Saturday, 21 October 2017


I'm feeling glad to be alive and walking! On my bike trips to Hemel Hempstead I take a beautiful country lane of just over 2 miles, and at one point there's a fairly blind intersection. I was halfway across it doing about 5mph when round a bend to my right came a car doing maybe 50. The woman driver hit the brakes and it was one of those moments when you just watch it happening as if in slow motion. This large vehicle was heading directly for me and as the yards closed it didn't deviate. 
At about 10 feet out it was clear she wasn't going to stop in time, and I was actually waiting for the impact, but by the wonders of ABS she was able to turn at the last second and stop alongside me. Then, through her half - open window she began to abuse me for being in the middle of the road. I tried to point out that until that place in the junction I couldn't even see her, and she shouldn't be going that fast. I wasn't polite, I have to admit. Coming that close to being smashed and bent up on the road tends to have that effect. She drove off still telling me I was some kind of idiot, and I shouted after her to slow down.
The inevitable result of this is being reminded of the fragility of our human existence. Having been knocked off from behind by a car travelling at 40mph some 6 years ago, I know well enough that the danger is real. I could so easily be lying on a hospital trolley right now waiting for surgery and wondering how badly this will turn out. or unconscious. Or worse.
It makes me thankful, at the end of the day, which this is.

Monday, 2 October 2017


I sometimes worry that my poetry is just doggerel. When I get a dog in my retirement, I may name him Erroll (as in Flynn). Dogerrol. But I comfort myself that it must satisfy at least 5 requirements. 1. It must scan and rhyme (if intended) 2. The words must be smooth in mouth and mind (C. S. Lewis hated to type his manuscripts as it made it hard for him to 'hear' the sound of the words) 3. It must have something to say. 4. It must suggest something more. 5. The suggested more must be partly hidden. 

With that in mind, here's today's doggerel:


Premature the birth begins, 
Impossible, the day it seems, 
Full - formed the face with shining eyes, 
From each shop window, Santa beams. 

September 25th the date, 
Full three months to the day, the birth, 
The term all new, still summer shines, 
Unready yet is all the Earth. 

And welcome, is He, so ahead? 
And welcome, was He, in His day? 
Unsure the greeting in the shops, 
The seasoned finance, start to pay? 

A card, balloon, a reindeer mug, 
A light - up pen with cheery elf. 
So buy it, wrap it, make it nice, 
And think of what you want yourself. 

We're never ready for His birth. 
But over - ready for the day. 
And we don't know when He arrives
The simple manger where He lay. 


In 3 days time, on Saturday 28th July, I will be exactly the same age my dad was when he died. He was 64 and 2 weeks. It was no age, we all...