Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Losing it

He jumped down from the bed,
took off his pyjamas and looked for his trousers.
He looked on the chair where he'd left them and
he looked on the floor under the chair -
and then he looked through the chest of drawers
in case they were there.
But they weren't.
They were nowhere.

You wouldn't think it was possible to lose a pair of men's trousers
in regular rotation.
Especially as there are no other men in the house at present.
Naturally it was assumed that they were somewhere in the washing cycle.
Laundry basket. Washing machine. Airer. Ironing basket.

'But they must be somewhere,' said Little Bear.
'Trousers don't disappear.
I'll go and ask Old Bear.
He'll know where they are.'*

But Old Bear didn't know where they were
because they weren't her trousers.
But once she knew they were missing she was a woman possessed.

She re-examined the washing cycle places.
She looked in the wardrobe.
She looked amongst her own trousers.
Just in case.
She looked in other people's wardrobes.
Just in case.
They wondered if they had been taken to the cleaners.
They wondered if they had been left in another house
because they had stayed away,
but no, that would have meant coming home in underpants.

But they must be somewhere, she wailed.
This is ridiculous.

A suspicion was entertained that Old Bear had taken them to a charity shop.
But she knew that she had done no such thing and was very indignant.

Time passed.
They began to believe that trousers could just disappear.
Just like her favourite necklace or the bee brooch.
And then one day a strange flash of intuition
pierced Old Bear's befuddled mind.
She looked at the laundry basket 
and held her breath for she had remembered something.
The basket has a drawstring liner so that you can lift the washing out
and sometimes people drop things into it
before the liner has been replaced.
And then the liner is brought back upstairs
and popped back in -
on top of whatever lurks in the dark at the bottom.

You are ahead of me.

Now we must turn our attention to the missing metal tape measure.
Used only yesterday for measuring up pictures
that are being re-hung on the freshly painted walls.
It is a new tape measure, self-locking and retracting.

Could it be in the laundry basket?

*Little Bear's Trousers by Jane Hissey.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Lovely to look back on

because I really don't want to look out of the window today.
Luckily it will soon be dark so that will sort that problem out.

Mackerel sky, mackerel sky,
Never long wet, never long dry.
Mackerel sky
Not twenty four hours dry.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Have at thee Christmas!

Four jars of mincemeat made
and one Christmas card bought.
A Post-It note saying:

Make table bigger?
Get/make curtains.
Put curtains up spare room.

The illusion of being satisfactorily on top of things 
in that department
cannot be allowed to persist.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Self-sweeping leaves

Every morning when I open the front door
I find this heap of plane tree leaves
tidily swept into a pile by the south westerly wind.
Such a time saver.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Welcome back old friend

There's no knowing when he will show up,
but he was just what the doctor ordered today.

I think he has some admirers out there too.

I bought Mog's Christmas Calamity today.
Of all the supermarket Christmas ads
this is my favourite.
Freda pointed me towards this behind the scenes clip
with Mog's creator Judith Kerr.

P.S. I have crayons in pots envy.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fly past

One of the things I can be relied upon to say,
as I struggle to find anything to like about
this time of year is,

At least the flies have gone.

But here is a sight to add to my glass half empty -
 a murmuration over marshes at dusk.

First they flew past us
in a continuous stream.

Then the line coalesced into an ovoid,

before swooping down to roost for the night.
This sequence took just 15 seconds.
We were so lucky to catch it as we drove past.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

La, la, lala la lah

Camber Sands at high tide is a thronged thoroughfare.

People stride up and down the narrow corridor
between the dunes and the spongy saturated sand.

All busy going nowhere,
for no particular reason.

What a pleasure it is.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


The weather has been calm, misty and uncannily warm for November.
We are used to being buffeted by strong winds when we walk on this coast,
even during the summer. 
Not for nothing is there an array of wind turbines at Romney Marsh.

It takes most of the day, but slowly
 the mist thins and lifts and layers of garments
are discarded and tied clumsily by their arms
around our waists.

It is warm enough not to have to shiver in sympathy
with the girl modelling a wedding dress in the dunes.

Almost Mediterranean.

A still small day of calm
in an otherwise rather frenetic patch.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Seven awesome secrets about me

I really tried to think of seven awesome secrets about me
because I know that posts with numbered lists are
the way forward.
Try as I might, I couldn't think of anything awesome to tell you
except that I harbour a suspicion
that I should have been left-handed,
my birthday falls on the seventh of the month,
 the digits of my age add up to seven
and I can hardly bear to listen to The Archers anymore.

Oh and that this blog is seven years old.
If you have been, thank you for looking in.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Emergency Minivering

But this time, at any rate, she was safe.
There was the house,
as neat and friendly as ever,
facing her as she turned the corner of the square. . .

Except that the house has had at least one window
missing for every day of the last week.

And inside is far from neat and friendly,

because more than a century's worth
of grime, soot and brick dust

has been released into the house,
and deposited on every naked surface, 
meaning that,

'the feel of door handles and light-switches,
the shape and texture of the bannister-rail under one's palm;
minute tactile intimacies,

has mainly consisted of grit.

The key does not turn sweetly in the lock
because builders do not believe in closing doors
and prefer an unimpeded passage through the building site
which is what your home has become.
All the furniture is shifted from room to room as they progress
and I cannot at present access
my writing-table with the letters that have come for me this morning
or the
three new library books lying virginally on the fender stool

their bright paper wrappers unsullied by subscriber's hand.

So I did the only thing possible to mitigate this discomfort,
which I know to be only temporary
and ultimately a Good Thing
because we will have a warmer winter as a result of this work,
I bought three

chrysanthemums of the 

big mop-headed kind,
burgundy-coloured, (not quite)
with curled petals. . .

and if I can clear a path through the debris
I might even make myself a Miniver tea:

honey sandwiches, brandy snaps,
and small ratafia biscuits;
and there would, she knew, be crumpets.

 but if not I can at least listen to this,
the missing piece from Mrs Minver's jig-saw puzzle,

the familiar sound of the Wednesday barrel-organ,
playing with a hundred apocryphal trills and arpeggios,
the Blue Danube waltz.

There is no clock 
on the mantlepiece to chime

very softly and precisely, five times

but there is certainly

a sudden breeze bringing the sharp tang
of  a bonfire in at the (gaping) window

because my neighbour has purloined the old windows
to burn in his stove.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow on your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow
The cow's in the corn.
Where's the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack
Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
No not I,
For if I do
He'll be sure to cry.

I'm brushing up my nursery rhyme repertoire.
You never know when you're going to need a diversionary ditty
with a little one about the house.
But I may have to rewrite this.

We've got quite used to

The ponies on the footpath eating bracken -


The cow's* in deep woodland eating ivy?

Where is Little Boy Blue when you need him?

*These are British White cattle, 
one of the oldest breeds of cattle in Britain 
with direct links to the ancient indigenous wild white cattle.
They thrive on poor pasture, rough vegetation and heathland
and have been brought in to help manage a coastal nature reserve.