No clouds on the horizon to mar the day,

When I and two friends go outside to play.

We pass the man on the corner who stands there and dribbles,

Causing us three girls to rush past him and giggle.

Time for Knock Down Ginger, British Bulldog, Jacks, and French Skipping,

Or collecting tea cards for swapping and flipping.

All over the East End of London we would roam,

Until one look at a watch would cause us to run home.

Home; not to iPads, iPods, MP3’s and Internet,

But to 3-channel TV, library books and Etch-a-Sketch.

Diaries I’d write, penning words in my head,

That I’ve kept to this day in a box under the bed.

On Saturdays we all had to help our mums,

To dust, polish, and hoover up crumbs.

Then out to the market the three of us would trot,

To hang round the record stall and wish more money we’d got.

The market traders’ shouts would ring in our ears,

As we ate chips out of newspaper without any fears

That the print might transfer from paper to finger,

Then back to the record stall to hover and linger.

Pocket money spent on comics, records and sweets,

We’d then sit on a wall, swinging our feet.

When the stalls started packing up we’d give a huge sigh,

As we’d forgotten what our mums had sent us out to buy.

Hurry back to the market with a shopping list,

For three pounds of potatoes I had erstwhile missed.

Come back home and sit on the step,

To read my comics and eat the sweets that are left;

Chocolate buttons, shrimps, blackjacks and chews,

Fortunately the teeth I still have are not few.

It was a time of joy, of carefree abandon,

A child of the Sixties, in lovely old London.




Through every house he’d crept to find

A glass of sherry left behind,

And oftentimes mince pies divine,

To fill the gap ‘till dinner time.

Santa Claus loved all things tasty,

But knew he mustn’t eat that pastry.

It played havoc with a resolution

To take good care of his constitution.

It made him bloat up full of air,

But Santa couldn’t resist such fare.

Reaching out to seal his fate,

He took a mince pie from a plate.

On the plate was a present list,

From a little boy by the name of Chris.

On the list read Santa Claus

The name of Skylanders Imaginators.

Santa burped and had some doubt

As to what little Chris was on about.

He’d never heard of such a game;

What happened to puzzles and Ludo,

And Scrabble and Cluedo?

Santa ate another pie

And shook his head and gave a sigh.

In his stomach he heard a sound,

But ignored the noise and skipped on down.

Next on the list was a Pokemon figure

Santa shrugged and started to snigger.

He was really, really none the wiser,

But he fancied another appetiser.

Down the little red lane into his belly,

Went three more pies and two glasses of sherry.

Santa squinted at the text

To see which toy that Chris wanted next.

When he read a Hatchimal

He let loose a laugh that resembled a howl.

His rumbling stomach did usurp

The laugh, and turned it into a burp.

The burp resounded around the place,

And all of a sudden he saw Chris’s face.

The little boy had heard a noise

And came downstairs to see what toys

Santa had left for a good mother’s son,

He soon found out that there were none.

Santa explained that he had some doubts

As to just what Chris was going on about.

He asked the boy if he would like,

A puzzle, a toy car, or even a bike.

Chris shook his head and looked down at the flooring,

And said all three were really boring.

Santa decided such an ungrateful wretch,

Could make do with just an Etch-a-Sketch.

Chris took one look at the toy,

And suddenly was a happy boy.

He said he’d always wanted one of those.

He twiddled the knobs as Santa fell into a doze.

All that pastry had knocked him out,

While the glasses of sherry had made him stagger about.

When he woke up Chris was gone,

His head ached a lot with the advent of dawn.

He saw a note that the boy had left,

When he read it, he felt somewhat blessed.

‘Thank you Santa’, Chris had scrawled,

My Etch-a-Sketch is the best present of all!’




The churchyard path doth wend its way,

By mossy stones where bodies lay

Beneath the soil in eternal rest,

Their weary bones as dry as dust.

John De’Ath, a farmer’s son,

Had died in eighteen and seventy one.

By moonlight’s shadow on Hallowe’en,

He rises up to survey the scene.

A ghostly shroud in which he’d been bound,

Falls into pieces on the ground.

John is left in his birthday suit

To startle the choir,

He thinks it’s a hoot.

Floating in through the old church door,

He spies Miss Annie Withinshaw.

Annie had never seen such a sight

Of a naked man on choir practise night.

She grabs some specs from Mabel Fanlee,

To feast her eyes on John’s dingly dangly.

But John had been dead for many a day,

His manhood had simply rotted away.

His flesh was green, his eyes were gone,

There wasn’t much left of poor old John.

Annie stopped in mid carouse,

And fainted in the choir pews.

John felt guilty, turned and fled

To a draughty tomb and a cold, hard bed.


When my son Marcus married the love of his life, Lisa, back in 2010, they asked me to compose a poem which could be read out at their wedding reception. I came up with the ditty below, which caused a few laughs at the time. It tells the story of how they met as young teenagers back in 2002, in those heady days when both sets of parents doubled as unpaid taxi drivers.




Two brown soulful eyes,

A handsome face I see.

I look at Marcus

And he looks at me.


He’s quiet and shy,

Where I go

There he’ll be.

I cuddle Marcus,

And he cuddles me.


Not keen on playgroup,

Doesn’t want to learn,

Two sad brown eyes

Await my return.


First day at school

He’s grown so tall,

He’s made me a picture

To hang on the wall.


Now he goes to big school,

Runs for the bus so as not to be late,

Waves goodbye at the garden gate.

He visits friends who live near and far,

One day he sees my old guitar.


“Teach me some chords Mum”,

The guitar’s in his hand,

Before you know it,

He’s joined a band.


He grows his hair

His friends aren’t posh,

Some of them

Don’t appear to ever wash.


“We need a Singer”

Who will it be?

I place some adverts.

We wait and see.


A girl replies,

She sends a text.

They arrange to meet

On Saturday next.


She arrives in a car

With her father and mother,

They’ve both come to see

Who’s got his eye on their daughter.


Her father Dave jumps out

Shakes Marc by the hand,

Mother Mandy’s less keen,

Lisa’s only fifteen.


Marc has long hair, big boots,

A leather jacket and all,

Amanda’s phone is by her ear

In case Lisa has to call.


Dave can’t believe it,

He’s in for a shocker.

He never thought his daughter,

Would want to go out with a rocker.


They walk and talk,

The time flies by,

Now Lisa meets us

Who are waiting nearby.


They come towards us

Hand in hand,

That’s quick work thinks I,

It pays to be in a band.


She’s a very sweet girl

With long dark hair,

She answered the advert

For a dare.


My son is in love

The world around him grows dim.

He cuddles Lisa,

And she cuddles him.


And so it must pass,

It’s part of nature’s plan,

From mother to wife,

Now he’s grown to a man.


But as we sit here today,

I’ll say to each and every one,

I’ve gained a daughter,

Not lost a son.




Autumn leaves lie scattered where they fall,

No more do we hear the rooks’ loud call.

Jack Frost spreads tendrils far and wide,

Poor little robins have nowhere to hide.

As you step out for a winter walk somewhere,

Your breath clouds before you in the frozen air.

Put on a warm coat, gloves and scarf,

It’s November; don’t do things by halves.

Don’t forget the furry boots and a nice warm hat,

Put a basket by the fire for Kitty-cat.

Maybe it’s Bonfire Night or Thanksgiving you’re fond,

It all depends on your side of the pond.

But whether you’re British or whether from the USA,

November’s the same – it’s all cold and grey!




When I was but twelve years old

My mother said to me,

Somewhere a woman irons shirts

Of the boy you’ll one day marry.


I met the ironer of his shirts

When I was twenty one.

She could hardly bear the sight of me,

When I took away her son.


Ironing his shirts then fell to me,

After we were wed.

His mum threw her iron on the floor

And wished that I was dead.


After seven years of wedded bliss,

I’d had enough of ironing.

He’d never offer to help at all,

My love for him was expiring.


I showed him how to use an iron

He burned his favourite shirt.

He watched with green-eyed envy

As I pressed my cotton skirt.


“You’ll soon get the hang of it”

I said to my erstwhile lover.

He thought a bit, smashed down the iron

And telephoned his mother.


Round she came, that vexatious witch,

That thorn in my backside.

She gave me a glare

While standing there

So angry I’d not yet died.


“Bring me your shirts, you lovely boy

Bring every shirt you’ve got.”

She starts to rant.

“Bring trousers and pants

I’ll do the bloody lot!”


With a gimlet eye I asked her,

“D’you fancy doing my stuff?

I’m never ironing another thing.

I’ve laboured long enough.”


A middle finger was raised to me

And so it’s safe to say,

Mother-in-law won’t be ironing

My skirts and dresses today!




Look up from your phone occasionally, to remember what joy there may be in the real world around you. As far as possible (after surgical removal of phone from ear helix), enjoy face-to-face conversations with loved ones without detailing every aspect on social media. Listen to what actual people have to say, and speak your truth quietly and soberly in the event that they may be of a different generation to yourself and possibly might be hard of hearing.


Do not strive to be a ‘celebrity’ through envy of loud and aggressive persons on TV reality shows. These non-entities are dull, vain and ignorant, and are vexations to the spirit. Instead, enjoy the achievement of building up a career, however humble, which can sustain you through the changing fortunes of time.


Exercise caution online, for almost every person in the world wants YOUR money. However, there may be some people left who are actually satisfied with what they have, and are resigned to the fact that there will always be somebody better off than they are.


Find somebody to love, who loves you, and who does not feign affection for the sole purpose of using your assets to their best advantage. If at all possible raise children to love their parents, to love their siblings, and to cherish the beautiful world around them. It can be done.


When you are too old to wear the clothes that you wore when you were a teenager, realise that fact and dress with dignity and poise. It's a kindness to others.  However, do not distress yourself with imaginings that life ends at the age of 30, however much it may say so in tawdry magazines. The world does not solely revolve around the young; you may learn great things from listening to the life experiences of the middle aged and elderly, who have the advantage of wisdom.


Life is not a bed of roses. Nurture a sense of self-reliance so that you are able to make your own decisions if you are faced with a sudden misfortune. Do not blame somebody else for your own failings, but learn from your mistakes and go forward to greater things.


Above all else, take off the headphones and turn off the iPhone. Activate the off switch on the iPad, the laptop, the MP3 player, the TV and radio, the DS, the Wi, the wi-fi, and all podcasts and streaming services. Enjoy the peace that silence brings, and in that lack of noise and confusion you may find your God. However, don't expect everybody else to love your God, because they may have their own God or even none at all.  Be cheerful. Don't complain about your aches and pains, and strive to be happy.



I’m a happy wife, married for years,

I really have it all,

Only one thing mars my absolute joy –

He watches the moving ball.


On the field or on the court,

He’ll watch the livelong day,

Until all the commentators are hoarse,

And the crowd has gone away.


“That was a foul!” or

“That was out!”

“Can’t you properly see?”

He often questions the parentage,

Of the unfortunate referee.


“What a goal!”

“What a kick!”

“What a classic pass!”

I am afraid that I’d rather watch

The growing of the grass.


Who do you want to win the cup?

Who do you think will win it?

Frankly I’ll say to my dear man,

I really don’t give a s**t.


Why is it that fully grown men

For the same ball need to reach?

I have a simple remedy –

Give them all a ball each!




Love is a cup of tea on a sleepless night,

Two warm arms to hold me tight.

It's someone to take a screaming toddler away,

Not for ever, just for one day.

Love will give me his last ever pound,

Creep out early to work and not make a sound.

Love will clean up the sick and clear out the drains,

Climb up to mend the roof after thunderous rains.

Love will sit in a chair by my hospital bed,

All night he'll stay there to make sure I'm not dead!

Love will toil and slave to put food on the table,

And work like a Trojan for as long as he's able.

Love plays with his grandkids and hugs his old mum,

Then rides off on a Harley with his eldest son.

Love lifts amps and guitars late at night with strong hands,

To help out the youngest who plays in a band.

He'll drive the tour bus in any direction,

And parks the huge thing with absolute perfection.

He rocks and he rolls late into the night,

And tells the band they're 'Outta sight'!


When trouble looms and my face remains dour,

His love does not falter, even for one hour.

Love sets out to rid us of that terrible foe,

To bring back my smile and make the dark clouds go.

I found a key to his heart which is now unlocked,

But oh how he wishes he could turn back the clock!

Love forgives and forgets, looks forward and moves on,

No use thinking back to where everything went wrong.

We've stayed together through thick and through thin,

There's no other husband I'd want but him.

So Sam, for the next time you're feeling all sad and so blue,

Remember, you're my only Valentine. This poem's for you.




It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas

We must have a tree,

Chop, chop

And the earth warms up another degree.


There’s profit to be made selling Christmas trees,

Pound after pound after pound,

Advertise and let them come in thousands

To chop a forest down.


Cut off the tree’s roots,

Disconnect it from the earth,

We must do this

Because of the Saviour’s birth.


Let’s stand it in our hot, stuffy rooms

And spray on lots of fake snow

Let’s festoon the tree with twinkling lights

It’s Christmas… ho, ho, ho.


Let’s cover it with tinsel

And bows silver and red,

Let’s stop it absorbing carbon dioxide

It doesn’t matter if it’s dead.


Over time its needles fall softly

Until it’s a shadow of what it used to be,

Now Christmas is over, don’t get the ‘hump’

Let’s get rid of the denuded tree down at the dump.


Please rest ye, merry gentlemen,

Let our trees give us vital oxygen

Summers will be too hot

With nary a breeze.

There’ll be no shade and no haven for wildlife,

If we continue to cut down trees.