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Thursday, 31 March 2016



Stumbling, I almost fall forward,
A stray bootlace dragged in the mud
Of the trail as I wearily walk,
So bend down to make the thing good.

Glad of the rest, but breaking my rhythm,
Quickly all fingers and thumbs,
Then looking up suddenly
I am almost struck dumb.

Frightened, but standing her ground,
Stands the trembling, terrified beast,
Staring unblinking straight forward,
Determined to face me, at least.

Her coat slick, and shining brown,
With the faintest light marking,
Ears and tail both erect and alert,
Mouth open, a-quiver, darkling.

Not thirty feet between us,
The doe regretting her error,
Unwilling to turn her back upon me,
Despite her evident terror.

Time stands still for an instant,
The deer holding my stare,
No sound and no movement
For either of us, both fully aware.

Unmoving, the tableau continues,
A stand-off on the track,
Impossible to break away,
Neither can turn back.

This meeting of different worlds,
Here in the heat of the day,
Each uncomprehending the other,
The deer desperate to slip away.

Her deep eyes, languid and black,
So beautiful, striking and wild,
I am simply transfixed by her presence,
The sight of her has me beguiled.

Then a change of scent, or some movement,
Perhaps a sound somewhere to the right,
It takes just less than a second,
And she’s suddenly passed from my sight.

The bushes have swallowed her up,
And with a movement of some grace,
The lady has turned and fled,
Vanished, leaving without any trace.

I look about for her, of course,
Searching around everywhere,
But Nature has concealed her well,
Almost as if she’d never been there.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Devil's In The Retail

The Devil's in the Retail

Doing the shopping is ever a chore,
Pushing the trolley down many an aisle,
But my latest trip down to Tesco,
Saw an incident which just made me smile.

I’d wandered through fresh meat and groceries,
And was just picking some bread from the shelf,
When I noticed a miserable presence:
In short, it was the Devil himself.

I knew it was him from the pitchfork,
His goat’s legs, his horns and the cloak.
Then there was his red face and his sharp teeth,
And about him there was a faint smell of smoke.

But there was something in his demeanour,
I could tell that something wasn’t quite right.
He looked miserable, all pasty and drawn.
The demonic presence looked quite a sight.

Now I’m not a believer in Hades,
But I couldn’t bear to see him that way,
So I asked Lucifer of his troubles,
And this is what he sadly had to say.

“I’ve got a narrowing job description,
Forces of Darkness are taking a cut-back,
We’re out-sourcing Temptation Services,
And minor devils are facing the sack.

And the price of gas goes ever upward,
We can’t afford to run the fires all night.
The Tormentors have asked for higher pay,
And Hell’s budget has got very tight.”

Then he swished his forked tail around for a bit,
His visage looked dark, and of Death,
He had a bad case of halitosis,
And he could have stopped a horse with his breath.

“You see there’s a lack of believers,
No-one these days gives much of a sod.
That’s meant re-structuring of the heavens,
And down-sizing imposed by the Lord God.

The Book of Revelation’s been revised,
Reduced to some lifestyle hints and tips,
The number of The Beast is one-one-one,
Gone are the Horsemen Of The Apocalypse.

Then there’s all of these Health & Safety rules,
And the Human Rights of the bad sinners.
We’re not allowed to keep them all starving –
That’s why I’m shopping for ready dinners.
Terrible reports on Trip Advisor
Were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
We’ve had to close the burning lake of fire,
And Beelzebub’s been given the sack.”

Old Harry cut a figure so forlorn,
He was far from a presager of doom,
The smoke no longer swirled about him
And his features showed up clearly his gloom.

He said he couldn’t stop chatting longer –
If he’s late then his dog Cerberus yelps.
So I wished The Evil One “best of luck” –
Well, they say that “Every Little Helps”.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

In The Eye Of The Beholder

In The Eye of The Beholder           

I wanted to be one of the beautiful people,
But was it the big thighs,
That led to my demise in their eyes?
Or was it the tattoos that caused them to refuse?

Or perhaps I’m somehow deformed?
Not properly “normed”?
Too short to be sought, too old to be sold.
Or is it because I’m too tall that caused me to fall?

Is it my poor looks, my nips and my tucks,
Or just my sagging buttocks?

They say they’ve tightened their criteria,
And their standards haven’t slipped.

But let’s get to the nitty-gritty:
I know I’m not that pretty,
But I don’t look that shitty –
Can’t they have some pity?

What is it they’re wanting? –
A view selective and snooty,
Where difference is excluded,
And the only pass-book is beauty?

This ghetto of symmetrical features can never reach us.
This apartheid of self-image - what does it teach us?

These discriminations,
Against different genes,
Can only lead to eliminations -
And we know what that will finally mean.

They need to take care,
Before this nightmare,
Becomes more than a game.
For dating and mating,
With too many of their own kind,
Will produce offspring that all look the same.

We need to celebrate the differences that make us all what we are.
The good, the bad and the ugly should all get over the bar.

So let’s cease this paranoia,
And let’s all be bolder.
I know I’m no oil-painting,
But isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 28 March 2016

Honey-Roast Gammon



  • 2-3kg unsmoked gammon joint, soaked overnight in water
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks in chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 100ml honey
  • 100g Demerara sugar
  • 50ml Madeira
  • 3 tblsp soy sauce
  • 3 tblsp English mustard
  • 2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50 cloves (to stud)

  1. put the drained gammon & vegetables in a large pan & cover with cold water
  2. bring to the boil, skimming off any scum
  3. add the bay leaf, thyme & peppercorns, then simmer for 2 hours, topping up he water f necessary
  4. meanwhile make the glaze: put the sugar & honey in a saucepan & slowly bring to the boil
  5. when the mixture starts to foam, remove from the heat & add the Madeira
  6. leave to cool slightly, then add the soy, mustard & Worcester sauce. Set aside
  7. when the ham is cooked, lift out onto a large roasting tin
  8. heat the oven to 170C/ fan 150C/ gas 3
  9. using a sharp knife & scissors & fingers, cut the skin of the ham away, leaving an even layer of fat.  Score the fat in a criss-cross pattern.  Stud each diamond with a clove
  10. brush the glaze over the ham and roast/ bake for another hour, basting frequently
  11. when browned, set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving

Thursday, 24 March 2016



Flames flicker in the soot-blackened hearth,
Spreading shifting shadows, faint slivers of light,
As he finds his stash, opens up his treasure,
And samples the precious liquid bright.
The bottle unstoppered, now pouring,
Holding carefully, the glass he gently grips.
Deep ruby-red, thick viscous elixir,
He brings the dark drink up to his lips.

Sweet liqueur, spreading ease and warmth,
Through both body and the soul,
He wonders at the chemistry involved,
To achieve this alchemic goal.
Never telling of his secret source,
Where the bowing blackthorn grows,
Guarding the special knowledge,
In the place that he alone knows,

Where, on a dark and misty morning,
Gathering frost-crusted blackened fruit,
Sour sloes, purple, bunched and bitter,
Berries barbed by thorns down to the root.
Hands scratched and pricked, fingers aching,
Bags of fruit booty stolen one day.
Cleaned, bruised, the sticky fluid easy flows
Into gin, then sugared, shaken, stowed away.

Weeks waiting, days dawdling, the magic starts,
A transformation, slow but steady,
Watching, wondering, the bottles shaken daily,
Until the new tincture is finally ready.
But this alchemist has no strange equipment,
Nor is there any wand or magic spell,
To create this luscious liquid,
From such base materials, so well.

In the darkness something strange occurs
Between ingredients once so rough.
Sourness transports to gentle sweetness,
And the passage of time proves enough.
Then, captured within each bottle,
A winter drink that’s red, and thick and oozy,
Not to be wasted on the cocktail set,
But kept for those who are more choosy.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 23 March 2016



Through damp and dewy grass steps a man,
Then a line of people walking,
Bearing up the woven wicker casket,
Faces up-turned, wondering, quietly talking.

Beyond the farm, before the woodland
Lies the old orchard, long-abandoned trees,
Grass grows longer every Spring,
And apple blossoms blizzard in the breeze.

Shafts of sunlight dapple the procession,
Making its determined way:
A purposeful expedition,
Come because they still have much to say.

Quiet dignity settles around these walkers,
Making their way within the glades,
Arriving at the place where two men stand,
Discreetly waiting, leaning on their spades.

A special spot, where a grave is dug,
Bearers pause, shift the weight, lower the bier,
The others slowly gather round,
Begin their farewells in the grove that’s here.

Each taking an unbidden turn to speak:
No need for a man in black who leads.
One will sing, one recite a poem,
A child steps forward and slowly reads.

Sudden silence falls across these friends,
Then some gentle weeping’s sound.
Fresh flowers placed upon the coffin,
As it is slowly lowered in the ground.

Blossom rains into the gaping grave,
Perhaps some promise of re-birth.
Mourners begin to think again of the living,
Turning their backs upon the mound of earth.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ghost Train

Ghost Train

So badly over-grown and deserted,
The fact is there’s very little left to see.
So hard to make out what went on here,
And how crowded this place used to be.
Here, beyond the fence, where grasses grow thick,
Lies a gravel track-bed that gives away a clue -
There - you can just make out the old station,
Where once the old branch-line ran through.

There’s no rails, nor any sleepers,
Revealing the place’s one-time function,
Nor the steam trains which left from here,
Wheezed up to the bend, then on to the junction.
Passengers, parcels and packages
On the up train, sometimes the down,
Carried from here in the country,
To their many purposes in the big town.

My dad used to come here in the mornings,
To bring the milk down from the farm,
Sending it in great churns to the city,
To keep it cool, and safe from any harm.
He had a job to be here on time,
Driving the old tractor down the lane.
Sometimes he had to race to the station,
In order to meet that early milk train.

In some ways it’s not so long ago,
But the line succumbed to the usual fate,
With the land sold off to developers,
That’s now sitting under a housing estate.
But it’s strange how the mind can play tricks,
How, when it’s wet, the coal I still smell,
And when the wind blows in the from the West,
There’s the sound of the old station bell.

There’s the steam, the oil and the smoke,
Of the engine waiting the signal to leave,
The whistle of the guard, the slamming doors,
A bustling scene that’s easy to believe.
And sometimes in the lonely night-times,
Maybe it’s a dream, or perhaps it’s quite true,
But I’d swear I can hear rattling milk-churns,
And the scream of the ghost-train passing through.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 21 March 2016

Stripes Of The Prisoner

Stripes Of The Prisoner

Among the dark shadows of the jungle,
Out of the sun, in the heat of the day,
I sit near the cooling, swirling stream,
And rest my aging bones, as is my way.
Advancing years have not been kind to me:
My old, unsteady limbs creak and groan.
There are no younger ones to comfort me.
I spend my time here ever more alone.

My inscrutable stare is fading fast,
Like my beauty, and my ev’ry dark stripe.
Soon I will fade into the background,
And there will be no more of my type.
You were afraid of me once long ago,
But now I’m the one that’s afraid.
Death waits around the corner for me:
A price that’s soon to be paid.

My looks are my downfall,
My fierce beauty inspires your greed.
You just have to have me:
I can supply one of your needs.
My fur is my curse, my tail a collector’s item,
My nose, my ears and my paws,
Everyone wants a piece of my action
My eyes, my tongue, even a slice of my claws.

I’m worth more dead than alive;
My very rarity is my value,
But there are so few of us left now,
That I have to be protected from you.
These last few forests must be my home,
A “Reserve” for we creatures called game,
But the fear and the respect have faded:
I’m a prisoner in all but my name.

Your children will not see me or my like,
Our image a strange forgotten sight.
The flame of our existence,
No longer burns in the forests of night.
So look upon me whilst you can.
There’ll be no more roaring jungle calls.
From this point there’ll be but a silence,
Except the sound of a single tear-drop, as it falls.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 20 March 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 20th March 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 20th March 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:

1.       Shock swept through the higher echelons of the Parish Council on Friday when one of the nasty blokes in the ruling Field Land-Owners’ Party (FLOP) flounced out in a fit of pique.  Another nasty bloke, who is the leader of FLOP, said he was amazed.  A former colleague, also a nasty bloke, said he was surprised but, then again, the first nasty bloke was quite difficult to work with.  Other nasty blokes in FLOP queued up alternately to denounce or to praise the nasty bloke.  However, the nasty bloke’s policies will continue.  Another nasty bloke is to be appointed to fill the vacancy created by the nasty bloke’s resignation.

2.       One of Bromham’s rowdier residents has been detained by police after several nights of violence.  Having beaten up a Scottish man and an Italian whilst out of the village a few weeks ago, he later returned home to thump an Irishman and to assault a Welshman over two different weekends. Yesterday, whilst on a day trip, he fought with an innocent Frenchman.  Once he has sobered up, he is to be charged with committing a “grand slam”.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Walking At Avebury

Walking at Avebury

Dark and dreary December afternoon,
Weak, slanting sunshine that begins to fail,
Walking around the circles at Avebury,
Amid sarsen standing stones in shadows pale.
Light snow covering the lonely landscape,
Earth is robed in its ghostly cover,
The jagged monuments standing starkly,
Embracing the silence, like a lover.

Most of the visitors have now departed,
The pub and the car parks all deserted,
Rushing home to New Year’s Eve festivities,
Whilst here is soon to calm reverted.
In the weakening light, my mind plays tricks,
And imagines ancient figures walking,
Carrying out some ritual practice,
Whispering, gesturing, and talking.

Slowly, the place returns to ancient times.
Peopled again, the circle starts to fill,
And my eyes are drawn to the deep South-West,
And the brooding bulk of Silbury Hill.
Silhouetted against the darkening sky,
Stands the giant earth-work, the great mystery,
A monument built by many thousand hands,
Speaking to me still from beyond pre-history.

And the avenue of stones, leading away,
Stretching off beyond my current sight,
Through the chalk-land, into the far distance,
Disappearing, almost, into moonlit night.
Perhaps towards Stonehenge, or the barrows,
Across the Downs, through the deserted land,
With some deeper meaning or purpose,
That we still cannot understand.

Did these shadow people build these ancient structures,
And did they move the earth to make this massive ditch?
What is the purpose of these megaliths?
Is there a symbolic meaning rare and rich?
Are these stones placed exactly where they are,
In a circle of precise refinement,
Because of certain heavenly signs,
Which required a particular alignment?

I watch these unknown men of yesterday,
Creating such things with roughened hands,
Carving out this place of mysteries,
From the cold and unforgiving lands.
Their ceremonials mean naught to me;
As I watch the graceful gestures of their priest.
I hear the chanting, musical singing;
The fires burn bright, and they fall to feast.

Is this rite about the living, or the dead?
Are they looking back, or to their New Year?
This solstice-time pagan celebration
Must have a purpose which to them is clear.
Such great gathering of tribal men,
Of crops, of seasons, of death and of birth.
To propitiate their shadowy gods,
Or worship the Sun, the Moon or the Earth?

But I cannot ask – they are only ghosts;
Their figures disappear from present view.
My mind comes slowly back to current times,
And I view the archaeology anew.
By now, the place is dark and desolate.
I shiver against the penetrating cold.
I turn away to take my journey home,
And reflect on these great people of old.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 18 March 2016

Boys Will Be Boys

Boys Will Be Boys

Long, lazy, summer-time, school holidays,
Feeling frowsy in the long dry grass, so bored.
Waiting, languidly, for things to happen:
The itch for excitement that cannot be ignored.
It’s time for adventure, or some trouble:
Thrills don’t just come, so need to be sought out.
They all wanted to be a part of it,
None of them by cowardice caught out.

Who’s leading, who’s following, who’s daring?
Who’s going to be involved quite fully?
Who’s pushing who to make the first move?
Who’s the scaredy-cat, and who’s the bully?
It’s become a matter of honour to go,
No-one wants to appear the baby child,
Egging each other onwards to the place,
Three boys, scared to hold back, running wild.

The house stands deserted and forlorn,
Behind its barrier of tangled wire,
Its broken windows like empty sockets,
Tumble-down, decrepit and so dire.
It’s a simple target to be raided,
Undergrowth to keep them quite hidden,
Forcing down the old, broken back door,
Past where it says “Entry Is Forbidden”.

Plaster has fallen away from dirty walls,
Damp, mouldy, a smell that’s musty,
Broken floor-boards, glass everywhere,
Mouse-droppings, filthy and dusty.
Here was once the lounge, now long deserted,
A kitchen with many pipes hanging out.
They don’t think about the people who lived here,
Too busy exploring, and running about.

Here is a place with possibilities,
A secret space for a ghoulish game.
No limit to a child’s imagination,
Or the ideas that are in the frame.
A new head-quarters for their gang,
A pirate’s cave, or hidden treasure,
A robber’s den, a secret hideaway,
To torture their enemies at leisure.

But what if someone already comes here?
Beggars, or thieves or a filthy tramp?
How can it be made safe and secure?
How to establish their own camp?
Rooms up above must be inspected,
In case someone else is hiding there.
Their voices fall into edgy silence,
Gathering below the bottom stair.

The youngest one is pushed up to the front,
Nervous and trembling, fearing the worst,
The older ones standing right behind him,
Bullying, taunting, making him go first.
He wants to decline this stupid challenge,
His fear is building, and he feels like crying,
But the others will not let him stop now:
He cannot get away – no sense in even trying.

Then, too soon, it’s spinning out of control,
They threaten him with torture, calling names.
Challenging him, shoving him forward,
It’s gone beyond their normal childish games.
The mood has turned quite nasty,
And the laughter has faded away.
They prod him and push him upwards,
They force him – they will have their way.

He bites his lip, and swallows hard.
Though he is trembling and shaking,
He starts to mount the broken risers,
Fearing the dangerous steps he’s taking.
Near the top, his panic rises,
But he never hears the creaking sound,
As he falls through the crumbling structure,
Screaming, arms flapping all around.

A crashing noise and then the silence,
The dust and debris soon stop falling,
The older boys stand stunned, amazed,
Then for their friend start yelling, calling.
He does not answer, lying there quite still.
They know the situation’s far from good:
They run away in a frantic panic,
Leaving the body in its pool of blood.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Floating through the numbness of drifting dreams,
Softly billowing, falling and rising,
Seeking, searching, following a distant figure,
Reaching out towards the tantalising.
Then the crack of sound which startles,
The snap of sudden, startled waking,
Bolt upright in the tangle of sheets,
Listening hard, to a silence that’s breaking.

Heavy, deep, suffocating blackness,
Pierced by the thinnest slice of moonlight,
Through a curtain-crack not closed,
Creating shadowy shapes within the night.
Thick, breathing stillness,
Then a creak upon the stair.
A catch of breath -
Is there somebody there?

The house settling, moaning and groaning,
A catalogue of clicks and ticks.
Sounds from out of the silence,
Or is it the mind just playing tricks?
And, from outside, (the night is barely quiet now) -
The scratchings and callings and shufflings,
Of badgers and mice,
Of owls and foxes,
Their scrapings and diggings and snufflings.

The swishing of wind as it blows through the trees,
And the tapping of twigs against the pane,
A gentle pittering and pattering,
That might be just the winter rain.
But what was that?
Yet stranger sounds abound.
Perhaps those unwelcome creatures, the rats.
Wandering, investigating, nosing around,
Stoats, weasels, bats or meandering cats.

They are out there, safe where they belong,
In the kingdoms they inhabit,
But then, from somewhere out the distance,
The searing scream of captured rabbit.
And, inside now, fear and tension rising.
Blood pumping,
Heart thumping,
Ears straining,
Mind working overtime,
And a sense of terror gaining.

Was that a subtle movement?
Something just over there?
Is something hidden in the shadows?
Is there really somebody there?
Or has a primal imagination,
Seeking to penetrate the gloom,
Created something super-natural,
Standing there across the darkened room?

So scared, forgetting how to breathe,
Unable to swallow, starting to shiver,
Limbs stiff, skin chilled, eyes out on stalks,
Fingers kneading bed-clothes, all a-quiver.
Straining hard to distinguish every sound,
Listening, thinking, hoping, guessing,
An eerie quiet now descending,
Perhaps portending something more distressing?

Primitive and primordial fear,
That traces roots from inside the womb.
Terrors of torment and lingering death,
Staring at the black inside of one’s tomb.
Dying alone – the dark, deepest dread
That everyone cradles inside.
Fear of the dying, more than the dead,
The unspoken horror we all seek to hide.

Was that a door slamming, a bang or a bump?
A noise unfamiliar, or unknown?
Or was the whole thing inside of my head,
Created by demons all of my own?
There’ll be no sleep further tonight:
Ghouls and ghosts may wander at will.
Perhaps there’s nobody there after all,
But the mind won’t believe that, cannot be still.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016



Cool, calm, short winter day,
Wood, waste, weeds on the fire,
Cleaning up garden detritus,
Piling them on the pyre.

Flames flicking, licking the leaves,
Smouldering, spluttering, smoking,
Throwing out gases and fumes,
Wheezing, coughing and choking.

Eyes watering and damp,
Smoke and steam in the air,
Getting too near the fierce heat,
Singeing eyebrows and hair.

Leaves and branches catching,
Wood crackling, bark cracking,
Twigs breaking, snapping,
Greying and blacking.

Consumed by the inferno,
Noises quite troubling.
Sap escaping and hissing,
Oozing, boiling and bubbling.

Feeding the fire, adding the fuel,
Working through the waiting stash.
Destroying everything fed to it,
Reducing all to glimmering ash.

What’s rotten, what’s rubbish,
Infestations of grubs and of bugs,
Contagions of parasites,
Creepy-crawlies and slugs.

Logs gently hunkering down,
As they slowly dismember.
Fire blazing, burning and charring,
Settling to black and red ember.

Now a rising smoke signal,
Showing the task as complete,
Nature’s waste products,
Disappearing in that searing heat.

Cleansing, cleaning, clearing,
Consuming, eating with ease,
Twisting, turning and burning,
Killing off the rot and disease.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 14 March 2016

Roundway Hill

Roundway Hill

Sitting at last, gathering breath,
From the hard climb up the track,
Staring across the ancient landscape,
Allowing myself at last to look back
Towards the far village steeple,
Rising through late morning haze,
Shimmering in the distance,
Attracting my sun-dazzled gaze.

Calves and feet gently aching,
Boots well covered in fine dust,
Kicked up by my plodding progress
Through the chalk’s crumbling crust.
Orchids peer shyly through the long grass
Of this upland meadow where calmly I wait,
Tiny, quick flashes of colour,
Right down the track to the gate.

Butterflies dance in gaudy profusion,
Fluttering round, ignoring the heat,
And a fox flees into the wood,
Less than fifty yards from my seat.
Far below me, down in the cornfield,
Seeming like dots, are boxing hares,
Standing, running, darting and feinting,
Pre-occupied with Spring-mating cares.

Recovered, exhaling slowly,
Back on my feet, I continue the climb,
The steady tramp, tramp of the boots,
Marking out the rhythm of time.
Head gently clearing, eyes lifting,
Up to the summit of the long hill,
Driving my aching legs forward,
With the sheer force of my will.

No thought for the tension and stress,
That can clutter my mind these days:
Exhaustion drives it all out,
And calms my soul in so many ways.
Daily detoxification
Can be found on this high ground,
And the tiredness of an aching body,
Works like a drug, leaving me sound.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 13 March 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 13th March 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 13th March 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:

1.       A row has erupted among members of the Parish Council regarding reported comments made by a woman in the chip shop last week.  It is alleged that the woman, dressed in a thick coat, headscarf and sensible stockings, voiced the opinion that Bromham should leave the Wiltshire Union (Brexit).  The source of the leak for this information is not known, but several PC members feel that anything said in the privacy of the chip shop queue should remain in the chip shop.  Others felt that the woman should have remained independent, and should not have voiced her opinion in the first place.  The price of chips has not been affected.

2.       The leader of the Brassicas Sub-Committee, Boris “Flashmob” Piglet has denounced a memo released by his own office forbidding other members of the sub-committee from discussing sprouts and kale in any terms which might be interpreted as contradicting Boris’s own views on cabbages, at least in public.  Boris has now said that views on ruby chard and cauliflowers may be expressed in free way.  A new memo has now been issued, countermanding the first memo, although Boris claimed that the first memo had never been issued, but that if it had been issued, it shouldn’t have been, and he didn’t agree with it anyway.  A third memo is to be issued denying the existence of the first memo.  Fred “Fingernails” Piglet, who works in Bromham’s brassica fields, has not been affected.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Old Age Non-Pensioner

Old-Age Non-Pensioner (or Growing Old Disgracefully)

I’ve just reached a certain age now,
But I have to tell you the truth:
As you can all plainly see before you,
I’m still in the first flush of my youth.

For age affects us all in different ways,
There’s no use in trying to hide:
It’s time to get out & declare it:
I’ve become a member of Grey Pride!

I may have to go for a medical,
And lay on the doctor’s bed all prostrate.
I’ll hear the snap of the marigolds,
When he’s about to inspect my prostate.

There’ll blood & urine samples to give:
It’s really not very nice.
I’ll be told “Stop smoking, and drink less,
And take more exercise”.

For I’ve got to keep healthy,
To avoid increasing debility.
Keep my mind & body active,
And ward off approaching senility.

I’ll get increasingly forgetful,
As I become a bit of a part-timer.
I’ll try to keep mentally agile,
And avoid contracting Alzheimers.

There’ll be hardened arteries to cope with,
As I approach age fifty seven,
But to help me at home these days,
I’ve got a Stannah stairlift to heaven.

I can look forward deafness,
And eye-sight that grows ever dimmer,
But at least I won’t need a road test
To go for a spin with my Zimmer.

With spreading waist, dodgy knees & joints,
The outlook’s increasingly “grey”,
And every day I’ve noticed,
That my toe-nails seem further away.

I’ve become follically challenged:
At least that’s what they say that it’s called,
But when I was that much younger,
They just used to say you were bald.

As more of my body parts stop working,
And my memory I’m starting to doubt,
I’m falling prey to more illnesses:
The wheezing, the coughing – and, of course, gout.

 But I’m told that I’m a silver surfer.
My computer has got lots of ROM,
And now I can get a subscription
On a site called

And there are some compensations,
Which come as quite a relief,
For whatever else I might be losing,
You know I’ve still got my own teeth.

So I’m going to grow older disgracefully,
And go out without my glasses.
I’ll probably get lost in the High Street,
And start chasing the older lasses.

But now I guess it’s off to Help The Aged,
To seek some help & dedication.
So I’ll see you all sometime later:
It’s time to take my medication.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 11 March 2016

C'mon Charlie!

C’mon Charlie!

C’mon, Charlie, there’s a good lad!  Go on, my son!  Get stuck in there!
Don’t let him get past you!  He’s only got two left feet!  He’s a great lump of lard!  Tackle him, go on!  Don’t let him pass!.......Oh, unlucky, Charlie!  C’mon, son, get back up – it’s only a bit of mud!

C’mon, Charlie, move up!  Move up!  Get involved in the game!  Create some space!
That’s it!  Good lad, c’mon, you can do it……..oh!!!  Never mind, c’mon, don’t worry about it – he just got lucky, that’s all.  Lucky tackle!!!

C’mon, Charlie, you’ve got it!  Go on, son, take ‘em on, you can do it!........Oh! Referee!!  Did you see that!  Foul!  You must be blind if you didn’t see that!   Call yourself a referee?  You’re a bloody disgrace!  My boy could have been crippled by a tackle like that!  What sort of decision was that?

C’mon, Charlie, keep moving.  Remember – you’ve got to make space off the ball.  Make yourself available!  Over here, Charlie, over here!.....No, not over there, son, over here…..No, no, now you’re out of position… their winger!  Watch their winger!!......Oh, and now they’ve gone and scored!.......  Well, of course they have, Charlie, you were right out of position,son!

C’mon, Charlie, you’re only three-nil down – still plenty of time yet!  C’mon, you don’t see West Ham getting down-hearted when they go three-nil down, do you?.....Well, alright, sometimes they do, but that’s West Ham for you, isn’t it?  Or Man United?  ……..Yes, I know they never go three-nil down, but that’s not the point…….

C’mon Charlie, pass it, pass it!  To your Number Seven!  Look – he’s in acres of space!  Give it to him, give it to him!.......Not like that!  Now you’ve given it away again!  Didn’t you see the Number Seven?  ………Vision, Charlie, you’ve gotta have vision!  Remember what your coach told you last week?  ……If you can’t apply what you’re learning, there’s no point me paying for lessons is there?  God knows, they cost enough!  And your mother complaining all the time……

C’mon, Charlie, look it’s no use crying!  Don’t let the others see you crying!  They’ll think you’re not hard enough.  They’ll think you’re not up to it.  You don’t see David Beckham crying, do you?.....Well, yes, he does cry sometimes, but that’s not the point…….

C’mon, Charlie – you’re clean through!  Go on, my son!  Shoot!  Shoot!......Oh, what a lucky save!  Oi, goal-keeper!  Goal-keeper!  Yes, you, goal-keeper – that was a jammy save, that was, jammy!  How you got away with that, I’ll never know.  My boy had you beat there……just a shame he pushed it wide at the last moment.  Any other time, that’d been a goal.  You jammy bugger!

C’mon, Charlie, it’s no use blaming your new boots!  Of course they’re not too big!  You’ll grow into them!  Didn’t you wear the extra pair of socks, like I told you to?......’Cos they were a bloody bargain, they were, that’s why.  Lot of lads would be glad to have a pair of boots like that.  No! – you are not going to tell your mother!  I forbid it, d’you hear?  Just get on with it, and stop moaning, will you?

C’mon, Charlie, you can still do it…….what?  What’s happening?  The coach has pulled you off?  Unbelievable!  No!  No!  That’s not possible!  …….Coach!....Coach!.....Yes you!  What the hell do you think you’re doing, pulling my boy off like that?  Best player on the pitch – by miles, you plonker, by bloody miles!  What sort of coach are you, anyway?......Right!  Right!...Well, I don’t have to stay and listen to that sort of abuse.   Oh, yeh?....You and whose army?....OK, OK, I’m going.

C’mon, Charlie – get changed and showered, we’re going home!  Yes, we can get a pizza on the way.  But don’t tell your mother……

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016