed all around,
The fins and a strong smell of haddock,
That revealed her watery background.

Her flowing hair it shone like seaweed,
And around her naked shoulders all arrayed,
She wore a long necklace of pearly shells:
And at once I knew she must be a mermaid.

I helped her to wriggle herself free,
And pulled her out on to the wind-swept strand.
That’s when I realised, in a sudden flash,
That what was in it for me - was sand.

There and then I plighted my troth,
In love I’d fallen – I had no real choice -
She was young, and beautiful and sexy:
It wasn’t by mere chance, but on porpoise.

But she was demure, and she was shy -
She resisted, and questioned my taste.
She said “it’s all very well up here on top,
But it’s all different below the waist.”

I said that it was just a red herring,
And that we’d soon learn to get along.
In the name of all that was coley,
Together, with cod’s help, we’d be strong.

And so it was that we were married,
By the sea-shore, with gentle lighting.
Her uncle Turbot gave the bride away,
And the darling girl was dressed in whiting.

Our friends thought we were too different,
And they said so, right from the start.
And the cats were always a bit suspicious,
Sniffing around her nethermost part.

But we embarked upon our married life,
We set up home and, as is often the rule,
Soon our little herrings came along -

No trouble getting them into school!

Of course we had a few differences,
For she’d been born as a marine being:
She couldn’t dance, was hopeless at football,
And it was pointless taking her skiing.

But there were a few positive things too:
She swam by the side when we went on a cruise,
You never needed more salt in your food,
And she never went shopping for shoes.

Naturally we had a plaice of our own,
And, at first, we had a whale of a time,
But she began to spend more time in the bath,
And to dream of the salty sea’s rime.

Of course, it was all doomed not to last -
She developed a slow swimming motion.
The Dolphin shower just wasn’t enough,
And she began to pine for the ocean.

I knew that I could never stop her,
I couldn’t be such a Pollack, or so fake:
I had to let her eel her way back home -
You could say I did it for her own hake.

And so it was that we finally parted,
And she went back to her home in the sea.
It’s all left me quite badly affected,
And I don’t fancy fish and chips for my tea.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013



I wonder at the trickery of it
Yet there is no attempt to deceive
Two dimensions
In one plane of being
The paper being plain and unadorned
The flattest sheet
Twisted round
Tucked and creased
Folded into shape
Its razor-sharp edges
Turned in upon itself
And back inside again

Flatness transposed
By force of skill
And gentle sorcery
Into lines and angles
Squares, triangles
Delicate dodecahedrons
Living trapezoids
Giving strength and articulation
Suggesting shape and shadows
Depth and meaning
Buried deep within the paper

A bird, a rabbit, a frog
Creatures which are not there
In any normal sense
Suddenly appear
And have life and substance
Their heads erect, alert
Sitting upon the hand of their creator
Between the dextrous fingers
Of the manipulator

Held for a fleeting moment
For wonder and admiration
Before slowly allowed to unfold
Before my very eyes
Vanishing whence they came
Into an empty page of nothing
The faintest crease-marks upon the paper
The only evidence
They ever had existence

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Viva 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 2013

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Coming Second

Coming Second

It’s the position to be avoided
Silver-medal placed
Second best
Almost a champion
No consolation to be derived
One step down upon the podium

Holding the rictus smile of pleasure
Above the bitter tears of disappointment
And pent-up frustration
Whilst congratulating the winner
Who, on this occasion
Is clearly the better man
And, perhaps, for ever

But, in the eyes of the world
He is the best of men
The joyful winner
True focus of attention
And he who gives the interviews
To the waiting press
Allowing the beaten loser
To quietly slope away
And reflect upon
What might have been

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Monday, 16 December 2013

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall

At last I could make it out
A narrow walkway
Rising from the grasping earth
Loose and crumbled stones
Tumbled from once-good order
And straight alignment
Fallen randomly
Into the coarsest tussocks
Of grass and mossy ground

Out here on the windswept moor
Miles from civilisation
Amongst ice and bitter cold
Lie lichen-covered blocks
In faint traceable patterns
Which snake and wind their way
Across the forbidding landscape

Here lies long-abandoned evidence
Of ramparts, towers, turrets
Interrupting the regular line
And there a garrison fortress
Provided basic shelter
And some rough respite
Against adverse weather
And painted barbarians
Invading from the North

But is this all there was?
So little sign these days
Of any forbidding Roman structure
But the merest thin grey line
Of no great height
Weaving through the frozen land
To be defended at all costs
By shivering Legionnaires
At the very end of Empire

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Sunday, 15 December 2013

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 15th December 2013

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 15th December 2013

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:

1.       Bromham High Court was surprised to hear Lord Chief Justice “Stringer” Judge publicly rebuke Dave Wentwrong, leader of the Field Land-Owners’ Party (FLOP) and Head of Bromham Parish Council, over a tweet which the latter had sent, which had an impact on the current high-profile trial of Nigel “Knocker” Piglet.  In response to an earlier question, Wentwrong confirmed that he had no problem with the excessive consumption of carrots, and that he was definitely part of “Team Piglet”.

2.       And in surprise move in the mysterious and hidden fiefdom of Trowbridge, it is reported that the Deputy Head of the County Council, who is also the uncle of  Tom “Kill” Emmall, leader of the Council, was tried by a hastily-summoned exchange of tea and biscuits and found guilty of gross incompetence in office.  In an official communique, Ron “Shifty” Piglet was described as a traitor to the Trowbridge ideal, the scum of the local earth, and a lackey of the capitalist Melksham running dogs.  In a subsequent move which shocked the county, Piglet was later reported to have been summarily asked to leave the building.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013

Saturday, 14 December 2013

More Than Enough

More Than Enough

You heard more than enough
When you listened in the night
To me talking in my sleep
Whispering a name that was not yours
And sweet endearments that were not meant for you

You felt more than enough
When you stood and shivered
Cold and fearful, as I tried to touch you
And make it right again
To fix what could not be mended

You said more than enough
When you walked away from me
In a trail of burning anger
That would not settle
Which hung around you, dog-like, snarling

You did more than enough
When you disappeared
Without any final words
Leaving no explaining note
For me to dwell upon, or find any consolation

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2013