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Monday, 31 October 2016



Many years ago
I saw your blackened face
As it shone by firelight
With beads of sweat
Streaking whitened paths
Through the sooty grime
As it dripped into your beard

You stood above the flames
Your features darkened
By shadows flickering
Tending to your bonfire
Watching the orange fingers
Leafing through the pages
As they turned them over, one by one
And burned them fiercely
Within the conflagration

The blasphemous words
Dangerous thoughts
And heretical teachings
Within those banished books
Made easy fuel for flames
Mere card and paper
Covers and bindings
Consumed within the smoke
Rendered down to ash
So that none might read them any more

But now your brow seems furrowed
As you wonder what to do
With all this glass and plastic
Metal and electronica
Casings and batteries
Of phones and iPads
And other hand-held gadgets
That will not catch alight
Nor burn with any purpose

This digital economy
Its airwaves alive with anarchy
Downloaded through the ether
A seditious cyberspace
That cannot be controlled
A communications spectrum
That provides its own oxygen
Requiring nothing else to Kindle

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 30 October 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 30th October 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 30th October 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       After nearly a hundred and seven years of wrangling, the Parish Council has announced the location of the new cycle lane in the village.  It will be built for about 200 yards along the side of the High Street, but actual construction work will not commence for several years, due to wrangling over the £312 cost, further environmental impact analysis, and the rash of expected High Court challenges from residents living along the intended route.

2.       Last Wednesday saw the intended clearing of the squatter’s camp in the woods near Stoney Lane.  However, the squatter is still actually there, since he was classified as a “vulnerable child” by the authorities.  Social Services are now investigating the needs of the 32-year old child before any final decision can be made on the future of his tent.  The idea had been to move the squatter to another part of Bromham where he would have been free to be a blot on the landscape in a different part of the village, but that plan is now on hold.

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, 29 October 2016

Turning Into My Own Father

Turning Into My Own Father

It’s of little use
I can see it all now
The mirror does not lie
I find myself looking at a man
That I do not recognise
Yet is alike, and who looks vaguely familiar

Although I cannot quite place him
I’m sure he is not a stranger
The fullness of his face
The receding hairline
Ebbing back above his brow
A distinctive pattern
That I know from photographs
In the sepia tones of generations

Dark and hooded eyes
Look back towards me
Posing unanswerable questions
Full, fleshy uneven lips
Thickening jowls
Jaw-line set heavy
And the slackness of muscles
Etch long, deep lines within sagging skin
And tell a story of their own

Unblinking he returns my stare
His face unreadable
Implacable and calm
But tired, deadly tired
As if this may be the last time
That he will stand so still
Allowing himself to be inspected
His features so exposed
Under the unforgiving bathroom light

And at last I am forced to look away
No longer able to hold his gaze
Nor to make the excuse
That I am too busy
To spend more time
On this sad reflection
And I am left to wonder
If his eyes will continue to follow me
Around the room
Long after I have moved away

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 28 October 2016

Cat's Cry

Cat’s Cry

How your crying disturbs me
Makes me sit up and take notice
And listen to your distress
To your prowling round the room
Snuffling among the shifting shadows
Along the edges and into deep corners
Seeking something that is not there
And that you will never find

The pitiful, lonely sound
That mewling tone
Of existential angst
That smacks of fear and desperation
And catches at my pity
Snags on something
That makes me want to comfort you
To tell you that it’s alright
That I’m always here for you

But you do not understand me
When I try to soothe you
My words of comfort carry no sense
In your feral feline world
And soon the frenzy passes
Back into forgetfulness
And you resume your normal cool indifference
As you suddenly cease to enquire
Into the meaning of your existence

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Christmas Cake



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

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

  1. the cake should be made in August/ Sept if possible because it needs time to mature & to be fed before Christmas.  Store in an air-tight container;
  2. feed the cake weekly.  You can use rum, brandy or sherry or any combination you like.  Prick the cake all over the top with a fork or a skewer.  Use a tea-spoon to gently pour your alcohol of choice into the holes, then re-seal in the cake container;
  3. this cake is wonderful on its own, but is improved when accompanied by a wedge of a white crumbly cheese such as Wensleydale, Lancashire or Cheshire.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Fifty Shades Of Gravy

Fifty Shades of Gravy (a modern romance)

How long have I loved thee my dearest? – Probably since I was but a mere child,
But the merest thought of devouring you is sure to be driving me wild!

‘Cause this is a very ticklish subject, and I don’t like to seem naughty or coarse,
For we’re talking about that sticky stuff, which posh people refer to as “sauce”.

I hate it when things are too watery - to have it like that is surely a sin -
It needs to have some kind of substance - it serves no purpose if it’s too thin.

It just slips off all over the place, and everything starts sliding around,
It doesn’t keep the right things together - you need something thicker, I’ve found.

You see it has to have the right texture, and about this I know I’m quite picky,
But if it doesn’t have enough body, it’ll never stand up and be sticky.

Without it, things just won’t move along, and you’ll be left wondering why,
And if it’s not adequately lubricious, you’ll find everything tends to be dry.

Such lack of lubrication’s a problem, and can render you exceedingly grumpy,
‘Cos what you don’t expect, when you get down to it, is for it all to feel terribly lumpy.

And if the flavour’s not tasty enough, it can leave you feeling quite queasy,
For the last thing you want, at this juncture, is something that’s oily or greasy.

It’s got to be configured just right, for the appetite it needs to induce,
To bring forth great oral pleasure, you must have plenty of juice!

No, you can’t have it too firm or too runny - such liquid upon you I just wouldn’t foist,
But something for the meat and two veggies - it’s best to have everything flowing and moist.

Yes, the moisture derives from the meat, it’s what you need, if you’re to have dripping,
The jus and the fat come together, and it’s like on nectar you’re sipping.

Of course, I speak not of jelly, but of gravy, made with Oxo, Bisto or browning,
Where on your plate there’s an ocean or lake, and the roast spuds are waving, not drowning.

So, I appeal to you ladies out there, if you want something that’ll cut the mustard,
Make sure you’ve got plenty of gravy, and avoid shark-infested custard!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A Taxing Problem

A Taxing Problem

Times is tough and money is short;
It’s hard to know what to do;
The creditors keep asking for payment,
Especially the Inland Revenue.

But now there’s something that’s bothering me,
It’s difficult to know where to start,
‘Cause some people have hired accountants,
And made tax-avoidance into an art.

It’s all done through complex company structures,
Where they shift all their profits off-shore,
Paying far less than they really oughter,
And making out that, really, they’re poor!

The Yanks seem to be especially cute,
Hiding their earnings in crannies and nooks.
I’m talking about Google and Amazon,
And especially about Starbucks.

But they’re not the only ones in the game,
Who seek for their taxes to minimise,
By shifting their trading operations,
And their sales figures to disguise.

It might all be technically legal,
But morally, ethically, it’s not right.
It’s time that we did something about it,
It’s time for us all to put up a fight!

These corporations can afford to pay tax,
If they want to trade here in our market.
It’s time they made the right contribution –
Otherwise, we should tell them where they can park it!

They’re earning millions and billions,
Selling us books, DVDs and coffee.
The Government seem powerless to act,
And can’t spot the loopholes for toffee.

So let us consumers lead a fight-back,
Let’s see how much spending power we’ve got;
Time to vote with our purchasing choices,
And hit them with the tactics of boycott.

I’m fed up with being taken to the cleaners,
I’m almost at the end of my tether,
And I swear I’ll belt any Conservative,
Who tells us again that “we’re all in it together”!

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 24 October 2016

Night-time Navigation

Night-time Navigation

I hope you won’t mind me telling you this,
But there’s something I have to confess:
I’ve got this disembodied voice that I hear,
But where it’s coming from - I just cannot guess.

Sometimes, whilst I’m sleeping and dreaming,
That is to say, this happens during the night,
Being of a certain age, you see,
I often find that my bladder is tight.

I find I have to get up for relief,
And I desperately want to go to the loo:
I’ve got to find the bathroom quite quickly,
In order to do what it is that I’ve got to do.

But as I disentangle the covers,
I cannot but observe it’s pitch black,
And if I were to wake up the old lady,
She’d surely give me a smack.

I’m half asleep, and I can’t really see:
In fact, there’s no sort of landmark,
So I have to find my way to the toilet,
Without the aid of a lamp, in the dark.

That’s where my automatic pilot comes in:
As I quietly slip out from the bed,
Through many years of custom and practice,
I can hear the voice speaking inside my head.

“Go forward four paces, then turn to the left,
Carry on - right to the end of the wall,
Exit carefully into the next room,
And be careful that you don’t fall!”

“Proceed three steps, and the toilet you’ll find:
You are located before the loo station,
Now stop! and switch off your engine -
You have arrived at your destination!”

It’s curious I can do this whilst asleep,
I think it’s just a gift that I have.
I’m thinking of selling on the idea –
Tom Tom could market it as “Sat Lav”!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 23 October 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 23rd October 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 23rd October 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Bromham’s secretive and iconoclastic veteran songsmith Robert Zucchiniman was this week awarded the prestigious Knobbly Prize for “services to literature”.  This seems to consist of creating a few interesting songs back in the 1960s with dope-inspired lyrics, continuing to make records of no critical acclaim for the following forty years, hosting a digital-only radio station with no listeners and, finally, and most importantly of all, still being alive in 2016.

2.       The revered head of the Parish Council, Theresa Green, has just arrived back in breathless state from the Big Meeting in Trowbridge, where she apparently made a speech to the assembled Big Cheeses at the end of dinner.  The speech was made at 1 a.m. when most of the audience had already left, but a waiter who was busy stacking chairs and clearing plates at the end of the evening said that she probably made some very good points.  However, he admitted that he had missed most of it because of helping the diners on with their coats and calling taxis for them.

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, 22 October 2016



A shout and then a scramble
Engines revving, jeeps reversing
A finger points toward the tree
There, there! - up on the branch
Cameras snapping
Binoculars focused
Jostling for position
To get the clearest sighting

There, there! – reclining
Relaxed and lazy
Dozing through the day
Conserving energy till drowsy dusk
And night-time hunting
A fearsome predator in the dark
Stalking killer
Silent assassin
Striking without warning

Calm and camouflaged
Spotted, sandy, black
Among the shimmering leaves
This shy, retiring cat
Elusive at noon-time
Yawning, revealing razor teeth
Blinking yellow, slit-like eyes
Which gaze, bored, at his admirers

Lithe and muscular
His deceptive power concealed
Hidden in his restful pose
A paw casually hanging down
Towards the ground
Awesome in his beauty

And as the sun sinks low
Burning into the horizon
Casting long shadows
The nervous herdsmen
Move their lowing cattle
Inside their flimsy compound
Away from night-time danger
And stare after the retreating jeeps
As they roll away, back to camp
Amid rising clouds of dust

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 21 October 2016

Rosehip Syrup

Recipes for: ROSEHIP SYRUP


  • 700g fresh rosehips, cleaned & washed
  • 1kg fruit sugar
  • ½ tsp rose-water (optional)
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice

  1. place the rosehips in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until soft
  2. strain the liquor through a fine sieve into a bowl
  3. return the pulp to the pan, adding the same amount of water
  4. bring to the boil again & simmer briefly
  5. strain out the liquor again (second extraction)
  6. return the pulp to the pan, add water, boil, simmer
  7. strain out the liquor again (third extraction)
  8. discard the pulp
  9. turning to the gathered liquor, measure the amount you have, then pour into a clean pan
  10. for every two cups of juice, add one cup of sugar
  11. add the rose water & lemon juice
  12. bring to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any froth
  13. pour into warm, sterilised jars & seal whilst warm
  14. cool, label & store

  1. get a large clean Kilner jar
  2. put in a layer of rosehips
  3. cover with enough sugar that you cannot see the red of the rosehips
  4. put in another layer of rosehips, then more sugar
  5. keep layering until the jar is full
  6. seal tightly, then place the jar into a dark cupboard
  7. leave for a month or two until the sugar has dissolved
  8. strain into a sterilised jar
 What else you need to know:

  1. remember that this is a syrup, not a jelly, so it isn’t meant to set
  2. serve on pancakes, with Greek yoghurt, or with ice-cream
  3. you could also use it in a Charlotte or upside-down pudding

Thursday, 20 October 2016



A slow progress through the countryside
Breeze-carried through the air
Whispering, a gentle breath
Infection, invisible and insidious
Creeping, hidden, unseen movement
Bringing disease and certain death

A tiny fungus, just a spoor
Microscopic, beyond perception
Multiplying, growing quickly
Inside the branches and the leaves
Spreading, covering its victims
A landscape dying, wheezing, sickly

Trees ailing, falling, humbled
By the contagion in the country
Cut back, thrown upon the fire
A forest with holes in, open to the sky
The ashes slowly die back
And burn fierce upon the pyre

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016



What a wonderful invention are pants! Or, as the upper classes say, “trizers” -
For the lower male garment comes in many forms - it all depends on what the wife buys us.
You’d think the designer’s not got that much to go on, when he thinks about gentlemen’s kegs,
But - you must have a large hole for the body and (I suppose) at least one for the legs.

Of course, trousers come in so many forms: cords, pantaloons, slacks, whatever you wilt:
Plus-fours, culottes, even trackie-bottoms or, if you’re North o’ the border – the kilt.
But there’s more to it than first meets the eye, and the permutations can be legion -
You’d be surprised at the considerations when clothing a man’s nether region.

For a start, there’s the aspect of comfort, which demands a great deal of care,
But, naturally, some of the problems depend on your style of underwear.
For chaps are sometimes known to go Commando, which can lead to a great deal of slipment,
To say nothing of plenty of movement amongst the various bits of equipment.

But, if they’ve got any sense, they’ll wear undies to keep everything tidy and neat,
Shorts, slips, jock-strap, or a nice pair of boxers, but a good pair of knickers is hardest to beat.
They keep the meat and two veggies warm and, I don’t want to hear any drivel,
For if things below are allowed to get cold, there’s a serious danger of shrivel.

This allows the trousers to get on with their main job, like the role (for the ladies) of their skirts,
Which, apart from providing some modesty, is there mostly for the tucking of shirts.
That’s to say nothing of extra functions, and you’re in no position to mock it,
When we enter that very strange kingdom - the diverse uses of the male pocket.

For there you can keep your change, or some keys - about the contents you can get cocky -
Not to mention that pursuit of little boys - a furtive quick game of pocket-hockey.
Openings and fastenings are many, a subject that can cause some chaps to worry:
Buttons are slow, but zips can be dangerous, especially if you’re in a great hurry.

For you need a belt and braces approach, and you must be aware of what you’re about:
On leaving, “Gentlemen - Adjust Your Dress” - you mustn’t leave anything still sticking out.
So let’s pause and celebrate men’s trousers, a serious subject that everyone mocks,
I hope I’ve explained it all clearly – but just don’t get me started on socks.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 18 October 2016



She got it mail-order – it came in a large van -
She’d been wanting it since last December,
And with a flourish of her credit card,
There it was – a new family member.

Now I like to think I’m as clean as the next man,
And with a duster I’m a lovely mover,
But ‘Er Indoors goes in for extreme cleaning,
And she’d demanded the latest hoover.

There’s all types on the market you can buy,
Including several from Mister Dyson,
But it was a special one she’d coveted,
A top-of-the-range one she’d had her eyes on.

It took three days just to unpack the boxes:
The cardboard and plastic wasn’t the least,
For this thing needed major assembly -
I soon found it was a hell of a beast.

This fantastic piece of machinery
Towered above me, erect and so tall,
Covered in sockets, dockets and ports -
So many clips and wires, and that wasn’t all.

The orifices, gizmos and nozzles
Harboured so many attachments and tools,
Brushes, fitments, hoses and extensions:
She stared in wonder at her new Crown Jewels.

There were things for every application:
Truly this was a space-age appliance.
It had more computing power than NASA,
And was forged in the white heat of science.

It could do every possible job needed:
You just had to read the right instruction,
To locate the right setting or programme,
And it would produce mind-boggling suction.

She fell in love with it at first sight,
She could see it would be a lovely mover:
This machine that would do anything -
Truly it was a Swiss Army Hoover.

I remember the days of just pushing one round,
A job that could be done all alone,
But this thing was full of technology,
And I think it had a mind of its own.

It seemed to have clear fixed ideas,
About the best method for house cleaning.
There was something about it quite spooky -
If you get the drift of my meaning.

It was all programmes and electronics,
Controls and switches that needed setting,
So complex and damned complicated,
That we’d no idea what we were getting.

It talked to us when it wanted something,
In a synthesised voice thin and reedy,
Like when it wanted its dust-bag changing:
Soon we realised that it was quite needy.

It started to follow me round the house,
Even if I wandered from room to room.
It didn’t like being on its own much -
You could say it was a lonely vacuum.

There was almost nothing it couldn’t do,
And its motor was virtually silent.
I began to feel it was spying on me,
For it was there, wherever I went.

I had to creep quietly when I moved -
It created in me paranoid cares,
Until I discovered a new strategy,
For, just like a Dalek, it couldn’t climb stairs.

I thought that I’d finally beaten it,
And that I’d be able to live in some calm,
But it started using its extensions,
And to plot ways to cause me some harm.

You see it wanted ‘Er Indoors for itself,
And to be the holder of her affection,
It couldn’t stand me being in the way,
And it sought to sever my connection.

So in the end I took drastic measures,
And “by accident” fed it some water -
The explosion was quite spectacular -
There’ll be no more trouble from that quarter.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 17 October 2016

When The Archbishop Came To Call

When The Archbishop Came To Call

Our village is a quiet sort of place;
You can hear the autumn leaves as they fall,
But strange things started to happen,
Last Sunday, when the archbishop came to call.

St Nicholas is the name of our church,
Where suddenly everything came to a stop,
Expecting the top man from the C of E,
You know – Rowan – for he’s the Archbishop!

It was all meant to be very informal,
To give thanks for our Bishop’s loyalty,
But that’s not how it all turned out on the day -
You’d think they were expecting some royalty!

Now normally there’s not many goes there,
The congregation’s usually measured in tens,
But soon as word started to go round,
The vicar was cleaning his Mercedes-Benz.

The parishioners went into overdrive,
So that His Reverence would be very well-met.
They polished up the Church’s silverware,
And got set to roll out the red carpet.

The Erics, and Dereks, and all of the clerics,
Got themselves into a great fluster,
They pulled out all their best vestments,
And flicked round the vestry with a new duster.

The pulpit was given a make-over,
They made it into such a big deal -
Up in the bell-tower things were afoot,
They arranged to ring a grand quarter-peal.

They practised the bells for two days and nights,
The place was full of crumbly old ringers,
You couldn’t move for them pulling the ropes,
And they made a real set of swingers.

Come the day itself, things started to happen:
The last thing you’d feel would be lonely.
It was like “Songs Of Praise” had come to town:
In the church it was standing-room only.

There was a danger of over-crowding:
It was close to a riot – that’s a fact.
Inside people sat on one another’s knees,
Into the pews they were forcibly packed.
There was no outbreak of religious fervour,
Such was the opinion of the Dean,
But more of a social occasion,
As they all struggled to see, and be seen.

Now I’m not of a Christian persuasion,
I’m an atheist I have to confess,
So I don’t get what the fuss was about,
Just to see a bloke turn up in a dress.

Instead I decided I’d go down to the pub,
I just fancied to drink a few jars,
But I couldn’t get into the village,
For the two-mile tailback of cars.

Thousands wanted to get to communion,
There was a queue for road-side conversions,
There was chaos for miles all around,
The police set up road-blocks and diversions.

A helicopter droned low overhead,
Crack teams of snipers were up on the roofs,
And a ring of steel surrounded the pub,
Leaving me wondering just what this proves.

I hope that the moral of this story is clear,
Though some of my tale might be quite tall:
Don’t try to do anything near normal,
When an archbishop comes by to call.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 16 October 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 16th October 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 16th October 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       Plaudits have rained in this week since Thursday’s announcement by the international No-Bells-And-Whistles Committee that this year’s Prize for Literature would be awarded to Bob Dillon, one-time singer/ songwriter from Bromham.  Some of his lyrics have been the sound-track to people’s lives, and include such timeless classic lines as “Farting In The Loo”, “It Ain’t Me Constable”, “It’s All Over Now, Babybel” and, of course, “Just Like A Courgette”.

2.       And the village was cast into mourning on Saturday when the death was announced of Bean Alexander, who played the popular figure of “Builder Ogden”, the hard-bitten but often hen-pecked husband, who meagrely supported his family with bodged jobbing building work, in the long-running soap opera "Coronation Chicken”.  He played the role for over twenty years, and his performances created such now-famous catch-phrases as “oh”, “what?” and “eh?”.   Fellow actors were quick to praise his casual approach to acting, and his at times apparently totally feckless demeanour.  He will be sadly missed. 

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, 15 October 2016



Tramping feet of skinny cattle
Track-herded, raising dust billows
Between brown, empty fields
The earth, dried and caked
Cracked and baked
Crusted solids parched beneath a searing sun

The glaring, cloudless sky
Fierce and rain-barren
Curses and punishes the land
Withholds its water from the needy
Liquid long receded, unreachable
Deep beneath the surface
Leaving not a thing alive in the sterile landscape
Condemned to a gasping, choking death
In the over-heated breeze

Burned, beaten crops defeated by the dryness
Lie strangled, wispy roots withered
Lifeless, straw-like stretchings
Fingering down between cracks of powdered soil
Exhausted by the struggle to survive
Shrivelled and stunted in the cratered furrows

The ground cries out for moisture
Any drop to slake and quench its thirst
Its desiccated loamy texture
Dirt-crumbled in the empty air
Powdered into shifting dust, drifting into piles
Driven by an arid wind, which whispers as it blows

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 14 October 2016



A sudden slice of skin pearls, peels apart
tiny droplets, liquid beads
sitting pert, proud
waiting, welling moments
brimming, holding pause
awaiting further strength to push on

Then the pump and pulse
the stroke of a distant heartbeat
mechanics and hydraulics
forcing fluid pressure
through arteries, veins, capillaries
the cut-confines broken
an inundation, a rupturing
pouring crimson from the wound
a tracered stream of life-blood
red-staining onto flesh-whiteness

The torn and jagged scratch-line
filled and flooded by the flow
drops spotting the ground
AB Positive perhaps
vital to some-one else
but my wasteful gory loss
waiting the staunching, the padding and bandaging
or the subtle clotting power
of life’s congealment

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Cauliflower Curry



·         Large cauliflower, cut into florets
·         2 large potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
·         1 tsp cumin seeds
·         1 tblsp ground coriander
·         ½ tsp turmeric
·         ½ tsp fenugreek
·         1 tsp ground cumin
·         1 tsp chilli powder
·         Tin tomatoes
·         750 ml water
·         1 tsp salt
·         200g frozen peas


1.       Fry the cumin seeds in hot oil until they brown
2.       Add coriander powder, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, chilli powder.  Mix & fry for 30 secs
3.       Add cauliflower & potatoes, frying gently for 5-10 minutes until well coated with spice mixture
4.       Add the tin of tomatoes and fry for another 5 minutes
5.       Add water and salt, simmering for 15 minutes until vegetables are just tender
6.       Add the frozen peas, cooking for another 2-3 minutes

7.       Serve with breads/ rice & pickles

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Flushed With Success

Flushed With Success

There was a young man by the name of Ness,
Who to the toilet rushed in distress.
It’s a good job he made it,
Or else I’m afraid it,
Would have led to an embarrassing mess.

I can’t say what he was going to do,
It’s just that he had to get to the loo.
To reveal what then occurred,
Would need to have a rude word,
So let’s just say it was Number Two.

Now he was from a good part of town,
And realised with a puzzled old frown,
That if it’s at all yellow,
You can just let it mellow,
But if it’s brown, you must flush it right down.

Thus it was that he pulled on the chain,
As it hung there above the porcelain,
But it came off in his hand,
Leaving him there to stand,
And deliver himself of this sorry refrain.

“Oh dear!  I can’t see how I can mend,
This thing that’s broken so I can send,
That which sits in the bowl,
To disappear down the hole,
And carry on, right past the u-bend!”

As I say, this man was no navvy,
And with plumbing was not very savvy.
He didn’t wish to dwell,
Or to stay with the smell,
But wanted to escape from the lavvy.

He found himself trapped there in the loo:
He was in a right pickle, it’s true.
He put down extra paper,
To cover the vapour,
And wondered what else he could do.

Upon a solution his mind was now set,
And up to the cistern he wanted to get,
The mechanism to beat,
He stood on the seat,
But his foot went through, into the toilet.

Which caused the said contents to be pushed,
Deep into the water and mushed.
This meant that his floater,
Was no longer a boater,
And decidedly the opposite of flushed.

He heard himself let out a great roar,
As it all overflowed onto the floor.
His foot was all muddied,
As the cubicle flooded,
And it all ran away under the door.

It filled his shoe and got into his sock,
When on the door came a very loud knock.
Someone wanted a wee,
In this here W.C.
And had started to rattle the lock.

Ness knew he needed a proposal,
For the man outside with his nose’ll,
Guess what occurred,
Regarding the turd,
Unless he could conclude a disposal.

He began to feel like an animal caged,
As the intruder grew more enraged.
It always rankles,
With pants round your ankles,
So he shouted out loudly: “Engaged!”

And the moral of this altercation?
Make sure you’ve got good information,
Take plenty of towels,
Before moving your bowels,
And test before your evacuation.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken
But the coffee’s not yet spoken
The clouds of last night
Still fog up my sight
The daylight’s too bright
I’m not yet ready
Nor feeling too steady
Time to get through the gate
In spite of my state
The newspaper must wait
It remains to be seen
When I get that hit of caffeine
If the day won’t hold any fear
And the clouds in my head will finally clear

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016