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Sunday, 31 July 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 31st July 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 31st July 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Uncertainty rules the village this week-end as residents try to come to terms with the decision of the Parish Council to look again at the project to build an anaerobic digester at Piglet Farm.  Experts have questioned the economics, and the technical feasibility, of the whole scheme but local people are worried about the one job that may (or may not) be created there.  If built, the digester would supply up to 1% of the farm’s power needs.  The other 99% would continue to be derived from “greener” carrot-mangling methods.

2.       A number of people have been spotted in the village with their heads down, staring at the floor and all around, before running off laughing wildly in pursuit of imaginary creatures.  Whilst this has long been a feature for what passes as NFB (“normal for Bromham”) for some individuals, the latest manifestation has involved large groups of younger people.  Upon further investigation it has been found that The Wounded Ferret has been serving a new stronger cider (“tramp juice”) to the village’s younger clientele.

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, 30 July 2016

A Poem For Gail

A Poem For Gail

Who’s that haunting all the houses?
Running along on one of her rambles,
Barrelling down the Brittox,
And shaking down the Shambles?

Who’s that chasing round the churchyards?
Snapping angels, walking over bones,
Camera and notebook to hand,
And gandering at the gravestones?

Who’s the gnostic at the altar rail?
In her weeds and flowing dress,
Of great renown, throughout D-Town,
Challenging us all to think and guess?

Who’s that performing in The Bear and The Lamb?
Living life hard to find the thrill,
Then cycling through the country,
And running right up Roundway Hill?

Who’s the Phantom on Fantasy?
Or throttling along on the Thirty-Three,
That multi-coloured crazy diamond –
Whoever can it be?

Talking for the helpless and the homeless?
Stories of users, and pictures of dolls,
Fearless, gobby, telling it like it is,
Fighting back, and trouncing the trolls?

A long life, and well lived-in?
Of drugs and drink, sacred and profane,
The mistress of the Market Place,
Keeping the rest of us honest and sane?

In her guise, around The Vize she cries,
A poetess who’s prepared to shout and wail,
Don’t try to mess, unless you’d press
The Fighting Force of Nature that is Gail.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 29 July 2016



I’ve never really understood you
Or known what you might want
You just sit there year after year, implacably the same
Never growing or shrinking
Your pale green flesh all sheeny shiny
Bristling with hairs and spikes
A defensive exterior
Always showing to the world

But do you have a tender side to your prickly nature?
Is there a more succulent inner plant
That is cool and moist, sweet and gentle
Wet and watery
That you reveal to your very closest friends?

I confess I don’t know how to love you
When you just stare straight back at me
No signal of your feelings, nor flower of happiness
You give me so little response
That I often wonder
What it is it you’re waiting for

To me, you seem so undemanding
As if you do not even need me
I cannot comprehend your desires
Sitting in your arid pot and saucer
Happy in your desert dryness
Thriving on my neglect

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Doll's House

A Doll’s House   
Observe the finest detail
Of this perfect, tiny, tidy showcase
Everything in its rightful place
Sitting silently
Waiting for someone larger than life itself
To call, to come and play
To bring activity and energy
Into this lifeless land

See how carefully the maker has toiled
How exactly his model replicates reality
With its inter-connected rooms
Its attics, basements and cellars
Doors and floors, halls and walls
A side that opens to the outside
Revealing to wider inspection
That anyone may peer inside
With a genial God-like presence
And watch the goings-on
Of this toy-land territory
Made in matchless miniature

Look how finely-wrought the furniture
The kitchen’s pixie pots and pans
Woollen carpets and silver cutlery
Notice how small the figures
Stiffened little people
Tiny tokens of a household
Scaled-down and smaller than any doll
But still too large to be in right proportion
To the rest of their wooden world

How beautiful, how ideal it all appears
And yet how quiet, dusty and dormant
And how empty this small community
Undisturbed by cries of living children
A shining showpiece
That is a house and yet not a home

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Application For The Role Of England Manager

Hard to believe that the FA have appointed Sam Allardyce as England football manager when they haven't even replied to my application letter.

Application For The Role Of England Manager

Dear Sir,

I would like to apply for the currently vacant role of England Football Manager.

I am ideally suited for this position for the following reasons:

1.       Player well-being – I am currently working as a care assistant in a local Nursery School.  I therefore have extensive experience of dealing with tantrums, bad behaviour and pupils who will simply not do as they are told. I am also familiar with dummies being spat out, pupils getting out of their prams, and clearing up piles of crap.  Also, what I don’t know about dribbling is not worth knowing.
2.       Tactics – as I have been teaching the children to count, I will have no problems with 4-3-3, 4-2-4, 5-3-2 or any other combinations which the role may be required to deal with.  It only adds up to ten or eleven, whichever way you look at it.  How hard can it be?
3.       Daily routine – I understand that the players only turn up for part of the day, most of which is involved in socialising with each other, dressing up in costumes, playing games, getting in the bath and then going home in the middle of the afternoon.  This does not apply at week-ends, and there are long holidays.  This is the same routine as at the Nursery, so no issue there.
4.       Leaving early – the Nursery finishes at 2.30.  I gather that the England side is very familiar with making a very early exit, and I wouldn’t want to change that in any way.
5.       Personal appearance – I already own a tracksuit and a whistle which I use for games lessons, so there would be an immediate saving there.  I am familiar with pacing up and down a touchline, and with holding my head in my hands.  I am skilled in communicating with a wide range of hand signals.
6.       Scouting – obviously it would be necessary for me to learn about other teams by attending a wide range of international games abroad, and many Premiership games in the UK.  I can give you list of games I think I should attend.  Assuming that this will be at the FA’s expense, I am prepared to sacrifice my time in this way.  Just one question – will there be any personal expenses for beer and pies?  However, this could be a negotiable point.
7.       Sponsorship – I am already an extensive user of Germolene and Anusol products, and I feel that my personal experience of painful piles could be useful.  I think that these companies would make wonderful sponsors for the national squad, given the frequent invocation by long-suffering fans to “shove it up your arse”.  I could introduce you to my local pharmacist if it would help.
8.       Home & Away Strips – all those white shirts and shorts must get very dirty, and cost a lot to have cleaned.  If appointed I would change both strips to all-black – who else in World football plays in that colour?  This would have the virtue of making the team always look smart, even when they fall on their arses.  They would also be harder to see on the pitch, thus making them more difficult to play against.  In addition, my mum works at the local launderette, and can probably put the kit through the wash at a discount.  Would you like me to have a word with her?

As you can see, I’m full of positive ideas, and look forward to meeting you all to discuss the position in more detail.  The interview could be held most conveniently in the Directors’ Suite at Wembley stadium, preferably on a match-day.  I have an Oyster card, so there would be little in the way of expenses.  However, if you’d prefer to send a chauffeur-driven car I would not object.   Just for reference, regarding a good date, I’m also a big fan of rugby, American Football and major rock concerts.  I understand the Rolling Stones are due to play there on the 24th of next month – just a suggestion.

I await your reply.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Evening Colour

Evening Colour

Where the road sweeps left
Winding through the bud-heavy hedgerows
Cutting, for a moment, the view ahead
The rainfall gathers glistening
In wide, flat pools and puddles
Catching slanting rays of late Spring sun
Glittering, reflecting golden light
In blinding sheets of white

Then swinging right again
Emerging from the tree-lined tunnel
Into a greater and wider space
Which opens up the glory of the sky
So wide, deep, darkly blue
And strongly bruised
The cumulus piled up high
Above plough-roughed fields
Their thick, large-furrowed
Dungeon-black shadowed lines
Gouging through the nut-brown earth

And on the other side
The wet rich acid-green
Of freshened pasture-land
In the rolling landscape
Intense, brilliant, citrus-sharp
Where, at the field’s edge
The young calves stand near the gate
Leaning, lolling heads in to the lane
Curious, wide-eyed, lowing

And far beyond all this
On the distant, climbing fields
Wide sweeps of lemon yellow
Gashed across the scene
Their acres of alien rape-seed stalks
Drawing bolder background stripes
To brighten the glowing vista
Between the twisting road
And the massive sky

copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 25 July 2016

Attic Treasure

Attic Treasure

Into the headspace of the house
Unwitting keeper of our careless clutter
Silently sitting above us all these years
Among wires, pipes and tanks
Within piles of soft loft lagging
Lie cases and cardboard boxes
Which hold precious memories
Long suppressed, but not forgotten
 Through cobwebby threads
And the mustiness of dust
A time-capsule of bygones
Are the things of yesterdays
Which were so important many years ago
Hurriedly stashed and stored
With the best of intentions
Against some hoped-for bright new future
That did not came to pass

There, right at the back
Where the light barely penetrates
Almost hidden from view
The baby’s cot in white-and-blue
Stacked in sections under the eaves
Paint pitted and peeling
Its patterns still visible, but faded
Like the memory of a young life lost early

Toys casually collected
In the course of a shortened childhood
And kept in memoriam
A model boat, its torn sail hanging loose
A doll that still sits staring, unsmiling
Records and tapes collecting dust
Books with jackets ripped
And piles of her clothing
Quickly removed from her bedroom
And the rest of the house
Tearfully pushed out of sight
And out of mind
Before you came home again
So that you should not see them anymore

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Saturday, 23 July 2016

This Bloke I Know Is Jesus

This Bloke I Know Is Jesus

I used to see him in the queue
Most mornings at the pool
Knew him just enough to say hello
Or pass the time of day
Then, perhaps, during swimming
Or in the changing room later
A quiet, unassuming man
With nothing much to say

I didn’t notice much at first
That his beard had begun to grow
To frame his youthful face
Adding to his gravitas
Nor did I pay much attention
As Easter-tide approached
That he seemed pre-occupied
And turned more within himself

But then I saw him in the street
Bowed and bloodied
A crown of thorns upon his head
Carrying a heavy wooden cross
A crowd following, shouting
Acting out the Passion Play
And its Good Friday journey
To the Market Place Golgotha
Where he was quietly crucified
Among a staring group of people
And I had to turn away

Yet three days later he lived again
And stood there in the queue
Waiting for the pool to open
I couldn’t believe it was really him
And that he had come among us
Just a normal day with its Good Mornings
And desultory chat among the regulars
He still looked like no-one special
He seemed to be an ordinary bloke
But now I knew one more thing about him
That he was also Jesus on the side

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 21 July 2016

French Onion Soup

Recipe for: French ONION Soup


  • 100g butter
  • 1.5 kg large onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 100ml dry vermouth
  • 1.5 litres good beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves

  1. melt the butter in a large pan & stir in the onions
  2. cover & leave to cook gently on a low light, for about 30 minutes, until the onions are very tender, stirring occasionally (see below)
  3. remove the lid, stir in the sugar, raise the heat
  4. stirring now & then, continue simmering the onions until the liquid has almost gone
  5. keep cooking & stirring to stop the onions catching on the base of the pan, until the onions are a deep golden brown
  6. add the vermouth & boil it off – just a few minutes
  7. pour in the stock & add the bay leaves, salt & pepper
  8. simmer , partly covered, for another 20-30 minutes
 What else you need to know:

  1. serve in deep bowls, covered with a slice of baguette or crusty bread, sprinkled with grated Gruyere cheese – put the bowls under a hot grill to melt the cheese
  2. you need to be patient with cooking down the onions slowly, and getting a brown, caramelised effect before adding the other ingredients

Wednesday, 20 July 2016



Holding on against the tug, the pull of line,
face in shadow, back against the sun,
never daunted by tumbling thermals
but using the physics of lift and drag,
surfaces tensioned, taut
exploiting atmospheric pressure,
elemental feel and flow of forces
to climb, heavier than the air
to defy the very force of gravity
up to exhilarating height

Distant now, but still in sight,
scudding rough across the sky,
silken fabric facets flashing,
straining bamboo frame, pigtail waving,
soaring, swooping dizzying ascent,
looping , lifting, lurching,
aerial aerobic ballet, angled acrobatic flight of fancy,
unruly child who stretches and strains,
tests my strength and patience,
cannot be steered, merely guided

Its own brute force not yet marshalled,
high aloft upon the careering wind,
yanking on the leash that holds it back,
restrained and tethered by the umbilical of thinnest cord,
yet anchored to the ground,
connecting Earth and Space
with its head up in the clouds,
but my feet firmly planted on the ground

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Dead Time

Dead time

Intervals of many hours, of waiting time
With a desperate need for resolution
Endless queues to reach suspicious clerks
And hard-faced irritable jobsworths
Notes and forms to be filled and filed
The ticking of endless empty boxes
By broken-nibbed pens, licked and grubby pencils
Rough smudges, stains and crossings-out
Gentle queries evoking impatient responses
Questions with no answers, statements taken
Mouths rinsed by endless cups of tasteless tea
Brown and thin, stewed in squeaky Styrofoam
Then dried again by cigarettes that taste of straw
And the dusty smoke of tar and nicotine
To coat the lungs, to calm the fraying nerves
A day of yawns and staring at the floor
Amid the stale atmosphere of inactivity, thick and clinging
To the labyrinthine structure of slow-motion procedure
The lost papers and missed appointments
The elephantine caveats, interminable details
With no escape from the dark and gloomy horror
Just the dour and dreary nightmare
A boredom borrowed from hell
A never-ending ennui, a depth of tiredness
The unremitting tedium of waiting, waiting
Hanging about and hanging on
In cobwebbed and dusty corridors
Of peeling paint and shuttered doors
Which hide nameless administrative men
Yet hanging on to the slowly-evaporating hope of a mite of progress
The becalmed, motionless, meaningless measurement of time
Watching clocks that do not move
Their hands surrendered to a standstill
Where seconds, minutes and hours mean nothing
With nowhere else to go

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Beer Twat's Guide To Real Ale

Twattery (the guide to Real Ale)

Welcome to this Real Ale hostelry,
With sixteen hand-pumps covering the bar.
All the beers are from local breweries,
The town’s biggest selection by far.

We’ve got none of your mass-produced stuff here,
Your taste-buds we’d hate to traduce -
There’s no alcopops or fizzy lagers,
Nor ciders, which we refer to as “tramp juice”.

No it’s all hand-made in back-street facilities,
By dedicated brewers with a passion,
Using old, weird and arcane recipes,
To meet modern taste and the new fashion.

With a single-minded pursuit of excellence,
Artisanal, unfiltered and unpasteurised,
Producing ales of such esoteric taste,
That as beer it’s hardly recognised.

They only use the best of ingredients -
Water, barley, hops and some yeast -
To create flavours that range from the gentle,
Via strong, right through to some beasts.

Take Bodgington’s Skull-Cracker for example:
It comes out as eight percent ABV -
A few pints of that and I promise you,
Next day you’ll hardly be able to see.

Or that Death-Rattle IPA:
So strong you have to drink it in shots.
It’s pure, unrefined and organic,
And in the morning it gives you the trots.

There’s Wazzington’s latest offering:
It’s a double-mocha coffee-infused porter -
Drink three pints of this wonderful brew,
And your legs won’t work like they oughter.

I could go on wittering, about methods of bittering,
Of Black Stouts, and Pale, Red and Brown Ales,
Of secondary in-cask fermentation,
Which makes natural gas without fail.

About top, bottom and late hopping,
How it sings on the palate and amuses the nose,
Its aroma can induce a coma,
But sometimes that’s the way that it goes.
Then, of course, there’s Futtocks’ Dog-Beater,
A session ale that goes down rather well -
It’s a bloody good beer, that makes you feel queer,
And gives you the hangover from Hell.

My favourite, though, is Bowel-Wrecker:
It’s subtle, amusing, and quite Gluten-Free,
But it does smell like a wrestler’s armpit,
And, if not kept well, tastes of stale pee.

Last night we had a bit of a lock-in,
Tried our best to drink the place dry:
I must have had sixteen pints to my name -
I’m not feeling too good – can’t understand why.

So don’t tell me I don’t know about Real Ale -
I’ll drink anything that calls itself “craft”,
I won’t touch water or soft drinks -
No thanks – d’you think that I’m daft?

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 17 July 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 17th July 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 17th July 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Life is returning to normal on the street of Bromham this morning after the failure of an attempted coup by Seend Separatist fighters.  Tractors and muck-spreaders were seen in the lanes as villagers came out in a show of support and solidarity for the ruling Parish Council.  Sporadic gunfire was heard, but that might have been Jez Piglet doing a spot of poaching in the lower meadow, and the occasional rick was set ablaze, but we cannot rule out Saturday night high jinx from the village Yoof.  The new leader of the PC, Teresa Green, has promised a swift and severe clamp-down on unruly elements.  She said the she would deal very severely with leaders of the coup too.

2.       The new Parish Councillor for non-Bromham relations, Boris “Bojo” Piglet has laid out the main aspects of his foreign policy.  In a speech yesterday he said, ‘Crikey! Well, me hearties, look here, we’re going to have to speak to Johnny Foreigner in firm tones, don’t you know?  Cripes!  But it’s nothing a stiff course in Whiff-whaff won’t sort out, of course, but can’t be too careful with these non-Bromham sorts.  Huzzah!’  Several foreign legations welcomed the speech in principle, but have asked for a clear translation before commenting further.

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, 16 July 2016

Back To The Future

Back To The Future

So the people have cast their votes,
And have said that they’d rather leave -
It’s not for us to question their wisdom,
Nor for us to weep, and wail, and grieve.

It’s all about moving forward,
About carrying on and doing our best,
On our lonesome journey onwards,
As the Sun sets out there in the West.

A farewell to France – Au Revoir!
To Germany – Auf Wiedersehen, pet!
And it’s Arrivederci, Roma!
Our backwards course is surely set.

We’re filling in the Channel Tunnel,
Re-instating Britain as a separate nation:
The new borders will begin at Dover,
As we clamp down on all that immigration.

So we’re going back to Peak Britannia,
To a nostalgic land that time forgot,
Where There’ll Always Be An England,
And an Englishman was happy with his lot.

The land of Shakespeare, Milton and Dickens,
Nelson, Wellington, Churchill and Blake,
Turner, the Brontes and Donald Campbell,
And Barnes Wallis’s bombs bouncing across the lake.

John Logie Baird, Baden-Powell and his scouts,
Danny Blanchflower and Bobby Moore,
When England were still good at football,
And Geoff Hurst still knew how to score!

Let’s get back to Colman’s Mustard, Double Diamond, Brylcreme, Berni Inns, Bisto and Bovril!
Cream teas, scones and jam, kippers, and pork pies,
Let’s re-discover Bournevita, Ovaltine and Cocoa,
And Guinness Is Good For You, and all those other lies.

A land of country lanes and ivy-covered cottages,
Of Henley, Wimbledon, Ascot and Aintree,
Bowler hats, and furled umbrellas and Land Rovers,
Of the WI, and Jam & Jerusalem as far as the eye can see.

But why leave it there, when there’s further still to go?
A return to Public Baths and library tickets,
A land of fog, and flat caps, and fish & chips,
And old diseases, such as polio and rickets.
Our national game shall once again be cricket,
There’ll be warm beer, whippets and village fetes,
Decimalisation will be abolished,
And gasometers paid for by the rates.

There’ll be no more Brussels sprouts for us,
But bent cucumbers, and rugger at Twickers,
Bring back flogging and National Service,
Arthritis, false teeth, corsets and big knickers.

Twenty Woodbines and hacking smokers’ coughs,
The National Coal Board and British Steel,
Little boys climbing up our chimneys,
And in the one-and-nines for the Pathe Newsreel.

There’ll be long queues at the Welsh & Scottish borders,
To dismantle the Union would be barmy,
But we’ll enjoy again all those “Carry On” films,
And the endless repeats of Dads’ Army.

Yes, we’re casting off in splendid isolation,
We’re going hunting to see what we might find,
An island nation drifting in the North Atlantic,
We’re all at sea now – but Never Mind!

Then we’ll sit alone in the last outpost of Empire,
Racked by bronchitis and diseases of that kind,
Happy in our Land of Hope And Glory,
John Bull and Never Mind!

Soon they’ll build the Deportation Camps,
And round up every foreigner they can find,
Even if you’ve got a Spanish grand-mother,
Cry Little England, and Never Mind!

Sweep out the Anderson Shelter,
Get the shelves with cans and candles lined,
Let’s hope the toilet paper lasts for many years,
Carry On and Never Mind!
At last we’ll “Have Our Country Back”,
For that the Brexiteers have signed,
Roamed by Mad Dogs And Englishmen,
Good-bye Johnny Foreigner but Never Mind!

So let’s get the Union Jack up that flagpole,
And welcome to the nostalgia for which we’ve pined,
Let’s Keep Calm And Carry On,
It’s All Our Yesterdays, but Never Mind!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 15 July 2016

I Am A Computer

I Am A Computer

Of course I’m not devoid of emotion
How could you have such a notion?
It’s just that I not sure what I should do,
I’m struggling to interface with you
It’s a situation that’s not very clear
For we’re no longer working peer-to-peer
I find your instructions a distraction
I can’t work with such a transaction
I think we’re both in a rut
I’m struggling for throughput
I don’t have the bandwidth to cater
For crunching through all of your data

I continue to love you, but
There’s too little input/ output
The calculation is completely mine
But I think I need more time offline
I’m no longer feeling alive
I think I’m losing all of my hard drive
My ROM feels like a time-bomb
My RAM’s in a jam
You see - the pattern all fits –
Can’t you see I’m in bits?
I need time for some healing
To process every feeling
I don’t want to be seen
As if I’m just a blue-screen
Our programme’s gone crappy
Our chat’s not snappy
And my software’s not ‘appy
I feel I’ve run out of luck
And I just can’t face Book
I’m feeling rather demented
My memory’s very fragmented
I stare out of the Windows
We ought to do well, we ought to Excel
Haven’t you heard? What is the Word?
Let’s try and find the lost chord
In the letters of our keyboard
I don’t want us to fail
I’m a male and you’re my e-mail
So let’s get off the fence
And use our broad-band of experience
Let’s take a byte out of storage’s root
Let’s try to re-start and re-boot
We don’t want to calculate with some terror
And end up with an Unknown Error!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 14 July 2016

"This Toilet Is Out Of Order"

“This Toilet Is Out Of Order”

The note was quite simple, but ambiguous,
A statement of fact, or merely an opinion?
Was it not working, or had it simply gone too far?
Was it un-functional, or had it overstepped the mark?
I knew it was very inconvenient to come to this,
But was it, or was it not, taking the piss?
Had I stepped into a linguistic trap?
Was it not taking, or just giving out, a lot of crap?
Apologies are all very well for having no loo,
But when one’s desperate, what should one do?
Not just number one, but also number two?

Like someone from Eastenders,
It’s easy to say “leave it – it’s not worf it!”
But if bladder and bowels are holding a surfeit
Of matter that needs to be voided,
The lavatory can hardly be avoided!

I had a new thought, and it were this:
It made me wonder what else may be amiss,
What else had failed in ability?
To work well within that facility?
Because you see,
Apart from spending one pee,
It’s not just the WC,
What else could there be?
Had the wash-basin gone down the drain?
Was the bidet running hot and cold?
Was the bath too full of itself?
And as for the shower,
Should we just draw a curtain over that?
I was not a loofah to any of this,
I didn’t want any flannel,
Nor anyone to give me the soft-soap treatment.
I was completely awash with emotions,
As I stood there, outside of the Gents:
I just hated to be flushed with such disappointments!

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Poetitis - A Public Health Warning

Poetitis – A Public Health Warning

There’s an epidemic sweeping the nation,
A disease that’s only going to get worse,
Cos of these poetry competitions and slams,
And those that have been exposed to… verse.

It’s a socially-transmitted disease,
And the oral tradition of which I write is
Derived from having unprotected sestets,
And it’s got the medical name of “poetitis”.

Once a rarefied condition suffered only by poets,
But now everyone has deciphered the code,
Through limericks, and haikus, and sonnets,
It’s now as prevalent as The Common Ode.

No longer the preserve of the Bards,
Its causes are certainly not vague,
Its symptoms are debilitating,
And couplets get spread like The Plague.

Public Health England has issued a warning,
That sticking to prose is no longer a barrier:
Once you start worrying about metre,
You’re probably a contagious carrier.

The best treatment is isolation,
But that’s easier done than said.
It only takes a careless quatrain,
For the virus to be much further spread.

For poets tend not to be continent,
With their infectious sense of bad timing -
Before you know it there’s iambic pentameter,
And a constant tendency to rhyming.

So take the right steps and be careful,
Behave, now you know what course the right is,
Avoid those mad, raving rhymesters,
And save yourself from “poetitis”.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Sorry - An All-Purpose Apology

Sorry – An All-Purpose Apology

Ladies and gentlemen – listen to me please:
There’s a reason that I’ve come here today,
And it’s with a very heavy heart,
That I must spit out what it is that I have to say.

I’m deeply sorry for what has happened,
It really should not have occurred.
If there was any way to undo what is done,
I think that’s what I’d have preferred.

But we are, unfortunately, where we are:
I have to speak of something that’s not good -
My only plea in slight mitigation,
Is that I was misunderstood.

My retraction is totally unreserved,
I hope that any bad feelings can be paused,
I’m looking for some forgiveness here,
And I’m sorry for any offence that I caused.

I may have given a false impression,
Of what it was that I really meant.
I suppose that I may have mis-spoken,
That my words came out all tangled and bent.

These situations can cause such ill-feeling,
When one party ends up being offended,
So I hope that we can draw a line under this now,
And that any misunderstanding is ended.

It’s shame-faced that I stand here before you,
I’m not feeling proud you can bet,
And it’s been a great learning experience,
When all I’ve got to express is regret.

So let’s clear the air if we can -
Banish ill-will and things of that guise
I haven’t the foggiest what I’m supposed to have done
But, nevertheless, I’d like to apologise.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 11 July 2016


This poem is dedicated to all those who grow their own.  We've all been there, haven't we?


It’s a great life having an allotment,
To get your muscles and sinews to harden -
Your produce can be all fresh and organic,
And you can have your own market garden.

Of course it’s much more than we can possibly eat,
So there’s loads of it left over, you can bet -
In fact there’s simply too many to use -
Could I possibly offer you a courgette?

There’s so many ways that you can use them:
In a flan, or perhaps in a quiche, if you’re in Surrey,
As vegetable wine, or maybe in salad,
Or chopped up small in a nice curry.

No, really, we’ve got absolute sack-fulls,
And I’d be forever in your debt.
Try them hot-roasted, or thinly toasted,
But, please, just take a courgette?

You can’t really moan, they’re completely home-grown,
But I’ll admit that one’s turned into a marrow.
You won’t believe your eyes, it’s of magnificent size,
And it completely fills up a barrow!

We can’t keep up with the harvest, you see,
There’s hundreds of them filling our hut -
All of dubious quality, but such a huge quantity,
You could say that we’re dealing with glut.

We’ve wept and we’ve cried,
We’ve moaned and we’ve sighed:
The recipes we’ve tried, cannot be denied
Some we couldn’t abide,
We’ve even had them fried!
My friend said he’d had some…. but he lied!
Then proceeded to run off and hide,
And his wife shut the door, and pretended he’d died!

Honestly – these critters are lovely as fritters
How persuasive do I have to get?
Go on – you know that you want one -
Just help me out – and have a courgette?

To be honest - the whole patch is over-fruitful:
We’ve got tons of tomatoes, and bundles of beans,
There’s pounds of potatoes, and boxes of beetroot,
We’ve got shed-loads of leeks, and copious carrots,
Plus oodles of onions and pot-loads of peas,

But of all these wonderful veggies,
There’s only one that makes me upset,
So, after all of the seeding and weeding and feeding,
Go on – treat yourself - have a courgette!

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 10 July 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 10th July 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 10th July 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       After an amazing, and frankly ludicrous, week in parish politics we now know one clear thing – the next leader of the Field Land-Owners’ Party (FLOP), and therefore Leader of the Parish Council, will be another bumpkin.  After three rounds of pass-the-parcel only two locals were still standing – Tweedle-dee Piglet and Tweedle-dum Piglet.  The names of these two bumpkins will now be put to the wider village electorate.  An attempt to settle the matter by the two candidates fighting each other in a mud-wrestling contest was stopped on the grounds of decency and taste.

2.       After a record-breaking journey of almost 45 minutes, the Bromham deep-Wiltshire road-probe, Tractor 5, was successfully woken from its electronic and mechanical slumber, and is now in steady orbit around the Trowbridge one-way system.  A number of wide orbits will be undertaken in an attempt to discover more about how Trowbridge first came into existence in the dawn of time.  Photographic evidence and elemental samples of traffic film will be sent back to the Command Centre in Bromham, where scientists will scan the materials for any signs of intelligent life.

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, 9 July 2016



Emerging through a hole in the fence
Beneath the shadow-harbouring trees
Along a daily-travelled route
He trots confidently into the open
Pausing in his transit of the track-way
To stop and take stock of his world

No creeping, crawling, skulking specimen
Engaged in crepuscular activities
But bold as brass
In broad daylight
A huge dog-fox in full fig
Confident, setting the world at defiance
Unafraid, un-hunted and un-hurried

Muzzle hanging open, panting gently
His eyes glint and flash
Reflecting late afternoon sunlight
Wild, alert, fiercely alive
Nose, ears at full attention
Looking, listening
Appraising useful scents
Carried on the breeze
The direction, the lie of the land
And prospects for further hunting
Scavenging forays
Among local hen-houses
And rabbit-burrows
Which lie within his rural realm

Head turning slowly
His guileless glance moves
Towards the exact point
Where I silently watch
Hardly daring to breathe
His steady stare
Burning into my eyes

Then, hearing the distant vixen
Nursing quarrelsome cubs
Calling to him from the earth
He slips away, back among the trees
With a flamboyant flash of tail
As if he had never been there

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 8 July 2016

Sunday School

Sunday School

The dead time after Sunday lunch
Lies heavy on the day
As Dad sits reading his paper
Absorbing sordid stories of fights and fornication
Waiting for the house to fall to rest
While Mum does her fussing about
Busy, but pre-occupied
About the coming afternoon alone with Dad
Washing and wiping my face
Polishing my appearance
Dressing me up in Sunday Best
Transforming a rowdy child into a little angel
A reflection of a clean and happy home

Sent off through the silent streets
On my best behaviour
To walk to Sunday School
And receive religious education
With a promise of sweets if I’m good
And possible Hell if I’m bad
But definitely no tea
And early to bed

A Methodist Chapel built in stone
Soot-blackened among the houses
Its grey doors opening into the hall
Of musty smells and dusty floors
Little classrooms with metal-frame windows
Hard chairs and benches
Just like proper school, but less fun
Cheerless and comfortless
To hear stories, miracles and parables
Chapter and verse
Read from a black-backed bible
Of Jesus and Jerusalem
Mary and Joseph
And the meaning of love for one another

Then, topped up with goodness for another week
Running home for some play before tea
To strain the last dregs from the day
And wake Mum and Dad from their afternoon lie-down

No interest in what I’ve been doing
The hymn-singing and prayers
Nor the collection for the missionaries in Africa
But a strained atmosphere at the tea-table
Mum walking on eggshells again
And Dad not speaking, staring hard into the fire

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016