Well. actually, there aren’t. At least, not last time I looked, though I am not at all certain just what it is I should be looking for. What we do have is a sunflower at the bottom of the garden, that much is certain. Not only that, we have another sunflower at the top of the garden, a third somewhere in the middle and, not to miss the point, practically a forest of sunflowers everywhere we look. 

Now this is odd, since we haven’t planted any. Not one. Not a single seed. However, I do believe I have correctly analysed the appearance of these rather mysterious plants. It is tempting to invoke intelligent design, but I doubt it. It is tempting to invoke the power of modern Science, but I doubt that as well. To explain the matter, I feel the need to go back in time, about a year ago.

It was just last late summer, when we had the builders in to repair and renew the under-house water drainage system, the old one having broken down, leading to mini floods in the cellar every spring when the snow melted. We have rather large amounts of snow in this part of the world, and drainage systems work hard for their living. 

An enormous trench was dug around the house, reaching well underneath the foundations, old piping replaced with new, and the trench duly filled in again. Some 32 cubic metres of soil was spread on top to replace that which had been scraped off and lost in the process of the work. Soft soil. Genuine soil, bearing little resemblance to the usual growing foundation for what laughingly passes for grass. The problem there, you see, is that the house and garden are built on the sea bed, and no, this fact does not directly account for cellar flooding, as we are actually on solid ground. The country I live in is still rising from the last ice age. 300 years ago, the sea stood where our house rests now. We are, in fact some five metres above sea level, so rapid is the land movement. Fortunately for building purposes, but unfortunately for gardening, our old sea bed is composed of rock, or rather, rocks. Note the plural form, and be patient. I’m getting there.

At the moment, then, until the rocks start moving upwards again, which they most assuredly will during the next winter or two, we have light, friable, and above all, soft soil around the house, spread out over about a quarter of an acre.

Did I mention that we feed the birds in the garden? Well, we do, and not only birds are attracted to the offerings we make, but also squirrels. Red squirrels. Squirrels in large numbers. We have identified at least ten of them. All are permanently hungry. All are permanently angry. Not one will allow another to steal their precious food, so what a squirrel cannot eat immediately, it buries in our soft soil. Before the building work, it would have needed claws of steel to get through the rock, but now, the job of making stores against the winter is easy. What do we feed them on? Right first time. Sunflower seeds, so where fairies are shy, secretive creatures, never seen by my eyes at least, it’s a bit difficult to miss hundreds of sunflower plants thrusting vigorously towards the sky.

We keep guns with passion, even as a right, yet ban smoking in public.

We call for lessons on porn in schools, but seem incapable of working for that sort of society that would make such lessons unnecessary.

We defend freedom of expression under all circumstances, yet deny the right to say “I do not approve”.

Number One

I can’t write haikus.

Starting is not a problem,

But squeezing the last line into five syllables seems to be an impossible task.

Number Two


Fishing in a lake

Without catching anything.

I teach worms to swim.

Number Three


We want to live long,

But ask yourself only this;

Who wants to grow old?

A Story in Haiku Form


If you marry me

I’ll give you all my money.

I must think on it.

If you marry me

I’ll give you my property.

I must consider.

If you marry me

I’ll give you a ring.

I haven’t a phone.

If you marry me

I’ll give my deepest love.

I like it. Yes please.

As we all should know, every language has its own name for birds, animals and plants, any confusion being adequately catered for by the use of scientific names in Latin. The question is, what did the Ancient Romans call their wildlife. Latin names, to be certain (is it?), but surely not the current nomenclature?

Anyone know the answer to this?

A little piece written for a young child, and enjoyed at the time. Literature it’s not, but who says writing poetry (?), doggerel or verse, call it what you will, can’t be fun? I have others like this, but I promise, this is the only one I intend to inflict on an unsuspecting world. Here goes then, the sad, sad story of a little stripy tiger.



A stripy little tiger took

A flying leap upon a duck,

But missing, as he didn’t oughter,

Continued straight into the water,

From where he trudged to drier land,

And said, ’Those birdies should be banned

From widdle-waddling on the sand.

They always get away from me,

Upon this sand which moves so free.’

He found a sunny place to dry

His fur, and then began to cry.

’It isn’t fair,’ he sniffed and mumbled.

’Those birds have always got me rumbled.

Although I’m told that ducks are dumb

They move each time they  see me come,

And watch me fall upon my bum.

And all because I slide and slip

Upon the sand. I lose my grip.’

’I lose my grip. The sand moves free.

It is so dry and powdery.

I slide and slither, skid – and splosh!

In I go. A daily wash.’

The tiger settled down to rest,

And thought great thoughts of how to best

The ducks and geese, and all the rest

Who laughed at Stripy’s best endeavour

To show the world that he was clever.

’Ah, now I know just what I’ll do.

I’ll get a certain type of glue

And spread it out upon the sand,

From water’s edge up to the land.

This will give my claws a grip

Each time I take a hunting trip.

Never more a daily dip

In water that I cannot drink,

But where I hold my nose and sink.’

He got the glue, but don’t ask where

He got it from. I wouldn’t dare

To tell you even if I knew it

And if I did, you’d only rue it.

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to know.

Sometimes it’s best to stay down low

And never ask where tigers go.

Just bear in mind, make no mistake,

Tigers never ask – they take!

The glue was spread out on the sand.

The tiger did it all by hand.

Assuming tigers have, of course,

A hand at all, instead of paws.

He spread it fast.

He spread it quick.

He spread it on so very thick.

’It’s bound,’ he said, ’to do the trick.’

Then settling in amongst the trees,

He stretched out perfectly at ease.

At ease he watched till he was bored

With waiting for his just reward

This took him less than half an hour,

Until his rage began to tower.

And then his tummy started rumbling.

’Oh, shut up, you,’ he told it, grumbling,

But very quiet, only mumbling,

In case the birds became aware

That there was still a tiger there.

Then very soon the ducks came down,

Followed by three geese, all brown.

They flew down only yards away

From where our stripy tiger lay.

’That’s it,’ he said. ’I think they’ll do’

And with a roar, he leapt right through

The trees. His paws sank in the glue.

He couldn’t move, although he tried.

He should have waited till it dried.

You should have heard him scream and shout.

You should have seen his tongue hang out.

His face went black, he swished his tail,

He gave a howl, a cry, a wail.

At length his anger ran its course,

(His voice by now was rather hoarse).

He couldn’t lift his feet by force,

So settled down and wondered when

He’d manage to get out again.

Up came a goose, up came a duck.

’I say there, tiger, are you stuck?

Oh, what a pity, what a shame

You can’t join in our little game.’

The birds lined up in separate rows.

Each took a turn to peck his nose,

Each getting in some solid blows.

’Oh dear,’ he whined. ’I’ve made a bungle.

I should have stayed within my jungle.’

The sun went down, the moon rose high,

And watched the little tiger cry.

The tears came streaming like a hose,

Went past his cheeks, bounced off his nose,

Then trickled down into the sand

Around his toes. It did feel grand

To think he’d soon have solid land

Beneath his feet, instead of glue

And feeling woeful through and through.

His tears dissolved the glue, you see.

First one foot came, then two, then three,

And with a bound across the sand

He very soon reached solid land.

’But now – oh dear – I shouldn’t rush.

I’m tangled up inside a bush,’

He cried as tears began to gush.

The ducks came down, first five, then ten,

And queued to peck his nose again.

That night, and feeling far from well,

The tiger from the bushes fell.

He slunk away, his tail held low,

But where he went to, I don’t know.

He crept away on silent toes,

Pink tongue caressing aching nose.

Next morning when the sun arose

To cast its shining light upon

The beach, it found the tiger gone.

But where he went to, I can’t say.

I only know he went away.

Don’t worry if you ever see

A tiger tangled in a tree,

Looking like a first class clown

Though wearing quite a horrid frown,

And quite unable to get down.

Although he says, ’I’m pleased to meet you,’

You can be sure he’ll never eat you.

However much he’d like his dinner,

It’s obvious he’s much, much thinner.

What didst I do ere I gained your love?

Wandered half alive in a dream world of mine own,

Waiting for I knew not what, Waiting for the stars above.

Waiting with anticipation for a love filled home.

Speak softly, for an evil stalks the world,

Jackbooted feet stamping on the human face unceasing.

Much has gone, disappeared forever into the limbo of uncertain memory.

A mother’s cry for her child, lost and enslaved in a virtual world not of his making,

While the real world waits, found difficult and left untried.

Fences of freedom, erections to keep the desirable firmly locked inside.

Fences of the mind and spirit, locked no less than those on the surface of the soil.