Bridge in Winter

Phew! We’ve scraped through the winter solstice and will soon be heading towards that gleam of light on the horizon known as Spring. Out cycling last Wednesday, we were astonished to see daffodils in bloom by the roadside south of Goostrey (admittedly looking a bit the worse for wear and bedraggled from mud spray).

I’m posting this jingle, written for our pre-Christmas bridge tournament, as an excuse to send out last minute season’s greetings and best wishes for a peaceful and productive 2018 to everyone (anyone?) out there. Back in the New Year.

Bridge in Winter

Outside it’s wintery showers and c-c-colder than our fridge.

so we’re huddled round the table to play some hands of brrrr-idge.

North shuffles in his chair and bids. South dreams of milder climes

and East’s a beast, but blessed with West (for want of better rhymes).

South dreams of long bridge cruises, attractive package deals

and pleasant company and slams, along with all your meals.

North wishes South would concentrate or shuffle off this coil

or they’ll be in double trouble which his afternoon would spoil.

But playing bridge in Chelford, there’s one name you can’t ignore.

We’ll be back in 2018 and it’s thanks to Barbara Moore*.

*Organiser extraordinaire at Chelford Bridge Club


No L? Kind of a Christmas Carol

This should really have been called “No E” as it came out of a Macc Writers’ workshop a week or two back when Jacquie Spry asked us to write a piece without using the letter “e”, a constraint explored by Georges Perec in the 1960s (in French). Amongst the helpful phrases given to kick start us were “In dark woods” and “Approach of Christmas” and  voilà un chant de Noël (Zut alors!) It received some very positive feedback at last night’s Macc Writers’ seasonal reading at the King Edward Street chapel.

Next Tuesday, 19th. December, there’s a chance to catch “Raspin'” Mark Rawlins, “Heckler’s Nemesis” Nick Degg and myself when we are guest poets at “Write Out Loud” at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale (KO 7.30 pm).

No L? Kind of a Christmas Carol

In darkling woods, still night at noon,

“Approach, O Christmas,” is our cry,

whilst stars and slowly waning moon

faint light gift to that dusky sky.


Magi, kings from a distant land,

myrrh to mourn and gold gifts bring.

Madonna’s child’s birth is at hand.

Applaud him now and loudly sing.


Hosanna to young Mary’s boy

who’s born midst holly, ash and oak.

A holly crown will bring him joy

though thorns may prick through swaddling cloak.


That bloody fruit of rowan ash,

a garland shows what things will pass:

a stab wound and a gaping gash.

His blood pours gushing on the grass,


whilst sturdy oak will form a cross.

That way his martyrdom shall go

to gain for us by this vast loss

a kingdom which is ours to know.

Hosanna sing, hosanna sing, hosanna sing to Christ our king.

Saggy-tarians’ Birthdays

Sharing a birthday with Mady makes it (almost) impossible for me to forget to say, “Bon anniversaire!”, but it didn’t stop me having to scrabble an improvised card and commemorative ditty on the morning of the 9th. I’m only adding this to the website now as an excuse to remind folk that “Macclesfield Writers Does Christmas” again this Thursday, 14th. December from 7.30 to 9.30 pm in the King Edward Street chapel in Macclesfield (admission £4, includes hot drinks and mince pies). We’d love to see you there.

Failing that, “Raspin'” Mark Rawlins, “Heckler’s Nemesis” Nick Degg and myself are the guest poets at “Write Out Loud” at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, on Tuesday, 19th.  December at 7.30 pm. It should be a really good night.

Saggy-tarians’ Birthdays

The days have passed by and we’ve gone with the flow.

Since we were like Casper* seems ages ago.

We’ve slowly matured and almost grown up

since you were a kitten and I was a pup.

Together we’ve garnered 1 44 years.

In old numbers, that’s gross and might bring on tears,

but just by good fortune, they’re now 1 for 2,

which means 36 each, we’ll go with in lieu.

Sit back and relax. You feel better I’ll wager.

Next week, 1 for 4 and you’re back to teenager.

Best stop there before we take too far these dreams,

ending up in our Dads’ eyes the merest of gleams!

*Casper is Estelle and Laura’s new baby, Mady’s new grandson, born 27th. November, 2017

Christmas Flier_171214

The Great eSkype

I began this poem with the title back in 2013 after a visit to the Glen Coe region with our  Australian friends, Ian and Louise Whyte, whom we first met on the Gibb River road in 2001 and with whom we have shared some great moments. This time I was truly amazed by how the marvels of modern technology have somehow simultaneously shrunk and expanded our world.

The Great eSkype

We found ourselves in Glen Coe with our Aussie mates, the Whytes,

so no surprise to be outdoors and reaching heady heights.

We set off up a winding track towards our first Munroe,

the four grown ups and Timmy and his Tazzie friend in tow.


We old folks were all zonked out by the time we broached the crest

and at the summit plonked right down to grab a well-earned rest.

The day was clear. The clouds were high. We had a brilliant view,

a moment to be treasured. With the Whytes we’ve shared a few.


We settled back to savour our precious solitude,

high above that glen renowned for massacre and feud.

We watched the clouds go scudding by when Tim’s friend took his ’phone

and Skyped his folks in Tazzie. My, how small the world has grown!


Through modern day technology, the view we saw unfurled

was on his parents’ i-pad screen on the far side of the world.

They saw the cairn, the eagle swoop, the dipping sun’s display.

We shouted, “How ya goin’, mate?” and waved and said, “G’day!”


We’d set our sights on one more hill before we headed back,

along the rock-strewn ridge and up the purple heathered track,

then wound our way down to a pub, played pool and downed a dram.

and almost before we knew it, there we were on Instagram.