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Wednesday, 31 August 2016



Your back arches slightly
Settling into my confident embrace
As we take our turn around the floor
Dancing late into the night
Under the sparkling necklace
Of deck-lights
Flickering in the breeze
Reflected across the silent sea

Your hand squeezes mine tightly
To tell me that you are happy
With my commanding movement
My manicured appearance
My attentive service
And my obvious devotion

You murmur quietly
That we make a lovely couple
Despite the difference in our ages
Dressed to impress
Our smiling faces
Turned to the world
The envy of others

You tread lightly
Calm and collected
For tonight you may have anything
Whatever you desire
My time is completely yours
To do with as you please
I whisper what you wish to hear

My nightly work
Professional and paid-for
Personal and discreet
Tailored to your requirements
And whatever you can afford

You have your life
And I have mine
We are both content
With the nature of our transaction
But there can only be this evening
And we do not ask each other
Too many questions

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Lonesome Tonight

In memoriam for the sad loss of Lonesome George, the last of the tortoise sub-species Chelonoidis Nigra Abingdoni, who died suddenly in the Galapagos back in July 2012.

Lonesome Tonight

He survived the pirates and whalers,
the seal-hunters and invading goats;
he out-lasted all the invaders,
as they came to Galapagos in boats.
For large tortoises are valuable things,
eaten for food and killed for their oil.
He was the last of his sub-species,
the last one to walk on Santa Cruz soil.

Declared the rarest animal on Earth,
to see him the tourists were attracted.
They came daily in their great hordes,
but this his habitat badly impacted.
They moved him to a new island,
for to study him they wanted to try,
to give him a better chance of mating,
hoping that he wouldn’t be shy.

They brought him females over from Pinta,
but to bachelor habits he seemed wed;
he avoided all of these ladies’ wiles,
and not one did he take to his bed.
Although there was reputedly just one,
a small one that seemed very well-met,
but it was just a case of bad eye-sight:
turned out to be an old German helmet.

Mind you, he weighed over two hundred pounds;
his neck was three foot long and well scrawny,
and with a shell all tattered and beaten,
no wonder the girls didn’t feel horny.
But perhaps he was bored, or infertile,
or there’s a faint chance he was gay -
either way, there was no breeding took place,
so that’s the end of his legacy I’d say.

He was about a hundred years old,
so perhaps he just ran out of steam.
It’s hard being a lonely old reptile,
when there’s no-one else on your team.
No longer will Time be marked in his eyes,
or ten million years that he’s been linked.
This strange evolutionary remnant,
this last of the line, now sadly extinct.

Let’s mourn this sad loss of diversity,
the weirdest that Nature could forge:
good-bye to a conservation icon,
and a fond farewell to old Lonesome George.
It’s another bad sign of the times,
to see the end of George’s life-flight,
But isn’t the truth of the matter that,
it’s really us that’s “lonesome tonight”?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 29 August 2016

Empty House

Empty House

I may have been mistaken
When I heard another door
At the far side of this room quietly closing
At the very second I entered
Leaving someone else’s breath
A feeling of their presence
Within the empty space

Yet there is nothing here
Except this puzzling void
Pregnant with the possibility
That the designer of these rooms
Is inside this labyrinth
And may still be here walking somewhere
Just beyond where I can see

The next door is locked
The handle rattling in my hand
And I must retrace my weary steps
Back from an unexpected cul-de-sac
Only to think that he is now behind me
Yet when I turn to face him
There is no-one there

His elusive presence troubles me
As I seek him out without success
For whilst it may appear
That our paths must have crossed
At some time upon my search
I cannot find any clear sign
That he was ever really here

At times I believe that I am quite alone
Inside this deserted edifice
Yet then I hear faint sounds
Just beyond where I am standing
Which defy all definition

I worry at this illusion in my mind
The elaborate trickery
Or circularity of perception
Turning round upon itself
Allowing me to almost see
Myself disappearing

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 28 August 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 28th August 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 28th August 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Religious sensibilities have been heightened in Bromham this week.  On Monday the Parish Council decided to ban the wearing of baler-twine as a means of holding up men’s trousers, citing the fact that baler-twine can be seen by some sections of village society as an “incitement” to commit violence.  Viewers around the world had been shocked by video footage of Bromham’s policeman, Consternoon Afterble, requesting workers in the fields to remove their baler-twine.   However, on Tuesday, this ban was over-ruled in Bromham’s High Court on the grounds that the whole idea was basically a load of bollocks. 

2.       Bromham residents will be holding their traditional Bank Holiday Olympics this week-end.  This will include the 50m dash (back into the house to avoid the downpours), the 5-mile queue (on the motorway), the long-jump (over the mud and puddles), the men’s hammer (and nails to build the shed), the ladies’ invitation screw-driver (don’t ask), and the floor exercises (post-Disco at the pub).

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, 27 August 2016



Her leg hangs languidly
Over the side of the lounger
Above long- forgotten drinks
Their ice melted in the heat
On the light-bright surface
Of the blinding polished deck
Amid a tangle of abandoned magazines
Crumpled pages colour-bleached
Lost beneath the relentless, blazing sun

The yacht wallows gently
Shallowed near the shore
Warm water cradled
Swinging slowly round
Shifting position, drifting with the tide
In the heat-baked afternoon
Where nothing stirs
And there is not a breath of air
Nor any breeze to cool the burning day

Suddenly aroused, the girl looks intently
Towards the shimmering island
Alert to its spice-infused aromas
Believes she hears it calling
Feels the bow pull against the chain
Dragging the light anchor
Through the soft white sand
Beneath the gin-clear water
Where acid-blue fish dart
Between shafts of flickering sunlight

She aches to step ashore
To feel the firm-ness of the Earth
Beneath her naked feet
A home to hold on to
A fixed point within her orbit
Un-shifting, unchanging
A steady, stable foundation
Where she could remain
Upon which she might build a life
And feel that she had finally arrived
At some long hoped-for destination

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 26 August 2016


Waiting (to be served at the bar)

I pushed my way through the throng to the bar, my ears assailed by drink-induced sound.
I’d put off it off as long as I could – but it was my turn to get in the next round.
Two lagers, two beers and a Guinness: I knew that this wouldn’t be cheap,
But when I’d found my way to the target, I saw that they were standing three deep.

I waited, I wheedled and I pushed, I wormed my way through with a grunt.
Finally I crawled under their legs, and eventually came up at the front.
They were all shouting and yelling: everyone was giving it a try,
Waving their fivers and their tenners, trying to catch the barmaid’s lazy eye.

She moved with the speed of a retarded sloth on Mogadon, or a backward old tortoise.
Unimpressed by the frenzy of punters, as if life itself held little purpose.
She took several passes, to find the right glasses, to serve out pale ale or strong cider.
She poured gin-and-tonic, in a state catatonic, and for beer, needed an old dog to guide her.

Some ice and a slice were beyond her: optics, mixers and bottles bemused her,
She couldn’t add up for toffee, and the till completely confused her.
All around me were desperate people, yet from serving them quickly she shrunk.
With service at this glacial speed, there wasn’t a chance of getting near drunk.

Empires rose and fell, and Hell froze over in the time it took to serve out one cocktail,
And the period to complete one round was measured on the geological scale.
Nothing seemed to sir this girl up: she was the world’s slowest barmaid:
By the time she served the guy next to me, he’d lately died and his body decayed.

But I hung on in there, pinned up at the front, trying to catch her with a nod and a wink.
I might be several years older now, but I was determined to get me a drink.
Galaxies formed, and faded away, and the Universe fell in disorder,
Till she, at last, asked me what I wanted and, finally, it was my turn to order.

But time had moved on, my memory gone - I must have looked like a proper chump -
I’d forgotten the drinks that I’d come for, and on the bar, my head I started to thump.
I racked my brains for some answers, but there were only “ifs” and “ands” and “buts”,
And that’s why we’re all drinking crème de menthe, to wash down our pork scratchings and nuts.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Courgette Fritters



·         500g courgettes, coarsely grated
·         50g plain flour (or gram flour if you want pakoras)
·         4-6 spring onions, finely chopped
·         3 eggs, beaten
·         90g feta cheese, crumbled
·         Small handful mint, finely chopped
·         Small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
·         1 garlic clove, finely minced
·         Zest of one lemon, finely grated
·         Salt & freshly ground pepper
·         Green chillie, finely chopped (optional)
·         Vegetable oil for frying


1.       Put the grated courgettes in a bowl, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.  Only the solid matter is required.
2.       Add in all the other ingredients, except for the vegetable oil, mixing thoroughly.  You should end up with a fairly thick batter/ dough.  If it’s too sloppy, add a little more flour.
3.       Heat 3mm of oil in a frying pan, and ensure that it is hot enough by dropping in a small bread cube, which should brown in about 10 seconds.
4.       Ladle in large tablespoons-full of the batter, flattening each fritter with the back of a spoon.
5.       Do not overcrowd the pan – cook the fritters in batches & keep warm.
6.       Cook fritters each side for 3-4 minutes, until nicely browned, then carefully turn over and cook the other side for the same amount of time.
7.       Drain the fritters on kitchen paper and eat immediately.

What else you need to know:

1.       These are really easy to do & delicious
2.       You can vary the ingredients with different herbs, parmesan, more onion etc, or add a little chillie to make a kind of pakora
3.       Great as a vegetable side dish, or on their own with dipping sauces
4.       Best eaten fresh, but you can keep them in the fridge & reheat under the grill or in the toaster

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hail To The Unhealthy

Hail To The Unhealthy

So now that the Olympics are over
And we’ve welcomed back the medal-winners
On their golden-nosed British Airways flight
It’s time to give consideration, to the real heroes of the games
but it’s not the famous names
those who won the bronze, or silver, or gold
who trained hard and were bold
not those of super-human means
not even those behind the scenes
not those who coach and who train
nor those that practised over and over again
nor even the organisers…
no – it should be people like me
think about it – it’s easy to see
why I say this should be….

I never took up an Olympic sport
Never entered a squash or tennis court
Never threw a javelin or a shot putt
Never developed a boxer’s six-pack gut
Never sweated out moisture in litres
Nor raced in a sprint, or the ten thousand meters
Not once did I consider an athletic event…
Can’t you see what this meant?
My decision to go through life with a soft pedal
Gave others far more chance of winning a medal!

So let’s salute those who woke up every morning and said “No!
I can’t be arsed, and won’t go down to the gym”,
Or “I’m way too tired to go for a long swim!”
Let’s pay tribute to those who were brave enough to say:
“Today is definitely not my day!”
To those who gave in to the temptation of chips, and of cheese
To those who were prepared to be simply obese
To those urban warriors who, when it came right down to it,
When it really, really mattered, just couldn’t give a shit
To those who stood on the side-lines of the path to glory
Who couldn’t be bothered to write any different story
Who waved nonchalantly at the efforts of others
The middle-aged men who still live with their mothers
To the sleeping giants that pressed “snooze”
With a lifetime dedicated to fags and to booze
To those with firmly sedentary roles
And who failed to meet even their own low goals

To these dedicated people I say:
“You chose to pursue your own lazy way
Being fit and healthy doesn’t always pay,
So look up, look up, for today is your day!”

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 23 August 2016



A heavy grinding, churning sound assaults the senses
Blacks out everything around, a skull-shaking
Teeth-rattling, deafening intensity of shuddering
The platform vibrating, juddering asunder

Then, dirty grey, clanking, slowly rumbling past
Spitting waste into a slate-grey sky
Hot, black, sooty smoke blown from chimney-stack
Hissing, wheezing steam escaping valves and joints, orifices
Leaking clouds of white, dripping water dribbling
Down onto cold wet, coal-black tracks beneath

Hot iron’s sound and smell, coal and fire and oil
And the whispering pressure of the boiler
Hard, heavy turning wheels, slow shimmering spokes
Across glittering rails of steel
Its pipes and pistons, rods and linkages
Crank and turn the shining driving gear
Valves and pumps forcing shafts to motion
Via vacuums and vapours, an elemental driving-force
An intricate inter-play of metal, gas and liquid
Fluid dynamics, perfectly synchronised
Harnessed in the creation
Of this dark demonic beast

And when at rest, at journey’s end, the engine
A leviathan hoarsely wheezing, breathing hard
From its great exertions stands hot, glowering
Every aspect of its bulk, its massive motive power
Its kinetic promise and potential, its working force
And energy yet held back, latent
Waiting patiently under the driver’s steady hand

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 22 August 2016



He has no memory of his making
Or how he came to be here
Staked to his fixed position
In the middle of this muddy field
His face set North towards the trees

He has no idea what he’s supposed to do
Or the purpose of his existence
Except to watch and wait
Through the clearest starry nights
The cold and frost biting at his fingers
And the long and lonely days
The Sun burning into his staring eyes
And bleaching pale his tattered clothes

He cannot move, nor look around
But must stand here, arms outstretched
Alone and forever crucified
His ragged hat and jacket
Flapping in the breeze
Silhouetted against the sky
Stark, dark, and solitary

His few unbid companions
Contemptuous of his looming figure
Casting a slowly-moving shadow
Across the fertile furrows
Boldly walk quite close
Huge black birds that croak and squawk
As they gorge themselves
Upon the seeds and shoots

Perhaps, if he had any feelings
He would pity them
In their fight to feed themselves
Scratching out their existence
From upon the earth beneath his feet

The weather slowly wears him down
Rotting the stuffing of his guts
Which slowly falls away
And is picked and pecked
To form good nesting material
So that other creatures may be warm
And live another day

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 21 August 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 21st August 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 21st August 2016
Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Team GB (Greater Bromham) are celebrating are a record carrot haul in this year’s vegetable-picking championships in Triobridge, thus proving that the idea “home advantage” from when the Games were held in Bromham four years ago is a myth.  This is the team’s best performance in an out-of-village context for over a hundred years.  Lottery funding for “elite” events such as cauli-trimming, potato-digging and celery-topping has clearly hauled our athletes out of mediocrity and into golden mud.

2.       Bromham’s economy is set to take a boost after the launch on Friday of the first all-night tractor service.  Initially this will just be on the High Street and Long Lane routes, but other journeys are expected to come on stream in the Autumn.  Businesses such as the chippie on the High Street, and The Wounded Ferret pub, should see a growth in trade as late-night revellers are encouraged to treat Bromham as “the village that never sleeps”. Those who live near a farm, however, would claim that Bromham has always been like that.

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, 20 August 2016

Windy Day

Windy Day

Driven inside, the cats hunker down
And sleep their peaceful dreams
In baskets by the stove
Unconcerned by noises in the chimney
And gentle soot-falls gathered in the grate

Every door blow-battered
Gust-clattered windows
Buffeted and blown by the gale outside
Blasting the hedges sideways in its fury

Tattoo-beating spurts of rain
Gravel against the panes
Heavy water droplets driven every which way
Casements banging in the frames
And, above all else
The moaning and groaning
Howling and whistling
Of the storm venting its fury
Against the brick-work of the house

I think I feel the chimneys shaking
Their prominent stacks exposed
At the highest levels of the air
And then the roof-tiles singing
In nailed and slated resistance
To this unwarranted onslaught
Upon their serried ranks
By clinging fast to hold the line
And keep the house together

Unsheltered, the flowers forced flat
Leaning down against the soaking ground
Bushes and trees bending backwards
Revealing the paler underside of leaves
Pressed hard against the creaking fences

And down the lane, new rivers run their courses
Silt and sand driven from out the fields
Beneath the air-borne fusillade
Of twigs and leaves, and scraps of paper
Swept far into the distance
Beneath the blackened skies

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 19 August 2016



A hot day among cold, hard stones
Of crumbled Abbey remnants
Whose fallen arches and tumbled walls
Tell monastic tales of a distant past
And stand stark against a dark blue sky
Which threatens later thunder

Yet, still, there are strong shadows
Providing pools of cooler air
Where one may sit a while
And gaze across the finely-razored grass
To watch in frank amazement
The antics of daring aerial acrobats

Swooping down at break-neck speed
Soaring, then wheeling round
Before diving sharply
To skim low above the ground
Twisting and turning
Seeming to stop dead in mid-air
To change direction in a blink
Then banking away again between the ruins

Seconds later re-emerging, jet-like
Black-and-white arrows
Fanning out in formation
Spitfire-winged stuntmen
Trailing sleek, long-forked tails
Chittering, chattering amongst themselves
In high-pitched communication
Co-ordinating their attacks
Upon the lazy insects

And one is left to wonder
If those medieval monkish men
Who once worked and walked here
So many centuries ago
Saw this same dazzling display
And applauded the power of their Creator
To fashion these clever little creatures

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Snow Queen

Recipe for: SNOW QUEEN


  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tblsp brandy (or more!)
  • 2 tblsp stem ginger, chopped
  • 2 tblsp stem ginger syrup
  • 150g ready-made meringues, roughly broken
  • ½ tsp groundnut oil
  • Seasonal fruits to decorate

  1. whisk cream until stiff peaks form
  2. transfer whipped cream to a large bowl to give space to mix in other ingredients
  3. gently fold in caster sugar, chopped ginger, ginger syrup
  4. when thoroughly mixed, fold in broken meringues
  5. line a 570ml pudding bowl/ basin with clingfilm, then oil the clingfilm with the groundout oil
  6. spoon in the cream mixture, then smooth the top
  7. fold over the clingfilm, then wrap top in foil
  8. wrap the whole bowl in a layer of clingfilm
  9. freeze for at least 8 hours, preferably over-night
  10. when ready to serve:
    1. remove bowl from freezer into fridge for about an hour
    2. prepare seasonal fruits
    3. dip bowl into warm/ hot water for 1 minute to loosen the Snow Queen
    4. remove outer layer of clingfilm & the foil
    5. place a large plate over the bowl
    6. turn the bowl & plate over until the Snow Queen turns out
    7. remove the clingfilm lining
    8. tip over & around the seasonal fruit
    9. place back in fridge for 15 minutes
    10. cut in wedges & serve
 What else you need to know:

  1. you can also use a loaf tin, instead of a bowl.  This will give you a long brick shape, which can be cut into (more sophisticated) slices, rather than wedges.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Webs We Weave

My second volume of short stories "The Webs We Weave" has been published, and is now available on Amazon to order as a paperback, or as a Kindle download.  The first volume "Seven Score & Other Tales" is also available.

We're All Drinking For George

We’re All Drinking For George

We chat in measured mumbles
In our twos and in our threes
Balancing thin cups upon their saucers
Sure it was a hard way to go, and everybody knows it
Very hard on his family we’re all thinking
But no-one talks about the real problem
No-one mentions George and his drinking

Everyone thinks about the good times
He was a good sort, and great company
With a quick joke on his lips, or telling a tall tale
Holding court in his favourite corner
Lewd laughter, green eyes twinkling
Ever-ready for another, if we’d set them up,
Another long night of George and his drinking

No mention of the damage he was doing
Destroying his guts from the inside
His liver wet-rotting, blood-pressure bubbling
His florid face and trembling hands
Everyone here knew that he was sinking
But he took a long time over his dying
And that’s what George got for his drinking

Where were these old drinking companions
When he started losing his way?
Down and damaged, calling the odds
Worse for wear, falling down drunk?
In his cups first thing in the morning
Unsavoury, unwashed and stinking
Unable to get served anywhere?
We daren’t join in with George and his drinking

A murmur goes round the black-coated room
This tea and coffee’s meagre stuff for mourning
There’s a move to push off down to the pub
No-one’s looking his family in the eye
Everyone trying not to cause any offence
It’s what he would’ve wanted, did someone say?
A sliding off for something stronger
And admit we’re all drinking for George today

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 16 August 2016



He knows the effort it costs him
Feels the ache of muscles
The back-breaking work
Naked and exhausted
Rock-cracking and sifting
Lifting loads in the heat, the filth and mud
To find the tiny grains
Small speckles of value
Sparkling precious pieces
That mean so much to him
Just enough to exist, to eat, to carry on

Hunting, scavenging, rat-like
In a diabolic hell-hole
Deep inside the Earth
A dark world of danger
Among the drills and dust
Crawling through flooded shafts
To reach a promising seam
Of grit that holds the glitter of gold
And the faintest gleam of hope

But he cannot trace it any further
Transported, transformed
Refined and purified into heavy ingots
Which sit, unused, in high-security rooms
Reserves of national treasure
To guarantee the currency
And maintain suitable short supply
To keep the prices high enough
Within the global market

Nor see it spun into delicate filaments
Its decorative strands
Worked by artistic hands
To adorn elegant, well-heeled figures
Among the wealthy and well-to-do
Who, in a languid moment
May reach out for their electronica
Slim-line models in brushed-leather cases
To access the latest features
And communicate across the world
By a finger’s touch
Perhaps even to the darkest heart of Africa

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 15 August 2016

The O-Word

The O-word

My medical was a total disaster: the doctor’s face turned rather grim.
It was a big fail, when I got on the scale, and he said: “you’re not very slim!”
“There’s no good way I can tell you this, although you might get yourself in a sulk,
It seems it’s your fate, to be hugely overweight: you’re the size of The Incredible Hulk.”
“I’ve tried being subtle, I’ve tried being coy, there seems no way I can get through.
Perhaps invective can be more effective?  I don’t know what else I can do!”

Then he let me have it with both barrels:  “You’re big, you’re burly, you’re chubby,
With more avoir-dupois than average, you’re chunky, not hunky, definitely tubby.”
“You’re full-faced, fat, floppy and fleshy, a big lard-arse, and as large as a barge,
You’re not finely honed, not merely big-boned, you’re a roly-poly, a great tub of marge.”
“Your size is….. amplitudinous, a chump with a bump, plus a huge rump,
A chubster, a big rounded tubster, like a partridge, My God but you’re plump!”

Sadly I looked down at my vanishing waist, and said “why do you use words such as these?
Just what is it you’re trying to tell me?  Are you saying that I may be obese?”
The doctor was completely taken aback, so he scowled, and he looked at me hard.
Then he said “you’re not listening, are you?  You king-sized great tub of lard!”
“I’m obviously not making myself clear.  Let’s say that you’re of voluminous size,
Falstaffian, Brobdignagian, it’s quite clear who ate all the pies!”

“Your expansive capaciousness goes beyond any known bound.
You’re beefy and burly, fudgy and pudgy, and it’s years since you last saw the ground!”
“Gargantuan, elephantine and mammoth are three words that may easily vex,
But they hold no candle, to your love handles, or the scale of your Body Mass Index.”
“You must eat less, and exercise more, it’s time to take a clinical stand,
Time to realise that a balanced diet does not mean a burger in each hand!”

“Your massive, mountainous diet must cease: no more chocolate or cream or fruit jellies,
Nor guacamole dips, nor fish and chips, until you’ve got rid of those bellies!”
“It’s calorie-counting from here onwards: you must drain yourself to the dregs.
You can’t make a much thinner omelette, without breaking low-cholesterol eggs!”
At last the light was beginning to dawn: I could see what he was trying to state,
So I just asked him to clarify: “Here - are you saying that I’m over-weight?”

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016