Shimmering Dress


<a href=””>Shimmer</a&gt;

It quivers and shimmers
It glimmers and shines
That dress on the model
Oh would it were mine!

I know I’d look slimmer
It would make me much trimmer
I’d feel like a winner
I’d look quite divine.

The colours are gorgeous
Shimmering blue
Shading to turquoise
I adore it, don’t you?

The dress of my dreams
That’s how it will stay
I’ve see the price ticket
That’s half a year’s pay!







<a href=””>Foggy</a&gt;


Remember SMOG?
Dense dark smothering choking,
Bits of soot clinging to clothes and hair
Clogging up your nose, your throat.
Remember Smog-masks?
Not if you’re under thirty, you won’t.
They were like the masks worn by medics doing a minor op.
Or like dentists wear to keep from ingesting our germs –
Or is it the other way round – so they don’t contaminate us?
Now there is a constant babble about “air quality” and whether having speed bumps on roads makes the atmosphere better or worse.
(I’m told drivers slow down for the bump and then speed up and so produce more nasty gases and cause more damage to the atmosphere than if the speed bumps were not there.)
It baffles me. You could say I’m totally be-fogged.






Blogging 101 – 1st person


“Lie down there, Judy. Good dog. What’s the matter? Why are you growling like that? Is it the cars across the road? One of them is a police car. I wonder what’s the matter? Has someone had an accident? Or a robbery? There’s not much anyone could steal from the poor old Mrs Pauley. She looks so frail and sad. I don’t think I’ve seen her smile since Mr Pauley died. A shame none of their sons live nearer. They all came for their dad’s funeral and stayed for a couple of days and then rushed off. Said they’d got things to do. One of ‘em has a shop and another runs a business making some sort of farm machinery, I think. But they might’ve stayed a bit longer with their mum or taken her to stay with them. You’d do that, wouldn’t you Judy if someone was left on their own, you’d go and help them.

Whatever is happening across the road? I’ve seen that man before. I can’t think where? Yes, I know. he owns most of the houses on that side of the street. He looks a fat cat – at least that’s what Jamie the youngest of the Pauley boys called him. Good name, suit him down to the ground. That’s right, Judy, you growl at him. He deserves it.

No! I can’t believe it. They’re turning Mrs Pauley out. She’s standing there in the garden with just a suitcase. She’s crying. She cried at the funeral but this is different. I suppose it must be because she can’t pay the rent. Oh, this is awful, isn’t it, Judy. Can’t someone do something? Look there’s Mrs Parker. Will she help Mrs Pauley? She’s talking to her, patting her arm. Now they’re going off together to Mrs Parker’s house.”

Salad Days


If you’ve ever had the problem of catering for five people who come home at different times, like different foods and consume different quantities you will soon realise the importance of the SALAD. Some of my friends would talk of “just a salad” or “throwing together a salad”. Good heavens you don’t throw together what can be a most delightful meal. You assemble it carefully and you can even personalise each plate – one child won’t eat carrots, so he doesn’t have any carrots on his salad, another likes his salad potatoes as they come without dressing or mayonnaise. My attitude is that it is easier to let the have what they want than make a big fuss about non-essentials. My kids didn’t get scurvy and lived to reach adulthood without being excessively under – or over weight, so I must have been doing something right as far as cooking and feeding went.

Yes, a salad is an ideal non-cook meal – you start with some meat – or fish – and add whatever you have around the kitchen or can pick from the garden. Potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, sprouting broccoli. We’ve had all these from our own garden at one time or another and it feels great to pop out and harvest a lettuce or pick a few garden peas to pod on the spot and add to the salad rathet than having to think about buying them when you next go out the shops.

Salad doesn’t have to be restricted to summer. We stil eat salad – though I tend to refer it it as a “cold meal” – into autumn and winter. Without even thinking about it we usually get our five portions of fruit or veg a day as the dieticians reccommend.

All days should be SALAD DAYS!



A poem by a man who knows what side his bread is buttered, that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and lots of other epithets of a similar kind.

My darling I love your sparkling blue eyes,
Your soft rounded hips and your slender white thighs,
But above all the rest I adore your mincepies.

I love you my dearest, oh say you’ll be mine.
Your hands are so soft and your pastry so fine
Your fresh-baked mincepies are quite simply..divine!


Life is too Short…


No Time to WasteNow that I’m a septugenarian I’ve come to realise that life is too short to do so many things. I don’t just mean thing like learning  to speak Chinese or master the art of making perfect meringues. Those are things I might have done, possibly succeeded in doing and enjoyed but just never got around to,

I’ve decided – and of course I should have decided this years ago – that there simply isn’t enough time left to do everything so from now on I’ll restrict myself to things that are a) necessary – eg feeding, keeping warm, getting a reasonable amount of exercise, keeping healthy b) enjoyable – ie anything that gives me pleasure/satisfaction/a sense of achievement or makes someone else happy.

When I look over the past day or week I find most of my activities fit into one or other of these categories. Simplistic? Probably. But it works – at least it works for me. If that sounds smug – so be it. It’s a poor do if you can’t be smug at 70!




The Power of Names


“If only they’d called me Samantha
Or Susan or Judith or Anne
If only they’d christened me Deirdre
Or Brenda or Phyllis or Jan…”

The start of a verse I wrote about having a name like mine.
I might as well admit my name is Mary. It’s not a name you can Google with any chance of getting a meaningful result. I tried: 244,000,000 hits.

It’s not that I dislike the name per se or that I object to being named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, it’s just that I believe a name ought to identify a person uniquely and my name doesn’t. I had a grandmother, an aunt and a number of cousins named Mary, so we had to be differentiated, either by using surnames or adjectives like “young Mary” or “our Mary”. There was someone always referred to as “Nick’s Mary” and for a long time I thought this was an actual name like “Rosemary”

At school it was the same. There were 6 of us called Mary, just in my form. I think this is related to age. Names come into and go out of fashion and you can tell how old someone is just by hearing their name. How many Marys do you know under 40?

When I had a family we debated about what names to give our children. There were 3 considerations:
1 the chosen name should sound right with our surname
2 we wanted names that were easy to say and to spell
3 we gave each of our three children a second christian name – amend that to “given name” if you prefer.

Each had one unusual name and one fairly ordinary name that they could choose if they preferred. Our younger son decided to do this when he went to university and the only problem is that people who knew him as a child still refer to him by his first name. When he married the couple decided to use both surnames and hyphenate them.

Names are important. We hear someone’s name and rightly or wrongly form an impression of what sort of person they are. If you are trying to write fiction, you need to give the characters names. I find I can’t make much headway with a short story until I have a name for the main character. I imagine this is even more true for writers of historical fiction.

Hilaire Belloc wrote a verse  G is for Gnu, explaining that the name was the animal’s best method of defense because people couldn’t pronounce it. He ended with the advice:

“Child if you have a rummy kind of name
Remember to be thankful for the same.”

I don’t want a rummy name and at least most people can pronounce mine, but I sometimes wish I’d been called Samantha.

Esme (penname)

After going on about the problems of being saddled with a name like Mary, I used to complain that no-one under about 40 is ever called Mary. Then I started to look at names in the news and found quite a few Marys in the older age-range. There’s the academic Mary Beard, the shopping guru Mary Portas, both in their 50s and there’s Mary Berry, the cook and food writer, now 79. So perhaps I am in good company after all.