Camilla Meets Her Matt-ch

A couple of Sundays ago, Camilla and Matt Burke were quietly celebrating their silver wedding anniversary with lunch and a few drinks amongst close friends and family when there was a knock on the door. The stranger at first claimed to be a work colleague from way back, but after accepting a glass (or two) of wine, stepped out into the sunshine and declaimed to Matt’s surprise, this rather long tribute which Camilla had secretly organised.

Camilla Meets Her Matt-ch (or possibly Game, Sex and Matt-ch?

In case you’re wondering just who I am,

relax, rest assured, I’m no strip-o-gram.

I’m some kind of local poet or worse,

charged with deliv’ring this anniversary verse.


Let me tell you the story (and I’ll keep it brief

for Life whizzes by and Time’s such a thief)

of a young girl called Bennett, Camilla by name,

whose Welsh Mountain ponies won gymkhana fame.

With horsey obsession and thick goggle specs,

she failed to attract the opposite sex,

thus missing out on a high school romance

till Fate and a friend gave her a second chance.


At school, Matt’s football won out in the yard.

The Hesketh Tavern was where Camilla starred

November 5th., ’85 was a high.

This time the fireworks weren’t all in the sky.

Camilla had doted on “Misty” and “Taffy”.

Now it was Matt’s wit and charm drove her daffy.

The “bee” in her Bennett she dreamed would “bee” Burke

though 7 years would pass until they made it work.


As a couple each complemented the other

and enhanced their tastes, but didn’t smother.

Camilla had been dazzled by Luther Vandross.

Now she  liked Prefab Sprout, the Smiths and the Boss.

Nowadays there’s room for Elbow’s CDs

whether played softly or as loud as you please.

Just right to accompany Matt’s carbonara

or “Gone With the Wind” and Scarlet O’Hara.


Meanwhile, Life was good, like one long holiday:

Italy, Majorca, you name it, they’d stay.

Then in 19 90, they flew off to Oz.

They needed no reason. They went just “because”.

Uncle Richard lived where the broad Brisbane flowed,

(along with “4X”), so they chose Rainworth Road.

Each found a job in a McDonald Drive-Thru.

At Maccas, the burgers were beef, croc or roo.


After 5 months’ hard labour, they were transported,

but by greyhound bus (not as convicts escorted):

The Outback’s stark beauty, its vastness, a shock:

the Great Barrier Reef; the Red Centre (Ayres Rock);

the Aussie crown jewel, Surfers’ Paradise on earth;

and Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide and Perth;

That’s why a return trip tops their bucket list,

to Down Under’s cities and beaches sun-kissed.


So, tinged with regret, their year was soon over,

time to head home for the white cliffs of Dover,

settle down, get married, set the Big Day:

for 19 92, the 15th. of May.

All Saints Parish Church, Cheadle Hulme, was the venue,

then Adlington Hall’s Hunters’ Lodge wedding menu

and two weeks in Majorca as husband and wife,

then back to Macclesfield, jobs and real life.


A Ryle Street cottage for Matt and Camilla

was their dream chateau, their palace, their villa.

Of clerical work she’s done more than her stint

and Matt’s in procurement. That’s all I can print.

His McCann Erikson portfolio’s Aldi.

(Had it been for Four Seasons, I’d squeeze in Vivaldi).

In the background, his passion’s photography

and he’d rather do that, between you and me.


Their life together was not quite complete.

They longed for that patter of two tiny feet.

Twice they came close, but it wasn’t to be,

so they adopted a way to have family.

First there was Shane, born 5th. of November.

(That date keeps recurring, I’ll have you remember).

Five years later, came William, October 2nd.

A warm, loving family environment beckoned.


Where two had been cosy, there were now four of them.

They moved to a bigger house close to the “crem.”

West Brook Drive was their haven. It was and is still

for Matt and Camilla and second son, Will.

Did I mention labradors, Inka and Tess,

cats, Tallulah and Leo, live at this address?

They line up for breakfast at 8 am sharp.

For 6 o’clock tea, they miaow, bark and parp.


There’d been other pets: black cats, Minstrel and Sooty

and Scooby the dog in whose paws they were putty.

Way back Matt’s tortoise was Fausto Coppi by name,

but a menagerie like this just isn’t the same.

Scooby a mongrel was Heinz 57.

Sadly, aged 17, she went up to dog heaven.

At home the bosses are Tallulah and C.,

a mat-riarchy (spelled with only one “t”).


Who’d play M and C in the film of their Life?

Eric Morecambe for Matt, Julie Walters his wife.

He’d have specs on his head. She’d do C’s mimic’s voice,

For the script, Alan Bennett’s the obvious choice.

Man City (not Luton) would have a big role,

the theme tune “Blue Moon”. In the park it’s a stroll.

Somehow Shane’s support’s for those devils in red

(and I’m a fan too, but that’s quite enough said).


There’s lots more to tell you, but I’ll draw to a close.

If a poem’s soporific, there’s a risk that you’ll doze.

It’s 20 17, wed 25 years,

it’s time for some bubbly and good wines and beers.

It’s speech which is silver, though Silence is golden.

Camilla and Matt, this occasion embolden.

Let’s raise glasses high to the next 25

with good wishes echoing round West Brook Drive.




“River, Wound, Kiss” and “Getting My Act Together”

After a month of drought comes a deluge of rain. It’s been like that with my writing: a barren April, followed by a torrent of frantic scribbling in May. This has included 2 very different poems: a commission (a first!) for a silver wedding anniversary (“Camilla Meets her Matt-ch”); and a short reaction to the death of the Moors murderer, Ian Brady, both of which I may share later. In the meantime, on Saturday, Cheshire poet, John Lindley, ran a very successful and stimulating free workshop at the Lion Salt Works near Northwich. A score of enthusiasts came up with an impressive range of reactions to John’s themes. The warm-up took the form of 3 prompts, followed by writing on something which has always puzzled us.

Look out for opportunities to join John in a workshop or a “Poets and Pints” (The next one is at the Red Lion, Goostrey on Wednesday, 7th. June).

River, Wound, Kiss

From the gash, the Life blood flowed,

ebbing away what breath bestowed.

Red river seeping from the wound,

an end to what had been cocooned.

And what was gone no-one would miss

except the one who shared that kiss.

Getting My Act Together

I watch James May dismantle

the turntable with a mixture

of childish wonder and dis-may.

The myriad, intricate entrails

lie exposed in orderly patterns, dismembered,

like with like, ready to reassemble

in a precise, logical way I know is beyond me.


My inner D-I-Y-er “d-i-y-ed”, still born,

miscarried, ectopic, unnourished,

the three ply wires, green and yellow, brown and blue,

an umbilical cord strangling the nascent desire

to get back in the groove,

to see a Phoenix rise,

to hear music rattle the rafters.


Bang to Rights: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Here’s a little more detail about the ageing head-banger’s accident.

Best wishes to everyone on May Day (This is the kind of “poling” day I prefer).

Bang to Rights: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Each of us lives a reality soap

and daily we follow the script.

We stride right along a treacherous slope

in which misadventures are slipped.


There’s one of these tales that I want to relate.

You may think that I’ve lost the plot.

It happened in March (I’ve forgotten the date)

after into hot water I got.


At the allotment. I’d worked up a sweat.

To come clean, I needed that shower.

Whilst I’m not the sprucest that you’ve ever met,

still “Cometh the Man, comes the hour”.


I’d washed and I’d rinsed and was ready to go.

I’d scrubbed up gleaming, right proper.

I was drying the walls so fungi don’t grow.

It was then that I came a cropper.


I reached to my left. My feet slid to the right.

I must have leant over too far.

A bike on black ice is a similar plight

– though not ending under a car.


My head struck the side of the bath with a bang.

A right blinking wallop it gave me.

I didn’t see stars, but bells echoing rang;

no chance to put hands out to save me.


It’s had some ad-verse effects, you might say.

My eyesight has deteriorated,

but for a whole month, with words I couldn’t play,

which folk may think should be fêted.


It’s said that each cloud has a lining “argent”.

From each mishap we ought to learn.

But what lesson there is from a head with a dent,

I’m buggered if I can discern!