For David M. Cosgriff, who inspired it

Turtle head
Turtle head
Peek out from your cosy bed

Change your mind
Stay home instead
Don’t torment me
Turtle head


From The Book of Pooetry. If you’re fairly new to this blog, read here for more details.

This video was filmed on location in my mate Sylvia’s bathroom.

Her Guy

If her guy thought he had sunshine on what was – by his own admission – a cloudy day; and believes May was indoors (say what?); had a swarm of bees on his tail; reckoned his wailing sounded better than the birds in the trees (at least they were outside); and didn’t even have any money or fortune (or grasp of tautology) and no fame to his name (though that was clearly a lie; a little disingenuous, don’t you think?), then I submit his girl was probably better off without him. I know I wouldn’t be tempted.

My First Love

Photo by J U N E on

We were eleven.
Our love lasted a week.
His ex complained I had ruined her life.
She grew beautiful; grew up; got legs; got over him.

We were sixteen.
Our love lasted one sweet afternoon,
trading saliva on my mother’s couch.
He was the coolest boy in school; I was flattered.

We are middle-aged.
Our love is a comfortable memory.
Now he is a bingo caller
and I am number eight.


I’m not sure if that last line makes sense outside of the UK. In Britain, many bingo numbers have designated call signs. Here are some examples:

11 = Legs 11; because the number 11 looks like a pair of legs. Nobody said it was a cerebral game. Incidentally, whenever 11 is called, the players wolf whistle because, you know, sexism is fun 😉

21 = Key of the door, 21; twenty-one used to be the legal age of adulthood in the UK. Segueing into another British tradition, ornamental keys or items decorated with keys are still given as gifts on 18th and/or 21st birthdays in this country. Does that happen elsewhere?

22 = Two little ducks, 22 – for obvious reasons. Players all respond, ‘Quack, quack.’

The more I think about it, the more I suspect we Brits are weird.

76 = Seven and six; was she worth it? 7/6d (seven shillings and six pence in old money) used to be the cost of a marriage licence. Nobody said we Brits are romantic.

88 = Two fat ladies…now you get it 😉

If you’re interested in learning more about our much-loved bingo calling tradition, check out this page.

In The Valley of a Thousand Hills, Zululand

This postcard shows the actual witch doctor we spoke to

I visited a man of the witch doctor genus.
I have only one memory:
his dangling penis.


This is absolutely true.

Okay, not absolutely true: I have more than one memory; but there was definitely a dangling penis. The witch doctor half-crouched as he rolled the bones and much that should remain hidden was on superb display.

I was 21 – that very day – and we took a drive out to the Valley of a Thousand Hills from the campsite where we were staying in Durban. I doubt that Africa has a more beautiful sight than those thousand hills in glorious sunshine. If you ever have the opportunity to visit it, you should.

We stopped at a tourist village and watched the gumboot dancing (another fantastic sight) and decided to pay the few rand to visit the witch doctor and have our fortunes told. Both of us being broke, Paul asked him to accept one fee for the two of us, telling our joint fortunes. He very kindly agreed.

Half of what he said came true and perhaps that was because we each paid half the fee; who can say?

Gumboot dancing began in the gold mines of Johannesburg.

From Wikipedia:

The gumboot dance (or Isicathulo) is a South African dance that is performed by dancers wearing wellington boots. In South Africa these are more commonly called gumboots.

The boots may be embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground. This sound would be a code or a different calling to say something to another person a short distance away. This was used to communicate in the mines as there was strictly no talking otherwise there would be severe, drastic punishments at the discretion of their superior. The mines were very noisy workplaces, with pneumatic drills at work most of the time; in those days (until the mid 1970s) ear-defenders did not exist in South African mines.


This poem is from my third (unpublished) collection about my time in South Africa, during and after Apartheid.

I Am Sad, Sad I Am

After Dr Seuss

Although this blog’s primary aim is to give you a daily smile, some days, smiling feels impossible.

I am sad
Sad I am
I do not like this Putin man
I do not like his evil plan
Do you like your freedom, then?
I did like that
Sad I am
Do you want that Putin man
Over here or over there?
I do not like him here or there
I do not like him anywhere
I do not like that Putin man
I do not like him
Sad I am
Would you like it
If he bombed your house?
Would you like him killing
Your pet mouse?
I do not like a bombed-out house
I do not like a dead pet mouse
I do not like that Putin man
I do not like him
Sad I am
Would you like your stuff
In one small case?
Would you like
To be displaced?
I do not like stuff in one case
I do not like to be displaced
I do not want a bombed-out house
I do not want a murdered mouse
I do not want him here or there
I do not want him anywhere
I do not like that Putin man
I do not like him
Sad I am
Would you could you have to flee?
Could you become a refugee?
Could you escape that Putin man?
Could you escape him?
Sad I am
A train a train the rain the rain
Cross the border in a train
Cross the border in the rain
Leave now your much-loved Ukraine
Cross the border with your pets
Into Poland – do not fret
They’ve waived your papers so you see
You are welcomed
Your neighbour is your dearest friend
Until this nightmare time does end
Walk through the night
Tramp in the dark
Drive until you have to park
For everyone is trying to flee
A nation newly-refugeed
Your crime is just to be Ukranian
In the way of a megalomanian
Not in your house
Not with your mouse
Stuff in a case
Suddenly displaced
Fake peace talks
Drive, ride or walk
Ride on a train
Drive in the rain
Whole life gone
Hope you won’t face
Another bomb
I do not like that Putin man
I do not like him
Sad I am
Sad he made us refugees
Sad he would not let us be
I do not like that Putin man
No one likes him
Sad I am
Can anyone stop this bad mad man?
I’m frightened of this Putin man
I do not like him
Sad I am

A Note for my Husband…

Scribbled as I Left to Catch a Train

Dog did a poo
Please clean it up

And I love you


This poem from The Book of Pooetry is brought to you from the upstairs toilet in St Matthew’s Church House, Edgeley.

If you want to learn more about The Book of Pooetry (and why wouldn’t you?), click here.

Mother Knows Best

A teenage girl in a smelly room accepts gifts
of perfume and gold for her baby.
She’s an unwed mother but knows she cuddles a child
like no other. She’s supported by her fiancé,
an older man who, gossip the neighbours,
really should have known better.

There’s a motley assortment of visitors, including shepherds,
down from the hills (without bathing first); and a group
of well-travelled astrologers –
though she’s never read a horoscope in her life.

Despite malicious chatter, she’s a good girl.
This young woman, her partner, their guests,
and the innkeeper’s wife, who brought her a cup of tea
after the birth, know something singular has occurred.
Believe me, pet, reassures the innkeeper’s wife,
these things happen for a reason. Now you rest.

The Body Beautiful

If the eyes are the window
to the soul,
the bum
must be the back door.

Learn more about The Book of Pooetry here; and maybe join in the fun yourself…

DO YOU RECOGNISE THIS TOILET? I’ve forgotten where I filmed it, so if it looks familiar to you, please let me know so I can give credit where it’s poo.

Like Jenny Joseph

This one is inspired by the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph. You can listen to it below or read it here.

Have you ever used a poem as inspiration for your own writing?

When I am old
I shall keep chickens
and live in a half-built house
and dress like a bag lady:
I shall wear an old anorak
and a clashing bobble hat
and jeans more suited to a teenager
and I won’t care what people say
I won’t care what people do
I won’t care what people think
because I’ll be dead before them
and they will go on saying
and doing and thinking
whatever they like
so why should I still
be trying to please them?
I will please only myself
and my hens.
When I am old.