Working Party Time

A couple of weeks ago, our allotment association (Brookfield Lane) organised the Autumn working party to tidy up the site and carry out some improvements before the onset of Winter proper. I ended up writing a bit of a poem about our day and took it along to last Tuesday’s AGM with an eye to giving it an airing between the main business and the quiz, should the opportunity arise. Alas, there was no quiz this year. Have you heard of the Gracie Fields’ song, “I took my harp to a party and no-one asked me to sing”?

Here’s what the assembled throng missed out on (or not):-

Working Party Time

Not another bloomin’ ditty from that bloomin’ Poyser bloke.

You can’t sneeze up here without some verse. It’s getting past a joke.

October 10th. we’d mobilised the Autumn working party

with every chance we’d finish up all sweaty, tired and clarty.

At 10 o’clock, we’ve got stuck in with tasks explained to t’work force,

with Mick’s lot at the far end where Casey’s bantering till he’s hoarse,

whilst Dave’s team clears hedge cuttings from a plot that’s overgrown

along with Graham the Treasurer, so not quite on his own.


Then Phil polls up and joins them to shred trimmings for the tip

and it takes a good 10 minutes ere Dave has to crack the whip.

They’re chatting about cricket, Brexit, what crops have failed this year

and just how long it seems till t’break and will there be some beer.

But somehow Dave’s trailer gets filled right to the brim and cuttings stashed,

but there’s lots of work remains to do before the tea gets mashed.

It’s like those digs you see with Tony Robinson on TV

except it’s much more frenzied, barrows buzzing past you, 1, 2, 3.


There’s Maggie with a shovel shifting shavings in a blur

and Mick, Big Bob and Jane’s mum struggling to keep pace with her.

It’s a triumph for our team work and when the dust cloud clears,

the space is rough and ready, gone accumulation of the years.

So, the chips are down, the wood chips up, sweats trickling down our backs.

A kettle’s boiling on the grill between the sheds and shacks.

The tea is brewed.  It’s sipped and slurped with great enthusiasm.

and more than one of us seize up with cramp and muscle spasm.


Sausage rolls we scoff and sponge cake worthy of “Great British Bake Off”

and we’re a little bit rebellious when it comes to t’time to break off,

but back we go to finish off the task we have in hand

knowing our allotment site’s improved. It surely will be grand,

but one of us has lost the plot or rather lost his keys

and spends the next two days around the site upon his knees.

Phil’s fervent prayers are granted just as all hope’s begun to fade.

They’re found at home in Mady’s bag! Not lost, merely M/s-laid.


Just 2 more lines still to recite, then I’ll get back to my beer.

That sponge cake! Those sausage rolls! When’s working party time next year?


Poynton Poetry Trail and Acoustic Lounge open mike: “Lamb in a Box” and “The Yellow Orrell: My Road Bike’s Frame” (a skit on Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare).

Margaret Holbrook has organised a Poetry Trail at the Library and in some 40 shops in the centre of Poynton. Around 60 poems from 37 poets are on display and on this Thursday, 20th. October, there will be an open mike at the Acoustic Lounge starting at 7 pm, when there will be the chance to hear some of the poems performed/read by their authors. My two poems I submitted are “Lamb in a Box” (shown below) and “The Yellow Orrell: My Road Bike’s Frame”, a skit on Sonnet 130: My Mistress’ Eyes” (see the post on April, 2016, the quadricentenary of Shakespeare’s death)

Lamb in a Box

At the farm shop, there was no-one behind the till,

but as I set down my basket,

she straightened up, clutching a baby’s bottle.

I mumbled something I deemed appropriate,

eliciting peals of laughter.

“It’s not mine”, she grinned. “It’s a lamb”.

There in its cardboard box, wobbling on spindly legs,

just hours after being rejected,

separated from mother and twin and

with all its short Life’s challenges ahead,

the newborn looked from surrogate to me and back.


“I’ve never been this close to something so young”,

I said, overlooking my daughter’s birth.

“I have. I’ve seen them really close up”,

the man behind me laughed. “I was a slaughter man”.


Outside the temperature dropped, the wind rose

and a harsh mix of hail and rain slapped down.


I stroked the lamb’s head, felt a buzz of warmth

towards the newborn and the world in general,

picked up my carrier bag and headed home

with my steak pie, sausages and marinated lamb chops.



The theme for our “discussions with poems” at the Snow Goose Speakeasy this Tuesday was “Fame” and led to some wide-ranging debate about modern life from Mother Theresa to Lady Gaga and from Albert Einstein to Nigel Farage, much of it in the light of the imminent (a word often associated with the Apocalypse and global warming) US Presidential election. There were 2 typically powerful pieces from Mark Rawlins, one of them, “The Delicious Irony”, taking its inspiration from Noel Edmonds and both punched out with his usual committed performance.  After some very last minute head scratching on my part, this was the best I could come up with on the day.

Fifteen Minutes of… Poem

Fame’s in the frame.

What sets the world aflame?

Is it in the name?

Who deserves acclaim

and who just shame?

Who shares the blame?

Life’s not a game,

but what should be the aim?

Glitz and lamé? Lame.

Conformity will maim.

Your stay is brief, so stake a claim.

Those basic instincts tame.

Don’t leave the world the same.

Don’t leave the world the same.

Don’t leave the world the same,

but better.