Recent Posts

29 May 2015

Death in the afternoon

My body is falling apart, he said
He shaved meticulously
He forgot about his eyes and ears
He smelled good

Bloody certificates
another barrier to impetuous action
in case of lovelorn despair, for example
ten minutes before noon

A sparkling, sunny day in late spring
We ate more cherries
Even he tasted one or two
and the angels looked quite grateful

No one talked about the next act
No one talked very much at all
The angels went for a walk around the garden
We stayed where we were, savouring the lovely day

Do you know what this is?
Do you know what will happen if you drink it?
Do you want me to give it to you?
Yes, I do. I will die.

His eyes shut, quietly
It’s over now
Goodbye then
I returned to the garden.

From 'I held his hand as he drank the fatal dose': the day my husband chose to die by Liesl Graz, The Guardian 7 February 2015. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

27 May 2015

Only God can make a tree

Genesis 1:11-12
Hosea 14:8

Now, there’s several different ways of making evergreens.
See? Just back and forth.
Back and forth, back and forth.
And you can just keep going on and on and on and on,
make as many branches on this tree as you want.
(Everybody knows, there’s five hundred branches on a evergreen tree,
So don’t put too many in there,
don’t overkill. . . .)
Back and forth, back and forth.
Leave some limbs out there;
you need places for the little birds to sit.
Little birds gotta have a place to put their foots.

From Bob Ross: Painting An Evergreen Tree, YouTube, 14 September 2009. Submitted by Daniel Galef.

25 May 2015


Look over there!...An antelope…






…stupid crocodiles?


…a lion??


…why not rabbits?


…an elephant


Come on if you dare, mighty buffalo!


Grrr! That’s us. Bold as brass. Keen as mustard.

Lines from Tintin in the Congo, Hergé (1930). Submitted by Cathy Barber.

23 May 2015

What They Don't Tell You

My mum doesn’t know who I am.
Sometimes I’m her sister.
Sometimes I’m her dead mother.
Once I was Shirley Bassey,
which made for an interesting evening.

I’d assumed we’d have lots of time
to get to know each other properly.
I was wrong. Instead of visiting coffee shops,
we ended up visiting the memory clinic.
It’s like going home with a newborn baby,
but with less support and no balloons.

They don’t tell you that she’ll hit you
as you coax her into the bath.
Neither do they tell you what nappies to buy
when she becomes incontinent,
how to persuade her to wear one
or stop her taking it off
and stashing it in a pillow case.

They don’t tell you what to do
when she thinks that the small boy
you pass on your walk is her grandson,
and tries to talk to him. Nobody tells you
how to placate the angry parents.

They don’t tell you that she’s never
going to phone you again, see you get married,
be a grandmother to your kids.
Nobody tells you how to channel the anger
you feel that your fellow thirtysomethings’ lives
now involve marriage, mortgages and children,
and yours revolves around a confused old lady
who doesn’t know who you are.
They’ve chosen their responsibilities;
you’d give anything not to have yours.

They don’t tell you that you’ll spend hours
trying to feed her a spoonful of hospital jelly
even though she’s pretty much given up on eating,
because you can’t just watch her starve.

It doesn’t matter how distraught you are
that she’s wasting away before your eyes,
or how much it upsets you to agree
to the doctor’s request for a DNR order;
this disease is relentless .

I’m still not sure how to feel about it
when there’s nothing tangible to mourn.
“Waking grief” someone called it.
When the person you knew is gone, but not gone.
But it’s not. It’s a waking, sleeping,
cloud of despair. But then nobody tells you
how to grieve either, do they?

Especially when there’s no funeral to go to.

From What they don't tell you about dementia by Dawn Vance, The Guardian 28 January 2015. Submitted by Angi Holden.

21 May 2015

Tying the March Brown

Catch in the wire rib
tie in the tails and bind down the loose ends
then trim, wax the thread to form
a tapered noodle of dubbing (in this case, hare).
Wind the dubbed thread to form the tapered body, then
take the rib forwards in evenly spaced wraps
catch in the Partridge feather by the tip
and wind the hackle.
One or two turns will suffice.

Instructions from fly fishing teacher Dave Wiltshire. Submitted by Sarah Watkinson.

19 May 2015

Steven Seagal is a Good Man

Steven Seagal is A Good Man. Steven Seagal is A Dangerous Man.
Steven Seagal is The Patriot. Steven Seagal is The Foreigner. Steven Seagal is The Keeper.
Steven Seagal is Pistol Whipped. Steven Seagal is Submerged.
Steven Seagal is Submerged 2.
Steven Seagal is Out of Reach, Steven Seagal is Out for Justice, Steven Seagal is Out for a Kill.
(Out for Justice? Steven Seagal is a Mercenary for
(Out for a Kill? Steven Seagal is Driven to Kill.
Steven Seagal is Hard to Kill.)
Steven Seagal is The Glimmer Man. Steven Seagal is the Shadow Man.
Steven Seagal is A Dangerous Man. Steven Seagal is A Good Man.
Steven Seagal is My Giant.
Steven Seagal is A Good Man.

Titles of Steven Seagal films, as they appear on movie posters. Submitted by Daniel Galef.