In the Garden

I assume that if Lord Byron were alive today he’d be Justin Timberlake’s character in The Social Network, only more so. Charismatic and startling, but not someone you want to be around for any length of time. He was, after all, the inspiration for the phrase “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. I’d never picked up this side of him from his poetry, but after seeing the odd documentary I realised that his romantic verses are all directed at different women not as a literary device, but because he tried to woo half the planet. Still, he comes across better in print than in the history books.

Well, most of the time. The below poem made me laugh quite a lot. It starts off ever so romantic.Β I’ve no idea whether it’s meant to be serious, but it does kinda fit.Β It’s directed to “A Lady, Who Presented To The Author A Lock Of Hair Braided With His Own, And Appointed A Night In December To Meet Him In The Garden.”

These locks, which fondly thus entwine,
In firmer chains our hearts confine
Than all th’ unmeaning protestations
Which swell with nonsense love orations.
Our love is fix’d, I think we’ve proved it,
Nor time, nor place, nor art have moved it;
Then wherefore should we sigh and whine,
With groundless jealousy repine,
With silly whims and fancies frantic,
Merely to make our love romantic?
Why should you weep like Lydia Languish,
And fret with self-created anguish?
Or doom the lover you have chosen,
On winter to nights to sigh half frozen;
In leafless shades to sue for pardon,
Only because the scene’s a garden?
For gardens seem, by one consent
(Since Shakespeare set the precedent,
Since Juliet first declared her passion),
To from the place of assignation.
Oh! would some modern muse inspire,
And seat her by a sea-coal fire;
Or had the bard at Christmas written,
And laid the scene of love in Britain,
He surely, in commiseration,
Had changed the place of declaration.
In Italy I’ve no objection,
Warm nights are proper for reflection;
But here our climate is so rigid,
That love itself is rather frigid:
Think on our chilly situation,
And curb this rage for imitation.
Then let us meet, as oft we’ve done,
Beneath the influence of the sun;
Or, if at midnight I must meet you,
Within your mansion let me greet you:
There we can love for hours together,
Much better, in such snowy weather,
Than placed in all th’ Arcadian groves
That ever witness’d rural loves;
Then, if my passion fail to please,
Next night I’ll be content to freeze;
No more I’ll give a loose to laughter,
But curse my fate for ever after.

Birthday Macaques

Thanks you to all the people who’ve left encouraging comments about my receiving an offer for the photography course. I’m still trying to decide what to do, but the support and advice is very much appreciated πŸ™‚

I had a great birthday weekend. I’m currently listening to one of my presents: Jarvis. I’ve always admired his voice and songwriting style, although I only have the one Pulp album. I haven’t had a proper chance to get into this, his first solo project, yet, but I’m already in love with “I will kill again”. I also received Rodrigo y Gabriela, which I listened to while driving on Saturday and enjoyed, then played on my proper speakers this morning and was blown away. I can only imagine their guitars were designed for playing doorbell chimes at the gates of heaven. Wonderful stuff – many thanks to Skuds for plugging them on his blog!

Late last week I invited various friends to a party using the following ditty:

The 19th sun of the fifth month – it’s May!
bounds into the sky, screams ‘dude, I’m all yay!’
as at the hour of ten, in Dorridge-based houses
a group they do gather in glorious trousers.

They flee in their whizzers, across the country,
an hour they drive, and celibacy
isn’t a virtue nor even a crime –
forgive me my father I needed the rhyme –

and their journey resembles the Faraway Tree,
but less of dear Moon-Face and more of Monkey
Forest that they find with the use of their (wo)menthumbs
is swirling and gorgeous and not far from Trentham.

And evening: once the moon’s a mere whisper,
we’ll eat, therefore laugh (I am no sophister)
we’ll pierce the future with games (or a Ball),
so come one and all to the end of this
poem, with a cute little stanza that employs mis-
direction and know well if you can
come along, this lark it will rock: be better than

Slippy Sarah’s golden gherkin,
a menstrual minstrel’s mouldy merkin,
Roland Rivron’s lucky garter,
all nothing next to Andrew’s parter-y!

Which had the desired effect of appalling people sufficiently that they quickly replied with various levels of abuse, and on Saturday we headed out in an M6 convoy.

Monkey Forest, at Trentham Gardens near Stoke, is a free-range reserve containing 140 Barbary Macaques, of which only 10,000 exist in the wild. There are no barriers – the macaques regularly cross your path as you stroll around the grounds – and it’s surprisingly cheap: Β£5.50 per person is pretty good when you consider Warwick Castle is Β£13. I really enjoyed it. As well as the obvious attraction of (not actually) monkeys, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and with it being cup final day there were very few people around πŸ™‚ I took over 150 photos with my cheapo 300mm1 lens and was happy with some of the results:

Just like us

The masseuse hits the spot

Macaque Yoga

This seemed bigger before. I don't know what happened.

I is Tarzan

One particular macaque took great exception to being photographed. I guess to him I’m the paparazzi. My favourites are, inevitably, the babies:

What is? Is for me?

Dual huntings

Oh dear

Macaque biologist

I wanted to go on the nearby Aerial Extreme rope course, but it turned out to take 90 – 150mins to complete, so I decided against it. I’ll just have to go back! After this it was back to a friend’s house to do very silly things with another of my presents: a remote-control Dalek:

Uninvited Guest


It has a button specifically for ‘EXTERMINATE’. It is fun times.

I had an excellent day, with wonderful company, great cookies and some very exciting presents. I must say a big thank you to the extremely kind online chum who bought me the surreal DVD – I’m very much looking forward to watching it! I am a very lucky person all round.

  1. 480mm with my 300D’s cropping factor []

I’d Need a Lodge, After All

I think I’m not a monkey
‘cos monkeys live in trees.
I’m glad I’m not a monkey
as monkeys never sneeze.
The money’s not in trees these days,
the prices are too steep
I think, all things considered,
I’d rather be a sheep.

A sheep. A sheep. A wooderwongacowabunga sheep.

If I owned a baby sheep
I think I’d called him Fred.
He’d summer in the dishwasher
and winter in the shed.
He’d be a great companion
on long hot boring evenings.
And when the winter comes around
truly excellent for eatings.

A sheep. A sheep. A chewylugiebarbanooga sheep.

But if I lived in Switzerland
With a gay butler named Diarmuid.
Fred might get way too jealous, so
I’d swap him for a marmot.
For they’re extremely fluffy,
but I hear they’re sometimes divas.
and sadly they can’t cha-cha-cha,
perhaps I’ll get a beaver.

Friday Afternoon Poem

I don’t like to be immodest, but I’m so very good at thinking up ways of not revising. I really am. Hence the following, dodgy syllable counts and all…


I’m purple and folded and pretty,
and wait inside my cardboard baguette.
If only someone could get to me,
We’d have a time they’d never forget

But I’m made from recycled paper.
Last time round was not all that great.
Do I want to explode out of here again?
I think it could be too late.

I’m purple and folded and pretty,
But what if I’m rotting away?
Can I stretch and fit in like I should do?
Will they laugh and go elsewhere to play?

I don’t want to be soporific,
but I might well be damaged inside.
What if I collapse on unfolding?
What if they discover I died?

I will stay cocooned in my tube, I think.
I have only the one song to sing.
Who wants a crown made of paper?
I’m just an old-fashioned type thing.

I don’t need to be more than I am,
I can just. Stop. The world seems to reel…
Someone wants me, they’re trying to get me!
Good god, is this how it feels?

I’m dizzy but start to remember;
I’m still scared that I’ll fall into bits.
But it’s worth the risk and the terror,
If you find one who perfectly fits.

A Sonnet

I fancied trying to write a sonnet this evening. Don’t know what I’ll think in the morning, but here you go, straight from Notepad πŸ™‚

And to the sound of drowning drums we sway
Three nights alive with oil and flame and lust
Our breaths in locked cathedrals handcuff play
Minor key of fate lost in twilight dust

Distant Mariachi block the sunrise
Chords vibrating beauteous denouement
Stanzas sink into grey, spin in their guise
Life’s worth of two transcribes a crawling font

Homesteads reaching and the concrete awaits
Tides stare backward and the hurricane swell
Dissolves to pristine brown, the cry abates
Age-old tales into heart’s quickening knell

But moments do linger, dreams too will ring
For wonder is brief, but memories sing

Redness Redness Everywhere

Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

As I said yesterday, I sent a card. I joined ‘Operation Spread the Love’ – an inspired Joinee idea intended to make sure that every Joinee feels wanted πŸ™‚ Anyone who wanted to take part had to email their details, which were then matched up with an appropriate partner and addresses sent out. Unfortunately I didn’t receive anything πŸ™ Even Joinee volunteers didn’t want to send a card once they knew it was me, apparently. There’s still time for a van load of flowers, chocolates and bunnies to arrive, mind, so I’m not giving up hope just yet…If all else fails, though, online dating is apparently quite good.

Here’s a little poem for the singletons amongst us:

Lovers on the radio
send thoughts and dedications.
Friends are delivered roses
and hand-crafted red creations.

The tulips aren’t so pretty,
and chocolate tastes less sweet.
As you check the evening’s telly,
lonely lambs in fields do bleat.

(shut up, I’m making this up as I go)

Things may seem dull and grey today
and you feel bereft and clunky.
There’s no need, the world’s a happy place!
It has boomerangs and monkeys!

Today may not bring an angel,
but enjoy it all the same.
Treat yourself to some marshmellows;
find friends and play board games!

So have the bestest day today,
don’t sink in gloom or sorrow.
For we’re still young, the world still spins,
and there’s always tomorrow.


I sat down with the intention of writing a short story, and instead I ended up with this:

With meadows of light and dead stars in her eyes
She clawed at the night and fell into the sky
Too young to be wise and with decades unspent
In the streets of the city her cry of repent
The fallen are many when god charms the young
A weaving of wonder, and sanity spurned
Too steady the nerve of those worst placed to lead
A faith-scythe drops blood into furrows of seed
Send forth your young into clouds of crossed-poison
Their crossroads a dirt track, their avenue chosen
Perfection fights nature with Man incidental
Brings shame at a failure with hope detrimental
She’d sink to the ground when cowed by His gaze
But don’t expect help from mysterious ways
Seabound she tumbled, then a speck in the swell
Her last breath a tonic to send her to hell
Controllers would preach of the state of humanity
But in souls of pure passion a spark of depravity
Fight a river of sin! the holy words teach
But by a hand of a carer the embankment is breached
For bridges have watchers and all-seeing lenses
Created by science, they man the defenses
The waves part through physics and fighting the current
Man lunges and snatches the lost from the torrent
A whisper of logic, the scent of the sure
Can bring down the towers and flush out the sewer
What faith-based morality sent into despair
Rose from the deep with the truth in her stare

A Poem Containing ‘Obligatory’

At once and now without compare
I seem alone upon my chair
I see the world; it’s not complete
Of things and whatsits not replete
A garden lacks a sometime grace
A wonder grown in pride of place
Perhaps it needs a bigger tree
I’m surprised it’s not obligatory