The Garden at Stone Cottage

“Life begins the day you start a garden”
                                           Chinese Proverb

The garden at Stone Cottage
Is such a magical place,
It wraps around our home
Like a scarf around a face.
Despite the heat and the dry
And the wind, it still thrives,
As it demands our attention
And helps shape our lives;
A true reflection of us,
Of our efforts and care,
So generous in returning
All the love that we share,
Teaching us about nature,
Of its fascinating ways,
Watching our garden evolve,
Surely the most special of days.

IMG_20170703_092005

But there’s so much more to the garden
Than just the plants and the trees
Its insects attract the birds,
Its flowers draw the bees,
So the garden is never still,
Always movement for the eye,
Whether a breeze rippling through,
A visiting bird or butterfly,
Or a bee hard at work
As it moves from flower to flower,
Mesmerising us
For hour after hour;
A world within a world,
Where from stress we are free,
Our garden at Stone Cottage,
There’s no better place to be.

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

The Reading Room

Sometimes there’s the need to close all the doors,
The outside world’s nonsense, shut out, put on pause;
Settle down with a book in a comfortable chair,
And spend a hour or two just relaxing there. 

TPOTG Reading Room 02

In a favourite room, in a favourite house,
 Which good fortune allows me to call home,
Is where I escape and loose myself,
In a novel, or some historical tome.

The room, almost square, hushed by walls of thick stone,
Looks to the mountain that protects it so well,
 And its old well trodden, polished wood floor,
Must have many a tale it could tell.

Now shelves filled with books, pages full of words,
Sit in anticipation of their turn to be read.
And in my winged back chair I can often be found,
When I’ve swapped my garden for a good book instead.

Reference books nestle alongside those full of verse,
And novels, classic and modern, abound;
The history of the world is there to explore,
While biographies wait to be found.

A room filled with riches, of literary treasures,
 Some, their secrets have yet to be told,
And it’s there, with the books, that I immerse myself,
And let the magic around me unfold.


 

Pecan Tree

One of the joys of early winter is the taste of fresh pecan nuts…

A neighbour’s pecan tree
Hangs over the garden wall,
And each year I gather the nuts,
That in my garden fall.
But they’re not all for me,
That harvest hanging there,
As with the local hornbills,
The crop I always share;
And they do have an advantage,
Those hornbills, over me,
Being able to reach the pecans
Still hanging on the tree.
So while I patiently wait
For my pecan nuts to drop,
My clever feathered friends
Are able to browse and to shop.

TPOTG Pecan Nuts Frame 01

Some years there’s not so many,
If the pecan crop is small,
Then my black and white visitors
Leave so very few to fall.
But I don’t mind about that,
As their needs are more than mine,
And the few they always leave behind
Will simply suit me fine.
But this year was a bumper crop,
Pecan nuts are everywhere,
And so there have been plenty
For the birds and I to share.
Pecan butter, candied pecans,
What a treat I’ve got in store,
Freshly made from the pecan nuts,
From my neighbour’s tree next door.

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

They’re Watching Me – But Who’s Watching Them?

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who’s watching me, who should I call?
Asked the government, but they refused to discuss.
Won’t say who watches the watchers who are watching us?

They’re watching me,
But who’s watching them?
The endless government surveillance
It’s time to stem,
What’s private to me
IS private to me,
And it’s not what I want
Some government employee to see.

Will Scribe Surveilance 01

Conversations that I have
Why do they need to record?
Have they nothing better to do
Are they getting bored?
My e-mails and my texts
They also scan;
To take control my life,
Do they have a plan?

CCTV cameras watch me
Where ever I go;
Where ever I am
They seem desperate to know.
To help prevent crime,
Is the government’s claim,
But more police on the streets
Would achieve just the same.

So how do they process
Their information haul?
How do they catergorise my privacy
Through which they constantly trawl?
With all my private life stored
On some government file,
With my personal rights to freedom
How does that reconcile?

And all of this information,
Who controls how it’s used?
How do we know
It’s not being abused?
Perhaps it’s being collected
For some dubious intention,
That’s not on the list
That governments mention?

My personal freedom
No longer mine to enjoy,
As new methods to watch me
They continually employ.
It’s for national security,
That’s what they pretend,
Taking away the very rights
That they claim to defend;

Yet this desire to watch everyone,
To record everything,
Caused them to miss 9/11
And that terrorist ring.
If their fetish for spying
Had been less intense,
They would have been more effective
In that nation’s defence!

At the end of the day
Our apathy’s to blame,
We used to be fighters,
But now we are tame;
We’re just too accepting
We never demand why;
So when the government says jump,
All we can ask is “How high?”

 June 2015

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

From the Classroom – The Silencing of the Lambs

“Not since the days of the Hitler Youth have young people been subjected to more propaganda on more politically correct issues. At one time educators boasted that their role was not to teach students what to think, but how to think. Today their role is far too often to teach students what to think on everything from immigration to global warming to the new sacred trinity of ‘race, class and gender'”
Thomas Sowell

TPOTG Lambs SilencedGood morning my little lambs,
How are you all today?
Sit up and pay attention,
Please put your phones away.
Before we start our lesson,
Johnny won’t be coming back to school,
He has broken what is perhaps
Our most sacred golden rule.
He used the forbidden word “why”
In class yesterday,
And we all know that’s a word
We must never ever say.
So he’s being sent to a special school,
With those similarly infected,
And we send him our best wishes,
And hope he gets politically corrected.
Now back to our lesson, see I have written
“Free Speech”, there on the board,
And our lesson for today
Is why that should be ignored.
I’m here to teach you what to think,
All you’ll ever need to know,
So any unnecessary free speaking
Will help confusion flourish and grow,
And if we all become confused,
Well, that’s a very bad idea,
And that’s the reason why free speech
Is something to fear.
So there you are my little lambs,
Why your silence you must always keep,
Then you will all grow up to become
Nice, obedient little sheep.

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

Garden Talk

The garden has so many visitors….how can you not talk to them?

TPOTG Old Man Talking to Birds

My garden’s a haven for visitors,
Uncaged and always free to roam,
Bringing me such beauty and colour,
I’m so lucky when they share my home.

I know they haven’t come to see me,
They come for the bounty that’s here on hand,
I can forgive them, then, when they ignore me,
For why they’re here I do understand.

Still I like to give them all greetings,
The polite thing to do, don’t you think?
As I watch them busily feeding,
Or taking a bath, or having a drink.

I have conversations with butterflies,
And daily I have long talks with bees,
And I chat away constantly with the birds,
Who chat back, perched up in their trees.

And, naturally, I talk to my plants,
Encouraging them all to grow,
Because of my plants my visitors visit,
And without them they’d surely all go.

So if you’re passing by Stone Cottage,
See an old man speaking to no one at all,
He’ll just be in conversation with his plants,
Or with the visitors who have come to call.

May 2020

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

The Lawnmower Bird

Is it a lawnmower or is it a bird…….?

TPOTG Lawnmower Frame 01

In Bedford’s quiet streets
Can often be heard
The whirr, whirr, whirring
Of the lawnmower bird.
A solitary creature,
It moves around on its own,
Eating away
At the grass that has grown,
Especially after the rain
Has awakened tired roots
And fed them with nutrients
To produce new green shoots.

Never at night
Will you hear this bird stirring,
As it rests in its shelter,
Tired out from its whirring.
And not every day
Does this strange bird appear,
And during the winter
The sightings are rare.

Its plumage favours green,
Although sometimes it’s red,
And black ones are seen,
So I’ve heard it said.
Some leave a smell,
While others trail a cord,
Usually accompanied by a man
Who appears to be bored.

So there you have it,
There’s no more to tell
About the lawnmower birds
That in Bedford do dwell.

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

Writers Block

Listen, if it can happen to the best of writers…

TPOTG Becalmed Frame 01

Becalmed By Neil Hamelin

I am becalmed,
I cannot write,
I feel no wind,
No ships in sight.
When words come,
It is a blessing,
But when they don’t
It’s so distressing.
Just need to relax,
Keep my sails steady,
And when the breeze comes
With my pen I’ll be ready.

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

Why is the K Always Silent? – I Don’t K-now

Some couples can never find interesting things to talk about, not us, we talk about the silence of the k’s…..

TPOTG Silent K Words 01

We were sitting around aimlessly talking last night,
The second glass of wine was tasting so good,
Just chatting about the quirks of our language,
You know, in the way that old couples should.

Now we all know that the English language
Is such an incredibly hard language to learn,
But last night, as we poured our third glass of wine,
We had only one pressing concern.

We asked ourselves why the k before an n
Is always kept silent, not usually heard.
And as we discussed this a conclusion was reached,
The English language was simply absurd.

On a silent night our silent knight,
Silently around the castle grounds walks.
And on silent nights they talk about our silent knight,
Saying he’s the knight who at night never talks.

But then is it night-night, that we say to our kids,
As off to bed they sleepily go?
Or is it knight-knight, or maybe night-knight?
It’s something we surely should know.

Which takes us to need, or maybe it’s knead?
Depends upon what you are doing;
Because if you need to knead the dough my friend,
A career as a baker you should be pursuing.

A knots not a knot if it’s not tied right,
As soon it will become undone.
But now how do you know that it is not the right knot?
This language game really is fun.

And if you knew it was new, then you couldn’t say
That you knew it was old, that’s a lie;
But what then if you knew that the new knot was not new,
What a tangle we’d have to untie.

The knell sounds for Nell, she was still in her prime,
Discovered a nit in her knitting and died.
Been out shopping that day, bought new knickers for a nicker,
But the knot in her new knickers won’t now ever be tied.

Now what about not knowing knowledge about a ledge?
No, surely that be must be a useful thing to know,
As armed with the knowledge that there was no ledge
Out of the window you just wouldn’t go!

We’re thinking of starting a world-wide campaign,
That the K should once again be spoken,
A knotty problem is it not, we know some will say no;
Perhaps another bottle of wine we should open!

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01

Voice Robots

“Your call is important to us; please stay on the line until it is no longer important to you!”

Talking to voice robots is taking over so fast,
As personal service becomes a thing of the past.
“It’s to improve customer service” – are they being funny?
Answering systems are installed just to save money.

TPOTG Auto Telephone Robots Frame 01

“The system will help us to redirect your call”
That is such a big lie for which we all fall.
Can’t think of anything that gets more on my nerves
Than the endless menu of options a robot serves.

“Sales or service? Enter your customer code.
Sorry, not recognised, you need to re-load”
You navigate that maze and then what do they do?
Tell you your call is now being held in queue!

“Don’t hang up”, says the robot, “your call is important”,
To not giving a damn, what an endorsement.
If your call meant so much, then surely they’d choose
To personalise their service and those robots just loose.

At last a human voice might eventually appear,
By which time the phone’s become a part of your ear,
And you’ve a headache, you’re stressed and feeling quite rotten,
And the reason for phoning you’ve completely forgotten.

And as robot services are not actually customer driven,
A name or direct number you’ll never be given,
So if you need to call back, you’ll have to start all over again;
Communicating via robots will drive you insane!

TOOTG Copyright 2016-2020 01