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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Woss Happenin?

Woss Happenin?

Everything’s falling to bits,
Nothing’s the same any more:
Helicopters don’t stay in the sky –
They hit cranes and fall to the floor.

Things aren’t what they might seem:
You can’t trust what they tell you -
The Dreamliners have nightmares
And technical problems too.

The Internet is eating the world,
There’s no shops left on the High Street:
Not only Jessops and HMV,
But now Blockbuster’s admitted defeat.

And Rio Tinto walks into a wall,
Which is as bad as it gets.
The CEO’s taken his long walk,
For under-valuing their assets.

I think I’m going to go back in my shell,
I think I’m admitting defeat.
Can’t even do comfort eating,
Cos my burgers are full of horse-meat.

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 18 November 2016



everything is here
that could possibly be needed
for a careless, easy life
all that can be metered in clothes and cars
every modern convenience
every appliance, every gadget
shining sheet glass and steel
polished by the daily help
each room a showcase
of angles, clean lines

witness the good, the better things
from a lifetime’s striving
long-houred, hard working
trophies of success

nothing is missing
a sense of completeness
settles like a shroud
there are no loose ends
nor material wants and needs
that remain un-satisfied

we may go anywhere, at any time
at a moment’s notice
to fulfil the slightest whim
or the merest craving, our heart’s desire
and suck the juice until it’s dry

and yet
 and yet
 and yet

through this mogadon movie
of shining achievement
whilst we sleep in splendour
a spirit creeps about at night
breathes hoarsely
whispers insistently
an un-nameable something
and will not be still

and in the morning
when we awake, un-refreshed
we still ache inside
with that empty feeling of nothing

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Pork With Paprika & Olives

Recipe for: PORK with PAPRIKA & OLIVES


·         500g diced pork (leg or shoulder)
·         Red onion – cut into thin wedges
·         2 garlic cloves, crushed
·         100g chorizo, cut into chunks
·         1 tsp smoked paprika
·         400g tin chopped tomatoes
·         300ml/ ½ pt chicken stock
·         400g can chickpeas, rinsed
·         100g green olives
·         Zest & juice of a lemon
·         Small bunch of parsley, chopped


1.       Heat oven to 150c/ fan 130C/ gas 2
2.       In oven-proof casserole with lid, season pork, then brown (in batches) in a little oil over a high heat. Set aside.
3.       Add onion & garlic to oil, cooking till softened
4.       Add chorizo & paprika, cooking for another 2 minutes
5.       Add tomatoes, stock and the cubes of browned pork
6.       Stir well, bring up to a simmer, then cover with lid & place in oven
7.       Cook for 1 hour
8.       Stir in chick peas & olives.
9.       Cook for another 1 hour.
10.    Stir in lemon zest, juice & parsley just before serving.

What else you need to know:

1.       The sauce in this is REALLY tasty
2.       Goes really well with crusty bread & a glass of cider

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Don't Ask Me

Don’t Ask Me

I’m happy to give of my opinion,
If you want to hear what I think.
That is, when I’m down at the pub,
With my mates, just having a drink.

But at home, it’s a different story,
And one that causes me strife.
For there we have the fount of all knowledge,
And it’s not me, it’s the wife!

For she’s got strong views on every topic:
There’s no subject on which she hasn’t a take.
She’s an expert in every field you can name,
No interest in which she hasn’t a stake.

Tho’ she is my love and my darling,
My dearest, my treasure, my dear,
She’s got a fearsome way of talking,
That inspires a goodly portion of fear.

Across the marmalade at breakfast,
I’m on The Guardian, but she reads the Express.
She chokes on her toast and she fulminates,
And the crumbs she exhales make quite a mess.

You see she’s got a very firm stance,
On any social policy or decision,
Religion, the Royal Family,
And even on female circumcision.

I can’t get a word in edgeways sometimes,
As she dispels any kind of confusion.
She’s got the answer to everything,
And for every problem, a solution.

Professors, doctors and researchers,
Who’ve spent a life-time studying ideas,
Stand for nothing in her onslaught,
As she contradicts them with jeers.

Economics, world hunger and AIDS,
She can hold forth without pause,
So it’s pointless you asking me,
You’d best check with ‘er indoors.

Immigration, emigration, benefit cheats,
Foreign policy, football or cricket,
It’s best to listen, not interrupt,
Or she’ll tell you where you can stick it.

Decoration? Fashion? Or trends?
She’s the one who knows where it’s at.
Northern Ireland? Palestine? Or Syria?
She says what she thinks, and that’s that!

Homophobia, xenophobia,
And prejudice of every kind,
Could be banished within a few minutes,
If she gave you a piece of her mind!
She knows what’s wrong with everything,
She’s clear how things ought to be done,
There’s little she can’t address herself to,
And for her, there’s nothing new under the sun.

If only people would listen to her,
The world could be a much better place,
There’d be no fighting, or wars or disease,
And evil would be gone without trace.

Politics is her specialist subject,
And don’t get her started about the tax-man.
Her polemical style is worse than Jon Humphrys,
And on a bad day gets worse than Paxman.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking,
That she’s incredibly well meant,
That she should perhaps become an MP,
And see how she gets on in Parliament.

But it’s far too late for that I’m afraid,
There’s already been a roll of the dice:
For Conservative Central Office,
Already ring daily just to ask her advice.

No, there’s no situation she can’t handle,
There’s not a dogma she won’t fight:
If you’re looking for a policy statement,
She’s the one who’ll provide a sound-bite.

She’s never ready to settle for nonsense,
And she can’t abide the status quo.
She doesn’t know the meaning of silence,
But, for God’s sake, don’t tell her I said so!

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

(Girl On The) Number Forty-Seven

(Girl On The) Number Forty-Seven

Monday to Friday it’s always the same,
Off to work, to carry the load:
Waiting, whatever the weather,
For that bus to trundle down the road.

Route forty-seven is the number I need,
Though other numbers stop there too.
There’s jostling, and pushing and shoving,
As we stand there in the queue.

Sometimes it’s full and we can’t board,
Or perhaps there’s some spaces upstairs,
Then you have to get up there quickly,
And wait for the man collecting the fares.

But there’s one thing that I look out for,
That makes my journey complete:
The girl with the long blonde hair,
And she’s always there in the same seat.

She rides the upper deck near the front,
Staring from the window, calm and serene.
She’s beautiful and desirable -
I’m sure you know what I mean.

I wonder where she goes to each day,
And what could be her destination,
Cos I have to get off before she does,
As I continue my journey from the station.

I admire her, from my seat here at the back,
Though of me I’m sure she’s quite unaware.
I don’t even know what I’d say to her,
But I try and get as close as I dare.

She seems so cool, and calm and complete,
She looks so happy, assured and care-free.
I think she’s in a league way above me,
And I doubt if she’s ever noticed me.

So day after day, I just think about her,
And carry on without any fuss.
I don’t even know what her name is,
She’s just “the girl on the forty-seven bus”.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 14 November 2016



The careful unpacking of the car
Its safety seat unclipped, unbuckled
Passed gently in to waiting hands
Its cossetted cargo
Wrapped up warmly against any chill
Cocooned in blankets
Tissue-paper protection
For this long-dreamed-of new life
Fragile, precious
The son and heir
The only one

The oft-practised transfer
Into the bumpered baby-buggy
Strapped and restrained
Armoured against a hostile world
Robust and resilient
Protection against a reality
Of bangs and cuts and scrapes
Or cold and unseen germs
Screened and sheltered
Lest any danger should penetrate
Multi-layered defences
And give the slightest cause
For any concern

Fiercely treasured
Special beyond measure
An antiseptic existence
Preserved in layers of cotton-wool
This first, their only child
Kept from all possible harm
And dangers of the world
Loved and feared in equal measure
By his doting parents
Who will do anything
To ensure his survival

 Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 13 November 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 13th November 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 13th November 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       A near-riot was narrowly averted at the village shop earlier this week when it was revealed that, due to cost-cutting measures, bunches of carrots were to be reduced from six carrots to five.  Customers staged sit-in protests and one person chained themselves to railings before the village bobby was summoned to restore order.  Parish Council leader Theresa Green spoke for everyone when she described the decision by the Carrot Farmers’ Collective to reduce the bunch-size as another example of modern corporate greed. Villagers have been travelling as far afield as Melksham in order to stock up with the old six-carrot bunches.

2.       Nigel Barrage, owner of the village’s fruit-cake stall, has travelled to Trowbridge, and has become the first Bromham politician to meet with County Leader-Elect Donald Bumpkin.  The two men spoke for almost seven minutes before Mr Bumpkin found that he had something far more important to do elsewhere.  It is thought that they may have discussed the future of the Pointless Open Territory & Agricultural Treaty Organisation (POTATO) defence alliance. Parish Council supreme leaderene Theresa Green was, strangely, unavailable for comment.

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

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Smoke In The Woods

Smoke In The Woods

Footfalls muffled by leaf-mould
Springy turf of mulch and lichen
Amongst the dark and louring trees
Their trunks tall and straight
Like rigid columns
Holding up the canopy
That shades the lower cultures
Bud-laden, thick and lush
The saplings and the bushes
Of the under-growth

And among the monumental beeches
Pierced by glittering
Flickering sunlight shafts
Hangs a hazy skein of wood-smoke
Diaphanous, gauzy
Floating, drifting slowly
Its lingering strands
Fingering higher branches

And within the greater silence
Where there is no bird-song
Nor any rodent scuttlings
That can carry any distance
Through the depth of empty forest
There penetrates the faintest crackling
Cracking twigs and logs upon a fire
A simple sound of comfort
And a promise of human warmth

The smells of damp and ash
And simple cooking become stronger now
Than natural woodland aromas
Betraying the location
Of a camp-site under canvas
Hidden in a hollow
Among the dark, dank greenery
Of wet, mouldering vegetation
Near the gurgling stream
A lonely retreat
Far from any crowd

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 11 November 2016

Spiced Potato Koftas



·         For the koftas:
o    4 baking potatoes
o    30g unsalted butter
o    20-40g fresh chopped herbs (dill, parsley, chives, coriander)
o    1 medium green chillie, very finely chopped
o    ¼ tsp turmeric
o    ¼ tsp smoked paprika
o    75g feta, broken into chunks
o    ½ tsp caster sugar
o    ½ tsp salt
·         For the coating:
o    40g plain flour
o    1 egg, whisked
o    90g flaked almonds (or sesame seeds or breadcrumbs) – for the coating
o    1 ½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted & gently crushed (or dukkah is ideal)
o    ¾ cumin seeds
·         600ml vegetable oil (for frying)


1.       Heat oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7
2.       Prick potatoes all over, put on oven tray & bake for about an hour until soft/ cooked
3.       Leave to cool a little, then peel & discard skins
4.       Put potato flesh in bowl, and mix roughly with butter, herbs, chilli, spices, feta, sugar, salt
5.       Form into 8 koftas of 60g each & lay on oven tray
6.       Put flour in one bowl, egg in next, seed/ crumb coating in next
7.       Gently roll each kofta in turn in flour, then egg, then coating
8.       Pour enough oil into a pan to come about 1” up the sides & heat
9.       Carefully lower in 2 or 3 koftas at a time, and fry 1-2 minutes, then turn over & fry other side for another 1-2 minutes until light brown all over
10.    Place in dish lined with kitchen paper to drain & keep hot whilst you cook the other koftas

What else you need to know:

1.       Serve with lemon wedges and/ or a dipping sauce or salsa

2.       Great as a starter or side-dish

Thursday, 10 November 2016



A flash of flanks and fetlocks
Horses turned free within the paddock
The grass beaten and churned into sodden ground
By thumping, pounding hooves
As they wheel away
Heads held high and proud
Distended nostrils and teeth exposed
Manes flowing in the breeze
Beating alongside the fencing rails
At first a trembling trot
Building to a cautious canter
Before breaking into wide-legged gallops
Drumming in steady time
Shoulders and backs bent to the task
Of increasing speed
Then careering across the open field
Driven by the memories of former racing days
And the dash along the final furlong
To the invisible finishing line and waiting glory
Now rid of bits and reins and saddles
And high-seated, whipping jockeys
Allowed to frolic unrestrained
Driven by sheer exuberance into an ecstasy of sprinting
Coursing round the imagined circuit
Only pulling up at last, when good and ready
With a lung-deep triumphal whinney
Panting and straining to catch their breath
Pleased as punch, happy with their efforts
Then shambling gently over to the gate
To scrounge a proffered apple

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Drowning In Five Inches of Water

Drowning In Five Inches Of Water

A telephone ringing
Far away down in the hall
Takes only a moment to answer
But creates an absence of minutes
From precious play-time in the bath
And begets a long, empty space of waiting
Of wanting you
Of needing you
To hurry back upstairs
And an opportunity for her
To slide slowly down
Soft-skinned and slippery
Soapy from the bubbles
From the clear air above
To a short watery rest
Below the surface
Beneath the noise
Within the quiet, calm nothingness
And to breathe evenly
Drinking the warm liquid
Just long enough
To fall asleep forever

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Tuesday, 8 November 2016



I wakened to whiteness -
Oh, not to carpets of snow
That cover and soften every surface
Hiding all the details -
But to the thickest, hardest frost
That some winter wizard had painted
Or sprayed like icy caster sugar
Dusting delicately every single twig
And every blade of grass

Absolute stillness
Not a creature moving
In this monochrome silent world
The leafless branches of trees
Jutting dark sticks, dry and brittle
Frozen silhouettes
Crystalline shapes
Rimed in frost
Their features sharp and jagged
By the coldest hardness
And the clear glassiness of ice

The faintest moisture in the air
Floating silken gossamer strands
Vague and misty
Thin clouds of a snowman’s breath
Exhaled upon the scene
The distant hazy sky
Almost white itself
Blending with the earth
A dissolved horizon
An under-exposed frame
The under-developed picture
Of a colourless vista

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Monday, 7 November 2016

Fleeting Madness

Fleeting Madness

“Amor brevis furore est”

That day I thought my heart would burst
The blood boiling in my veins
A sickness at my stomach
Butterflies within
Every time I looked at you
Your eyelids flickering in the dazzling sun
Your lips parted in a gentle smile
Of mockery
And perhaps some pleasure

Reckless in my words
Hot and hasty, unthinking
Desperate to please, to promise anything
Urgent pleadings, passionate
Almost painful
Burning and breathless
Frightened lest you should turn away

I see it now
As a fleeting illness
Lasting but a little time
From which the fever passed its crisis
Symptoms resolved over many seasons
The heat now long dissipated
Calmer feelings restored
Cooler emotions to the fore
That messy madness gone
Replaced by a fine and clear indifference

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Sunday, 6 November 2016

News From Bromham - Dateline Sunday 6th November 2016

Bulletin From Bromham: Dateline – Sunday 6th November 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Bromham:
1.       In a stiffly-worded letter, a firm of solicitors in Bromham has told the Parish Council that it must actually debate items on the PC agenda before making any decisions which affect the future of the whole village, and that it’s simply not enough to ask old Fred in the back bar of The Wounded Ferret what he thinks about it.  The PC says it will ask another firm of solicitors what they think about the matter before deciding what to do. Old Fred was not available for comment.

2.       A possible armed insurrection was narrowly averted in the village last night, when a number of fires were deliberately started, and firearms could be heard being discharged across a wide area.  Following a tip-off, the cellars of the Social Centre were searched, but no explosives were found.  Gunshots continued to be heard throughout the evening, but the perpetrators could not be discovered.  Although several distress flares were seen in the night sky, police officers were unable to trace those in difficulty, and now believe that the whole thing may have been a treasonable plot.

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, 5 November 2016



When did it start to happen?
Was it as soon as you were born
or was it even earlier
as you floated warm in amniotic fluid?
Or even at the moment of conception
in a complex interplay
of genes and chromosomes
that the differences began?

The females of my species
developed along a very different path
from the ways that I had known
and had their own concerns
that yearned for pink in everything
(when I know full well
that such a colour
never crossed our minds)
and took to desiring dollies
and petting puppies and kittens
from a very early age
and then grew up all too quickly

Soon giggling in barricaded bedrooms
confused by active hormones
pre-occupied with latest hairstyles
and clothing in the fashion magazines
or brands of make-up and shampoo
and the delicate issues
involved in the removal of body hair
or the base behaviour
of the latest boyfriends
and who fancied who at school

Then the greater changes
of maturing mind and body
ripening into an all-at-once adulthood
with its sudden sensibilities
of the female and the feminine
and the ferocious gender-bonding
within the sisterhood

And a new respect
for a mother long-ignored
and who once had little time for men
the masculine, muscled males
with their crude loudness
their football and sporting obsessions
and testosterone-driven lives

When did you girls grow into women?
Was it something subtle that I missed?
How did you grow so far apart
and became so very different
and how many years has it taken now
for us to hardly know each other once again?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Friday, 4 November 2016



A careful journey through the house
Starts with the regular routine
The easy things at end of day
Of switchings-off, and shuttings-down
Of locks and bolts and doors
And the silences that quickly fall
Within the lounge and in the kitchen

Then heading for the staircase
And the reluctant nightly climb
Towards the empty, darkened corridor
That harbours brooding shadows
And perhaps conceals an unseen something
Now trying to hold back a creeping fear
And the mounting tension
Engendered by an empty house
And too many nights of loneliness

Fumbling round the corner of the wall
With a trembling, groping hand
Seeking out the elusive switch
That will illuminate the feeble bulb
And banish darkness
From the space along the landing
And the hurried steps
Echoing against the plaster walls
Towards the master bedroom
Past the other door, her door
The one that never opens now
And diving quickly into the empty bed
To banish this unwanted fear
This irrational paranoia
And to try to fall sleep
Yet again alone

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2016

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Bread with chive, yoghurt & oats

Recipe for: BREAD – Chive, Yoghurt & Oat Bloomer


·         350ml warm water
·         1 tsp fast action yeast
·         1 large bunch chives, finely chopped (or use spring onions, or onion)
·         200ml yoghurt
·         400g strong white bread flour
·         100g strong wholemeal flour
·         2tsp salt
·         Handful oats
·         Oil for kneading


1.       Pour water into a large bowl
2.       Add yeast & chives & mix well
3.       Stir in yoghurt
4.       Add salt & both flours, mixing well
5.       Pull together into a single sticky ball
6.       Leave in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth & leave to stand for 10 minutes
7.       Lightly oil worktop & knead the dough gently for 10 seconds
8.       Return to bowl, cover & leave for a further 10 minutes
9.       Knead again for 10 seconds, return to bowl, cover & leave for 90 minutes, until risen by at least half
10.    Prepare two dinner plates: on one put two sheets of kitchen paper, wet with water.  On the other spread out a handful of oats
11.    Line a large oven tray with baking parchment
12.    Get the ball of dough & roll it on the wet plate to moisten the surface, then roll around in the oats until they stick all over, then place into the baking tray
13.    Cover with dry cloth & allow to rise again for about an hour
14.    Heat the oven to 220C/ fan 200C
15.    Using a serrated knife slash the top of the loaf diagonally five or six times
16.    Bake in the hot oven for 40 minutes until golden

What else you need to know:

1.       This looks complicated, but it isn’t!
2.       The loaf will be thin and flat & will develop a very firm crust
3.       It has a lovely sourdough type taste to it – delicious!
4.       Great with soft cheeses