Verse: Tenth anniversary of my mountain rescue

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January, ten years back*:

I received a lot of flak

When I blundered – went astray –

On a cold and dismal day.

Gale was howling, snow was deep,

Skiddaw’s** slopes rose white and steep,

With its summit in the cloud,

But I planned my climb, unbowed,

Pining for the lofty top

With no image of a flop.

I was soon, despite the freeze,

Crawling on my hands and knees

Yet still sinking in the snow,

With my progress very slow;

But, regardless, on I pressed,

Which (in case you haven’t guessed)

Was a reckless thing to do

Given that nobody knew

Where I was on this vast slope;

Yep, I acted like a dope:

Upwards, higher, then – a fright:

The world went completely white!

There was nothing I could see:

Clouds, the ground, my boots, my knee …

Nothing, so I grabbed my phone

And, in panic-stricken tone,

Called the mountain rescue, who

Mobilised our Keswick crew;

Cockermouth went out as well,

And they got me off the fell,

Now, in darkness – ‘t was pitch-black***,

With no trace of any track.

I was, clearly, in those days

Still in my immortal phase;

Now, with whiteout on the tops,

I stay low and hit the shops!

 

*To be precise, on 29th January 2009

**Skiddaw is a mountain of over 3,000 feet which towers over my small town of Keswick

***I called the mountain rescue at about 3.30pm, and the Cockermouth team reached me at roughly 7pm, albeit in complete darkness because I had found myself on the eastern flank of Skiddaw and thus away from Keswick’s lights. My having ended up there was lucky because, if I had strayed onto its precipitous western slopes, I might not be here now. The rescuers managed to locate me because I was shining two torches (head and hand). Needless to say, I didn’t see anybody else on the fell that day – not that I could see much …

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Humorous verse: Confessions of a walk leader

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With the time just whizzing past,

What I’ve had was – yes – a blast,

Clocking (fancy!) fifty walks

With my team, which simply rocks.

 

Roamers they are called, and they

Are first-class in every way:

They’re intrepid, brave and bold

Yet, with that, as good as gold.

 

We have rambled far and wide,

With me acting as a guide,

So it’s truly on my head

If the group’s not safely led.

 

But it was, I fear, a dud

When I dragged them through the mud,

Made them brave almighty gales,

Led them down precarious trails

 

And up rocks all glazed by frost,

Covered up when we got lost

(Aiming east but heading west,

Feigning nonchalance and zest) …

 

That, and stuff along those lines,

Fails to meet with gripes or whines;

As I’ve said, they are top drawer:

They keep coming back for more!

 

Humorous verse: Twenty one years in Keswick!

Years ago, we settled down

In this lovely little town,

Which, and that’s beyond dispute,

Is as pretty as it’s cute.

 

There is something here for all:

Lots of shops, both big and small,

Nice old church and (yes, you’ve guessed)

Pubs for that deserved, hmmm … rest.

 

What is more, in all those places

We see lots of friendly faces,

So we think – and think we do

It’s a real dream-come-true.

 

And our eyes can feast and binge

On the fells that Keswick* fringe –

Sparkling jewels in the crown

Of this lovely little town.

 

*At the heart of England’s beautiful Lake District, which is now a World Heritage Site2014 - ESK PIKE AND BOWFELL WITH BOBBY 034.JPG

Humorous verse: Our Christmas

‘Tis a magic time of year,

Time of gladness, joy and cheer,

When folk love to have a fete,

Eat and drink and celebrate.

 

In our house, we too, as one,

Had a most tremendous fun,

Though there was, I do declare,

The odd hiccup here and there,

 

Such as all the rigmarole

With the toad in his wee hole*;

Turkey? Raw inside (oh, drat!),

So we gave it to the cat;

 

Roast potatoes, I must say,

Went a rather different way:

Badly burnt and hard as rock

(Not that we would ever squawk);

 

Veggies having turned to slime,

Guests jumped up: “Is this the time!?!”

“Nonsense!” we’d then gaily shout,

“Won’t you have another sprout?”

 

Christmas pud would have been handy,

But we’d guzzled all the brandy**;

As for pies – this makes me wince –

Uncle’d eaten all the mince.

 

Radio playing Silent Night,

Both grandfathers had a fight,

Kids got into awful scraps

Tearing off their present wraps,

 

And our dearest auntie Lyn

Sat there swigging rum and gin

With a rather mournful gaze:

“It was different in them days”;

 

Our granny, though, was merry,

Having finished all the sherry,

Then she swayed and, with a slouch,

Was now snoring on the couch.

 

All in all, as you can guess,

Christmas was a great success,

Though the fairy on the top

Shut her eyes and shouted “Stop!”

 

But the day, this much is clear,

Is the highlight of our year,

So we cry, with joyous glow,

“Only fifty*** weeks to go!”

 

*How the lovely natives manage to squeeze the animal into a small hole is beyond me: my repeated attempts ended in abject failure, though, mercifully, the creature survived …

**Way back in July, when we started our Christmas preparations in earnest

***Well, maybe fifty two, but who is counting after all this prosecco – pardon me, champagne

Humorous verse: Vinnie’s new shed

So as to enhance his street cred,
My Vin got himself a new shed:
Defence shutting out the world’s strife,
Life’s irritations – and the wife …
He beamed with elation and glee,
Then grabbed his transistor*, made tea
And, with the cry: “The match is on,
The Spurs are playing!”, he was gone.
And then for hours, from within,
There issued most enormous din
As Vinnie whooped and wailed and yelped,
Oh how I wished I could have helped
But did not enter (not that brave):
The sign that guards the shed? Man Cave!

*Radio

Humorous verse: An alien’s lament

British passport – what a prize!
It’s your birthright, lucky guys,
But, to aliens such as me,
It’s as precious as can be,
So I greatly cherish mine,
Which does make me feel so fine
(More so as I am quite skittish),
I’m thus loving being British;
This is why I, with great pride,
Share my status far and wide
Half-expecting a huge cheer;
Enter Ian*, who’d appear
On my walks from time to time
Undertaking the odd climb
(You remember? He’s the guy
Who has rubbished my mince pie);
Ian, hearing me thus boast,
Looked as if he’d seen a ghost:
“British passport? You?? How come???”
What a bummer – and then some:
His demeanour was so shocked
That my world just shook and rocked;
How much more of toil, sweat, grit
Till they see me as a Brit????

 

*I am very fond of Ian, by the way. He has a fabulous sense of humour and is great fun to be around. Although we tease each other, it’s all done in a friendly and playful manner. I’m saying this because he thought he had offended me by his incredulity; in fact, I found his reaction absolutely hilarious. No hard feelings, Ian, I hope.

Humorous verse: Anna’s mishap

A keen fellwalker having the good fortune to be surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful mountains, I lead a fabulous walking group called the Roamers. Well, at least I try to lead them – but sometimes I do manage to lose some of them. As on that infamous occasion at Easter when traffic was heavy, our parking spot had been unexpectedly blocked and my mobile decided to die on me. Unable to communicate with the drivers of several other cars in our group, I contrived to lose one vehicle with its precious cargo of four Roamers. So much for my being a leader …

 

If you heard my moans and groans,

They were all about the cones,

Traffic cones – I kid you not –

Blocking our parking spot;

With no parking to be found,

We drove round and round and round,

All five cars – and all spread out –

Nightmare, without any doubt;

With my mobile on the blink,

I was flustered, couldn’t think

(You go into panic mode

When you’re missing a car-load);

We then started our hike

Without John, Rose, Pam and Mike;

You could not – not if you tried –

Find a soul as mortified

As I was, but I must say

It was John who saved the day!

Sage and with a brilliant mind,

Our John’s one of a kind:

On his gizmo, also smart,

Our route he did – yes! – chart

And, with deftness and no fuss,

Led his party straight to us!

Dearest John, believe you me:

In your debt I’ll always be;

Your computing expertise

Has now put my mind at ease

‘Cos I know that, with your aid,

Roamers cannot get mislaid!

 

 

Humorous verse: Beast from the East

Recently, we’ve been hit by an icy blast from Siberia, dubbed the Beast from the East. This is my humorous take on it.

 

We’ve been blasted by the Beast,

Blown straight over from the East;

Fed by northern polar vortex,

It would slice right through your cortex,

Landing an almighty blow

With its gales and frost and snow,

Blizzards, whiteouts, drifts and ice;

And there was, indeed, a price

If you tried to brave this storm:

You could not stay dry or warm.

So to end up safe and sound,

You wrapped up and went to ground,

Keeping all essentials handy,

Namely whiskey, rum and brandy;

Soon, your innards were ablaze,

With you swaying in a haze,

Feeling comfy, snug and cosy,

Both your cheeks and nose quite rosy;

This is how (you get my drift?)

Best to deal with Putin’s ‘gift’.

Grammatical howler: Illogical co-ordination

Well, you cannot keep the girl away from her grammar for long, can you? Perusing The Telegraph Magazine recently, I happened on this scientific revelation. Do you reckon the author knew something which the readers worldwide were being kept in the dark about?

 The partners of men over the age of 40 carry a much higher risk of miscarriage, regardless of their own age, and are half as likely to get their partner pregnant as those under 25.

Naturally, it must be devastating to suffer a miscarriage, but at least the female partners of older men are just about able to get their blokes pregnant – at least according to this illustrious publication. Just when we rated the chances of their performing this feat as precisely zero – it must be a scientific breakthrough! Unless, of course, what the hapless writer meant was this:

 The partners of men over the age of 40 carry a much higher risk of miscarriage, regardless of their own age, and such men are half as likely to get their partner pregnant as those under 25.

 

Satirical verse: UKIP Brexit if you want to

As my Brexit-inspired satire continues, here is my mini-glossary for those reading this post outside Great Britain.

UKIP stands for the UK Independence Party, which is a Eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in Great Britain. The party strongly opposes immigration, pledging to reduce it to zero within five years. Incidentally, the wife (alluded to below) of the party’s former leader (who is a great fan of President Trump) is German.

Brexit refers to the British exit from the European Union, narrowly voted for in the 2016 EU membership referendum. Brexit has bitterly divided the country, and even the government cannot seem to agree what sort of Brexit it wants. Needless to say, Europe is baffled …  

 

We don’t want no immigration

To pollute this brilliant nation;

We were once the purest race

Which this Mother Earth did grace

(Sorry, there is one correction:

German wives are an exception),

 

But the EU plots and schemes

To extinguish our dreams

About being alien-free

In this land of ours – see?

Our challenge is immense –

We must mount a bold defence.

 

When we seal our porous border

We’ll restore all law and order,

And, to pick our fruit and veg,

We will summon good old Reg

(He is 80 – did we mention? –

This will help him boost his pension).

 

We will stop most foreign aid

And engage in global trade

Beyond EU neighbourhood

(North Korea would be good),

Plus, in line with our agendum,

We will rule by referendum.

 

Also (you’ll be filled with glee),

We will let you park for free*

When you do your weekly shop

(We don’t reckon it’s a sop:

As an ordinary Brit,

You’ll be rather badly hit**).

 

Even if our gut gets busted,

We want to be done and dusted

By the end of next year – max;

See how neatly all this stacks?

(We can – by all indicators –

Trust our clever negotiators.)

 

To take charge of our laws,

We must rally to the cause

With a zealous incantation:

“We are here to save our nation,

And, in Donald’s dazzling vein,

We’ll make Britain great again!”

 

*For at least 30 minutes

**In your pocket

 

PS

 

Wanna know – that’s by the way –

What folk Googled the next day***?

“What’s this construct called EU?”

You are laughing? It is true;

Still, we say: “You know the score,

That’s**** what you have voted for.”

 

***After the 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership

****Whatever that is; if the government still (at the beginning of 2018) can’t agree about what sort of Brexit it wants (hard, soft or anything in-between), you can jolly well make up your own wish list and announce that this is exactly what you have voted for – hey ho!