Jul 31, 2011

Poetry Jam, 1st. August

The peerless Poetry Jam blog is hosted this week by The Bug, who asks us to predict what our lives will be like at the R.O.A. of 67.  I have trouble predicting what was, ne'er mind what is to come, but here goes - with apologies to the late Mr. Frank Sinatra.

When I was 67 . . .

 . . . it was a very good year.
It was a very good year
for conservatories.
So I built my own
And in rained a lot
or the sun was hot
when I was sixty-seven.

When I was sixty eight
it was a not-so-good year.
It was a very bad year
for getting floors flat,
wasn't so used to that.
But the roof was on.
I was running late
when I was sixty eight

When I was sixty nine
it was another good year.
It was a very good year
to get it all double glazed
we sat in there and lazed
and the kids were amazed.
So it turned out fine
when I was sixty nine.

And now I'm seven and four
it is a very good year
to lie down and snore.
The conservatory's
part of history.
So if you want one
away and build yer own
if you've two spare years . . .

Jul 30, 2011

Sepia Saturday 30th. July

Since 2009 Sepia Saturday has sought nostalgia.
Instead, here's a comment on -

Food Price Inflation . . . !

Here's a photo I took during a visit to Glasgow, Scotland, UK some while ago.  It's a blackboard in the Cookery Classroom in the fascinating "School Museum" housed in the former school designed by the Glasgow architect and interior decorator Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  "Cookery" is now called "Home Economics" - well, try getting more economical than these century old recipes.

The link to the school will show you Mackintosh's highly individual style, and note the low doors on the "Infants" entrance, not to intimidate the little ones.

When built, c1900, the school served a densely populated tenement area just south of the River Clyde, demolished (1960's - date) to make way for the M8/M77/M74 links, at one point 14 lanes wide. Happily, the School is easily accessed from the city, being right opposite one of the stations (Shields Road) on Glasgow's cute little Underground(*) - oh, where was Mackintosh when they wanted a multistorey carpark at the station!

(*) DON'T knock it. The system predates nearly all of the London Underground and is about 1000 times more reliable!

Jul 28, 2011

Tandem#3, July 27th.

For her third tandem ride Jinksy offers two portraits to get us peddling words . . . 

The sitters are very different, but they are represented in similar attitudes, and that got me thinking . . . which do we like the best?

The Ties That Bind Us, or  You Can Never Win.

   As an birthday gift, two neckties, somewhat differently striped, left much to be desired.  But at least she had remembered. She was already downstairs, rattling cutlery as she set the breakfast table. The sound did not exclude a certain annoyance with domesticity in general and himself in particular, never mind the date. Tread warily, he thought. He considered the ties, both in glittering shades of lavender, luminous almost, ill suited to any of his suits, or shirts, as she probably knew. But real silk. Dayglo silk, what next! Decisions!  Truth to tell, neither tie did much for him, but this was a truth that dare not speak its name; not over breakfast anyway. He chose  a neutral suit, dark grey, single breasted over a pink shirt.
   Which tie to choose? One could toss a coin. One could do ip-dip-dash or one-potato, two potato. Being poetically inventive, at least in his own opinion, he opted for this method, laid the ties side by side on the bed as yet unmade, and began -
   "Ip-dip-die. Birthday tie. Lying on the bedspread, doing in my poor head. Ip. Dip. DIE!" He tied a full windsor knot, the lavender bulking up well between his collar points. Grey suit. Pink shirt. And shiny lavender tie. Yes, yes. Quite impressive. The mirror reflected this impression. He twisted this way and that.  "And God," he said, "saw that it was good!" With a cupped hand, he eased his genitals into place.
   He went downstairs into the smell of frying bacon, and there was his wife in housecoat and bedsocks and unkempt hair. And no hint of Happy Birthday in her back view as she manouvered things in the frying pan.
   "I don't suppose you straightened the duvet?" she said.
   "Ah . . " He poured meusli from the pack, added milk.
   "But I do suppose you left the packaging and wrapping paper strewn around?"
  "Ah . . "  It occurred to him that he had also left a tie strewn on the unstraightened bed.
   He sat down, looked sideways at the folded "Telegraph", looked diagonally at his wife, facing him now, holding the frying pan straight out in front of her and looking at him, with, he thought, an air of menace.
   "What?" he said.
  "Oh you do look smart! Ready for an interesting day with interesting clients while I pick up your leavings?  And hoover. And wash. And shop?"
   She laid the frying pan to rest. She advanced to the table. She picked up his bowl of milk and meusli. She upended it over his head. He spluttered through the waterfall, through the outrage.
   "What's that for?  On my birthday!"
   Her voice was a steel blade.  "It is for many things spread over many birthdays. For many silent breakfasts while you read the paper. For many years of fresh-frozen kisses as you leave for your interesting clients in your interesting office."
   He dabbed with a sheet of kitchen roll.  Now he would have to change.
  "But mainly," she said, "it is because you don't like the other tie I gave you."

Jul 25, 2011

Magpie Tales#75

Tess's charming picture of a bicycle with a lady aboard reminded me of an incident in Coventry, England, U.K in 1055 A.D., when another steed carrying another shameless lady trotted through the streets on some protest or other.

If Godiva was really a lady
she'd keep all her charms where it's shady.
And the town's Peeping Tom
would not see her bare bum
nor her horse's, though both are real shapely.

The Critic   - "Shapely" is not a rhyme for "Shady." Or "Lady."
The Doctor -  I'm sorry. I'm sorry. The lady on the bicycle distracted me.
The Critic   -  Neither is "Tom" a rhyme for "Bum."
The Doctor -  I'll be back, pal.

There once was a critic called Mustard
who thought the Doc's brain would be flustered
by all those bare bums.
He might well think "ripe plums"
then imagine them covered in custard.



The theme for POETRY JAM this week,  hosted by Mark, Bagman and Butler is "Temptation(*)"

3 Faces of Temptation.

The Lord of the Manor, Sir Cutler
was tempted to ravage his butler,
when up spoke his cook -
"If you take a good look
I'm tempted to think I'd be subtler."

Our mentor's Une Grande Dame called Napple
who tempts her blogpals with an apple.
When dressed up as Eve
she grants no reprieve -
"Come to me, Young Man, and let's grapple!"

I'm tempted to write no more verses
till you guys unbutton your purses.
'Cos one things for sure -
Old FTSE's so poor
he cannot afford high-class nurses

(*) "I can resist anything except temptation" (Oscar Wilde)
(**) La Grande Dame has graciously given permission for this scurrilous attack on her virtue to be blogposted. Those who know her will be aware that she has a sense of humour the size of Mount Everest.

Jul 24, 2011

Sepia Saturday 23rd. July

Alan Burnett at Sepia Saturday challenges "themers" with a 1964 photograph.  

Nothing New Under the Moon
"We chose to go to the Moon in this decade, and do other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard."   Also sprach President John F. Kennedy on 12th. September 1962 at Rice University in Houston, Texas, addressing the nation on America's decision to go to the Moon.(*)

To remind bloggers who maybe don't get out much -

The MOON, O.K?
Much preparatory work was required, most importantly - to make moon-resistant space suits, drip-dry, non-iron etc.  NASA calculated there would be few if any public toilets on the Moon and so whatever final design of space suit evolved, it would need to double up as a live-in, walking Portaloo -  this is why most people don't want to go to the moon, I guess . . .
Here is a 1964 model undergoing tests, (photo courtesy of "Sepia Saturday").  NASA clearly had some way to go. The moonboots look a bit like Doc Martens. The helmet doesn't seal to the suit collar very effectively.  But the flexijoints look not half bad.
It seems that NASA overlooked research into space suit design carried out in Europe in the Middle Ages, possibly because the U.S.A. didn't have any Middle Ages. At all events they seemed not to know that in 1562, 400 years before President Kennedy's inspirational speech,  Queen Elizabeth 1 of England had similarly exhorted the nations of Europe to visit the Moon.  The canny Brits developed the experimental space suit below.
Note the highly polished surfaces designed to reflect sunlight, which is intense on the Moon. Without this protection the medieval astronauts would have roasted.  The suit's designers knew too that the suit would be pretty heavy to haul around. Remember, Isaac Newton and gravity were still 100 years in the future so no one realized that a 100 lb. space suit would feel like only about 17 lb. on the moon. Rising to the challenge, Elizabethan engineers abandoned their work on thumbscrews and the rack and developed a walking pavement with which they could measure the astronaut's oxygen uptake, heart rate etc.  (The vassal turning the crank to drive the apparatus has been photoshopped out of the picture). 
The suit's mechanical endurance was tested by having other guys similarly attired hack at it with battle-axes, cudgels and broadswords. If bits fell off, either of suit or occupant, it was back to the drawing board. In the ultimate "crash" test, two volunteers mounted on horses charged at each other with lances, the winning design being the suit that leaked the least blood.  The Elizabethan's were not much concerned with the "portaloo" aspect of visiting the Moon, since they had no public toilets anyway. The whole enterprise was abandoned in August 1588 when the Mission Commander, a certain Francis Drake, was ordered to Plymouth to see off a fleet of alien ships which the authorities said had come from Spain. This story was put out to avoid a general panic. History know recognises that the ships came from Planet Zarg in the constellation of Taurus (the Bull, geddit, geddit?)

(*) Mission accomplished THIS DAY, July 24th. 1969, a remarkable technological and organizational achievement.

Jul 22, 2011

Hurry, Hurry! You're Just in Time . . .

to be the ONE HUNDREDTH FOLLOWER of this Blog.  Imagine how that will look on your Resumé!  "I joined Dr.FTSE's 100!    I WAS Dr.FTSE's 100! "   Don't delay!   Sign up today!


21.47pm.  Too late, too late!  Ne'er mind. You could be No. 200.

Two In Tandem#8

Penny at Alias Jinksy offers bloggers this fine example of her computer artwork for their prompt this week.

Just Like a Man!

   From her dressing room in Toppest Tower, Rapunzel scanned the grounds of Castle Sordidly for her husband, Sir Rodger de Coverlet returning from the wig factory in nearby Invergrumpy where he was General Manager of the Blonde Division. Sir Rodger, be it known, had a Degree in Wiggery from the Universiyy of Blogland-uber-Alles as well as a Diploma in Curling, and Rapunzel was his darling wife.
"Here he comes!  He he comes!" cried she, clapping her little hands as Sir Rodger mounted on his faithful, lopsided horse ThreeLegs, hove into view. ThreeLegs whoaed to a stop at the moat and Sir Rodger slid off.  
"Rapunzel!  Rapunzel!  Let down the drawbridge!"
"Why can't you do it, darling?"
"I left the remote in the office, dearest."
"Just like a man," muttered she, thumbing the Drawbridge Down button. (Keyboard shortcut CMD+SHIFT+$ on Macs, no PC equivalent, sorry.)  
Down creaked the drawbridge. Across the drawbridge creaked Sir Rodger, a manly figure in thighboots, leathern doublet and enormous hat with ostrich plumes. ThreeLegs followed. Sir Rodger paused before the huge oaken double doors.
"Why?" said Rapunzel, sotto voce "is he staring into space?"  
"Rapunzel!  Rapunzel!  Let down your hair!" Sir Rodger shouted up.
Be it also known that Rapunzel had a shining coil of gorgeous blonde hair which when unwhound whould reach from the whindow in Toppest Tower right dowhn(*) to the ground where stood Sir Rodger.  Now Rapunzel noticed a massive pair of shears sticking out of ThreeLegs' saddle bag.
"Rapunzel! Do you not hear your husband? Let down your hair, there's a dear." 
Rapunzel gulped. "He's gonna give me a haircut! Business must be bad. Aw shucks!"
She called down, "Please, darling. Not me lovely hair. It's taken all me thirty four years to grow long enough to reach . . "
"Come on now! Let down your hair dearest. There's no other way of getting to your room in Toppest Tower."
"I'll need to shin up your hair, dearest!"
"Eh?" Had Sir Rodger finally taken leave of his senses? He hadn't shinned up her hair since their courting days.
"You know I said I'd left the drawbridge remote in the office?"
"Ye - ess," she said, cautious.
"Well, I've forgotten the password for the front door, too."

(*) Story set in Scotland where "w" is pronounced "wh" so "which" doesn't sound like "witch" as it does in Bonnie England.
Serious stuff can be found HERE

Jul 19, 2011

Magpie Tales#74

Tess's eerie prompt is somewhat by-the-by this week!  Bloggers go HERE to see how another blogger is trying to usurp my territory and muscle in on the Limerick As Art. Can't have that, can we?


A wrestler from Hay-on-the Wye
said, "No matter how hard I try
to warm to my task
when wearing this mask
I can't get THAT hold on the guy"

(End of round 1)

Jul 17, 2011

Sepia Saturday

Even though it is now Sunday, here's one of the few surviving pictures of Little FTSE before the limericks got the better of him and other aspects of the human condition (see picture on the post below this one) began to absorb his interest.
Pic was taken before he started school, in the back garden of the house where FTSE first made his appearance. Baby Carriages (they aren't "prams" any more) like that one now cost about £2000. The sycamores bending to the prevailing wind have gone. The field beyond is now built over, so no longer smells of manure, so the flies are fewer. He's probably laughing heartily because Twin Brother has climbed onto the roof and can't get down, or has emptied a tin of paint over himself, or something. 
When we were a bit older, one of our hobbies was making up silly words(*) to well known tunes such as the "Music While You Work" signature tune, "Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" etc, but he's not going to tell you what they were.  That's probably where the limericks started.
Can't you just see that he was going to grow up to be VERY SILLY?

(*) A trait which later destroyed FTSE's enjoyment of the lovely slow movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony. Helpless in the grip of his mania for Being Very Silly, he added a scatological lyric - some of it in cod-German - that would have raised Ludwig's eyebrows.

There are lots more Sepia Saturday pictures HERE

Jul 12, 2011

MaffickMonday 11th. July

FOLKS . .  if you've landed here from the Sepia Saturday Linky of 16th. July it's because I entered No.31 on the lists wrongly.  My Sepia Saturday is one post up . .  HERE!   Sorreeeee!

Alicia wants her followers and fans to set their scene this week in an "Anger Management Class".  Hmmm . . . I came upon this . . er . . event, in that most respectable organ of the British press, the "Guardian," and it set me thinking.

Watch It, Buster!  Or Rather . .  DON'T

Before we got our kit off
We were often really cross.
We had to take a lot of schtick
from husbands, kids and boss.

We yelled at taxi-drivers
threw tantrums in the street.
Amelia bopped a copper!
That was really indiscreet.

Rage drives some to the bottle.
Some try the primal scream.
So the "Make Friends With Your Anger"
course seemed Heaven sent, a dream.

We sat and scowled and grumbled
till the Leader said "Why not
throw couture out the window?
Besides, the weather's hot."

A little jolly dancing
while our bra-smoke filled the air
made everyone feel calmer.
Most things look better bare.

The creep who owned the meadow
said "Now here's a wondrous thing!
My hayfield's full of naturists
all goin' with a swing."

"I ain't seen nothing like it"
this slimy voyeur said.
"Would one of you young ladies
accompany me to bed?"

Outraged we fell upon him
and thrashed him black and blue
which, if you think about it
is not what one should do

because we made his eyes pop out
by hoofing on his grass
to help us deal with anger
in our Adult Evening Class.

Jul 5, 2011

Magpie Tales#72

Tess at Willow Manor offers us one of Van Gogh's masterpieces this week . .

This painting has much in common with many of the Mapie responses. It is awesome!
It seems a pity, therefore, to once again lower the tone. But lowering the tone as an antidote to piety is de rigeur here, and is in no way intended to disparage Van Gogh's genius, or the earnest efforts of fellow bloggers.

There once was an artist called Vince
who was short of two ounces of mince.
So he sliced off his ear
marinaded in beer
and he hasn't heard anything since.

Jul 1, 2011

MaffickMonday #2

Alicia at MaffickMonday asks us to speculate on . .

"What if Fear Didn't Exist?"

At last, at last, an easy one!   If fear didn't exist, lots more folk would do this . . !

"Oh bollocks!  I've left my thermos flask up on top!"

(No, Doctor . . that's if absent mindedness didn't exist.)