Ring Out the Old

At a time when optimism comes bubbling to the surface, I’m a bit loathe to post my “Grumpy Guts” poem on here, but here it is. At least it gives me the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Am I the only one still struggling to come to terms with the number 17 at the end? Surely that can’t be right. Wasn’t it only four or five years ago that we were worried about the Millennium bug?

PS My English teachers will be spinning at my “chewsing” to rhyme -ew/-ue and -oo/-o!

Ring Out the Old

It’s time to ring out the Old, ring in the New,

bring out the tissues and handkerchiefs too.

Time to reflect whilst there’s time for a brew.

Start wringin’ your hands. The World’s sadly askew.


Form a tight circle. Form an orderly queue.

Ring all your friends and tell them it’s true.

Here comes the comeuppance we’re long overdue

with bastards aplenty, good people, too few.


Our worst fears incarnate. We all along knew

that warthogs and snakes would take over the zoo.

It’s everyone’s fault. That includes me and you,

but the solution? I’m sorry we haven’t a clue.


We need to discover society’s glue.

We’re hung out to dry if all hope we eschew.

Ring out the Old? Let Past slip out of view?

Ring in the New. Wringin’ hands just won’t do.


Christmas Card Drabble

I hope Patrick and Linda won’t mind me sharing more widely this drabble (a story in exactly 100 words not including the title) which I sent them in the nick of time, well, Christmas Day to be honest. I prefaced it with: Cards written and sent (Flash Fiction). Next year I swear I’ll…

Christmas Card Drabble

What was really needed was a drabble: something they could read aloud whilst the organic nut loaf and Vegan Christmas pud digested and the bubbly, claret and brandy percolated through the system, working their festive magic, suffusing cheeks and loosening the tongue.

Everything had gone well, too well, perhaps. Even the brussel sprouts had been mouth-watering perfection. Crackers had been pulled, paper hats donned, disputes feigned over the tangled metal puzzles, mini-shoehorns and dice and dutiful chuckles contrived at the traditional seasonal jokes.

Then the cat trod on the remote: World News, drone attack on stable. The rest is History.

APCC Funeral Blues

Here’s my tribute to Alderley Park Cricket Club which has gone into indefinite hibernation after 52 years and a final season sometimes struggling to fulfil even Ist. XI fixtures, following the gradual migration of AstraZeneca’s research centre to Cambridge. I was lucky enough to play as long ago as 1965 (as a summer vacation student at ICI Pharmaceuticals) and as recently as last season, when a fluky catch at fine leg will stick in the memory as well as in these pensioner hands.

APCC Funeral Blues (with apologies to WH Auden and to “Oh, What a Lovely War!”)

Stop the Convery clock*. Fly the flags at half-mast.

After 52 years, we’ve drawn stumps at last.

Our Icicals’ logo is melting away

for Alderley Park CC’s now had its day.



Lock up the pavilion. Put the club kit in wraps.

No more heroic comeback nor batting collapse;

no more butter fingers. It’s slipped through our hands.

We’ve run our full course of the Egg-Timer’s sands.



So we’ll hang up our boots, put our whites in the drawer.

It’s not just this Winter they’re wanted no more.

Put the covers in storage. The sightscreens take down.

The square is no longer the jewel in our crown.



Donate umpires’ coats to car-boot jumble sales.

Carefully pack up sets of stumps with the bails.

Preserve bats, gloves, pads and perhaps the odd box

and while we’re about it, stop all those clocks.



The club wrap in mothballs. The stats put on hold.

It’s over for overs. The last ball’s been bowled.

Wickets taken, runs scored, these records will stand,

with Losse** and Farmer*** our top Masters Grand.



Au revoir, not adieu, to the highs and the lows?

For now, 2016 brings play to a close,

but Cricket and Life are full of surprises.

Here’s to the day when our club Phoenix-like rises.



So, Goodbye-ee! Goodbye-ee!

Wipe the silver tear from your eye-ee.

Cheerio! Chin, chin.

Au revoir, old thing.

Cheerio! Toodle-oo! Goodbye-ee


* In memory of Bob Convery who collapsed and died playing for the club.

** Martin Losse, spin bowler extraordinaire (885 Ist XI wickets and 138 catches in 460 appearances)

*** Robin Farmer, all time top run scorer and the only player to appear in all roles in the club records (played 200+, runs 5800+, wickets 118+, catches 72+, w/keeper victims 39+)



“Santa Banter” and “With Every Christmas Card I Write”

A well-attended, pleasant evening in the run up to Christmas saw some 20 Macclesfield Writers reading their entertaining poems and short stories specially written for the occasion. These were sandwiched round a break for traditional mince pies scoffed to carols tinkled out by Jacquie Spry on piano and in the second half, several pieces used lines from the lyrics of “White Christmas” as a starting point, which gave us the excuse to sing our rafter-safe version first.

Santa Banter

It’s that time of year again for some jolly Santa banter,

spy reindeer in the night sky pulling sledges at a canter.

Upon snow-laden rooftops, you may see a rotund figure

stuck halfway down a chimney, which will likely cause a snigger.


His cheeks are puce. Soot smuts his beard. His sack’s crammed full of toys.

His red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph, coughs and makes a snuffling noise.

They really should be home in bed in Lapland snug igloo,

not gallivanting roof to roof when it’s less than minus 2.


But kiddies count on Santa for their special Christmas treats

and Santa puts on weight with all the mince pies that he eats.

So he gallops round on Christmas Eve, squeezes down each chimney stack

and as long as kids believe in him, each year he will be back.


So, sweeties, don’t be cynical. That kind old man in red

just needs to be believed in to leave toys beside your bed.


With Every Christmas Card I Write

December the 1st. and it won’t be long

before my clichés are all snowy white

and Yuletide platitudes colour my song

with every Christmas card lyric I write.


And the telly blares out its seasonal pap.

There’s scarcely a watchable programme at all,

so I’ll doze off for post-prandial nap.

It’s repeats and re-runs from lounge wall to wall.


“Queen’s Speech” and “Strictly” and “Dad’s blooming Army”.

It’s not just the dinner that’s laden with stodge.

One more jingle bell will drive me quite barmy –

and twee tinselled fir trees? Impossible to dodge.               (Not easy to say either)


And what of those cards with their round robin letters:

cruises up fjords, the Baltic, the Med;

those grades! Little darlings! Who could have done better?

then detailed descriptions of pets sadly dead;


a half page on weddings of offspring in Oz

and distant relations you won’t meet and don’t know;

thank goodness for Brexit, the world as it was.

(Now there’s a good reason to cry, “No! No! No! No!”)


And yet I’m no Scrooge. It’s the strangest of things,

I even go soppy when I consult Bing®.

So again I write cards to all who I know

and where rooftops glisten,

I still get a frisson

hearing old Santa’s laugh, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!”