Hope for the Future

Rowan is four months old today

Born into turbulent times

He doesn’t yet know the meaning of play

Or that Grandpa is crazy about rhymes


He knows he is loved and has learned to smile

By watching his mum and his dad

To understand more might take a while

But for now things really aren’t bad


One day he will walk, and also talk

And understand more about life

I just hope by then, I can rest my pen

Knowing he’s part of a world with less strife

The Alliterative Gossip (Or Fake News)

Long, long ago, before mobile phones, and even longer before Facebook and other social media were invented, every town needed a town gossip. This was an unpaid job, but the people who did it were really well motivated, and they often worked long days to get the job done. They had to go out in all weathers to places where other people gathered, and they had to be prepared to talk to and listen to all sorts of people, from the grand to the very shady. Their job was to gather local news and pass it on to other people. It was a bit like being a journalist for the local radio, but that hadn’t been invented yet either. Just like today though, they were sometimes accused of creating fake news.

On a typical day the town gossip would get up early in the morning and go down to the shops. The gossip wasn’t necessarily going to buy anything, but would linger for a while outside the butcher’s shop. There, Mrs Brown might be queueing to buy six succulent slightly seasoned sizzling sausages for Saturday’s supper. The gossip would strike up a conversation with Mrs Brown and casually ask if any of the sausages were for her lodger.

The gossip might then go to the flower stall on the green and, after complimenting the flower seller on price for fourteen fine fresh freesias for fifty pence, the gossip would tell the flower seller that Mrs Brown might be developing a ‘thing’ for her lodger, because she is trying to impress him with the superbly succulent slightly seasoned sizzling sausages for Saturday supper.

The gossip would then walk on past the local pub, where the lamplighter’s lad is high up a ladder conscientiously cutting the candle, clearing the cuttings and cleaning the glass. There she would observe that the lanky lad’s large ladder is leaning lazily in a lopsided way before telling him that, if he is going to buy any flowers from the flower seller on the green, he needs to check them carefully because the remaining red rambling roses are radically reduced because they reek and are ready to recycle.

The gossip’s next call is at the police station where there is a poster on the door about a missing kitten. The gossip tells the police “It’s possible the peculiar pedigree pussy purring and playing on my patio fits the description.” The constable knows the town gossip only too well and says the missing cat has already been found and this shouldn’t be police business anyway. “OK”, says the town gossip, “Then if you’ve really nothing better to do, you need to have a word with the lamplighter’s lanky lad. He is likely to lose his life because his large ladder is leaning lazily in a lopsided way”.

At lunchtime the gossip visits the best place in town for genuine juicy guaranteed gossip; the Greedy Gourmet Cafe. Here the gossip eavesdrops on the next table where a couple of cousins are quietly conversing about their current concerns, in the corner, over a comforting cup of cocoa. The gossip listens to what they say then leans over and concurs that more people should consider contributing to community care and condemns the constable’s candidly cutting comment about catching cute kittens.

After finishing her now cold cup of cappuccino coffee the gossip decides to spend the last of a lovely day loitering leisurely and listening to more loose larynxes in the local lending library. By the time the gossip leaves the local lending library loaded with little labial lapses, it is time to toddle tiredly toward the trendy town takeaway for a teatime tikka or tapas. Here, treat in hand, before hurriedly heading homeward, the gossip beseeches a bespectacled businessman to beware befriending the book borrowers and bibliography browsers at the borrowing library because their banter beggars belief


Which sea denies the pull of the moon?

What puppet dances to its own tune?

A barbed and chastening valentine

No choice at all; the fault’s all mine

Could do better, the report card says

But how to change one’s errant ways?

Alas, some choices can’t be mended

Outcome’s not as was intended.

Each act’s curtain draws to a close

Why it matters, none other knows

Loneliness v Alone

‘Lonely’ is not the same as ‘alone’.  Lonely is a feeling and is a state of mind.  You can be lonely when alone or when in company; on a desert island or at a gathering in a big city.  But is lonely normal?  I believe so and would go so far as to say it is necessary in small doses.

We are often described as social animals and, certainly, with others, we instinctively create social structures.  At their most primitive, these may be hierarchy generated by the dominance of an alpha male, or by allegiance to a matriarch.  These relationships eventually lead to the development of organised groups and environments which are, in some way, mutually supportive or beneficial to the group as a whole. This is not necessarily always true for every individual, however.

In these environments we can thrive on the feedback we get from other persons and that thriving can help us feel secure and enable us to develop intellectually and emotionally.  But feedback can also diminish us if it is negative, or even just neutral or absent, when it might have been present.  We take the risk of receiving diminishing feedback whenever we are in company.  Sometimes that risk is too great.

Perhaps, for just the smallest of periods, even the most apparently self-assured of us deems that risk of engagement failure too great and we need to retreat into loneliness; into a mindset where we might take stock, summon courage to re-engage, or just languish for a while in self-pity.

Enforced ‘aloneness’ ……solitary confinement, stranding, or simply being ignored by others, will almost certainly lead to real loneliness and eventually to psychological damage.  But short periods of self-imposed loneliness are part of being us and can help our sense of balance.  Loneliness in small doses might be therapeutic; as long as it is not revelled in!

If someone ‘feels’ lonely and doesn’t want to, the solution lies within themselves; not with anyone else.  Overcoming unwanted loneliness requires a form of courage, but one we all have to a greater or lesser degree.  Not the courage to approach strangers and perhaps suffer rejection, which can be crushing, but the courage to engage socially at some level with others.  None-hierarchical group activities such community working, or in more developed societies, a choir, a walking group, a knitting circle, or a local history society are just some examples of largely neutral, non-threatening environments and activities.  By showing an interest in such common activities you implicitly show an interest in the individuals involved; and they in you!  It’s a first step, sometimes a big one, but what’s to lose,except loneliness?

Sharing Caring

With those you love, for whom you care

Time dictates you have to share

You will not always have control

For others claim some of this role


Your precious child’s first day at school

Falls subject to new pastoral rule

Years later on, at summer camp

First night away, your insides cramp


Teenager off, on their first date

You set a time; pray they’re not late

The pilots of a loved one’s flight

You only hope they get it right


Let  interviews, of course be gentle

Wisdom to see his/her potential

Surgeon too, with razor knife

Governs fate of child or wife


A wedding ushers a new phase in

Your child has another next of kin

Every care you now can share

Someone else is always there

Fake News

Fake news is in the news

If that can be believed

What’s true or false is hard to tell

It’s so easy to be deceived


Exaggeration, if you will

Is one old type of lie

But what of calling others names

In an effort to decry?


A tweet or text, or video clip

Sent, cannot be denied

Inconsistency may also be fake

Specially to mask one’s pride