Holidays Extraordinaire (March 2017)

A larger group this week – nine people. We all had fun recounting tales of places visited, liaisons of various kinds, of shoplifting and dangerous traffic. All great fun.


Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside,
as long as it is not Weston-super-Mare.
One found Malta as his favourite,
but Thatcher destroyed that idyll.
Others found Portsmouth soothing,
Or was it just the sailor or was it a marine.
So long ago, but memories bring back the smiles.

Blow all that romantic bilge,
Give me a good honest cruise
In 1988 P&O were at their peak.
I don’t need the Navy,
They can take me anytime.

Mind you – do beware of roundabouts in Paris,
Of lost wheelchairs and frames.
It is important not to pack the trousers
That you were about to wear.
But let me steal some shoes –
the French, they will not care.

Holidays – what do I care when Palma
was my home for longer than I dare.
So travel long and travel free
we all have done our share
and now we will bring our memories
to each other, if we care.

Autumn Memories (October 2016)

There was no real topic for this week, as it was unclear who was going to be there and whether, indeed, the meeting would go ahead.

Outside there were just the first signs of autumn a few horse chestnuts leaves were settling in the courtyard and it was the first time that everyone felt that summer was over and Autumn was beginning.

The chat turned to Autumn and the poem we wrote last year, so we decided to try to write another, but this time comparing now and them. A really interesting discussion began and some of the members painted a really vivid picture of Autumn and winter of their youth.


Autumn now brings earlier nights and colder days.
Leaves are falling,
but as the heating system starts to rumble, my mind turns to earlier ways.

Mr Irons selling candles and paraffin from his cart.
And if he was missed then off to the shop –
the blue or pink smelly liquid decanted into a can. Trimming the wick was an art.

Anthracite, compressed coal Ovites, logs and coke all provided me with warmth,
and my room with a glow.
First footing and Tom the pie-eyed milkman at Christmas time. Memories that make me smile as I turn up my central heating dial.

Blind Man’s Bluff (Sept. 2016)

This poem centres on street games. The discussion started by drawing up a list of games that were played as children. The list itself was rather functional and seems to give very little in the way of establishing a “feel” of the times. More effective was encouraging the group to paint a verbal picture of the streets that they played in. This was much more successful and as the discussion continued, so did the imagery and vocabulary. For them (and I include my own memories in this), the streets were empty except for the children. No cars, few adults and just the imagination of children turning plain asphalt into seas, castles or deserts. Indeed, a playground for every child.


Rounders, cricket, tic-tac-toe.
Children on the street!
Whipping top and blind man’s bluff.
Hand-me-down clothes always too big.
Holes in my trousers, shoes and hats,
I looked like Granny Green.

Conkers, marbles, running free.

Front doors open, tea and cakes.
Knock-down ginger, rolling in the grass.
Happy then, but not so now!
Apple scrumping, playing until dark.
Policemen on the street, if we were naughty,

God help you.

January Sales (February 2016)

A cheque for Christmas – I am now prepared!
The price will be right, the price correct.
4:00 am and the queue has started.
My sturdy 50cc steed has delivered me safely.
Oxford Street you are mine.

Marks and Spencer; C & A;
Webbers, Capes, Elliston and Carell;
Sainsburys; Littlewoods; BHS;
Dorathy Perkins, Harrods and ETAMS
YES Everything To Attract Men

It’s true!

I have you all in my sights,
You are all on my list
I will take each of you in turn
And turn you around,
I am strong only buying what I need

Underwear, stockings, sheets and blankets.
I think “How boring”
I can be persuaded to change my mind

Seduce me.

Christmas Memories (January 2016)

What candour, what wit, what knowledge – the bookgroup and I
Together with Helen, the memories fly.
Christmas is coming and reminiscences abound – from here to Barbados they all come around.
From Salvationists singing and the midnight mass – to Christmas kisses for a boy and his lass.
Creeping with parcels to children, but please – don’t make a noise, don’t even sneeze.

When we wake in the morning the turkey is cooking.
The smell is mouth-watering, but our presents are calling – so bacon and eggs, for now, will suffice.
My stocking is full – of chocolates and spice and so many other things that are all quite nice.
Now to church to gaze at the crib in its scene – while others have taken a bus to new places.
But we all return in time for the Queen.

First was the feast and our bellies are bursting – and while we doze we remember our blessings
We didn’t have much money, but whatever we did – there was laughter and smiles each evening
Our day had been lovely, but for many, maybe these memories are mixed.
Forget the bad ones – the good ones are fixed.
So, can I say “thank you” and wish you the best, perhaps next year we can all be blessed.

Winter Memories (October 2015)

Wool on wool on wool.

Mittens made from my father’s socks; holes cut out for thumbs.
Pixie hats made from old jumpers- so so embarrassing!
Scarves tightly wound round neck and waist,
Everything we wore was wool, and so so itchy.

Cold on cold on cold.

Frost on the windows behind thick curtains,
Waiting for pictures to be made.
Coats over blankets and eiderdowns abound.
Hot rag- wrapped bricks to take to bed- anything to keep us warm!

Fire on fire on fire.

Cleaning the grate and laying the fire- jobs to be done that we hate,
But stoking and poking the fire makes the flames come up,
Toasting our bread and our knees
Huddle and cuddle round the fire, hot drinks in our hands

Cocoa is all we desire.

Autumn Rap (September 2015)

You can’t put your washing out to dry
You can’t put your washing
You can’t put your washing
You can’t put your washing out to dry

Guess that I will have to bake a pie
Damsons, pears, elderflower wine
Crab apple jelly, chutney’s fine
Polish the conkers, make them shine

Days getting darker, clocks going back
“Please put a penny in the old man’s hat”
Smoke curls up from the chimney stack
Bats in the bonfire- how about that!

Sparklers, Catherine wheels, rockets fly
Don’t forget to dress the guy
Trousers, waistcoat, shirt and tie
Now the fireworks light up the sky

Back to the house for food and wine
Back to the house –
Back to the house –
Back to the house for food and wine!

Garden on a Summer Day (August 2015)

A summer scent of grass clippings,
The earthy smell of freshly turned soil,
Lavender clippings in a vase.
The sounds of birds and bees rustling in the trees,
Little blue butterflies gliding through the air – buddleia bound.
The daffodils of spring are gone,
Now the summer has arrived- full of colour and fragrant roses
The garden is tranquil;
We are relaxing in the shade on the soft green grass,
Yellow flowers against the clear blue sky,
Chrysanthemums, asters, dahlias, geraniums, snapdragons and daisies
Tall lilies and gladioli-waving in the breeze
But all things must pass so a sad goodbye to a beautiful summer,
And a warm hello to a fruitful autumn.