Peanuts

Spotted Woodpecker Pair

Spotted Woodpecker Pair

‘Will you look at that?’
‘What?’
‘That!’
‘I can’t see any peanuts.’
‘Not peanuts, I mean look at that knot.’
‘Which knot?’
‘This one.’
‘What for?’
‘Just look at it!’
‘I am looking at it. Now what. Where are the peanuts?’
‘Never mind the peanuts, just for one moment. Just look at that knot.’
‘It’s a knot, OK, I see it. Now, where are the peanuts?’
‘OK, OK. Let’s forget the peanuts, just for two seconds. We’ll do peanuts in a minute. OK?’
‘OK.’
‘Now, look at the knot.’
‘I’ve looked at it already. It’s still the same. Was something supposed to happen while I was looking at it? Because if it was – it didn’t.’
‘Nothing is supposed to happen, that’s not the point. Just look at it closely.’
‘OK, I’m looking.’
‘You see?’
‘Yes, I see.’
‘What do you see?’
‘A knot.’
‘Yes, a knot. But don’t you see?’
‘Of course I can see the knot. So what? Can we get back to the peanuts, now? The kids are waiting, you know.’
‘Peanuts! Is that all you can think about?’
‘The kids are hungry and I can’t see how this knot can help to feed them. But I can see how peanuts can.’
‘You mean you honestly don’t see anything wrong with that knot?’
‘No, just tell me – and let’s get to the peanuts.’
‘OK, I give in. You’re going to kick yourself when I tell you, though.’
‘I’ll risk it, just tell me.’
‘Oh for Pete’s sake, look at it. Did you ever see a worse example of a Granny Knot?’
‘Peanuts?’

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Passengers

Train going past

Train going past

Train going past on the railway track,
Carrying passengers, clickety-clack.
Some going there and some coming back.
Clickety, clickety. Clickety-clack.

“Quinquireme of Nineveh,” some people quote,
But Nineveh is long gone and a quinquireme’s just a boat.
It’s hold stuffed with trade goods and trinkets by the score,
But no room for passengers, unless you man an oar.

“Stately Spanish galleon,” rash pirates favourite prey.
Give them a broadside and chase them away.
But you can’t buy a ticket, no matter what you do.
Don’t hang around the docks, though – you’ll be press-ganged for a crew!

“Dirty British coaster,” history’s taken you as well,
Carrying coals to Newcastle, all smoke and noxious smell.
The cargoes you carried are not now what we need.
What we have are passengers and passengers need speed.

So, train going past on the railway track
Carrying passengers, clickety-clack.
Some going there and some coming back
Clickety, clickety. Clickety-clack.

John Masefield’s Cargos is one of my favourite poems. He died 52 years ago –  in May 1967.

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Loquacious Lump

Lumps In The Beck

Lumps In The Beck

Said a duck, in the beck, swimming by,
‘Strange lumps, here and there, I espy.’
‘Not just one hippopotamus,’
Said a lump, ‘There’s a lot of us!’
‘Oh, how nice,’ said the duck. ‘Well … must fly.’

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The Crocalog Reflects

The Crocalog's Garden

The Crocalog’s Garden

The crocalog, he wandered far,
To find just where the answers are.
He found it was more complicated
Than he’d, at first, anticipated.

Disillusionment set in.
He pined for all his kith and kin,
No longer felt the urge to roam,
In short – he wanted to go home.

Now contentedly at rest,
He’s made himself a little nest.
Where he needs beg, from no man, pardon
But sits serenely in his garden.

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Population Polarity

 

Ribwort

Ribwort

Today I came across some Ribwort Plantain with its striking flower/seed head and rough five ribbed leaves. My first thought was that five ribs would easily create a Devine production line allowing the manufacture of five Eves at once. On second thoughts it occurred to me that Divinity appears to rely on market forces and so would be unlikely to want to flood the market with either men or women. The world functions best when the original ratio is maintained.

Then, I remembered that the King of eSwatini (formally Swaziland) had not in fact ordered the men of his country, on pain of fines or imprisonment, to marry at least two wives at a time. It was, a spokesman said, a malicious rumour that appeared first in a Zimbabwe newspaper.

Prodding Google awake, I asked him which countries had the most of one or the other. He found me a list from 2017/2018 – with some interesting numbers. However, caution is needed – the island of Martinique, the place with 120 women to every 100 men was, reportedly, in North America. {There is a suburb of that name in New York.)

Most places approximate the world average of 98.25 women to each 100 men – until we come to the Arab states. Here, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have around 35 women to every 100 men. Such extremes make me uneasy and I’m inclined to wonder how the figures were collected.

You know: Lies. Damn lies – and statistics?

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The Blacksmith’s Apprentice

The Guardians of the Gate

The Guardians of the Gate

‘No! I beg you Sir Knight, if you value your life, leave – lest the castle guardians destroy you!’
‘Princess Miranda, I am sworn to free you from your prison, and I will do whatever needs be to accomplish this!’
‘Sir Knight, I am not imprisoned. You may leave me here in the castle. I need no rescue.’
‘Then, I will enter the castle that we may continue to converse at our leisure.’
With a fine caracole, Sir Knight raised his lance in salute and galloped forward – into the massive fireball of dragon flame that issued from the castle’s two fearsome guardians.
Princess Miranda covered her eyes and turned away.
‘Anna,’ she turned to her elderly governess. ‘How can I stop them from coming here, just to be destroyed by the dragons?’
Anna put a comforting arm around her shoulders. ‘As long as the castle is here, they’ll keep coming, Princess, it’s not your fault. There’s nothing you can do about it.’
‘I must go to Olaf, Anna.’
‘That young smith’s apprentice? Princess, you know you shouldn’t be talking to him. Have you told him who you really are?’
The princess nodded, ‘Yes, he knows. He promised to tell no one. He told me he loved me before he knew who I was. So, I had to tell him the truth.’
She turned back to the window, ‘Why, there’s Olaf now. Oh no. What is he doing? The dragons. No. No!’
‘Princess Miranda. I can’t live without you any longer. I’m coming in, dragons or no dragons!’
‘Olaf. Oh, Olaf. No!’ She leapt away from the window, flew down the stairs and out through the castle door.
‘Olaf. Olaf!’ She ran towards him, arms outstretched.
‘Miranda. I love you.’ He ran forward reaching out for her.
The dragon’s fire engulfed them both – changing to become, instead, a cool spring breeze carrying fragrant cherry blossom and sweet birdsong.
‘Oh, Olaf!’
‘Oh, Miranda!’
Then, as the castle and its guardians shimmered and faded behind them, he kissed her.
True love, surely, conquers all.

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…a rose, by any other name…

Hedge Garlic

Hedge Garlic

‘Jack? Jack? Here. Yes, that’s me. Jack-by-the-Hedge is what most people call me. I do have a few other names, Garlic Mustard is about the most useful.

‘Well, I actually am a Mustard, but I smell and taste like garlic. So, you know…

‘Yes, indeed. Hedge Garlic, too. I’ll even answer to Hedge Mustard now and again.

‘No, not really. I’m used to it, I suppose, and they’re similar enough. So, no, I don’t get confused by it at all.

‘Thank you, yes, people do say I’m a useful person to know. I can liven up your salad for you for instance. I’ll admit some people say they don’t like the bitter after-taste, but there’s always someone going to complain, isn’t there?

‘Quite, they’re probably the ones who heard I was useful as a disinfectant. You know how it is – when these things get spread around.

‘Yes, lovely day. The weather hasn’t been bad lately, has it? But then we usually get a few nice days at the beginning of spring, don’t we?

‘Well, as you can see, I was lucky this year – got my flowers out before May Blossom swamped everything – the early bird and all that.

‘You’re local, I take it I’ve seen you passing this way a few times.

‘Right, right. I’ve got family all over the place too. We’re doing very well in America, apparently.

‘Of course, nice of you to stop and chat. I’ll see you next time you’re around this way, no doubt.

‘Goodbye for now then.

‘Goodbye.’

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