Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dawn is not coming fast enough

For the dawn is darkest and coldest when viewed alone.
It cannot soothe me now, but whispers only of change
Change that is coming in the scant half light ascending up
Out into the east is the arching falcate of the new day

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Sing away the snow lest it wander lost across the moors into Avalon
Icy Flake and speck falls with the velvet softness of butterfly wings
Fall into this new spring, with hopes for warmth contained in eager heart
And no frogs sing this day and no birds fly; and I shall wait by the window
Drawing on pictures of warmth from my thoughts till the snow subsides
And summer is finally come and the grey curtain pulls back to a new dawn

Monday, March 25, 2013

Opposing Forces

Slewing east wind over quivering bough makes drifts of snow into the walkway
A howling storm on spring’s tail to chase her dream of conquest into the shadows
For no alliance can win this war; one force must be spent utterly if the other prevails
In this battle I took you for a walk and your short legs were full hidden in the snow.
You become a white, woolly worm valiantly thrusting through winter’s belated blizzard
No quisling* attached to the hearth are you my faithful comrade; Let us walk some more

 *Quisling - A traitor, especially somebody who collaborates with an occupying force

Friday, March 22, 2013

Now it's officially spring here in Lancashire

Winters Arm

Winters arm extends and draws the Spring back into her abandoned bosom.
She will not now let go of her icy seal upon the land till March has passed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Its officially Spring today

Spring Tourney

Snowdrops arch like delicate green scimitars curving over their brown earthen armour to deliver to the pageant a white coat of arms. Crisp Crocus pages wearing tabards of purple and yellow, with green striped hose, are lost among the sea of tall yellow Daffodil serfs. Ladies deliver streaming hazel favours to the outstretched lances of winter confined knights, who now emerge to sit tall in sunlit saddles; and as the sap again rises high within them the spring tournament begins

Part of George Osborne's 2013 March Budget speech opening statement

This is a Budget for those who aspire to own their own home; who aspire to get their first job; or start their own business; a Budget for those who want to save for their retirement and provide for their children. It is a Budget for our Aspiration Nation.

Of course as everyone know aspiration is also the exchange of gases by the mechanics of breathing. So officially it was a lot of hot air then and not much oxygen for the economy and if he was going to use aspire there could have been one mention of aspiring to a fairer society in it? But that is not the aim of any of this austerity is it?

The Aspiration nation
To aspire to be better than you, to aspire to be richer than you
To aspire to look down on you, to aspire to take others resources
To aspire to greed, to aspire to envy and to aspire decay in growth
To aspire to all that has never worked for equality, nor ever will
Finally aspire to know elite desires always prevail over the masses

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring hearkening to the door

Spring never runs true for it weaves and winds and hurls sleets snow and soft rain in equal measure. Yet it is extraordinary in both its design and gentle execution. For what of the days that are lost in the rush to a high straddling sun that covets growth? The rising fever that we call the madness of spring is now but a heartbeat from the door and all we treasure will coalesce into the brighter days we so desire to live in.

Ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary vote on press regulation, author J.K. Rowling , a Core Participant in the Leveson inquiry and supporter of the Hacked Off campaign, issued the following statement today:

Some victims of press abuse felt that Lord Leveson did not go far enough; I disagree. As an oft-banned writer, a devoted reader of Private Eye for a quarter of a century and as somebody who venerated the late great Paul Foot, I could not support anything that hampers the press’s ability to hold power to account. Lord Leveson’s recommendations seemed reasonable and proportionate to me, their aim simply to curtail abuses of the press’s own power.

It goes without saying that what my family has been through – and I spent two hours re-living those experiences on the stand at the Inquiry – is less than nothing compared to what was meted out to the McCanns, the Watsons and the Dowlers: ordinary families who became newsworthy through terrible personal tragedies, or to Chris Jeffries, who was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time and found his life forever changed.

I believed David Cameron when he said that he would implement Leveson’s recommendations ‘unless they were bonkers’. I did not see how he could back away, with honour, from words so bold and unequivocal. Well, he has backed away, and I am one among many who feel they have been hung out to dry. Monday’s vote will make history one way or another; I am merely one among many turning their eyes towards Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and hoping that they have the courage to do what Cameron promised, but which he failed to deliver.

J.K. Rowling’s comments follow statements by others who gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, including:

Bob and Sally Dowler: ‘We are very disappointed to learn that Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals may not now be taken forward if the politicians choose to ignore the recommendations of LJ Leveson that were aimed at preventing the sort of abuses that we and so many others suffered.’

Kate and Gerry McCann: ‘We are in favour of the freedom of the press; an Independent Self-regulator will guarantee media freedom and independence. But we want our politicians to protect us, to stand up for the ordinary victims instead of siding with the wealthy and powerful.’

Christopher Jefferies: “I welcome tomorrow’s open and democratic parliamentary debate, which I hope will allow many misconceptions about Lord Leveson’s recommendations to be clarified, and lead to the establishment of an independent regulator, underpinned by statute, to monitor press self-regulation.’

The very last day for a real justice to be done  
The very last day for silent regret to take form
For if no battle is taken up now we are beaten
To wither and shrink back within the shadows
Where the press will rip us to pieces one by one

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hand

Thought detaches from the stratum where lack of courage kept it
Spoken soft promises now would draw it to the stars long enough
So no longer trapped between the light and dark of regret it humanises
Looks behind; sees the joy of life rushing headlong to catch my stride.
Yes thoughts running always running; the mind must soften its pace
Fool on the wind I cannot thus see yet the sunrise mounting swift
To meet the equilibrious mind when none may object to a radical idea

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

China pulls nearly 6,000 dead pigs from Shanghai River

Officials say the number of pig carcasses found in Shanghai's Huangpu River has risen to nearly 6,000.

In a statement, Shanghai authorities said that 5,916 dead pigs had been removed from the river by Tuesday. But it said water from the river was safe, with water quality meeting government-set standards. Reports suggest the dead pigs may have been dumped from pig farms in Jiaxing, upstream of Shanghai.

Seriously the authorities say the water is safe - for what; noodle soup! This is such a strange story on all levels. If it wasn’t on the BBC China site I might have thought it was a joke

Monday, March 11, 2013

The March Snow
Rattling snow wends and drifts
Like a plague of winter locust
Set to devour the ground beneath
And like a carnivore around heads
It stirs the air and moves toward us
To clog nostrils in a defiant icy tang
Yet dissipate on sunbeams like ghosts

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Art is naught unseen

Though we distort its essential worth
Art though both eternal and transient
Should ever be and remain accessible
Never elitist or reserved only for wealth
Above all its exercise should be encouraged
So talent is pleasing outside pecuniary lease
Art should lift the soul and clear the heart
Never raise desire to solely own and profit
Or shutter away in vaults far from light
For what blackness is drawn thus on canvas?
When only its largesse is desired and viewed

Re: The Independent Sunday March 10th 2013

One of the most loved pictures in all modern art is likely to disappear from public view in Britain for ever, when Picasso's Child with a Dove heads overseas to its new private owner. The picture, painted in 1901, was valued at around £50m and sold last year at Christie's by the Aberconway family. Depicting a small girl cradling a bird, the painting has become an emblem of peace, and marks the beginning of Picasso's innovative Blue Period. It was bought in 1928 by the textile magnate, art collector and benefactor Samuel Courtauld, who loved it so much that he kept it in his bedroom.

Attempts failed last year to raise the funds to keep the work in Britain, despite expert advice to Arts Council England that Picasso was poorly represented in British collections, which were slow to recognise the artist. The National Gallery was busy finding £50m to buy Titian's Diana and Callisto from the Duke of Sutherland.

The painting is widely rumoured to have been sold to Qatar, where they're opening a new museum, in which case, it will still be available to the public, just a different public."



Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Rain

The rain fell this morning as yielding, silken tears onto bare skin
These welcome kisses of precipitation moisturise the cold, arid earth
Water warmly delves deep into the underground places of hiding
Awakes all below with its soft penetration to lift them from slumber
So be gone winter today; for spring now calls and I wait for it here

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Getting Old Jokes although they are probably not as funny the older you get. But at least if they raise a smile you know you are doing ok.


An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100%

The elderly gent went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, 'Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.'

The gentleman replied, 'Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've already changed my will three times!'



Two elderly gentlemen Jim and Eddie were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says:

Eddie asks, ‘I’m 83 years old now and I'm just full of aches and pains. I know you're about my age so how do you feel?'’

Jim replies, 'I feel just like a newborn baby.'

Eddie replies, 'Really! Like a newborn baby!?'

Jim laughs, 'Yes. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants.'



Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn't need my help to leave the hospital.

After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.

On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.

'I don't know,' he said. 'She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.'



Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember..

Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. 'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?' he asks.

'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?'


'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks.

'No, I can remember it.'

'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?'

He says, 'I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.'

'I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?' she asks.

Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!'

Then he toddles off into the kitchen.. After about 20 minutes, The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.. She stares at the plate for a moment.

'Where's my toast?’

Monday, March 04, 2013

Pannettone Bread and Butter Pudding Soufflé

  • Panettone Loaf sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 225ml / half-pint double cream
  • 225ml / half-pint full fat milk
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top
  1. Grease 4 large ramekins
  2. Beat together milk, cream and eggs
  3. Using a cutter the same size as the ramekin cut out circle from Pannettone slice and lay in bottom of ramekin. Sprinkle 1 tsp of light brown sugar and spoon in 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg and milk mixture. Repeat with second slice.
  4. Place third slice on top and divide remaining liquid between the four puddings. Use all the liquid but you may have to wait for the bread to absorb it. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of Demerara sugar, cover and refrigerate till needed (minimum of 4 hours if possible)
  5. Bake in preheated oven from cold at 175 for 20-30 minutes till well risen and golden (see photo)
  6. Enjoy hot with vanilla ice cream

Tip – use the left over Pannettone pieces to feed the birds or incorporate into an apple crumble mix or steamed pudding as breadcrumbs. Works beautifully with a spotted dick pudding.
In case you're wondering the middle ramekin is an apple crumble


Day meets night and an alteration of song from the border of time is heard
The ringing, ethereal harmony now pitched to coming night chimes in glassy notes
How could I be so senseless, sightless, deceived by the brighter melody of the day
For it sings softly to me now of all that is passing away and I am content in hope
That night rises amidst the fading day spent in the promise of another swift sunrise

Friday, March 01, 2013

Science magazine via the Guardian 1st Mar 2013

Loss of wild pollinator’s serious threat to crop yields, study finds

Wild bees and other insects twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops. The decline of wild bees and other pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields than the loss of honeybees, a worldwide study suggests, revealing the irreplaceable contribution of wild insects to global food production.

Scientists studied the pollination of more than 40 crops in 600 fields across every populated continent and found wild pollinators were twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops including oilseed rape, coffee, onions, almonds, tomatoes and strawberries. Furthermore, trucking in managed honeybee hives did not replace wild pollination when that was lost, but only added to the pollination that took place.

And they laughed at Rachel Carson
But now the silent spring is upon us