Saturday, 18 June 2022

"This is my best side...."


'Shame about the stream.'
'Sorry, Piglet'?
'By Eeyore's field. Pretty well dammed up after the rains. Set to burst its banks.'
'Oh, dear.'
'Still, Tigger's on the case.'
'I'm glad to hear it. Very probiotic, Tigger.'
'Well, yes, if he has time left over. I'm sure the first thing he'll do is get everyone together--'
'Second thing, then?'
'If that.'
'So what's the first thing?'
'Fly to Ukraine for a photo-op with Mr Zelensky.'
'I see.'
'Tigger says it's the only way to deal with issues whose parameters are own-doorstep-facing.'
'He does realise that he says these things out loud?'
'Actually, I've noticed a bit of a split in the grain round my front door.'
'A bit of a split?'
'A bit of a split.'
'Well, Pooh, you know what to do.'
'Up and away'?
'"Hello Zel...this is my best side"?'
'"I was meant to meet some chaps in the north of England but I can't for the life of me place where that is"?'
'"By the way, have you got any wood-filler knocking about"?'
'You won't need it.'
'Whole point of the photo-op. The moment they start snapping, your bit of a split will go away.'
'You can focus on post-split priorities moving on-wise.'
'Tigger again?'
'Sadly, yes.'
'Well, that's all a big relief.'
'Exactly what Kanga found.'
'Problems with an unruly coppice.'
'So she's--'
'Seven miles over Magdeburg as we speak.'


Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Platignum street plates


'So it's a big occasion.'
'Oh, yes, Pooh. None bigger.'
'What's the official name again?'
'The Platignum Jubilee.'
'Platignum, eh? Meaning?'
'Meaning the nation's admiration.'
'Well obviously because she's taken good care of the same fountain pen for seventy years.'
'Fancy that. So...much celebrificalibration.'
'Bound to be, Pooh.'
'Street parties and such.'
'Ah, no...street meal.'
'Where we are now, Pooh.'
'Well back in the mists you'd have had street parties. Now everyone in each street will be asked to contribute the one thing they could afford that week, and it'll be put on a single street plate.'
'Not cooked?'
'Cooked, he says. Cooked. Requiring gas. Electrics. Where've you been, Pooh? Get with the pugwash.'
'So they'll eat the stuff raw?'
'Yes...well, when I say "they" - '
'No, I said that.'
'Well, when you say and I repeat "they", diners will be selected by raffle.'
'Ah, the good old stromboli.'
'I thought he was the new T20 captain.'
'Yes, well, they might have a celebrity to pick the tickets.'
'What about those who aren't winners?'
'Oh, there'll be plenty of other attractions.'
'Always assuming that a hundred people watching half-a-dozen other people eating vegetables al-dirtyden is attractive.'
'Well, yes...but, you know, there'll be trips down memory lane. Old films.'
'Such as?'
'Oh, footage of some chap filling up on a forecourt, paying, coming out with change.'
'I see.'
'Or maybe some archive nugget of all four gas rings burning for a good minute.'
'Mercy. I wonder what she'll choose.'
'Choose, Pooh?'
'Which uncooked vegetable she'll eat off her street plate. 'Course, she might not get a winning ticket.'
'Not get...? Oh, Pooh. Bless.'


Saturday, 26 February 2022

Slow to clear


Slow to clear

There’s one light out there.
The fog isn’t yet what it may be.
Twice I lift and let fall my hand
pretending to sketch the pillared folds
of the curtains dropping clean
either side of the window.
I turn my head.
The room nudges up
its all but colourless angles.
It is dawn.  It is morning.
It is no time.  On the wall
is a painting of a boat
run up on nowhere sands
perhaps Rosslare
or granite Brittany. 
Around the light switch
the plate snags a fugitive gleam
like the draff of riches.
I hear whistling cut from a body
in the murk.  I hear the grizzle of motion
as an engine crests and sinks
below itself.  The fog thickens.
The one light disappears.  On the path
a cat stalks a single fetch of shadow
in hope that it has enough give.
It steps in and never was.
And now a single cry far out on that sea
could be the very world
unfastening its soul
rocking against the effort
then for all time still.



Friday, 21 January 2022

Talkin' 'bout mah Hiberna-shun!


'Well, that's a great shame...'

'Sorry, Piglet, what is?'

'Penguin Awareness Day. We just missed it. January the twentieth.'

'Ah, well, never mind.'

'We could say we're early for next year.'

'I suppose...actually, what was that odd Penguin song they used to play?'

'Sorry, what song?'

'Oh, you know, "When you feel a little p-peckish, pick up a p-p-p-Penguin" or something.'

'Ah, now, I asked Owl about that.'

'And he said?'

'It's apparently a cancelled verse from "My Generation".'

'Ah, that would make sense--

"P-people try to p-pick us up"--'

'"Talkin' 'bout mah Hiberna-shun"--'

'"Like we wuz a store-bought p-pup"--'

'"Talkin' 'bout mah Hiber--"'

'Well that's quite enough of that. Still, it fits with that line, "Things they do look awful c-cold".'

'Does it?'

'Of course. How penguins see all and sundry. Those freezing temperatures. It coats their eyeballs.'

'I suppose.'

'But I'm at a loss to know how you show Penguin Awareness.'

'Oh, well...possibly rush into a bunch of them and yell, "Am I surrounded by gerbils?  I think not!".'

'Ah. Right. Is it, though?'

'Is it what?'

'A bunch? Of penguins?'

'Actually, no. When they're on land it's apparently a waddle, and when they're in the water, it's a raft.'

'Ah...well, sounds like a tall order, penguin-raft-rushing. Think I'll give it a miss.'

'Yes. Probably better to fly over them with a sign-writer: "Hello you non-gerbils!  How's tricks?  C-cold?".'

'Far better. And I don't think I'll p-pick one up, either. I mean, why would you?'

'Oh, you know...all night bar, lonely weekend, far from home, relationship just ended, in comes this penguin...'

'What are you talking about, Piglet?'

'I haven't the faintest idea...'


Monday, 29 November 2021

A cornucopacabana


'I'm telling you, Pooh, it's most unwise.'
'I care not.'
'Look, we've been through it times --'
'I know we've been through it times enough. To the point where there isn't enough time to time the times we've been through what you've put me through till I'm through in the face.'
'Well, then...if it's you, or me, or Eeyore, or Owl, then you add (he / him / his). If it's Kanga or Tigger's PA...whatever her name is--'
'Tiffany Breathless.'
'Right...then you add (she / her / hers).'
'What's that little shushing sound you're making?'
'I'm opening and closing brackets, Pooh.'
'Oh, is that what they sound like?'
'They should. If the runners are oiled and they're flush with the woodwork. Which mine are.'
'Well I don't care a fig for--'
'Pooh, you just can't present yourself as Edward Bear (it / wot?).'
'That, Piglet, is just the start of it.'
'I'm not just Edward Bear. I'm Edward Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh and Pooh. I'm a confection, Piglet. A plurality. A cornucopacabana.'
'So - '
'So on other occasions I may advert to my being as Winnie-the-Pooh (them / more of 'em / "Zulus, Sarge, thousands of 'em").'
'That's even worse.'
'How so?'
'You're not a Zulu. And it's not right to claim--'
'How do you know?'
'How do you know I haven't been channelling my essential Zulu-ness on our homeward walks?'
'For pity's sake, Pooh --'
'You're just Pooh!'
'I see. So now I'm a victim of your mono-descriptoral malfeasance.'
'My what??'
'You're a fascia!'
'It's fascist, Pooh. I've told you--'
'Now don't you try baffling me with your high tone and semantications. I suspect that you need re-educating.'
'Do I, now?'
'Oh, yes. You need training out of your unconscious Gonzales Byass.'
'And what on earth might that involve?'
'For a start, a free crate-of-twelve...and with Christmas coming up...'
'And where does the unconscious bit come in?'
'I'll repeat it slowly, Piglet...A. Crate. Of. Twelve.'
'Please, Pooh, just stick with (he / him / his).'
'You do know how annoying that shushiness is...'

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

The last-chance spittoon


'So, Piglet.'
'So, Pooh.'
'COP 26.'
'Happening right now.'
'What does it refer to?'
'Whom, Pooh.'
'Specifically, PC Jamie MacGillivray of Coatbridge.'
' mean he's in charge of security--'
'He is security.'
'Goodness...big responsibility.'
'Oh, yes...all that sitting around...listening.'
'Sitting and listening?'
'That's what each one-cop security contingent has to do at these farragoes. Listen to all the speeches and arrange them in rank order.'
'I see.'
'So, next time, whoever comes top starts off and whoever comes bottom tries to make themselves heard amid all the departing Range Rovers and bijou jets.'
' I suppose whoever comes bottom would have to change their tune for next time, to avoid--'
'Can't be done.'
'Speeches have to stay the same, by law.'
'Oh, I see.'
'They have to declare that everyone, what's the phrase?...gobbing in the last-chance spittoon.'
'Good grief.'
'Plus a lot about our children's children not forgiving them.'
'How will they know they won't forgive them?'
'Oh, they'll jet into the future, turn up all breathless, ask "So how's the forgiveness thing?" and a bunch of semi-skeletons in the red wastes will say "Nul points" and they'll jet back just in time to see PC MacGillivray draining the last of his thermos.'
'I see. Still, it begs the question...'
'Just one?'
'For now. I mean, if all the speeches stay the same, no-one can change their place in the order next time.'
'Ah, now, that's a matter of taste.'
'Oh yes. Rhetoricorically-wise, Cop Twenty-Six might be, well, differently attuned to, say, Gendarme Vingt-Sept or Polizist Achtundzwanzig...or indeed يىگىرمە توققۇز ساقچى .'
'I'm sorry, Piglet?'
'Cop Uyghur.'
'Hmm...but the chances of Uyghurs having any say in climate--'
'About the same as having any say in how they draw breath.'
'Nul points?'


Sunday, 26 September 2021



'The problem with you, Piglet, is you've got no gumption.'
'Pooh, all I'm saying is that it's unworkable.'
'Of course it's workable. Look...all we need...big cushion against the up on my shoulders so you can reach the steering in my winter galoshes to reach the pedals...extendable arm on your left trotter so you can do the gears...and Hey Pasta! Solution! One less lorry standing idle.'
'I doubt that we'd be allowed--'
'Piglet, they're crying out. We'd be doing our bit to rescue the know...our paleolithic duty.'
'Really, Pooh--'
'We'd turn up at Swansea, you on my shoulders, extra long coat, chappie says "Congratulations, young man, here's your matriculated lorry licence, go forth and truck" - result!'
'They'd figure out that there were two of us.'
'I'd hold you steady. And you could wear a balaclava. That would--'
'So someone turning up in a balaclava asking to be let loose on the roads...that wouldn't arouse any kind of---?'
'Your problem, Piglet, is that the bigger picture constantly eludes you. Think of the benefits. Travelling the world. Seeing how Maersk is spelt in a hundred languages.'
'I rather think you'd find it's still Maer--'
'Taking our place on the pantechnicon of haulage greats. You know, Norbert Dongledangle...'
'Er, Dentressang--'
'R T H Lubbers. Scared of water, they are...great opportunity to poach business from them, though, global-solution-logistics-wise.'
'I think R T H Lubbers is quite happy to sail on--'
'Prestons of Potto. Word is they're actually Potters of Preston but the sign-writer got all squiffy on the paint which time it was too late.'
'Actually, Pooh, Potto is in North York--'
'And who knows where we might go from there? Like that chap who built up his fleet and then made it big in Hollywood.'
'For the last time, Pooh, you're confusing--'
'Humphrey Stobart. Terrific, he was, in "Doverblanca". Means "white cliffs", you know. Epic lines. "Sign it again,'s flashing me docket at you, kid...round up the usual sprockets." Immortal.'
'Just imagine, Piglet. Sunrise over the Hook of Holland. The smell of dockside containers in the morning--'
'Like victory, you know. Which we'd be helping to ensure. I can see it now--'
'Unlike one of Rabbit's larger holes, which you're about to fall into.'
'Pooh 'N' Pig--Provisioning the Planet. Big gold letters in--Aarrrgghh!'
'Told you.'