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Friday, 31 August 2018

A Man No Longer Walking

A Man No Longer Walking

Always there, come rain or shine
Rambling in all weathers
Part of the weekly group
And known to all
Sometimes at the front
Foraging through the footpaths
Sometimes at the rear
Making heavy work
Of climbing over stiles
Or pulling up the final hill
But doing very well
For a man of advanced years
And a long list of medical problems

Appearing hale and hearty
Yet the oldest in the group
Ready to lead or to follow
Boots cleaned anew every time
Gnarled stick in hand
Water bottle in the rucksack
He has no need of maps
Having lived here all his life
And knowing all the pathways
Like the back of his veiny hand

Suddenly a change
And he’s no longer here
Missing at short notice
And a space develops
Between the conversations
Taken away at midnight
A man no longer walking

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Venison & Butterbean Spicy Stew

Recipe for: VENISON & BUTTERBEAN SPICY STEW (with guacamole)


·        90ml olive oil
·        500g shallots, peeled & left whole
·        350g smoked bacon lardons
·        4-6 dried red chillies
·        2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
·        1 tsp ground cumin
·        1 tblsp white wine vinegar
·        ½ tsp caster sugar
·        1 kg venison shoulder or neck, cut into dice
·        2 tblsp plain flour
·        250ml white vermouth
·        5 large sprigs thyme, tied with string
·        400g tin butter beans, drained & rinsed
·        Salt


1.      Heat oven to 150C/ fan 135C/ 300f/ gas 2
2.      In a large, heavy sauté pan on medium heat, add two tblsp of oil, shallots and bacon lardons, and fry for ten minutes, stirring to brown & soften
3.      Put chillies in bowl with 150ml boiling water, allow to rehydrate for 30 minutes
4.      Strain, saving the water
5.      Slit chillies, take out seeds (discard) and put in blender with garlic, cumin, vinegar, sugar, tblsp of oil, salt.
6.      Blitz to a paste, adding a little chilli water to get a smooth result
7.      In another bowl, put the venison, sprinkling over flour & salt, then mix thoroughly
8.      In a clean pan heat some oil, and seal the floured meat in three batches, keeping the cooked batches until it’s all cooked
9.      When it’s all done, add the browned meat to the lardons and shallots
10.   Add vermouth & cook for two minutes
11.   Add the chilli paste, 120ml of water & the thyme sprigs
12.   Cover & transfer to heated oven, cooking for 90 minutes
13.   10 minutes before the end, add the drained butter beans and re-cover
14.   Remove & leave to stand for 20 minutes before serving

What else you need to know:

1.      Serve with sour cream & a guacamole (diced avocado, ½ red onion finely chopped, coriander leaves & 2tblsp lime juice)
2.      This is a rich & comforting spicy stew

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

God Throws In The Towel

God Throws In The Towel

Come and listen to me, you sinners,
And I’ll tell you this for beginners -
Here’s a situation without any winners.

You lot never listen, so here’s a prod -
I’m getting fed-up of sitting here on my tod,
So I’ve decided to jack it all in as Lord God.

You might think it’s a doddle being divine,
But it’s boring, and not everything’s fine,
And that’s why I’ve decided to resign.

It’s a big vacancy that I’ll be freeing,
Cause it’s ever so tiring being all-seeing,
To say nothing of acting the Supreme Being.

For all eternity I’ve been celibate:
It’s been lonely up here with no mate,
Apart from that slip-up with Mary on our last date.

Anyway, I think it would be for the best,
Cos by now you’ve probably guessed,
Frankly – I’ve completely lost interest!

I’m the Ancient Of Days, and I’m tired,
And, though I know I can never be fired,
I think a new guy should be interviewed and hired.

I hate to be leaving you all in the lurch,
But I’m totally hacked off with the Church,
So for a successor you’ll need to get on with the search.

So it’s all over, and enough is enough.
Finding a new Father might be quite rough,
But that’s your bloody problem now – tough!

Just one piece of advice, I say with a great howl:
I know that I’m the one throwing in the towel,
But for the sake of Me, don’t get Simon Cowell!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Pass Me The Doodah

Pass Me The Doodah

My other half’s got me under the thumb -
She told me the sink I had to go and un-gum
Even though I think DIY’s a total pain in the bum.

I tried using every one of the tools that I’d got,
And soon I was covered in debris and grot,
Not only that – I was in a very tight spot.

I was getting all bothered and hot,
My temper snapped, my patience was shot
“What I need,” I thought, “is a long whatnot”.

My brow with cold sweat became beaded,
And I’d no idea what it was that I needed,
But at last to my cries she finally heeded.

I was in the narrowest space I could fit,
But if I could just turn that doodah one little bit,
So I shouted to her,  “pass me the wotsit!”

“The thingummy, the oojah, the one with the knob,
That effort, the dingle-dongle,” I cried with a sob,
“You know, that big thingamabob!”

She passed me a gubbins that looked quite tricky,
And I said, “I don’t mean to be too picky,
But that’s not it at all, that’s not the doohickey!”

“The whatchamacallit, the one that’s quite big,
The wossit, the gizmo that looks like a pig,
Oh come on! Just gimme the thingamajig!”

“This widget’s no midget, it’s making me mad,
It’s gnarled, and it’s snarled, it’s really quite bad,
The only thing that’ll shift it is that doodad!”

Well, she got in a big huff, started passing me stuff,
But it were wrong for the job, it just weren’t enough,
And I started getting narky and all of a huff.

“If you’d just give me what I need, you great divvy,
I could stop behaving like a snivelling skivvy.
What this job needs is a deedum, or an oojah-capivvy!”

My fingers on the dingus was doing no good,
And the water were spurting, turning to mud:
My ineptitude had created a black flood.
An unknown tool, whatever handle I picks,
Just something from there in the mix,
Just a thingy, or a doozy, would get me out of this fix.

So if anyone knows the name that is right,
Pass on over here, as quick as you might,
Or else be stuck here for the rest of the night!

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Monday, 27 August 2018

Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus

He waits and watches carefully
Afraid to gaze too directly
At what he wishes most to see
For seeming hours-long periods which last but minutes
Terrified that he may miss the moment
When the smallest crescent of black
Floods the lens and resolves itself
Into the compact complete spot
The dot of a distant planet at the very edge of vision
Left to right slow moving
Forging a steady path
Traversing the fiercely-blazing
Massive backdrop of the blinding solar orb
Light-pulsing energy
A hot star burning persistent
At astronomic distance from his naked eye

It is only a matter of seconds
Through a particular conjunction
Of elliptical trajectories
And specific circumstances
That she arrives where she does
At these exact co-ordinates
So that he might have the chance
To stare openly at her distant unclothed body
Across the cold expanse of dark empty sky
Although his voyeuristic act of observation
Means nothing to her
And is of no consequence

And as he bends again towards the eyepiece
Of the solar-focused telescope
To follow the heavenly path
And marvel at the beauty of her namesake
His earth-bound Venus
Walks behind and slowly past him
Hidden in the darkness of sun-cast shadows
Making a transit of her own, unseen
Across the space that divides them
Her movement attracting no attention
And within seconds the moment is over
And she is gone again
Her tiny body lost to sight
Pursuing an orbit of her own

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Drivel From Devizes - Dateline Sunday 26th August 2018

Drivel From Devizes: Dateline – Sunday 26th August 2018

Here is our weekly round-up of events from D-Town:

1.   A D-Town resident is thanking her lucky stars, and the D-Town Coastal Search & Rescue helicopter, for her miraculous rescue from The Crammer.  After falling off the back of a small rowing boat, as she leaned back to take a selfie with a swan, Eileen Dover had to stand in near waist-high water in an effort to prevent her phone and ciggies from getting wet.  Ms Dover, who worked as a professional idiot in an earlier career, said she was lucky to be only wet from the boobs downward, and was looking forward to her recovery with about fifteen pints of lager in the pub later.

2.  And about seven people lined the streets to welcome the visiting archbishop of Trowvegas, who was in the town for a fleeting 36-hour visit.  During his time here he was expected to visit the C of E School for the Tribulation of Minors, and to celebrate an open-air mass BBQ on The Green, where perhaps up to ten people are expected to attend.  All police leave in the town has been cancelled, and the Society of Reformed Choirboys will form a Guard of Honour for the visiting dignitary.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

Between the clasped covers
Lie the clean, unsullied sheets of white
To be carefully written upon
In the quiet times at night
When she can sit alone, unwatched
To confide the shapeless thoughts
That float around inside her head
And translate them into the solidity of words
Until they crystallise upon the page

Yesterday there were brief anxieties
Worries to be picked over
Like the entrails of the day
And a breaking heart to be repaired
If such a thing were possible
And in deepest desperation
She trusted in the blank discretion
Of her silent companion
Never to reveal her inner pain
Nor the nagging ache of love and loss

Then today there are things that must be said
Confided to her intimate, her familiar
That she cannot tell another living soul
For the fear that secrets will escape
Whispered out into the world
And that others may untimely know
Of her guarded hopes and dreams

And tomorrow there will be anger
Resolution and determination
A brutally honest appraisal
Of her future prospects
Confessed in some enigmatic code
To her friend, her willing witness
The pen fierce upon the page
Pressed without restraint
Biting through the paper
The contents then quickly shuttered
And hidden under lock and key

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Friday, 24 August 2018



How is it possible
that such a tiny frame
can hold a fast-beating heart
the shape-quivering lungs
and all the needed body parts
sufficient to survive
and to endure the crack-hard cold of winter?

And what is the source
               of electrical energy
that drives the courage of this little creature
a pert and perky thing
that cannot weigh an ounce
and yet has wits enough
to defy the cruel odds
of an enormous world?

And how quick must one be
to see the flash
of bright and beady eyes
aside a head so small
that twitches on alert?
or the feathers and feet
that flit and flicker
in a sudden blur of movement
before taking wing
to a safer place?

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Blackcurrant Cordial



·        Fresh blackcurrants, rinsed & picked over (but you can leave the stalks)
·        Sugar (see method below)
·        Zest and juice of one unwaxed lemon


1.      Put the blackcurrants in a pan with enough water to cover
2.      Bring to the boil until the berries split, and remove from heat
3.      Squash the berries in the pan using a potato masher
4.      Tip the mashed berries into a muslin-lined jam/ jelly bag over a bowl, and allow the juice to strain through.  Do not force the juice through – just let it drip of its own accord – or the result will be cloudy.
5.      Leave for several hours, or overnight.
6.      Discard the solids left in the jelly bag.
7.      Measure the clear liquid you have collected.  For each pint of liquid, you need 1lb sugar.
8.      Put the juice & sugar into clean pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves.
9.      Whilst it is heating add the zest and juice of the lemon.
10.   Strain the liquid through muslin again, into a clean container. It should be thick, syrupy and intensely flavoured.
11.   Cool and bottle.  Keep in the fridge.
12.   To serve – dilute with water, soda, lemonade

What else you need to know:

1.      A little goes a long way
2.      Also nice over ice-cream or in porridge

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Fifty Sheds Of Grey

Fifty Sheds Of Grey

A man has to have some hobbies in life,
Something  that’ll make him leap out of bed,
And, when he arrives at a certain age,
That something tends to be a grey shed.

It’s funny - they never appeal in anyone’s youth,
When things tend to happen all in a deluge,
But once you’ve been married a few years,
A shed can be a man’s haven, or refuge.

It doesn’t take much – a shed can be quite modest,
A roof, a window, and four wooden walls:
Just somewhere homely to escape to,
Whenever an unwelcome chore calls.

It’s a manly or masculine thing,
Just to get yourself behind a closed door,
To rummage around in the darkness,
And to spread your things out on the floor.

For in this exclusive, men-only club,
You need never ask anyone’s pardon,
Just to disappear down the primrose path,
To your shed, at the end of the garden.

Yes, a shed can be a man’s very own kingdom,
The realm where what he says is what goes:
A place to play with his bits and pieces,
And what he does inside – nobody knows.

And he can make the place quite homely,
Then spread out as much as he dare,
By getting a radio, perhaps, and some carpet,
And, if there’s room, a comfortable chair.

A bottle or two and a few glasses,
And an optic can easily form up a bar.
Then he can get all of his mates round,
And be the gardeners’ idea of a star.

You see it becomes more than a shelter -
It’s not just for keeping out of the rain -
It’s a sanctuary that’s out of the house,
A place that might keep a man sane.

So, don’t denigrate such constructions,
And pay heed to what I’ve just said,
For a man’s the king of his castle,
When he’s finally alone, in his own shed.

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Tuesday, 21 August 2018



How long can this go on?
You came, unbidden, two weeks ago
Without welcome
And stayed to torment me
Day after miserable day
Always making out
That you were ready to go
At any moment
To let me breathe again
And give me back my energy
And let things be
The way they were before

And yet you’re still here!
Can’t you see I’m sick of you?
You’re bringing me down
And choking me
Can’t eat, can’t sleep
Whilst you hang around
My head is thick and throbbing
And my chest wheezes
Every limb aching
As my body uses every cell
To fight back
And requests you, firmly, to leave

The medicine cabinet’s empty
Since I rifled the cures and the drugs
Seeking for any relief
From your unpleasant effects
Now I can’t think straight
And everything’s too hard
To manage any more
Enough is enough!
Be gone, foul visitor
Your departure’s overdue!
Go find someone else to impose on
And leave me to crawl back to bed

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Monday, 20 August 2018

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 2018

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Drivel From Devizes - Dateline Sunday 19th August 2018

Drivel From Devizes: Dateline – Sunday 19th August 2018

Here is our weekly round-up of events from D-Town:

1.   Memorial services will be held next week for the many local snowflakes who were slightly offended when one of their Facebook pages collapsed, losing many selfies and comments, and injuring many feelings.  There has been a call for a public enquiry into this major tragedy that has affected the town so badly.  It has been suggested that the page was not strong enough because of the way it had been constructed by the Web Mafia Group, but no-one is about to publicly say so.

2.  And a man has been charged with terrorist offences after deliberately driving his car at high speed through the Market Place, before failing to stop at a zebra crossing, and crashing into the one remaining bollard outside the Town Hall.  His main crime, according to police, was his utter failure to actually take out any local councillors, leaving every one of them still alive and uninjured. 

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Saturday, 18 August 2018



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 2018

Friday, 17 August 2018

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 every social policy and 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?   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.

Her polemical style is worse than Jon Humphrys, and on bad days compares with Paxman.
Politics is her specialist subject, and don’t get her started about the tax-man.

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, for such a roll of the dice:
As 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 2018

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Pickled Beetroot

Recipe for: Pickled BEETROOT


  • 1-2 kg fresh beetroot
  • Malt vinegar to cover
  • ½ tsp sugar

  1. wash & sterilise several medium/ large sealable jars
  2. wash the beetroot, then top & tail but do not peel
  3. put into a large pan & cover with fresh water
  4. bring to the boil, then simmer until the beets are just tender – this depends on the size of the beets, but you want them al dente, not overcooked
  5. drain & allow to cool
  6. when cold, peel the beets (the skins should come off very easily) and slice them into rounds (unless the are very small, in which case keep them whole)
  7. pack the beets carefully & tightly into the jars
  8. add ½ tsp sugar to each jar, then top up with the vinegar
  9. shake the jars carefully and/ or use a knife to get all the trapped air-bubbles out
  10. ensure the jars are filled right up to the neck, but do not leave the last slice of beetroot exposed
  11. seal tightly, label & store in a dark cupboard for a couple of months before using
What else you need to know:

  1. be very careful – beetroot juice stains everything it comes into contact with
  2. once a jar is opened, store in the fridge & use within two weeks
  3. beetroot leaves, when young & tender are great in salads

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Space Force

Space Force

You really couldn’t make any of this up
What’s been happening just over The Pond
The orange man with the comb-over
Has announced they’re off to Mars And Beyond

The planets and stars are no longer safe
For I have it from a reliable source
They’d like to stop immigration by aliens
And they’re going to call it the Space Force

You might think it’s all Science Fiction
But it seems our human future’s sealed
For instead of peace and co-operation
They’ve already dubbed it The Next Battlefield

It’s not NASA but a military branch
They’re looking for control and conquest
Space traffic management of the best
Ordered up at their own behest
I thought it was just Trump having a jest
He couldn’t possibly be serious I’d guessed
But, no, this is no sort of test
He wants dominance for the West

Since mankind’s relatively recent birth
We’ve quickly made a mess of the Earth
Wasted resources, now there’s a dearth
Is that really all it’s worth?

Not content with buggering up this world
Committing global crimes that are heinous
They’re taking on the whole solar system
And one of the next steps is apparently Venus

Perhaps he’s been reading too many comics
And is worried about Little Green Men
Inter-galactic missiles and flying saucers
Invasion being not a matter of “if” but only of “when”

Perhaps he’s afraid when he’s sleeping at night
Perhaps he hears Martians rattling the locks
Maybe he dreams of wielding a light-sabre
To fight off the Klingons and Ewoks?

This is bonkers it’s apparent to me
Humanity working together is key
Not the Yanks dictating how it’ll be
I hope you’ll have to agree
They’re just taking the pee
In the so-called Land Of The Free
We can’t let them go over to the Dark Side
Nor go along with them just for the ride
Stick our heads in the sand and hide
We have to stand up to this warmongering tide
And let common sense be our guide
So space becomes not the Great Divide

We need exploration, scientific discovery
Making best use of whatever we find
Bringing benefits to all of humanity
Supporting the whole of mankind

Please let’s keep outer space neutral
Boldly going where no man has gone before
Our planet’s not The Final Frontier
Let’s not close that particular door

So never mind “Infinity and Beyond”
Let’s be sensible whatever we do
Thanks for listening to this rant
And “May The Force Be With You”

Copyright Andy Fawthrop 2018

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

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 2018