Archives for posts with tag: humour

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.


I can’t go out this weekend. Again. It’s the black eye, you see. And the rather deep scratches along both cheeks, plus a few other bits of damage in places not normally open to public view.

It’s my own fault of course. It always is. I suffer from a disease which I like to call inadvertent logorrhoea, but which really means nothing more than every time I open my mouth I put my foot in it.

Women, of course. It always is. The problem is that I like women. Well, nothing wrong with that. Women usually like me as well, and that’s also pretty normal. At least from my viewpoint. And that, I think, is where the trouble rises. My viewpoint. I’ve never been very good at considering anyone else’s viewpoint. And I like straight talking. It’s thought to be a virtue where I come from, but doesn’t always go down too well here. Believe me. I know.

You see, if I think a woman is luscious, I tell her. Straight talking. They like it. They may not want to go any further, but I’ve never found a woman yet who objected to being told things like that. The trouble is, if I think she is ugly, I tell her that as well. That is, not at the same time as I tell her she’s luscious. Should be obvious if you know what I mean. Not that she has to be ugly as such. Any little defect will do, and I can’t help commenting on the fact that she fails to measure up to an ideal of perfect beauty. Hence the scratches. Not these. Others. Some of them are ancient, almost like the black crunchy bits at the bottom of the frying pan that you swear down you’ll clean out sometime tomorrow, a swear you’ve been using for months.

Anyway, it’s getting a bit expensive on pain killers and antiseptic, not to mention the price of raw steak. It’s disgusting what the butcher charges for that nowadays. Something, I thought, had to be done. Or even better Had To Be Done. When a situation demands capital letters, it had better be something radical as well.

The answer came to me during one of my earlier periods of cutting myself off from mankind. I was reading a book. Well, you have to do something while waiting for Time, the great healer. The story was all about this bird called Helen of Troy. Great read. Lots of action. Plenty of fights and massive amounts of blood. Plus treachery and cunning. Liked it. Liked it a lot. Especially the bit about Helen. Mind, I did wonder about the length of time it took to rescue her. She must have been pretty well middle aged by then, and probably past it in the beauty stakes, but no matter. The interesting part, the part that really got me thinking was about how she had a face that could put the shipwrights on voluntary overtime, and I thought, “That’s it.” That was exactly what I was looking for.

Maybe you know the story. The point is, that if she was reckoned to be the last word in beauty, then all other women could be rated accordingly. What I’m trying to explain is that if Helen of Troy had a face that could launch a thousand ships, then her beauty rating was obviously one thousand millihelens. Precisely that. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less. That means, if you follow the argument, that a woman only half as lovely as the Maid of Troy, though it’s hard to see how she could get away with that claim after a ten year siege, would have a rating of five hundred millihelens. Able to launch five hundred ships, see?

Twenty five millihelens? Worth a small fishing fleet perhaps. One millihelen? Well, I’ve seen Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft, and with all due respect, pretty it is not.

I tried the system out last week, and it worked a treat. Until I saw this female in the bookshop coffee bar. Well, I was looking to see if I could pick up any more ideas. She was dressed in something that hurt the eyes, had long frizzy hair that definitely wasn’t styled, and wore Sensible Shoes. With thick stockings. Might have had half way decent legs, except it wasn’t possible to see under all that fabric. Horrible. A man shouldn’t have to face things like that straight after bacon and eggs and a couple of slices of fried bread.

I muttered something about having to extend the millihelen scale in a downward direction, and she threw a blooey. Well, it seems that apart from having superb hearing, she was studying classical literature at university and was more at home in Ancient Troy than I was, which admittedly isn’t such a hard thing to be, and understood perfectly the direction my mind was taking. It’s all the fault of allowing women to get an education, I say. It wasn’t meant to happen like this.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, I can’t go out this weekend.

Global warming. Climate changes. Kyoto agreement. Environmental disasters. They’re words on everybody’s lips nowadays, aren’t they? I even use them myself, though I don’t really understand what it all means. Sandra does. Sandra knows everything. At least, she tells me she does, and I suppose she should know.

It’s all a bit worrying. Global warming, that is, not the fact that Sandra knows a lot. It’s a bit hard for a man to know what to do. Luckily I’ve got Sandra. She knows. Well, her idea was to keep a few hens, so that we would always have fresh eggs, and when the hens get old enough, we can have chicken soup. Very nourishing, says Sandra. Good for you. And if we keep enough hens, we can sell off the surplus eggs for other foodstuffs. How it all affects our place during global warming I can’t say, but Sandra seems to think it would help.

I must admit I wasn’t so sure. I mean, it sounded like a lot of hard work to me, but she persuaded me to see things her way. She has a gift in that direction, has Sandra. Mind, I wouldn’t have said no to sharing a cigarette afterwards, but she said not on your nelly. Ciggies are bad for your health, to say nothing about the burnt holes in the sheets. Still, it’s always nice to have a before not to be able to have a quiet smoke afterwards.

So we set to work. Ten hens and a cockerel to start with. Or rather to finish with, as even I could see we would need to start with a cage of some sort. So, chicken wire, lots of it. Wooden posts, about twenty of those. A hammer, a crowbar, a saw, nails, and a fair bit of bandage until we saw the sense in wearing work gloves. Then there were the nesting boxes. Very important were nesting boxes, said Sandra. She’d been reading all about it in a book she got from the library. It’s another gift she has, and hardly moves her lips at all when she’s doing it. More wood, a screwdriver or two, plenty of screws.

It all looked a bit lopsided to me when we finished the job, but Sandra said she was happy with it, and that hens are not too particular. I thought that maybe it was meant to look that way. Still, it did seem solid enough, and so we introduced the hens. And the cockerel. I did wonder about that, but Sandra said one cockerel could look after ten hens all on his own, and I could wipe that look off my face, since there’s only one Sandra thank you very much and that’s going to be her. She seemed quite definite about it.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Not a lot happened. I mean, there wasn’t a great deal in the egg production line. In fact, there wasn’t anything. Oh, the hens settled down very well, and the cockerel appeared to be happy. Well, he would, wouldn’t he. A bit tired, but happy. It was a real treat to watch the birds scratching about in the soil, looking for worms. It started out as grass, but it didn’t take a week before there was only dusty soil wherever the hens had been. And hen muck. Lots of that. Rather more than they ate, I thought. Apart from worms and insects, we fed them on food scraps from the kitchen, which Sandra said was quite all right. They always seemed to be hungry though, so we bought some ready made food from the local corn merchants, specially designed to keep hens healthy and happy.

Whatever we fed them with, the result was the same. No eggs. The days rolled by, turning into weeks, then months. Still no eggs. They were supposed to give well over two hundred eggs in the year, according to the book, but maybe these hens were illiterate. Or maybe it was a misprint. For all I knew, that number should have been two eggs in the year. Who would know? In the meantime, we bought our morning eggs from the supermarket.
They need time to settle down, said Sandra. They’re too young yet, she said. It’s the wrong sort of food, she claimed. She said quite a lot, really, but the day came when even she ran out of excuses for them, and we simply stared at our purchases and wondered how to bring a bit of cooperation into their little lives. Sandra started looking reflectively at axes in the hardware store, and I could see she was getting a bit broody.

But all things come to an end, and at last the famine broke. After thirteen months and one and a half weeks – we didn’t count the hours – we woke up one morning to a really horrible noise, almost as though World War Three had broken out. The hens were squawking, the cockerel was crowing and there were feathers flying everywhere. Sandra burst out of bed and ran across the garden without bothering to put anything over her nightie, really short with a fair bit of lace around the hem. Very nice too, except that I was a bit slow and never got more than a quick flash of her legs, which didn’t matter as she was normally very generous in that area.

I caught up with her by the henhouse, and saw by the look on her face that she was happier than usual. You’ve guessed it, we had an egg. Only the one, mind, but an egg just the same. Our first, and as precious to us as though it had been our own baby.

Sandra put it in the fridge and said she would make us an omelette each when we got a few more. Well, there were no more that day, and there were no more the day after. In fact, there were no more at all. We only ever got the one egg, and considering what it cost us in the way of materials, tools, the birds themselves and the food we gave them, the one egg we got certainly reached a price of well over two hundred pounds. We couldn’t bring ourselves to eat it at first, and when we did, it turned out to be rotten and stunk the house out for days.

Oh yes, a fox got in amongst the hens shortly afterwards and took the lot. Still, as I said to Sandra, there’s one consolation. We’ll not die of cholesterol poisoning. Considering how careful she is about our health, I thought she might have taken the comment with a bit better grace.

We’ve been together for quite a while now, me and Sandra. She sort of looks after me because I’m a bit limited in the brain department, if you get my meaning, and someone has to be responsible, which is only Sandra’s way of saying she loves me. Sounds a bit soppy, but that’s the way she feels about it. Maybe she could do better for herself, but I don’t think I could get rid of her even if I wanted to, which I don’t. I can get a bit soppy myself. I might be thick, but I’ve got feelings.

We plan on taking our summer holidays soon, which is something to look forward to, as Sandra goes in for cool, summery sort of clothing. That’s just another way of saying she likes to get the sun on her skin, and that’s just another way of saying I see a lot more of her than usual, and that’s just a way of saying it takes a bit of doing, considering what she wears at home in front of a blazing good fire in the middle of winter.

Not that she doesn’t look nice in the winter when she’s dressed up to go outside. She has this sort of almost real sheepskin calf -length coat, dyed red, with a pure white furry collar that she pulls up to almost hide her face. I always reckon she looks like one of the gnomes from Santa Claus Land in that outfit, but Sandra says that she probably looks more like Mary Christmas. I can tell by looking at her that that’s meant to be a joke of some sort, but I don’t really get it, which Sandra says doesn’t give her any great surprise.

Anyway, this year, we intend to go on a boating holiday, cruising along the canals, and maybe getting as far as Stratford. Sandra says if I behave myself she won’t make me go to see one of Shakespeare’s plays in the theatre. I don’t know though. From what I hear, some of them can be pretty good, with lots of swordplay and plenty of action and blood. It’s not real blood, even I know that, but probably looks like the real stuff anyway. She likes Shakespeare, does Sandra, which I suppose she should when she teaches English Literature in our local college, but luckily I’m not the jealous type, and anyway, I’ve seen pictures of him, and he’s way too old for her, so that’s all right.

Well, we arrived at the boat hire place, and found we had got quite a nice one, that looked pretty much like it did in the brochure, which is a turn up for the books. There was a little kitchen, only I’m supposed to call it a galley, but that can’t be right, because there was an engine instead of oars, and although the boat was quite big enough for me and Sandra, I just couldn’t see where the drummer would sit, assuming he had any slaves to give the time to. As for the bloke with the whip…!

It was at that point that Sandra told me to pack it in and leave the humour to someone better equipped in the intellectual department, so I did. She gave me a little squeeze for trying, so it was well worth it, know what I mean? As it happens, it was quite a big squeeze, because she likes to show how much she cares.

Of course, there was more to the boat than just a kitchen – sorry, can’t bring myself to call it a galley – there was a sofa sort of thing that opened up into a double bed, after which I really lost interest, but Sandra said if I’m going to describe it, I’d better do the job properly. So, a double bed, another single bed, which I doubted we would have much use for, unless things got cosy, which they normally do when me and Sandra are away on holiday, and a table on hinges, that pushed up and locked in position when not wanted. I thought at the time we’d likely have trouble with that, and I wasn’t far out. Then there was a bench, a bit of a cheat really, since it was the single bed in disguise. I suppose if three people are on a boat like this they have to eat their meals standing up, unless they fancy putting all the bedding away every morning. Not much point in that, I would have thought, but that’s probably because I like to see my bed occupied and in full use. A couple of small cupboards, and that was about it downstairs, or what would have been downstairs if there had been any stairs to have a down from.

Upstairs, if there had been any upstairs, well you know what I mean, there was a tiny area at the back of the boat where you could sit and steer. I thought Sandra might do that, as I’m a big bloke, and I could see if I sat there, I probably wouldn’t get out until the end of the holiday, and there didn’t seem to be much fun in that, although Sandra did offer to come and feed me every few hours, but I could see she was joking again.
Then, right at the front end, there was a flat platform, perfect for sunbathing, and when Sandra turned her eyes on that, it was obvious what she was thinking. She likes the sun, does Sandra, and it looked as though she might get a bit browner than usual, maybe even in places not normally on display, as we intended to find some quiet spots without anybody else around.

Well, that’s what we intended, but the reality turned out to be a bit different. Talk about Piccadilly Circus! Honestly, the canal system is so overcrowded with holiday makers, none of which know how to handle a boat, and I include myself in that, Sandra said we might take our holiday next year on the Exeter bypass, where you tend to meet a better class of person. It was rather nice there last year, I know, as the jams were so bad we had time to take out our picnic table and set it up on the grass verge, where we were joined by a very friendly couple from Manchester. It seemed almost a pity to spoil the grass, as you could see it was in good condition before we had our picnic on it. Totally untouched by the hand of man, said Sandra, to which she added that it was probably virgin on the ridiculous, but it’s a long time since she was one of those, so I’m not sure she could remember what she was talking about.

All right, Sandra, I know. Leave the jokes to those capable of such intellectual feats.

Even so, we did enjoy the holiday. Oh yes, this is back on the boat now. We’re not on the Exeter bypass any more, which would be a bit difficult to do in a boat, even during the height of last summer’s floods in that area. It was great fun going through the locks, especially when one right idiot fastened the rope too tightly to the bollard on the tow path, and when the water started to sink, the pointy bit at the front of the boat went sharply downwards, causing a bit of flooding all of its own. Now at the risk of sounding as though I’m being less than modest, I was pretty fast on the uptake, which is not like me at all. What I did was to take the hacksaw that we found in the boat, goodness knows why that was there, and cut through the rope so that the pointy bit came back to a horizontal position toot sweet all in a great rush. This led to Sandra falling backwards with her legs in the air and her skirt around her neck, so it was worth the reproachful look I got from her. Well, when I say reproachful look, I really mean something rather stronger, but Sandra says she is a lady and doesn’t use language like what I put down first, even if it was a bit more accurate.

The best bit of the incident was that when we – yes, I was the right idiot mentioned earlier – discovered that all our clothes had got wet, including the ones we were wearing at the time, it meant that Sandra had to settle for wearing her new bikini until everything else dried out. Now when I tell you that she goes in for bikinis in the same way as some women go in for shoes, that is, a couple of sizes too small, you can understand why I enjoyed the holiday. As for Sandra, well, the days were warm, with plenty of sunshine, and she got the tan she wanted.

Oh yes, we went to the theatre a few nights later, and there was plenty of blood on the stage, so much I felt a bit sick like, and had to shut my eyes during the fights, but Sandra held my hand at those times, and was very understanding when we turned in for the night, so if that was a punishment for not behaving myself, I think I could really get to like the theatre.