Tag Archives: #Liskeard

“Sing a Song of Sixpence!”

“Sing a Song of Sixpence!”

(LWG prompt for 20-08-2019:)

“Sing a song of sixpence”

sang Simon’s sister, Sue.

“Four and twenty blackbirds

set out for Timbuktu.

“Alliteration and rhyme?” she queried;

“That will never do.”

“She sells seashells upon the seashore;

she has sold a lot of seashells,

but there are many millions more.

“I shouldn’t really rock the rhyme…

contemplated Sue,

“But, bees and fleas all come in threes;

hoopoes and gnus are found in twos.”

Sue sighed sadly,

“Song, song blue, ev’rybody knows one;

bing bong boo, Benny bought a Bath bun.

Four and twenty blackbirds

waiting for a worm;

Four and nineteen blackbirds,

they fidget and they squirm;

one little blackbird,

I think his name was Spot,

was cool, calm and collected,

and he squirmed not a lot.”

One, two, buckle my shoe,

Three, four, ‘Knock! Knock!’

“Who’s there?” I had to stare

at the monster shyly standing there.

“Trit trot! A troll I’m not,

even though I seem one,

as I look like a fridge,

and live under a bridge,

I assure you, I’ve never been one.’

‘Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,

And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;

For many a year he had gnawed it near,

For meat was hard to come by.

Done by! Gum by!

In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,

And meat was hard to come by.’

(JRR Tolkien)

A sixpence is, or was, a coin of currency in England back in the days when England had an umpire – or was it when there were werewolves and vampires? Anyway, it was certainly a long time ago. I received my first sixpence in the reign of Elizabeth – the second, not the first – when it was worth the price of a bag of chips, a small haddock, named Ernie, and as many peas as you could mush. Nowadays, it won’t even even be enough to buy you a single pea (mushed or unmushed) – this is largely due to the invention of Decimalisation by ten Frenchmen called Frank back in 1000 AD. They decided that all measurements should be in multiples of dix. It wasn’t until the early 1970s – when the English translated an old document, from the time of Edward The Something, that it was realised how ‘beneficial’ a new currency would be.

Six ‘pence’ became two and a half ‘p’ and the humble sixpence was consigned to history.six ‘p’ is not sixpence – and don’t let and Tom, Dick, or Harriet tell you that it is.

Back in the time of the sixpence proper, even musicals were written based upon this famous coin: ‘Six Brides for Sixpence’, Around the World in Eighty Days (for Sixpence), and ‘Half a Sixpence’; because, yes, the coins of the realm could be cut into pieces. A sixpence could be cut into six equal pieces, all worth one penny, or into halves, equalling two half of three pennies’ worth.

‘Half a sixpence, is better than half a thruppence, is better than half a penny, is better than half a farthing (a very small penny worth an eighth of a penny) is better than nothing at all’ so the song from the musical went.

This mnemonical phrase was taught in mathematics lessons up and down the country, all the way from Southwark to Camden from 1963 to 1971 – when it was dropped from the curriculum due to it’s umpirical leanings – remember, England now no longer had an umpire.

‘Sixpence, My Love’ is one of the most loved songs in the famous West End musical ‘Cabaret, English-Style’ where ‘Sixpence makes the world go round, the world, go round, the world go round;

Sixpence makes the world go round,

it makes the world go round!’

Yes, pop another Sixpence in the slot and the world shall revolve around its axis for a full three minutes – or one point eight Metric Minutes.

And, also, being a round coin, the Sixpence was exceptional useful if, for any reason, you needed to roll a coin – you try rolling a modern day twenty or fifty ‘p’ coin – even the pound coins have lost the ability to roll properly!

So, sing a song of sixpence in memory of the coin that gave us a gallon of petrol, a pint of beer, a ha’penny of starch, and still change enough for a ride on ‘tram.

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Two 10-Minute Exercises – Upon entering a room (happy and sad versions)

Two 10-Minute Exercises – Upon entering a room (happy and sad versions)

(LWG Exercise 06-08-2019)

Entering a room (with a happy perspective)

I walked in and looked up – the ceiling could do with a coat of paint… perhaps, even an overcoat; maybe a thick trench-coat. I chuckled.

Well, at least our eight-legged friends were enjoying their lofty playground – I could just imagine them hop-scotching across a numbered grid.

Come to think of it ‘that’ was an image that didn’t quite work – ‘two legs good (at hopscotch): eight legs four times better…?

Ha! I would leave that mathematical conundrum rolling around the empty corridors of my mind. I was happy for the spiders; they were probably indifferent to the plight of all mankind, not just me.

‘It’s one small step-ladder for man;

one giant leap-frog for mankind.’

I was in that sort of a mood.

I pulled out a chair and sat down – much better than doing sit-ups.

The room had seen better days – and, admittedly, it had almost certainly seen far worse ones. If Charles the First had visited this space would he have thought of the illustrious being that would follow in his footsteps nearly four centuries later?

I giggled at this, and thought:

if you can’t keep your head

whilst all around are round heads

then you will just have to be relevant in the

memory that you leave behind.

Wasn’t there a portrait of him just down the stairs?

What a Charlie he had been.

—//—

Entering the same room (with an unhappy perspective)

I walked in and looked down – the floor was dank, dreary, dusty. Scuff marks had left a series of black lines that looked like somber crossings-out or redactions upon the tarnished surface of the dry tongue and not so groovy floorboards.

A layer of something vaguely human skin-cell like coated the furniture – it pays to clean otherwise the flakes of humanity build up and can create dust-bunnies in a room. Dust-bunnies? Yes, evil little critters with dark red eyes, they live under tables and in the knot holes of skirting-boards, waiting for a chance to steal away the joyous life of a happy chappie, leaving only a deep pit of loss and a numbness that feels like a curtain hanging by its neck, swaying morbidly from a wooden pole as the life-force drips from the drop… one. molecule. at. a. time.

My eyes settled upon my feet; which seemed to be sinking into the wooden floor surface – that may not have been likely; but, it now turned out that it was possible.

I awaited my descent into the fabric of this room with all the enthusiasm that I could muster – which was none.

“Wellies”

‘Wellies’ – LWG prompt for 06-08-2019: I should have worn my wellies.

“I should have looked after my wellies – then I would have been able to wear them today. Sadly, knowing that I should have worn my wellies, does not make up for the fact that I did not ‘actually’ wear them.”

said Pam Ayres – for it was she, my impersonation was of.

‘If it wassnae for ma wellies

where would I be…?’ (Billy Connolly)

Who asked a good question, for which there are, it seems, no good, or interesting, answers.

When should I have worn them?

I must apologise for my questions, they are quite adamant that they have to be asked and, sometimes, even to me, seem unusually brusque in their manner – it is often the way with questions.

Answers seem to be less forthcoming, more reserved, upon this subject – being outnumbered, as they are.

So, what more is there to say?

“Lots!” I hear you cry.

Please, stop crying. Dry your wyes, cross your teas, and dot your… jays? Wasn’t there a time when jays had the privilege of being dotted? Anyway, are we ready to continue?

But, Ha! Rhetorical questions are also a nightmare, aren’t they? – for, by the time that you realise that one had been asked, it is already too late and you have fallen into the trap of trying to answer it.

‘My Wellingtons’ for sixty seconds without repetition, deviation, or hesitation. Starting now!

My Wellingtons weren’t named after the famous Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, but after one of his most famous victories, the Battle of Wellington, New Zealand in 1827 – a skirmish largely forgotten by modern day historians who tend to extricate the minutiae of details from several other sundry altercations that occurred in the early 19th century or before, possibly after. My wellingtons are called Leftie and Rightie or Laurel-Wreath and kiss-me-Hardy, or some such similar epithets that I am unusually lax in remembering – being of unsound mind, you laugh, please – my Wellingtons fit me like a glove – which, in itself, is a problem, as I am cursed by having no thumbs upon my feet – to be brutally honest – I have no toes upon my hands either – I’m not from Norfolk, I’ll have you know – nor am I Anne Boleyn – which should be staggeringly obvious to anybody who has even the smallest smattering of knowledge when it comes to Tudor history. Henry the Seventh’s son, the eighth, was largely careless when it came to looking after his wives, they all seemed to end up shorter or locked up in a secluded sanctuary or monastery somewhere, only to die of old age, the plague, or boredom.

The Silly Season is upon us.

The Silly Season is upon us.

a Liskeard Writers Group 10-Minute Exercise – Prompt 2: Fallacy.

We renamed the seasons – they had been called the same names for so long; Spring became ‘Bounty’, Summer became ‘Heat’, Winter was renamed ‘Cold’, and Autumn became ‘Time of the dropping leaves from the trees when the Earth sighs with relief at the time of Harvest. The Americans decided that this was Fallacy.

We decided to rename America as The Land of the Giants, they renamed Britain as Limeland.

Everybody else looked on from the sidelines as the silly-season began.

We thought about that and made up a fifth season – Silly.

Well, you would – wouldn’t you?

—//—

Vivaldi the XVIIth re-imagined his great, great, great, great x 4’s grandfather’s classical interpretation of the four seasons, adding in the fifth fo comical effect.

SFX: Daaaaaa-diddlie-op-de-de

fiddle-op-de-do-de-da-

and on it went.

—//—

Further to this…

the classic Italian pizza, the Quattro Formaggio, now included Cheesecake as the fifth section – there was a reaction of disbelief at first, but it was surprisingly popular, astonishing the world with it’s combination of flavours.

So, at least some good had come out of the Silly Season.

Prompt: William Blake Quotation

LWG prompt for 16-07-2019

Quote: “To see a world in a grain of sand

and a heaven in a wild flower,

hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”

by William Blake

I read the words, the understanding of which was not immediately apparent to me. Nor did their meaning become any clearer within days, weeks, months, long years – decades even.

I hadn’t spent every second of that time thinking upon the quote from William Blake, that would have been a strange career; but, I did return to perusing their meaning every once in a long and wearisome while.

None of the actual words were a problem to me, it was just their combination together that caused the headaches,

‘that flesh is heir to- ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d’,

as Hamlet once soliloquised.

Saying that, I really don’t know what it has to do with anything, never mind the aforementioned quotation.

And, saying that, a quotation is just that: something spoken once (or written down) and then discussed or argued over for years (Centuries even) to come.

I may have digressed – I do that. Sometimes, I just waffle on about something when I really should be focussed and keeping to the point of the whole contentious issue – such as that time when I was talking about the possible existence of life on Mars and then I rambled on about how the Marathon bar became the Snickers bar and how the Mars bar stayed the same – did you know that Wagon Wheels are exactly the same size as they used to be, even though popular opinion is that they were once larger, and are now smaller, than they were.

Returning to the William Blake quotation that I quoted earlier, if you remember – wasn’t it a corker? – I have to say that, if I had chosen a quote, I wouldn’t have chosen that one; but, as it ‘was’ chosen for me, I shall limit myself to commenting upon its merits, rather than discussing the dubious benefits of a different, and more popular quotation, that seems to be the wise thing to do at this moment in time, or ‘now’ as ‘this moment in time’ actually means.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. William Blake. 1757 to 1827 – approximately half an hour, to be imprecise, or seventy years in old money.

He wrote the quote. And was a bit of a pote, to boot.

He couldn’t give a hoot about owls; although he did consider the use of tea-towels to be a waste of new material – and so never ever mentioned them in his stand-up routines.

What he was saying in his quote – if you can still remember it – was that if you can, ‘see a world in a grain of sand’

and ‘a heaven in a wild flower,’

and, also ‘hold infinity in the palm of your hand’

along with ‘eternity in an hour.’

then that pretty much sums up the idea of something or other.

Which my saying of that should have helped you to understand the “interesting” quotation… as much as I do.

Yes?

No.

Well, to put it another way.

“To see a world in a grain of sand…”

Is to see great detail in a teensy-tiny, minute item – grain of sand, rice, split lentil or atom –

“… and a heaven in a wild flower,”

is to realise the wondrous beauty that there is in Nature.

“…hold infinity in the palm of your hand…”

is to see possibilities to the nth degree as available to you, for your perusal, at your leisure, so to speak.

“…and eternity in an hour.”

is saying that you can make a moment last a lifetime, and even beyond – in some cases, longer.

It is really no surprise that Stan from ‘On The Buses’ really hated Blakey.

And that vague 1970’s TV reference finishes my clear and well defined essay upon the words that which were given to us for us to do that which what where we would.

To be honest, I just can’t wait for the rest of the poem to be suggested as a prompt – and, BTW (by the way) can I just say here and now that I loved Blake’s 7 – his finest hour so far.

Charles Darwin is alive and well (and living in Cornwall)

Charles Darwin is alive and well (and living in Cornwall)

I saw Charles Darwin

in Liskeard, today;

he was the front-seat passenger

in a random Chevrolet;

he was looking good

for all of his years;

with an even longer white beard

and those tufts in his ears.

Gull on a Hot Tin Roof

Gull on a Hot Tin Roof

I’m just a gull

tap-dancing on the roof

of a silver Mazda 5,

it’s what I do

to keep my dreams alive

of becoming a dancer

and gracing the stage;

it’s all about talent

and not about age,

when you get to my age,

that is.