Alchemy Dad

Alchemy Dad

Our dad was the DIY wizard.
Something to fix? Piece of cake.
When locked in the warmth of his garage,
There was nothing that he couldn't make.

He once made a TV antenna
By bending my sister's hair clip.
He even made grandma’s false teeth
From some plastic he'd found on a skip.

A piece of old carpet from my room
And some biscuits that lay in the larder
Were woven together like magic
And turned into a blue Ford Granada.

A sock and an old tin of peas
Were transformed into Action Man clothes.
And he made us a scarf and some mittens
From the hairs that grew up his nose.

He spent his days fixing and building;
And nothing for dad was too tough.
Like for Xmas he made us a bike each
From four rusty nails and some fluff.

He never was tempted by shopping;
The family had all heard him shout:
‘Why would I spend cash on rubbish
When I can make magic for nowt?’

But the best thing he ever created
As I take a look back through the years
Was that day when I fell on my knees
He made a big smile from my tears.

Published 21st Feb 2017 | For Dad


Life in the Fast Lane

Life in the Fast Lane

The man in the farm on the M62
In pyjamas in morning dew, sipping his brew,
What goes through his mind as he takes in the view
Of the sunrise over the M62?

The plans that they drew and the money they threw:
Does the farmer regret not thinking it through?
And after the chaos and hullabaloo,
Does he think that he's bitten more than he chew?

Or, as you're crawling to Leeds in the queue,
To the heat of the office you'll never get to,
Does he smirk at the traffic that trundles askew
Round his triumphant farm on the M62?

So, is it for me? Or is it for you?
If the hard hats came calling out of the blue
And threw down the same issue, what would you do
With your farm in the middle of the M62

Published 8th Apr 2017 | Just for Fun


Another One Bites the Crust

Another One Bites the Crust

They do things different in Wigan
Of that you can't deny.
Rugby, chips and bingo
Are the things that get them high.
But the icing on the cake is -
And I'm not one to lie -
A round or square, not to share,
Galloways crusty pie.

They'd kill you for a pie,
Yes they'd kill you for a pie.
For pudding, chips and gravy
They would poke you in the eye;
For a can of fizzy Vimto,
It's a compass in your thigh.
But cross my heart and hope to die,
They'd kill you for a pie.

I walked through Wigan's centre
Forlorn and uninspired.
I'd caught the bus from Ince
So I was feeling very tired.
So I trudged to Galloways
And bought a pasty for a treat,
But three lads tooled with plastic forks
Chased me through the street.

They'd kill you for a pie
Yes they'd kill you for a pie.
For a quarter bag of cola cubes
They'd whip you with their tie;
For a clutch of penny chews
They'd find a way to make you cry;
They will hunt you down
In Wigan town
And kill you for a pie.

I ran from these three heavies
Through the lights and up to Whelley.
I could sense them getting closer:
It were just like on the telly.
So I legged it up the road
Past the shops and through New Springs,
I jumped a barge to Haigh Hall park
And hid behind the swings.

They'll kill you for a pie,
Oh they'll kill you for a pie.
When it comes to law and order,
Hungry Wiganers don't comply.
If you flaunt the flakey pastry
Then you surely qualify
For a lunchtime filled with fear
Because they'd kill you for a pie.

Unwrapped my greaseproof bag,
All soggy now and torn.
But thankfully, despite the chase,
My pasty was still warm.
But as I went to take a bite
They came and grabbed my arm
Screaming: “You can't eat that pie mate,
It's not in a bloody barm!”

And from his jacket pocket
(And I thought this could turn nasty)
He pulled a crusty barmcake
And snatched my cooling pasty.
Then calmly, with a look of steel,
He slipped it in the bread,
And before he'd even finished it,
I knew that I'd be dead.
He threw the bag into the woods
And bound my hands and legs.
And just for laughs he gagged me
With a sausage roll from Greggs.

They'll kill you for a pie,
Yes they'll kill you for a pie.
For a tin of Uncle Joe’s
They'd simply hang you out to dry.
For a plastic tray of cockles,
They would trip you on the sly.
But I really just can't tell you why
In Wigan senses go awry
When desperate for a new supply
They'd kill you for your pie

Published 8th Apr 2017 | Just for Fun


Eyes Down

Eyes Down

Barbara keeps her head down at the bingo here tonight.
Three wins on the spin suggests that something isn't right.
A line, a house last weekend and the jackpot week before
Has left her friends from Slimming Club questioning the score.

So when the tension mounts on the evening’s opening card,
And the women from the salon grip their dibbers extra hard.
As the caller takes his place, he knows precisely what's at stake:
Another win for Barbara would be difficult to take.

The house lights dim as Alan draws the mike up to his lips;
Our hero sits with Val and helps her finish off her chips.
And as the numbers tumble, Barbara senses waiting knives
From the pie shop girls across the room, dibbing for their lives.

But Barbara isn't one to let some scallies from the town
Bully her and make her put that purple marker down.
She's worshipped at these tables for all her working years;
No painted lady cafe girls can bring this one to tears.

But seriously, what will she do if Alan calls her number?
Shout ‘house’ and claim the win and find a table to climb under?
Or will she take the easy way when finding she was near it?
Delve in her bag? Nip to the loo? Pretend she didn't hear it?

Poor Barbara starts to shiver as her card gets down to one:
Her pen poised on the button to release the atom bomb.
Kelly’s Eye to win the game and set off World War III,
Or keep her mouth shut, let it pass and and hold some dignity.

In silence everybody knows that something bad is hatching,
As the smell of danger hovers over lager and pork scratchings.
But when Barbara looks at Alan and gives a little cough,
Alan gets the signal and things totally kick off.

“I knew it,” bellows Angie, “I knew you'd bloody cheated!
I won't come here again,” she yells, “I've never been worse treated.”
Then others join the chaos and some wine glasses are thrown,
And Donna says she'll strangle Alan with that microphone.

Cheryl flips a table and Sharon throws a chair
And Pauline from the betting shop grabs hold of Vicky’s hair.
Maureen puts the boot in on Karen from the Spar,
While Andrea the owner pulls the shutters on the bar.

In the violence and the brawling, Al and Barbara seize their moment;
Disinterested in coming clean, confessions or atonement.
As women, booze and blood and hair pour through the fire exit,
Babs hoists Alan in the air, grabs the cash and legs it

Published 8th Apr 2017 | Just for Fun


No Woman, No Pie

No Woman, No Pie

A moment on the lips, Dawn;
Don't forget your goals.
You know that you'll regret it
If you have those sausage rolls.

Forget the cakes and flapjacks,
They're no good for your health.
And take your greedy eyes
Off them pasties on the shelf.

Put the Fanta down, Dawn,
Unless you need the pounds;
The bakewell and the brownie
And the doughnut’s out of bounds.

A week away from Greggs, Dawn,
Won't mean you'll fade away.
You've got the wrong idea, Dawn,
About this five a day.

Published 8th May 2017 | Just for Fun


For Kim & Chris 2019

For Kim & Chris

The outlook for the day is golden sunshine wall to wall.
No greying clouds are in the sky; no rain’s about to fall.
So while the forecast’s favorable and champagne glasses brim,
Come take a trip with me into the world of Chris and Kim.

It may sound quite the cliche, a poetic heart to heart,
But the problem, put quite simply, is exactly where to start!
A poem of serenity or verse that’s loud and jokey?
Less Chris’ quest for quietude; more Kim on karaoke.

It all began quite awkwardly as friendship turned to romance;
Chris’ friends could be forgiven for thinking he had no chance,
But soon enough, with ring in hand and undeterred expression
He moved towards the living room to hit Kim with the question.

So picture if you will the sunlight streaming through the window,
Our man with sweating palms rehearsing matrimony lingo.
The sparkler poised in fingers; the bended knee manouevre -
But Kim is more preoccupied with brand new Argos Hoover.

If you know Kim, you’ll be aware she likes a bit of cleaning;
A wizard with the Windolene, if no-one’s intervening.
But save a thought for Chris, whose body waited, stalled and trembled
As he stared upon his love’s attempts to get that thing assembled.

So lost inside that vacuum for an hour, maybe more
He contemplated life and thought of what there was in store:
A girl as strong as anyone with eyes and smile bewitching
Who’s a dab hand with a duster and knows how to shine a kitchen.

A scintillating firework with fireworks within
Mainly down to too much Rumtopf, aperol and gin.
And every day for years Kim’s face had occupied his head,
As only she knew how to disengage him from his shed.

Eventually Kim noticed him and quickly turned around,
Refusing though to throw the thing’s instructions to the ground.
And even though she realised how long he’d had to linger,
She held his gaze and grabbed the ring and stuck it on her finger.

So from that day to this, the time has rapidly unfurled:
Chris has spent it locked in shed and Kim at Slimming World,
And now before the lights dim and the music starts to play,
There’s one more stanza from my heart that I would like to say.

It’s easy to be trivial about your quirks and quaintness;
But much more fun to recognise your loveliness and greatness.
For on this day of days when friends and relatives are here
When both your smiles and tenderness ignite the atmosphere.
When magic, dreams and starlight surround us in excess,
We’re proud to call you friends, and wish you every happiness.

Published 25th Sep 2019 | Weddings


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