Category: writing

Table talk

Twemlow leaned back in his chair, and said ‘Yes, gentlemen, the key to human happiness is to be content with very little. Make the most of the little you may have, and thank the good Lord for his infinite bounty.

As long as I have a bottle of champagne and a few sirloin steaks, the lack of Dijon mustard doesn’t bother me in the least. Even if the champagne is only a ’63, I’ll bridle, naturally, but I won’t let it detract from my happiness.

Of course, I could berate my sommelier and tweak his nose, but what’s the point? Likewise, my moutardier might usefully feel the weight of my boot on the seat of his pants — but no! Live and let live, I say.

Pass the garnish boat.


 

Family ties (2)

Uncle Delmar shakes his fist
at rascals Ralph and Brad.
He knows that in a few short years
they won’t be playful lads.

They’ll grow up mean and surly,
in a world that treats them bad.
They’ll both end up in prison,
just like Delmar and their Dad.


Family ties

Riding back from Laramie
a thought besmote my head:
what if Grandpa Delmar
should be lying somewhere — dead!

Frantic now with morbid thoughts,
I bade my horse to speed,
I raced all through the ink-black night
upon the family steed.

Imagine how my heart leaped up
and danced like Fred Astaire,
when I heard Grandpa’s cries for help
— he’d fallen off his chair.

How strange the telepathic ties
that bind up families,
though they only seem to work
on the road from Laramie.


 

Schedule

Today, I’ll be spearheading change on a number of fronts:

In the field of socks, I’ll be foregrounding green at the expense of blue,
and in the nutrition stakes, I’ll be campaigning for burritos as a breakfast staple.

From 3pm onwards, I’ll be waving aloft the brightly-coloured flags of hope, rationality, and civility.

So look forward to a busy day ahead, and check on Twitter for regular updates.


The extra mile

“— Fie upon thee, varlet,
in your fustian and comb,
I’ll not disburse a single groat,
till you have hied me home.

A fig for filthy lucre,
the devil’s lubricant!
Avaunt, and stop your hansom
where you see the monument.”

Mind you, I still had to pay the extra fare,
but it made me feel better at the time.


For H.

Would it kill you to be kind?
Would you drop dead if you helped someone?
Would death ensue inexorably if you gave some cash to the needy?
Would you contract a terminal illness if you did something for someone for nothing?
Would time and space collapse if your tongue could fashion one kind word for a fellow traveller?

I could go on, but life is short.


 

Territorial twitchings

A fully-grown caddow can easily overcome and kill a chough or a magpie, but such contests are extremely rare in nature. Laplace cites only one instance (near Bruges, in 1911), and even then, experts doubt that it was really a caddow, but more likely a jackdaw, or perhaps even a burl-chough.

Of course, Laplace was known to be ‘a bit of a drinker’, and he had a whiskey nose that glowed at night, sending flocks of birds to panicked flight. He wouldn’t know a caddow from a burl-chough if they presented their business cards at the door. But I digress.

The jackdaw (Jackus dawus) is very territorial, and will defend its genetic investment to the death. In contrast, the burl-chough (Chuffus burlus) is not so tough and won’t engage in physical stough, though it has been known to mock the caddow’s tail in a good-humoured way. According to Pilbeam’s Birds of the Copse & Glade, the element “burl” in the name derives from the adjective “burly”, but this is juvenile and ridiculous.

You see, like Laplace, Pilbeam struggled for years with alcohol and drug abuse, and was often heard imitating the call of the woodspurl in the undergrowth at Balmoral. Allegations of pederasty against him were unproven at the time of his death (though there’s no smoke without fire). But I digress.

Bird fanciers are a race apart, united by a inexhaustible passion for ruffling feathers.