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A Bit O’ Fun

31 Oct

Spud and friend, taking singing seriously:

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Something To Keep You Going

21 Oct

The painting is done but it’s taking as long to move in my stuff, arrange my books and pictures and so on as it took to decorate.  By way of apology for my continued absence, here’s a repost that I thought you might enjoy.

My First Mondegreen

A mondegreen is a mishearing of a phrase.  It was so named by Sylvia Wright, who misheard a line in a poem.  From Wikipedia:

In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the last line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad “The Bonny Earl O’Moray“. She wrote:

 When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from “Percy’s Reliques“, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
 
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.
 

 The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”. Wright explained the need for a new term:

The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.
 

Other examples Wright suggested are:

  • Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life (“Surely goodness and mercy…” from Psalm 23)
  • The wild, strange battle cry “Haffely, Gaffely, Gaffely, Gonward.” (“Half a league, half a league, / Half a league onward,” from “The Charge of the Light Brigade“)

I experienced my first mondegreen as a child, courtesy of Kenny Rogers’ song, Lucille:

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille,
With four hundred children and a crop in the field.

I thought, ‘Four hundred children?  No wonder she left him.’  The line is actually,With four hungry children.

My second mondegreen came from the carol, Good King Wenceslas:

Good King Wensess last had gout

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Here are a few more you might find amusing:

  • From: I’ve Had the Time of My LifeNow I’ve had a time with your wife
  • From: Ticket To Ride - She’s got a chicken to fry
  • From: Abracadabra – Abra Abra Cadabra… I wanna freak out and stab ya
  • From: The Christmas Song – Jeff’s nuts roasting on an open fire, check for snipping at your nose
  • From God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen – Get dressed ye married gentlemen, let nothing through this May

You’ll find more here http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/humor/mondegreens.asp and here http://www.kissthisguy.com/

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How about you?  Have you got any mondegreens to share?

Eyes, Look Your Last…

7 Oct

Spud’s old room:

Photo by Best DSC!

I’m going to be AWOB (Absent Without Blogging) for a week or two, as I’ll be decorating my new room in proper girlie colours – honeysuckle, pastel yellow, pink accents.

See you on the other side!

Boromir Fed My Child Last Night

25 Sep

This is absolutely true.

But, as I have mentioned, truth is relative…

Spud went off to Sheffield University on Sunday.  It’s forty minutes away by train; nearly three hours in a car when there’s no direct motorway, you have to trek through the Pennines, and there’s a big event on.  It took two hours to travel two miles at one point.

I have two children, both sons.  For all of the similarities they have, I might as well have a dragon and an iguana: they’re both lizards but you wouldn’t let one of them near your princess or the other your salad.

On their respective first days at university, one child kicked us out the minute the car was empty; the other encouraged us to do his unpacking for him.

One boy enjoyed Freshers’ Week so much, he made a point of going back early in his subsequent years; the other had decided by Tuesday night that he’s not a party-party-party kinda guy.

One son was irritated by the amount of food I insisted he take; the other was irritated that I had only packed enough for one term.

One lad didn’t call home for the first three months and when he did, made Marcel Marceau look like a gossip; the other has called home every day, because he knows we want to hear about all of the interesting things he’s doing.

Spud called today to tell us about meeting his tutor – he and Spud are the only males in a gaggle of girls.  They discussed the psychology of favourite biscuits for thirty minutes.  Looks like it’s going to be an interesting course.

He has signed up for various societies – dramatic, musical theatre, singing…oh, and the psychology society (‘Psychos’) as an afterthought, though he didn’t pay for a three-year membership in case he’s too busy to go because he’s rehearsing.

He mentioned that he had chips on the way home last night.  A small chippy owned by Sean Bean’s family offered free vouchers for chips, paid for by Sean Bean.  Yorkshiremen are renowned for being careful with their money but he obviously broke the stereotype.

I hope Spud gets talent spotted at one of his societies, moves to Hollywood, and pals up with his chip donor so I can finally ask the questions which have niggled me for years: who on earth named Sean Bean?  And why isn’t his name pronounced Shorn Born or Sheen Been?

I’m missing my baby.  I missed my other baby when he first left home; but then he kept coming back between moves, leaving more of his stuff each time.  I don’t have space to miss him at the moment: it’s taken up with boxes of clothes (a lot), books (a library) and Yu-Gi-Oh cards (some children never grow up).  The youngest child has made up for that by taking only what he thought he might need with him (not much); leaving what he wanted to hold on to but which was not essential for uni (even less); and chucking the rest (making a butter mountain look positively frugal).

So, with all of these differences, was my reaction the same to their leaving?  

No, it wasn’t.

With Tory Boy, I was caught up in his excitement and it was only when we said goodbye that I surprised everyone – not least, myself – when I burst into tears.

With Spud, I was tearful all week but didn’t sob (much) at our goodbye because I had become so crippled by holding it all in.  Of course, he didn’t see the tears flow in the car on the way home, having abandoned me for student dissipation.

Such a good look on me, don't you think?

Such a good look on me, don’t you think?

The boys do have some similarities. Tory Boy phoned on Sunday night and we had a conversation that I could have had with either one of them after an upsetting day:

Tory Boy:  I was worried about you; I wanted to know if you’re okay?

Mum:  I’m fine, thank you, sweetie. Managing, anyway.

Tory Boy.  Good, good…so: did you cry more for him or me?

 

 

Poets Are From Earth, Haiku Go To Mars

23 Sep

So NASA emailed me to say my haiku had arrived on Mars…

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There’s a sentence you don’t read (or write) every day.  And what’s great is, it’s true!

Truth is relative, of course.  NASA did email, as they do every day; I’m subscribed to their website.

I did write a haiku, however, and it did go to Mars…along with thousands of others submitted to their competition.  NASA put all of the entries on to a DVD in case the Little Green Men like Japanese poetry.

According to the website:

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.

It doesn’t say anything about my haiku but I guess they’re kind of busy with all the, like, sciency stuff and that.  Go figure.

But hey – I can say with absolute truth: my writing is out of this world :)

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So, anyway…

19 Sep

The Laughing Housewife:

I have read this collection several times, from cover to cover. DEFINITELY recommended.

Originally posted on beeblu blog:

nlbtw

not looking back to wave‘, my first poetry collection, is available in eBook format atiTunes and in  soft-cover, PDF and other eBook formats here (US) and here (AUS).

Many thanks to the following Bloggerati, whose blurb contributions are featured somewhere in the book. ;-)

Untitled

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I’m All Poemed Out

17 Sep

What a weekend I’ve just had!

Stockport Writers Do It In Church

On Saturday, it was my church’s Fun Day.  We invite local community groups to come and share their info with the local community.  It’s free and always popular.  I represented Stockport Writers.

You may recall that last year I offered free poetry workshops and not one person came.  This year, I offered to write poems for people.  I asked for their name, age and five random facts, and then wrote something in the style of the birthday poems I have written for you, my readers.

For the first takers I said, Come back in ten minutes.  More people signed up; I told them to come back at the end of the day to collect their poem.  Eventually it was, I’ll email it to you tomorrow.  And finally, You’ll have it by the end of next week, I promise.

Photo © Pam Robinson

Photo © Pam Robinson

Forty people wanted poems about themselves!  I’m still busy typing them up and emailing them out.

At the same time as writing the poems, I invited people – at my friend Pam’s suggestion – to write a community poem: the theme for the day was joy, so I asked people to name three things that brought them happiness; and why.  Roughly forty people (not the same forty people) completed that form, resulting in a poem three pages long, in fifteen five-line stanzas. I’ll post it at the bottom, in case you’re interested.

I cut out the answers and sorted them into themes and voilà!  One community poem!  It was a fun activity and easy enough to coordinate; you should try it.

Photo © Pam Robinson

Photo © Pam Robinson

Sunday, I chaired the monthly meeting of Stockport Writers at the Hatworks.

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Spud & Mum Do World War One

On Monday night, Spud and I read poems for an hour, to an audience of nineteen. Not a bad turn out for a Monday night poetry reading.  It was a commemorative event for the start of the war.  I had intended to read poems written only in 1914, but there aren’t that many; I suppose because the war was only a couple of months old in that year.

I chose poems written about the period, and ordered them roughly chronologically in terms of event.  I began with an Andrew Motion poem about Archduke Ferdinand between assassination attempts; moved on to jingoistic poems and songs intended to encourage enlistment; followed by first time events e.g. going over the top; and concluded with poems about the effects of the war.  I used War Poets, modern poets, and female poets.  Spud complained that to listen to poetry for too long was tedious, so I introduced each poem with pertinent information, which also helped the chronological flow.  It seemed to go down well.

Spud and I read for thirty minutes and then there was a break for tea – very English.  In the second half, we read three of my own poems, to prove to the audience I am a poet (I hope); and then he read poems by Wilfred Owen and I read poems by Siegfried Sassoon, taking turns.  We finished with Spud reading two in succession: Anthem For Doomed Youth (my favourite) and Dulce Et Decorum Est (Spud’s favourite).  I wanted to close with the war still ongoing, as it was, 100 years ago to the date we read.

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Boast Post

Spud was good.  When he shouts, Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! it sends shivers down your spine.  When his voice breaks on we were young at the end of Houseman’s Here Dead We Lie, you get a lump in your throat.  His plaintive Why don’t they come? at the end of Owen’s Disabled is pathetic in the best sense of the word.  To paraphrase I’ll Make A Man Of You, it makes me oh so proud to be a mother.

Almost a quarter of the audience was made up of Spud’s friends, and I was under strict instructions not to say anything embarrassing.  That’s usually a forlorn hope – at the award ceremony when he won the Drama prize, I managed to confuse his First Year tutor with a rugby player we know, asked about his wife (he’s not married),  and compounded the problem by explaining my confusion was because he had ‘a rugby face’ i.e. broken nose.

This time, however, I was good; though he did tell me off for roping two of the girls into Stockport Writers and suggesting they friend me on Facebook.

I think Spud’s poetry performance was helped by appearing in The Tree of War. You may recall that he was amazing in that. Not that I’m biased or anything, but his a cappella singing of Pack Up Your Troubles was a moment when, according to X Factor thinking, he made the song his own.  Not bad for a song that’s a century old.  He played drunk pretty good, too; and I fervently hope that’s not based on experience.  But it was the moment he was huddled at the bottom of the trench, terrified, crying, that made me realise he had something special.

Thinking about his character Bert, he imagined what it would be like at eighteen – his age now – to go blithely off to war; and then to learn of its horrors and sacrifices.  Some of that informed his poetry reading.  For someone who dislikes poetry, he did an incredible job; although not according to one critic, who told him, ‘You murdered that Ivor Gurney poem, didn’t you?’  

Those who can’t, critique those who can, is my motherly response.

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Hot Stuff

Spud and I dressed in vaguely period costume to enhance the mood; and I wondered how women managed on summer evenings in long skirts and hats. The church was warm and I felt a hot flush come on.  I thought I was going to faint at one point, particularly when the poetry folder on the music stand in front of me began to recede.  Then I realised that it wasn’t the menopause so much as a not-screwed-tightly-enough bolt: I was merely glowing but the stand was slowly lowering.  I had to bite my lip to stop myself giggling during Spud’s moving rendition of A Dead Boche.

Honestly, I don’t know why he finds me embarrassing.

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St Matthew’s Community Poem:

 

Happiness is a Serious Business

 

The smile of a child when they find something funny.

Seeing other people smile.

Seeing people smile when I’ve baked them a cake.

Cuddles and tickling.

A good laugh with anybody.

 

Miles of sandy beaches.  The smell of the sea.

Looking out over Kent Estuary and Lakes –

mountains meeting the sea.  Going on holiday.

Sunshine, because you can go out with friends.

A sunny day.  Sunshine.

 

Being in the garden.

Growing my own veg in the garden

(shared with many, many slugs).

Being outdoors in the fresh air.

Getting caught in the rain.  The seasons.

 

Bus rides on the top deck of a double-decker.

Going to Cornwall to see Nana.

Spending time with Grace (granddaughter).

Running around after my daughter.

Happy daughters playing together.  Daughter.

 

To see my Sarah smiling and full

of energy all the time –

my greatest gift from the Almighty!

My greatest blessing!

Sons – utter happiness, contentment.

 

My sisters and my brother make me feel

really warm inside.  Children.

My beautiful children.  Kids.  Family –

people I am close to.  Spending time with my family

makes me feel happy because I feel loved.

 

Auntie Alison!  Mummy.  Memories about the bond

I shared with my Dad – love for my family.

Seeing my Mum and Dad happy makes me feel

very happy. My two parents make me feel calm

and loving.  My family.  Smartie the cat; she plays with me.

 

My two teddies are my only best buddies

and they make me feel less alone inside me.

Sweets, sleepovers and playing with friends.

Seeing my friends.  Having good friends.

Big network of lovely friends.

 

Facebook – you can keep in contact with people

you normally couldn’t.  Christmas, when we see everyone.

Church.  Reading in church makes me feel I utilise a gift,

a talent God has given me – makes me fruitful.

Having time with my church family.

 

Jesus – joy, peace, fulfilment.

Four hundred voices singing a song

they really love, in collective worship.

Singing – the joy of it.  Singing.

Singing: it puts nice pictures in my head.

 

Music.  Music cheers you up.

Finishing a fantastic book.

Walking the dog.  Knitting.  Walking –

I like to ‘breathe’ in the hills.

Riding my bike in the sunshine.

 

Driving – I’m in charge.  Painting – I’m good at it.

A day in my sewing room.

Baking cookies…and eating them.

Eating real food (especially love green smoothies!

With avocado, coriander, spinach and berries).

 

Chinese Buffet in Stockport – I always go for comfort food.

Cricket: it’s fun.  Alex Park.

Clouds of pink blossom on cherry trees in Edgeley Park.

Rainbows.  Rainbows make me happy:

I love the colours.

 

New York.  The Statue of Liberty.

Minecraft.  Chocolate.  Football.

Friends.  Friends.  Friends.

When all around me are settled and content.

Kindness to others.

 

Sharing.  Random acts of kindness.

Being positive.

Life.

Dogs.

Love.

 

 

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