Thursday 31 January 2019

Just a bit of nonsense

I just came across this post from March  2010. It made me smile - I hope it does the same for you.

Just a bit of nonsense - or Love's Young Dream 

It was the worst moment of the worst day of the worst week of the year. Effie stretched and yawned and grumbled to herself. January 2nd in any year was the pits. She wished she wasn't a miner's daughter and hadn't agreed to the annual meeting at his workplace. 'Maybe,' she dreamed, 'I will meet a handsome, strong young man.'

Effie's snoring woke her and she struggled out of bed, heaving a sigh, which fell dully at her feet. She cast her eyes heavenwards and caught them as they descended, then threw back her head and laughed. It bounced off the wall behind her. She really must take more care of herself. She was so tired these days – it came of burning the candle at both ends and she was having difficulty keeping both points alight. She had had her fingers burnt more than once but ignored the pain each night (or was it morning?) as she lit the twin flames.

Though she was a miner's daughter she had been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her aristocratic mother had taken one look at her new-born child and expired at the sight. Doctors were able to remove it and she had kept it as a memento knowing that it was extremely valuable and, should the occasion ever arise when she could no longer keep the wolf from the door, she would be able to sell it. Anxiously she glanced out of the window and was relieved to see that the doorstep was free of Canis lupus.

As she dressed she wondered why she never managed to meet the right man. She sang softly to herself, 'Why am I always the bridesmaid, never the blushing bride?' Certainly she was tired of wearing the unflattering pink frock with the big puffed sleeves and the huge satin bow but supposed that was her fate, for now.

At the mine, Effie walked towards the pit shaft looking for her father. After 45 minutes she was ready to call it a day – Wednesday perhaps or Saturday – when her father appeared at her elbow. She looked down at him. Miners were reputed to be short and stocky but really! He was only 3'6". Still, he couldn't help his lack of inches. 

'Where have you been?' she asked sharply.

'The bus was late,' he explained.

'You could have walked or hitched a lift,' she spat.

Her father wiped her spit off his face and said, 'There's no need to jump down my throat' as he spluttered and removed her head from his mouth. 

Effie rolled her eyes and her father stopped them with his foot as they neared the shaft and handed them back to her. She thanked him and started to speak again, but realised he was giving her the cold shoulder. She shivered and rubbed her back. 

'You know, you drive me up the wall, Dad,' she complained as she clambered back down to the ground.

'Effie, I do my best for you. I introduce you to nice young fellows and you just throw yourself at them. Most of the time they're so surprised they forget to try and catch you. You don't know which side your bread's buttered.'

She gasped and said, 'So that's why my sandwiches are so dusty.'

'You fool,' said her father gently and the bells on her jester's hat jingled as she nodded. 

At that moment a tall, dark, good-looking man approached them and Effie's father introduced her. His name was Patrick O'Mahoney. Effie's heart melted, which made living difficult as her blood started turning to black pudding, but she pulled herself together, tying up the laces that kept her from falling apart, and sighed. 

Patrick spoke, 'Would ye be after joining me for a drink?' he asked.

Effie giggled. 'Why, are you broken?'

'Begorrah, it's the luck of the Irish I have, to be meeting a lovely girl like yourself with the brains and all. Aren't you just the girl of me dreams, so?'

Effie sighed, entranced by his looks, his voice. All her chickens had come home to roost and she must go and lock them up for the night.

Hand in hand, the two young lovers stole quietly away (quietly was made of gold and diamonds and quite a treasure!)

Effie's father watched them go, a song in his heart. He joined in with the chorus and prepared for his day's work.

Monday 28 January 2019



Delores set the subject for this week's Poetry Monday. Trot along and see what others have posted here and here.

 Bought in pairs, carefully matched,
All is well until wash day
And then
My washing machine becomes
A court.
Couples enter together
Then leave.
Sometimes they are reconciled,
Sometimes they part for good,
But always,
When I’ve thrown out the odds,
Their partners turn up sneering.

And did you know that some shops
Sell pairs of mismatched socks?
Strangely they seem quite perfect -
The look rocks,
Not like my drawer of oddments,
My efforts to pair them
Ever mocked.
Is it wrong to wear odd socks?
For some it’s a fashion choice -
But inside me a little voice
Always says,
'They don’t match.'

Wednesday 23 January 2019



Puppies sleep soundly. Only when dogs become very old will they sleep again as deeply
For a while Gus was smaller than the cats
Gus is a big black bear of a dog, very strong, very loyal. He will defend us to the death, mainly by deafening intruders with his bark, including the ones he sees on the television. He keeps the other dogs under control, apart from his half-sister, Jenna, to whom he shows the utmost respect. He is never unpleasant but they know not to overstep the mark.

Out walking in the woods, he greets other dogs kindly but is not really interested in playing with them, unless they are Dalmatians. He was brought up with the Spotted Ones and becomes excited when he sees one.
Frodo was Gus's greatest influence
Gus was in awe of Frodo
Frodo plays with Gus

 He plays with Bertie and Roxy, and he and Roxy are inveterate stick collectors.

He likes people but shows true affection only to his human family, particularly the ones with whom he lives. He is rarely to be found far from them. He is the dog most likely to be lying quietly next to one’s chair. He is nine years old now and seldom jumps onto our bed at night. It seems that dogs reach an age, around eight or nine, when their own baskets become just as attractive as their humans’ bed.
Gus was once smaller than his half-sister, Jenna
 Now Jenna is smaller than Gus
He has the sweetest smile, a wrinkling of the upper lip and nose to show just the front teeth.  
Like most gundogs, Gus loves water
His beauty lies not in elegance but in strength and he is often admired. He runs like a rocking horse, his gait not having changed much since puppyhood. 
 Aerodynamic Gus!
The retrieving instinct is powerful, though he is reluctant to relinquish his prize. 
 Retrieving in water
Balls stand no chance in his mighty jaws and the slobber he generates when mashing them is scattered across his back when he shakes his ‘prey’. 

Just as Frodo played with puppy Gus, so Gus played with puppy Bertie . . .
. . . and after play comes rest. Small puppies like to nestle next to big dogs
He and Bertie are great friends and both make a terrific din when the time comes to have collars put on, having first followed Barry upstairs to make sure he really is putting on the walking trousers. They both understand English so we have to spell the word ‘trousers’ or refer to them as ‘Ts’ or ‘pantalon’ or ‘lederhosen’, the latter a little confusing as Barry has never worn leather trousers, nor ever will!’

Gus has a few issues. 
 Gus and the Collar of Shame. He had to wear a collar after an operation but it made him so depressed we removed it
The vacuum cleaner used to make him shake and shudder though he has become less nervous of late. Familiarity breeds contempt or, at least, tolerance.

In common with many other animals, fireworks reduce him to a shivering, panting wreck and he does then clamber onto our bed until the frightful noise abates. Thunder has a similar though lesser impact, and yet gunfire, of which we hear a lot, being close to RMA (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst) training grounds, has no effect on him. He is, after all, a gundog.

The thing that most disturbs him is strange or unfamiliar objects in his path, (not outdoors, they were always Cariadd’s and Dominie’s bĂȘtes noires) but in the house. He is often to be heard tap dancing on the landing outside our bedroom, trying to pluck up courage to pass the chair or suitcase or laundry basket that impedes his progress. 

‘Come on, Gus,’ we call cheerily and there’s a clatter of claws as he rushes in. Sometimes, though, he cannot face the perceived peril and then, cautiously, delicately, meticulously he edges into the room backwards. Once safely past the obstruction he dashes for his basket and settles immediately, soon to sleep.
 Never far from water, if he can help it. His coat sheds water very efficiently.
 Water with friends is even better, here with Bertie, Jenna and the late, great Frodo
 Providing a steadying head for Frankie
 Looking and listening, ever ready to please
 In the woods with the rest of his friends and relations
He is a wonderful dog, our Gus. We call him Augustus *Lazarus Cooke because he nearly didn’t survive his birth and came to and took a breath almost at the moment all hope had been abandoned.

*Lazarus was brought back to life by Jesus.

Monday 21 January 2019


 The Nine Muses by Lodewijk Toeput c.1550- 1603/05

I fell to thinking the other day, as one does, about Muses – you know, those mythical beings who inspire poets, writers, musicians, in fact, artists of all hues. I suppose, actually, I was musing!

Are Muses always female, I pondered, or could they sometimes be male? I had always heard of them being referred to as female. So, I decided to look up ‘Muses’ and lo and behold I was slapped in the face by my lack of a classical education, for, had I studied Ancient Greek or Roman mythology I would have learnt (though probably not retained) the following.

The Muses were nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who supervised the arts and sciences. Calliope presided over Epic Poetry, like The Aeneid or Beowulf, while her sister, Clio, managed History. Did she work backwards, I wonder, or did she foresee the future? I can’t quite understand how she carried out her duties.

Euterpe and Erato both undertook lyric poetry. This is a form of poetry that expresses personal emotions or feelings and is often spoken in the first person. William Shakespeare’s sonnets are examples of lyric poetry and in the 20th century (last century, for Heaven’s sake!) Walter de la Mare and A.E. Housman both used the lyric form. Erato, as you might infer from her name, governed erotic lyric poetry.
In Ancient Greece, the lyric was accompanied by a stringed instrument, commonly a lyre, and Erato oversaw this as well as lyric poetry, while her sister, Euterpe, managed flute playing in addition to lyric poetry.

Terpsichore presided over choral dancing and song, and people sometimes humorously refer to dancing as ‘a terpsichorean activity. It was first used in this context in 1825. A dancer may also be called a terpsichorean. Terpsichore also carried a lute and is often depicted singing.

Melpomene ruled over tragedy. She is frequently shown holding a tragic mask in one hand and a knife or club in the other.

Thalia, in direct contrast, was the goddess of comedy and light verse, and Polyhymnia governed hymns and later, mime.

I wonder if you can guess what Urania controlled? If you surmised astronomy, you were correct.

Friday 11 January 2019


This is written in response to an image from ‘Words for Wednesday’ (yes, I know it’s Friday.) ‘Words for Wednesday was started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write – a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you – using some or all of the prompts.

This week’s prompts are two photographic images supplied by Lissa. I chose the second as it looks as confused and hazy as the future of UK after Brexit!

My offering is a poor effort, much like the Prime Minister’s ‘deal’. You will find other and better responses here.


All is confusion,
Trade in seclusion,
Empty delusion,
There’s no conclusion.

Some shout ‘sedition!’
Bring back tradition.
Ignore the suspicion
We need a magician
To make a decision.

Thursday 10 January 2019

The 24th blog of Augustus Lazarus Cooke (Gus)

The 24th blog of Augustus Lazarus Cooke, (Gus) aged 9.

Hello everybody? Anybody? Is there anyone out there?

I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone had abandoned this blog, just like Mrs H seems to have done! She thinks she’s the only one who’s got lots to do. It’s not even as if Frankie takes up a lot of time now because he’s at school. Humans! They should try being dogs. We have to be alert all the time, guarding the house and barking at the television. We like Kitty Croquettes so we clear up after the cats, too, but the Humans don’t like us doing that and pull faces and tell us to go away. That’s not a nice thing to do to loyal Labradors, or any other faithful dog, for that matter. I suppose they have their reasons.

Talking of devoted dogs (and we all are) Mrs H saw a photograph of Buddy Liver Spots on her Facelook feed the other day. What? Facelook! What’s wrong with that? Oh, Jenna’s just told me it’s FaceBOOK. Well, I didn’t know . . . Anyway, it was a lovely photo. I remember Buddy, and Dominie, but the Dalmatian I remember best is Frodo the Faller. 

(If you want to know why he was called Frodo the Faller you’ll have to read about him here and here and here and here . . . and so on.)

I loved Frodo. I really admired him and wanted to grow up to be as big and strong as him.  I didn’t grow as tall but I’m sure I’m just as strong as he was and quite broad, too.  We all missed Frodo when he travelled on but we had each other and then Roxy came to live with us and she’s a lot of fun. Well, the other day, in the Dreaded Woods, we met a Dalmatian and Bertie and Roxy and I really enjoyed playing with her. I felt as though I was a puppy again. Jenna was very friendly to the Dalmatian, too, but she’s thirteen and doesn’t charge around any more. She prefers to stay close to the Humans because they’re carrying the biscuits and she loves biscuits.

I had to go to the Vet before Christmas because I had a lump on my leg. My Humans thought it was a cyst but it was a tumour and it was benign. Well, the Vets carried out more tests and discovered that it is malignant but very slow-growing. It doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t hurt. I don’t feel as bad about going to the Vet now as I’ve been quite a lot recently. I met some nice children there the last time I went.

I had to keep going to the Vet because my bandage kept falling down. First I had a lovely, Christmassy red one, then a blue one, then a green one. I was very pleased when I didn’t have to wear a bandage any more because then I could go out for walks again. I can tell you, it’s not much fun being stuck in the house when the others go out.
It was lovely to go out again and it's always fun when Frankie comes with us.

On Christmas Day a heron visited us. The Humans think it was trying to find a way to reach the fish in the pond. It stayed for quite a while.

What else has happened? Oh, yes, there has been a new baby. He’s called Jack and he arrived on Marnie’s birthday. She’s twenty-five and he’s nought! So, Mrs Human went to stay with Bethan for a few days to help with Jack’s big brother, Charlie.
Jack, a few hours old
Gillian and Paul and Callum and Kat came to see us after Christmas. They didn’t bring their dogs, though, so we were a bit disappointed about that.  Roxy was ever so pleased ‘cos she really likes Callum.

I don’t think there’s anything else to report. 

Be good.

Hwyl fawr am nawr! (That’s Welsh for ‘Goodbye for now!’)