Sep 22nd

The Autumn - Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - to mark this, the first day of Autumn 2016

By Mary B

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,

And turn your eyes around,

Where waving woods and waters wild

Do hymn an autumn sound.

The summer sun is faint on them --

The summer flowers depart --

Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,

Except your musing heart.


How there you sat in summer-time,

May yet be in your mind;

And how you heard the green woods sing

Beneath the freshening wind.

Though the same wind now blows around,

You would its blast recall;

For every breath that stirs the trees,

Doth cause a leaf to fall.


Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth

That flesh and dust impart:

We cannot bear its visitings,

When change is on the heart.

Gay words and jests may make us smile,

When Sorrow is asleep;

But other things must make us smile,

When Sorrow bids us weep!


The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --

Their presence may be o'er;

The dearest voice that meets our ear,

That tone may come no more!

Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,

Which once refresh'd our mind,

Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,

The chilling autumn wind.


Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;

Look out o'er vale and hill-

In spring, the sky encircled them --

The sky is round them still.

Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --

Come change -- and human fate!

Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,

Can ne'er be desolate. 


The Autumn by

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Aug 7th

A June Evening in the Trenches

By Mary B


Published in the Daily Mail 22 Jun 2016 - with thanks to Josee A who cut it out and gave it to me.


What they said:

Captain: Over the top tomorrow, Joe, We’re going to trounce the Hun. And we will fight for England’s right, The war will soon be won.

Private: Yes, I am good and ready, sir, I’m with you all the way. We’ll have our hour of glory, sir, And we will win the day.

What they thought:

Captain: How I dislike this war, Joe, How I dislike this war. I wish that I could tell you What this great war is for.

Private: I don’t like this ’ere war, sir, I don’t like this ’ere war, And I ’ave been a wondering, sir, What this ’ere war is for.

Captain: A year ago in June, Joe, I finished my degree, And life was good in Cambridge, With all set fair for me.

Private: A year ago in June, sir, I worked upon a farm And we made merry in the hay And didn’t do no harm.

Captain: I’m scared to leave the trench, Joe, Why should I kill a man? But I must try to set you An example if I can.

Private: I’m scared to leave the trench, sir, I’m scared to kill a man, I’d quite like to desert, sir, But I don’t think I can.

Captain: It’s my job as an officer To make you want to fight, To hate the Hun and wield a gun. I wish I thought this right.

Private: If I desert they’ll kill me, But the Hun will if I stay. It isn’t at all fair, sir, I can’t win either way.

Captain: How I dislike this war, Joe, How I dislike this war. I wish things could go back, Joe, To how they were before.

Private: I don’t like this ’ere war, sir, I don’t like this ’ere war. I wish things could go back, sir, To how they was before.



Jill Rundle, Oundle, Peterborough.

Apr 23rd

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

By Mary B

Sonnet 116


Let me not to the marriage of true minds 

Admit impediments. Love is not love 

Which alters when it alteration finds, 

Or bends with the remover to remove. 

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 

That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 

It is the star to every wand'ring bark, 

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 

Within his bending sickle's compass come; 

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 

But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 

If this be error and upon me prov'd, 

I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.






This Sonnet was read by my daughter last summer at the wedding of her brother, my son.

I read it at a memorial event last autumn for a dear friend whose husband had recently passed on, he was also a William.......

Apr 12th

The Plug-Hole Monster

By Mary B

The gurgling, burbling plug-hole monster,

Is waiting to slurp up your bath!

Skulking below in the bowels of the drain,

It belches its bubbling wrath!


Biding its time, till you pull out the plug,

Watch out, or it nibbles your feet!

The terrible, blubbering beast there within,

Is something you don't want to meet!


A blobulous mass of suddy shampoo,

It gulps dirty water with glee.

Then shiftily checks for the presence of toes,

And, with luck, the occasional knee!


So take heed and beware as you finish your soak,

And ensure that you keep your legs clear!

Let it swig till it's full, hear it grumble and moan,

And despondently then disappear!


©2007 Gareth Lancaster


To commemorate the weekend when both Phyl and LJ went 'down the plug-hole'........ thankfully they both made it back..... :)

Mar 12th

When did I grow old?

By Caroline S

"When did I grow old,did it happen in a day ?"

One moment my hair was chestnut brown ,now it`s turning grey.

     "When did I grow old , did it suddenly creep , when I was in my bed  , as I was sound asleep?"

"When did I grow old , did it happen this very hour , or did it slip in through the door as I was in the shower ?"

"When did I grow old, did I climb the steps of time , never stepping back to the glory of my prime ?"

"When did I grow old,  and the laughter lines appear ?"

I tremble at the thought of it and now I shed a tear.

"When did I grow old ?"  I give a little grin  ... It doesn`t  really matter since I am a "maid " within.

By Caroline  S .

aka : candle_in_the _wind 




Jan 25th

It's Burns Night - Robert Burns Tribute

By Mary B

Address to a Haggis


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!



paunch, guts





well swollen
bellies, soon





weak, rush

fist, nut



tops, thistle





Jan 8th

The Loom of Time

By Mary B

The Loom of Time

Man’s life is laid in the loom of time

To a pattern he does not see,

While the weavers work and the shuttles fly

Till the dawn of eternity.


Some shuttles are filled with silver threads

And some with threads of gold,

While often but the darker hues

Are all that they may hold.


But the weaver watches with skillful eye

Each shuttle fly to and fro,

And sees the pattern so deftly wrought

As the loom moves sure and slow.


God surely planned the pattern:

Each thread, the dark and fair,

Is chosen by His master skill

And placed in the web with care.


He only knows its beauty,

And guides the shuttles which hold

The threads so unattractive,

As well as the threads of gold.


Not till each loom is silent,

And the shuttles cease to fly,

Shall God reveal the pattern

And explain the reason why


The dark threads were as needful

In the weaver’s skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver

For the pattern which He planned.


Author Unknown

Dec 20th

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple - by Jenny Joseph

By Mary B

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people's gardens

And learn to spit.


You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.


But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 


Jenny Joseph


Dec 7th

Memorable Shakespeare

By Mary B

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, 

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 

This other Eden, demi-paradise, 

This fortress built by Nature for herself 

Against infection and the hand of war, 

This happy breed of men, this little world, 

This precious stone set in the silver sea, 

Which serves it in the office of a wall 

Or as a moat defensive to a house, 

Against the envy of less happier lands,-- 

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.



William Shakespeare, "King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1

Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)   

Nov 8th

Remembrance Day 2015 - We Will Remember Them

By Mary B

For The Fallen
(Laurence Binyon)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Originally published in The Times on 21 September 1914.

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