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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ordinary People

Ordinary People

They go to the supermarket
pick up their children from school
sit down to their teas in the kitchen
then watch telly through the evening

Sitcoms and serials and the usual
channel-hopping to find something cheerful
or chat shows and game shows perhaps
but usually switching off the News

Sometimes they go out to the pub
drink and have a chat with their friends
or go and see the local football team
if City have a game at home

They are mostly married, often many years
with a nice little house in the street
maybe a car parked right there outside
and a garden to sit out in when it’s fine

They have their worries, of course
and which of us cannot say they do?
with prices going up it seems daily
yet, once again, no pay-rise on the cards

And when they’re in town on a week-day afternoon
they enter cafes for a coffee
or shops to buy a Lottery lucky dip
and hope it brings about a change of fortune

They sit right next to you on the bus
in the morning when they’re travelling  to work
and listen to their iPod music
to help make time pass a little faster

No, they don’t look any different
just ordinary people in so many ways
nothing to make them stand out in the crowd
or to show that they are anyone special

Their appearance is not evil
nor are they marked as criminal types
but the sites they visit on their computers
are a world away from online shopping

Their viewing and chatting and grooming
goes on sometimes late into the night
but when you talk to them next morning
you’d never know they were any different

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Euclidean Love

Euclidean Love

Perhaps we may describe the shape of our love
The line between us being short
Having zero width and little distance
Straight and without angles
Proof, if it were needed
That we are on the same side
Two figures sharing the same plane of existence
The same dimension of being
Not parallel and un-meeting
But the volume of our bodies
Converging by degrees
The elements of our lives triangulated
To meet at the same point
Within the small circumference
Of a wide circle of space and time
A simple unopposed geometry
A fixed and solid truth
Governed by laws unseen
Non-tangential axioms
Equal plus equal being equal
The whole being greater than our parts

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Monday, 29 May 2017

Running For The Bus

Running For The Bus

I count myself a determined old bugger:
I didn’t want to be put out to grass.
Eventually a new vista opened,
When at last I got hold of my free bus pass.

I took to it like a duck to the water,
And used it to voyage about all over.
Soon I became a frequent traveller,
And was known as the “Off-Peak Rover”.

There’s but one bus a day from our village,
So you can’t afford not to be on board,
And when I saw the thing disappearing.
I was off in hot pursuit, and I roared.

The driver could see me, so gave me a chance,
Leaving the doors open as he moved away.
I was quite a wreck, as I leapt up on deck
But at least I still didn’t have to pay!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Drivel From Devizes - Dateline Sunday 28th May 2017

Drivel From Devizes: Dateline – Sunday 28th May 2017

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Devizes:
1.      Passengers were left stranded in the town over the entire bank holiday weekend when the main computer system for BA (Buses Anonymous) went down.  The PC which stores the bus timetables and fare tables, which was locked inside the company’s HQ, went into meltdown after it automatically began to install a Windows 10 upgrade.  The bloke with the key to the office had gone away for the weekend and could not be reached.  In one incident four buses all arrived at the same time in an attempt to run the 10.33 service to Trowbridge.  Passengers looked on in amazement as the buses jockeyed for position at the bus stop, culminating in a fist-fight between the drivers.  Elsewhere no services were running as the buses remained in the depot, unable to depart.  Taxi drivers in the town welcomed the news and said it was the best Bank Holiday week-end they’d had in years.

2.      The Town Council has been hosting the latest environmental talks for the  known universe, i.e. Wiltshire.  The meeting coincided with the world tour of Donald Dump, the celebrity climate change denier, who dropped in to the gathering to give the its members the benefit of his views.  The atmosphere, which  was described as “colder than Frosty The Snowman” by one delegate, was so bad that Wiltshire’s climate has now actually improved, since the temperature dropped by 1C.  No polar bears were harmed in the making of this report.

3.      For details of these and all other Devizes stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station D-Town F-off.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Pencil Case

Pencil Case

The bag sits upright, straight and packed
Books ready, folders loaded
Alert and standing to attention
And the new pencil case
Shiny, patterned, yet under-stated
Gold-bright teeth tightly zipped
Sheltering new treasures
Inky felt-tip pens rainbow-coloured
A set of HB pencils
Graphite honed to finest points
Compass and protractor
Plastic rulers all aligned
Packets of pins and paper-clips
Sorted and snuggled down
With sharpener and eraser
Ammunition for the new campaign

No broken points or shavings
No dust nor detritus gathered
Or yet cluttered in its depths
But clean, tidy, fresh, prepared
The very mirror of my mind
Open, hopeful, positive
Ready for another start

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Friday, 26 May 2017



Welcome to our little jamboree,
And thanks for answering the call.
Perhaps you’d like to help us out
On Mister Nuttall’s Fruitcake stall?

He answers to the name of Paul,
But his counter’s rather under-manned.
So to sell his pitch, his mixture’s rich,
And it’s way too fruity on his stand.

He’s concerned with currant issues,
There’s not a subject he’s not raisin’.
His cakes look merry, adorned with cherry -
With only home-grown stuff in his basin.

But take a slice of what he’s offering,
The texture’s too light if you try it.
When it’s sliced so thick, it’ll make you sick -
I doubt if anyone will buy it.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Saint Peter Has A Bad Day

Saint Peter Has A Bad Day

Hi there, everyone, the name is St Peter -
My role just couldn’t be neater -
I’m God’s old “meeter-and-greeter”
Outside Heaven’s multi-billion-seater.

I’m at the front desk receiving the hopeful,
Watching the queue where everyone waits,
For I’m the celestial sentinel
In front of those famous pearly gates.

Beyond them are clouds, and angels with harps,
Where nothing could be much cosier.
There’s heavenly music and haloes,
And for every meal there’s ambrosia.

Everyone would like to get in,
To enjoy rest in their eternal home,
But there are some tough criteria to meet
Before you get in to the pleasure-dome.

And that’s where I think the trouble starts,
With people justifying what they’ve been doing:
It leads to delays and congestion,
And we’ve no system of priority queuing.

Everybody comes here with an equal chance,
No matter how things might at first look:
All the good deeds and the bad deeds,
Recorded carefully in my master’s big book.

And they’re always in a bad mood,
Bearing in mind they’ve probably just died,
It can make them tired and tetchy,
Just like they’ve had their brains fried.

So you can imagine the abuse,
And what’s the reason for this? The cause?
When I ask them if they’ve been bad or good?
Even Lucifer calls me Santa Claus.

And if they get the unwelcome thumbs down,
And they’re condemned to fall from God’s grace,
They start shouting and arguing,
As they’re escorted off to The Other Place.

See, at the end of the day, I’m not Management,
I’m just an employee, which can irk -
I’ve got to be here twenty-four seven,
To carry out the Lord God’s dirty work.
Dealing with people day in, day out,
The negative procedure soon sours:
I mean, you never see God out here,
During any of these unsocial hours.

The queues and the disappointments
Are very upsetting, for Goodness’ sakes,
And I don’t get any paid holidays,
Nor any time out for toilet breaks.

I mean, don’t go getting me wrong,
It’s a very responsible position,
Holding on to the Keys of the Kingdom,
Fulfilling His Lordship’s great mission.

But I think I’m being taken for granted,
If you want my confession.
There’s no future in this organisation -
I can’t see any career progression.

So I’m looking around at what else I could do,
Something appropriate to my level.
There’s a strong rumour going around,
That Beelzebub’s seeking a new devil.

The pay’s only a little bit better,
But there’s fringe benefits as well.
Think I might give a try one day -
Can’t be worse than this – so what the hell?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

National Treasures

National Treasures

I’m fed up of being just normal,
I want people to get my measure,
So I’m thinking of applying
To become A National Treasure.

I want people to look up to me,
As if I were a great monument,
Perhaps pay me a little more respect,

And treat me like a real gent.

It seems fairly easy to do -
You just have to be ubiquitous:
Be famous for being famous,
And avoid being iniquitous.

Billy Connolly, Sir Cliff Richard,
Sean Connery or Dame Maggi Smith,
Clare Balding, Sir Bruce Forsyth
This is the company I should be seen with!

Benedict Cumberbatch is another,
Peter Capaldi – you know! Doctor Who!
Hugh Bonneville and Gary Lineker,
We’re surrounded by good guys and true.

You obviously need to live long enough,
Like Judi Dench or Cilla Black,
Or be a nice guy, like that Stephen Fry,
So they keep on inviting you back.

For these are society’s role models,
Celebrity leaders of our nation,
Liked by everybody’s sister and mother,
Examples that provide inspiration.

But notoriety and exposure,
Appearing in tabloids and all of that caper,
May not be quite the right thing after all -
There’s good reasons not to be in the paper!

I could mention that Max Clifford,
Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville and Ken Dodd,
And Stuart Hall – each one a celebrity,
And every one turned out a real sod.

No - we’ve had to bring a few of them down,
So now we’re repenting at leisure -
I’m not sure it’s such a good idea,
I think I’ll stay as a hidden treasure!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Upon Waking

Upon Waking

Rousing slowly from a drowsing sleep
Still faint and frowsing
Morning light insinuates itself
Creeping unbidden under gummy eyelids

At the liminal edge of dawn
The last lingering strands
Of imaginings and of rambling dreams
Stretch taut like piano-wire, gently snapping

The final frayed threads of contact
With troubling night-time places
Receding, fading, disappearing
Among the jumble of tangled bedclothes

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Monday, 22 May 2017

Silbury Hill

Silbury Hill

Looming above us, occluding
We walk forward into its shadow
And for a while we are darker, cooler
Welcoming its shade on a hot day

We begin to skirt around
Following its rounded even contours
Till we emerge again minutes later
Beyond the ancient mystery

First the halo’d penumbra
Then the eye-blinding flickering flash
Of unfettered sunlight
The same people, yet changed

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Drivel From Devizes - Dateline Sunday 21st May 2017

Drivel From Devizes: Dateline – Sunday 21st May 2017

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Devizes:
1.      Confusion in The Vize this week as all the main parties variously leaked, lost, published and/ or defended their various manifestos in the upcoming election for the new Town Council.  The Wessex Wailers and the Wiltshire Wombles were at total loggerheads over the issue of taking complete control of the railway network in the area, until the Lib Dems pointed out that The Vize hasn’t actually had a rail link since the 1960s, and the Greens wanted to turn it into a cycle path anyway.  The Blues are pushing for public executions for littering and poor parking, to be carried out in the Market Place every Monday morning (Bank Holidays excepted).  The Reds would like to increase Council spending by building a by-pass – preferably through the middle of Poulshot (because nobody actually like Poulshot).  However, following a snap poll, it was confirmed that the Apathy Party is currently in the lead.

2.      And in Society News, tremendous excitement in the town this week, when a D-list minor celebrity (whose name no-one can actually remember), but with a famous arse, married a man nobody knew about.  The man, with no known redeeming features, was not available for comment.  No-one knows what first attracted the socialite to the millionaire banker.  Nearly seven people attended the short service at St Knickerless church.  The vicar requested that confetti should not be thrown in the churchyard.  The reception was held in the Cellar Bar of The Crippled Donkey public house, and three sausage rolls were left over at the end.  And people say that not much ever happens in this town.

3.      For details of these and all other Devizes stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station D-Town F-off.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Saturday, 20 May 2017

An Occasional Gardener

An Occasional Gardener

Along the old familiar lane
And up to the house that was my home
With a key that still fits within the lock
And turns easily as it always did
The rooms inside mostly empty
Awaiting a some-time final removal
Then stepping out to the garage and the shed
The garden and the greenhouse
To find the cobwebbed tools and mowers
Needed to give the old place its weekly trim
A short back and sides
To keep its neat appearance
And to do the running repairs
Until someone else can grasp the baton
And I can cease these painful visits
No longer an occasional gardener

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Friday, 19 May 2017

If That's The Truth (You Can Stick It)

If That’s The Truth (You Can Stick It)

They say that honesty’s the best policy,
That we all have a duty to be straight -
Well, I’m not so sure about that, my friends,
Or that the truth is really so great.

So let me tell you what I know to be true,
And let me speak exactly as I find,
Then you can all judge for yourselves,
And be ready to make up your own mind.

I’m getting older, and will get no younger,
I’m no longer down there, deep in the groove -
There are bits of me moving south-ward,
And everything hurts or creaks when I move.

I prefer Radio 4 to Radio 1 -
I find it easier on the heart.
I’ve lost track of pop music -
I’m turning into an old fart.

I no longer feel butch,
I don’t follow fashion and such,
My house is the size of a hutch,
My hands are clammy to touch,
And I’m drinking too much.

My clothes are out of date,
I’m succumbing to fate,
My life I’m starting to hate,
I never hear from my best mate,
And I’m well over-weight.

I owe taxes to the Revenue ,
That’s what it says on my statement.
I don’t have any money stashed away,
And now they’re chasing for late payment.

My children have flown the nest,
Even though I gave them my best,
I no longer pass every test,
I don’t get enough rest,
And everything’s gone West.

Sex is less interesting (or possible),
My libido’s right down on the floor.
I’ve lost touch with everybody,
And my girl-friend don’t love me no more.
We’re buggering up the planet -
Mankind just seems fixated on war.
It’s all greed and selfishness,
I sometimes wonder what it’s all for.

And the Universe is an infinite void,
Earth just a tiny, meaningless speck,
No other intelligence out there,
I mean – what the heck!

Seems like we’re here on our tod,
And, besides, there’s no God.

Nothing in life is fair,
It’s all wear and tear,
A long bloody nightmare,
Why should we bother to care?

I’ve got more than a hunch,
That as we take punch after punch,
There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Politicians deceive and they lie,
So I’ve become a cynical old guy,
No matter how hard I try.
There’s no answer to “why?”,
Children continue to cry,
The odds we can’t defy,
Life’s a bitch
And we’re all gonna die!

I may sound uncouth,
Bitter and twisted forsooth,
But ain’t that really the truth?

Seems to me that’s exactly the ticket –
We’re all batting on a sticky wicket,
But if that’s really the truth,
Then I’m afraid you can stick it!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Land Of The Free

Land Of The Free

I was a great fan of the United States, I just loved their American ways,
So I did the quite obvious thing, and went to the West Coast for my holidays.

To California and Arizona, to discover all that they had to show me,
Then on to the islands of Hawaii, and to the fleshpots of Waikiki.

The mountains, the forests and the deserts, the Pacific and Los Angeles’ nooks,
The Salad Bowl of the continent, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds and Starbucks.

With pancakes, muffins and super-sizing, those yanks sure know how to eat a big meal:
There’s Taco Bell, and then at Burger King “WMD” simply means a “Whopper Meal Deal”.

There’s the Big Mac, slathered in Monterey Jack, tacos, burritos and Mexican food,
There’s Hershey Bars, in candy jars, eat what you want, whatever the mood.

Of course there’s gallons of Coke and of Pepsi, of Coors and Miller, and good old Bud Lite,
Available in sizes up to a bucket, and most of it tastes shite.

In San Francisco I wore some flowers in my hair, Yosemite’s beauty left me beaming.
I enjoyed Uncle Sam, at the old Hoover dam, and I did my share of California dreamin’.

I travelled down freeways and Inter-States, gambled in Vegas, flew The Friendly Skies,
Got plenty of kicks, on Route Sixty-Six, and discovered that chips are called “fries”.

But there’s only so much that one man can take, and Country & Western songs started to pall.
I longed for a pavement, not a sidewalk, and had enough of Cowboys & Indians, y’all!

So I left my heart in San Francisco, had quite enough of “yee ha!” and such manner,
Travelled back home to England, deserted the Star-Spangled Banner.

I’ve had enough of the flag of Old Glory, as in the breeze it slowly unfurls,
I’m back living in our Scepter’d Isle, and want no more of Hula-Hula girls.

I’m done for a while with The Union, and our cousins there over the sea,
I’m finished with ice-hockey and baseball: no more swimming and surfboards for me.

It might be the land of democracy, peopled by every immigrant wave,
But is it still “the land of the free”? and is it truly “the land of the brave”?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Missing In Action

Missing In Action

I see you very clearly at the start - a living, breathing boy
a Victorian green certificate carefully clerk-inked in neat copperplate,
hard clear evidence of your entry to the world

Again, newly brothered with your Mum and Dad, my unknown great-grandparents,
family members grouped in rows and columns, neat names in the census
together at century’s turn

And yet again, a decade later, stone-mason’s apprentice, following your father’s trade
young, strong, single, patriot to the country’s cause , enlisted, marching away with the Pals,
and then – nothing, vanished from the face of the Earth,
swallowed by Belgian mud, but I’m only guessing,
your service records destroyed, ironically lost in another Blitz

Never married, no death recorded, no longer there when you were needed
dead-ends, as if you had never existed, a withered branch of the family tree
no twigs, no buds, no leaves
gaps in the photographs where you should have been standing
gatherings you ought to have attended, children you never had
cousins you failed to provide
and sometimes I can hear your voice filling empty spaces in conversations
in the folk-lore of family

Already long departed before I came, not here to meet my arrival
I could never reach out and touch you
it’s as if you’re still missing in action

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Independence For Wilsher

Independence For Wilsher

Seems the country’s fast falling apart,
And the United Kingdom’s set to rot,
With independence for the Cornishman,
For the Irishman, the Welshman and Scot.

So what about the claims for Wilsher?
The county of white horses and downs,
The shining jewel of South-West England,
The chalk hills and the market towns?

Our claims for EU recognition,
Would be composed of many factors:
We’re much more interesting than Gloucester,
And we’ve got an awful lot more tractors.

So here is my Wilsher manifesto,
To protect all we have in great bounty.
Let’s have belonging, our own identity,
A plea to be a Sovereign County.

We have our own history and landscape,
Our mythology and literature.
We’re a persecuted minority,
But the people are odd – that’s for sure.

Look at Marlborough and Avebury,
Malmesbury Abbey’s beautiful font.
Then there’s Trowbridge and Melksham,
Places that nobody else would want.

But what about Bradford and Salisbury Plain?
Lacock, Castle Combe and Devizes?
And lots of lovely little villages,
Whose names on-one ever recognises?

We’ve got the Great Western Railway,
Legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
And that corridor, of the bloody M4,
Also known as the Highway to Hell.

There’s our Wilsher Ham and our bacon,
The cheese and the bread, and cider-makers,
And there’s great myths and some weird legends,
Silbury Hill, and the tale of the Moonrakers.

Our patron saint could be - St Michael,
Our flower the burnt orchid, neatly cut,
Our bird must be - the Great Bustard!
And the Vly Be On The Turmut.
Our special sport could be - goat-nadgering,
And on our peculiar accents I’m banking,
To award a new protective status
To the practice of gander-flanking.

From Fosse Way, Ridgeway and Kennet & Avon,
Our great county will have its revenge,
And the roar of the lions at Longleat
Will be heard beyond the site at Stonehenge.

So let’s assert our independence -
Recognition for Wilsher’s the goal!
We should put barricades on the borders,
Impose some form of passport control.

And fair enough to old Cornwall -
What they’ve achieved is all very fine,
But I’m afraid that I’ve got to now -
I’m walking right round the Wilsher coastline!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Monday, 15 May 2017



It’s been a long, hard Winter for sure,
The weather’s done damage that’s easy to see,
There’s potholes down both sides of our road,
And that they need fixing’s obvious to me.

So I phoned up the Council, as you do,
Who said they’d put the job onto their list,
That I was to await for developments,
But it’d be a while, if you’re getting the gist.

The weeks went by, and many a day,
And nothing happened, as you’d expect,
But the holes got much bigger and deeper,
And I was waiting for cars to be wrecked.

There were joltings and bangings and bumpings,
Suspensions damaged without any doubt:
I was worried we’d lose some-one one day,
That we’d never get the poor bugger back out.

Then one day, it seemed there was action of sorts,
When two men turned up in a marked van,
Who inspected the holes from a good distance -
They just sat there, believe this if you can.

They held some sort of a conference,
Whilst sitting there at obvious leisure,
Then reluctantly got out of the van,
And approached the holes with a tape measure.

There was some shaking of heads, if you please,
By The Council’s pothole-repairing guys,
As if they couldn’t quite figure the problem,
Nor grasp the depth of the holes or their size.

They walked away muttering sadly,
Then stood there having a cigarette break,
Looking at all of the pros and the cons,
Undecided what action they should take.

Finally it seemed as if they’d decided,
How they should restore smoothness to the lane,
But it must have been too complicated,
Cos they got in the van, and drove off again.

Obviously the problem was too great,
To be tackled by only these two men -
They’d probably gone for reinforcements,
And would return again who knew when?

The mystery resolved itself next day,
When a task-force invaded the by-way.
We were over-run by men in hard-hats,
Who’d come to restore our rural highway.
A full Risk Assessment was in progress:
With impatience my nerves had started to jangle,
But they wanted yet more measurements,
To view the holes from every possible angle.

After a tea-break they at last started -
It was one of Wiltshire’s terrific sights,
But the barriers made it single-file,
And there were two sets of traffic lights.

There were five vans, and at least twenty men,
Hazard warning lights and lots of tricks,
Then they unloaded from out of their vans,
Shovels and spades and couple of picks.

The poor holes were now fairly surrounded,
The repair problem was starting to crack,
But when they all stood back from the action,
They’d only dropped in a small lump of tarmac.

It wasn’t big enough or of the same size,
There were still several jagged edges.
The road was even more of a switchback,
As it snaked between the country hedges.

Then all further work was suspended,
As they beat a retreat hell for leather.
They said it was more than their jobs’-worth,
To go on working in bad weather.

And that’s how it remains to this day,
It’s weeks since they finally departed,
And now the road’s in much worse condition,
Than before they ever got started!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Sunday, 14 May 2017

News From Devizes - Dateline Sunday 14th May 2017

Drivel From Devizes: Dateline – Sunday 14th May 2017

Here is our weekly round-up of events from Devizes:
1.      In the annual Devize-O-Vision song contest, broadcast live from the Corn Exchange and Ethel Sidebottom Memorial Banqueting Rooms, the Devizes entry (Boom-Bang-A-Lang-On-A-String) met its inevitable Waterloo, and came an honourable last.  The winning entry from nearby Trowbridge featured a heavy-metal band dressed in pink feathers and leopard-skin outfits, singing something in Wiltshire dialect about the perils of travelling on public transport in a post-apocalyptic world.  The ghost of Terry Wogan was seen moving across the Market Place at midnight.

2.      The Devizes Cottage Hospital was thrown into chaos after being hit by a sophisticated cyber attack, possibly masterminded from the remote province of Potterne.   Medical staff were unable to access patient records when the hospital’s only computer, an early gas-driven model, had its ventilation system blocked by some form of bug.  A sinister message appeared on the screen saying that the computer was due for its annual service, which would not be carried out without payment of a “fee” or “bill”.  Devizes’ only MP, from the Wiltshire Wailers Party, was on holiday, and not available for comment.

3.      For details of these and all other Devizes stories, don’t forget to listen to local radio station D-Town F-off.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Saturday, 13 May 2017



I’m all for a successful format,
But the BBC thinks it’s in clover,
If, for its tenth anniversary series,
It doesn’t give Masterchef a make-over.

The temperature’s reduced in the kitchen,
There’s boredom all over the nation:
Junior, celebrity, professional -
We’ve had every possible combination!

John Torode’s a chef, and knows how to cook,
But can we all stand yet one more outing,
For that great pudding Gregg Wallace,
Who doesn’t know when to stop shouting?

Too many contestants’ back-stories,
India Knight’s plodding and steady:
It’s getting like warmed-up leftovers,
A dish we’ve had too often already.

Combination recipes drive me mad,
Invention tests that feature just fish,
And all the fudging, over the judging,
As they deliver their “Signature Dish”.

Poached this, stuffed that, the drizzles and foams,
Smears, juices, crumbs, and the crispiest fat,
The sweetness finally coming through,
And the sharpness of this, cutting through that.

Fondants, creamings and, of course, salads,
De-constructing a favourite dinner,
Creating some fanciful new twist,
In an attempt to knock up a winner.

Then there’s dustings, little plates and purees,
Fondues, concasses and those ganaches,
There’s textures, baby-sick sauces and flavours,
Everyone’s in there, giving it a bash.

But the results can be disappointing,
Like a cheese soufflĂ© that’s failing to rise -
The bizarre lengths these guys can go to,
In pursuit of that Masterchef prize.

It’s all getting to be too technical,
Using blow-torches, vacuums and suction,
And I swear I’ll scream hard at the TV,
If I’ve to look at one more “reduction”!
Good flavour’s a strange and fickle thing,
It’s not enough when you can only see -
Food’s all about how it smells and it tastes,
But you can’t do either when watching TV.

I don’t know what to do, when given a jus,
Too many things graded and marinaded:
I think I’m losing my appetite,
And my palate’s decidedly jaded.

I’ve come to deride whatever’s pan-fried,
My whole stomach has come to feel bloated,
I no longer care for salting, wilting or grating,
Whether it’s steamed, or creamed or roasted.

I can’t take much more slurping and burping,
It’s over-cooked, boring and tough.
My whole attitude to contestants’ food,
Has changed - I’ve just about had enough!

Crispy outside, or melting within,
This tired formula I’m ready to miss.
I think I’ll just have a cheese sandwich -
Cooking’s really no tougher than this.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Friday, 12 May 2017

Royal Visit

Royal Visit

The earliest of starts
Forcing everyone to be there on time
With hurried diagonal parking
In the designated distant spot
And the long, hurried walk to the venue
Through the exclusion zone’s lines of security
The checking of passes, invitations and identities
To gather with the hoi-polloi
In best bib and tucker, dressed up to the nines
Who pretend to have made no special effort
The men in shiny suits and tightening ties
The women in frocks and high hair-dos
The Lord Mayor in polished chain of office
And the councillors and dignitaries
Getting hot under their collars
Affecting not to want to be there at all
But ready to get to the front
When push comes to shove

And the long, long standing around
Labouring through meaningless small-talk
Murmuring amongst groups of gathered strangers
Waiting for the clock-hands to slowly creep round
Towards the long-appointed time
Having fun picking out the low-key security men
Obvious with their nervous tight faces
Darting eyes, short haircuts and thick necks
The wires from their walkie-talkies
Curling round the back of their ears

And the drifting aromas of fresh paint
Cleaning fluids and laundry
Floating on the air in a floral bouquet

A pre-agreed agenda
A palace-approved programme
The timings nailed down to the minute
In a carefully-choreographed series
Of visits, moves, walks and chats
Through the venue, past the people
And groups of obligatory children

Then a flurry of arrival activity
Sweeping her in through the doorway
A small head obscured by the huddle
An entourage descending
Heads nodding and bobbing
Murmured questions and answers
And the forced amusement of the moment
A flash of a smile and some hair
Between the bodies that surround her
The party moving inexorably forward
In line with the timetable
Orchestrated and organised
Through displays and demonstrations
Exhibitions and presentations
Chatting and stopping, stopping and chatting

And then she is suddenly upon us
Presented to the group
A hand held out limply for taking and shaking
The couple of questions
Feigning interest in the responses
Ma’am rhyming with jam
Tweedy twin-set and pearls
Bad hair and teeth at close quarters
Before being urged gently forward
By the lady-in-waiting, a hand upon her elbow
Towards the final station of the tour

The speeches and spouting
A cascade of polite applause
The unveiling of another new plaque
A replacement for its predecessor
Inscribed at great expense
By a guilded local craftsman
Using certified recycled materials
And time-honoured traditional skills

At last she is whisked away again
Towards the next appointment
In another market town
The special cakes left un-eaten
And the tea and coffee undrunk
Which the rest of us may now fall upon
Before drifting back to our normal realities

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Night School

Night School (time they offered some more interesting sessions to tempt the jaded palate)

It’s time to brighten up your evenings!
All Welcome! Don’t sit there being uptight!
There’s a new syllabus starting this week,
Tuesday at seven p.m. is orgy night!

You’ll find us to be a real friendly crowd,
Just sign up for a starter session inside,
And after your first hour with the team,
You’ll find no-one’s got much left to hide.

We’ve got the heating turned up cosy and warm,
So there’s no need for you to be thinking,
There’s a risk that your willy will become chilly,
Or that there’s any danger of shrinking.

Beginners don’t need to be shy:
The experienced will show you what to do.
Our guiding text is the Kama Sutra,
But after that it’s mostly up to you!

Intermediate and advanced classes,
Are provided as an education.
No limit on the number of partners,
And we provide free lubrication.

We cater for every possible position,
Men and women in all of their guises:
Forwards, backwards and even sideways,
And there’s no rules on shapes or on sizes!

Whatever kinks you’re into we handle:
All types of frotting, gavotting and knotting,
From complicated sliding and riding,
To quite simple plotting and slotting.

Whether it’s frigging you’re really digging,
Cheer up!  There’s no need to wear that frown -
You can come at it from any direction:
Left to right, inside-out, or upside down.

If you’re hard and firm, or soft as a worm,
If there’s wrinkles and folds, or you’re just lumpy,
We’ve no preference for one or the other,
So long as you’re up for rumpy-pumpy.

All of your body parts are catered for:
Boobs and moobs, bums and tums, legs and thighs,
Whatever ripples, and tipples your nipples
Just go with whatever may arise!
It’s all about your participation,
So don’t hang back looking all soppy.
You might get an ovation for your stimulation,
Instead of remaining all floppy and sloppy.

We each have our lengths, and must play to our strengths,
It’s not endurance that wins all the prizes,
But enthusiasm counts for a lot,
And a desire to go with that which arises.

So no need to get yourself stuck in a rut,
But come and join us, you’ll have such a ball!
If you fancy a sess, where there’s plenty of flesh,
It’s Orgy Night at The Village Hall!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2017