World Day of Remembrance

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Yesterday was World Day of Remembrance for all persons killed on the roads across the globe. My daughter is a volunteer for the Road Victims Trust, helping families and survivors across Cambs, Beds and Herts and I’m very proud of her. We all went to St Mary’s Church in Cambridge for a service of remembrance for road victims. For us, it was yet another reminder that there will always be an empty chair at our table, following the death on the road, of our son, David, aged 22. During the service, with it’s ever painful reminder of our loss I suddenly remembered a chink of light that I’d hidden away from the dark days following his death and I thought this was an ideal time to bring it out into the open and share with you…

One of our old friends lives in Canada. Following David’s death I’d tried to contact her by phone, but always was put through to the answerphone. As it was a raw subject that you can’t readily leave on someone’s answerphone, I left a simple message: “Hi Jane, can you get in touch.”
A couple of days later we had a kitchen-full of David’s young friends. Not knowing what was expected of them at a time like this, they behaved as youngster’s do, drinking, laughing, crying and remembering, with stories of good times spent with him.
The phone rang, it was Jane.
Her first words were: “Sounds like you’re having a great party, what are you celebrating?”

When I remembered this little story during the service yesterday, I was reminded that although we had much to mourn: lost parties, birthdays, family gatherings and possibly even christenings, we also had so much to celebrate from his life.

So give the ones you love an extra hug this morning or if they’re away, ring/text them and simply say “Love You”, and rejoice in the fact that you can.

The Road Victims Trust is a registered charity who provide help for those affected by road fatalities. They work in partnership with the three police forces across Cambs, Beds and Herts. For more details and donations please visit  www.rvtrust.org.uk
Thank you

Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

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Van Gogh’s Ear Defenders

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Yesterday John, my son-in-law and I were doing some winter/spring cleaning in the workshop/grain barn. It’s quite remarkable what lurks in the back of cupboards and under workshop benches. We discovered manuals for long-forgotten tractors and machines along with spare parts that had possibly been ordered by Noah before the Great Flood! One item we found needed no introduction…

On a cupboard shelf,
right at the back,
Van Gogh’s ear defenders,
hidden in a sack!
When he wore them,
all had to shout,
he didn’t hear:
“Gogh-y Watch Out!”
When he turned,
He said, “How absurd!
I didn’t quite hear you,
I only half-heard!”

If you are walking near scaffolding or under ladders today, please be careful and stay safe!
According to my nearest and dearest I apparently have a problem hearing what I don’t want to hear too!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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Limited Edition Beer!

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I had spent quite some time in the beer aisle looking for my favourite tipple. Just as I was about to make myself look an idiot in front of an assistant, I spotted the camouflaged packs of cans announcing ‘Limited Edition!’ How stupid of me not to realise that a limited edition should lead to an immediate must-have! Imagine my ‘Fools disappointment’ when what was poured into the glass proved to be exactly the same as from a non-limited edition can…

The can has a lobster on a white background,
a limited edition on the shelf can be found,
open the can and you’ve broken the spell,
”That’s not going to be thrown into recycling as well?”
I lifted the glass to my thirsty lips,
savoured the nectar white-moustached dips!
Very soon the beer was gone away,
getting more limited edition every day!

Cheer’s! A little of what you fancy does you no harm!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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Back To The Future!

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Wandering around our local store the other day I came across a gift idea that gave me a sense of deja-vu. There on the shelf was a personal cassette player, what we used to call a ‘Walkman’ after the iconic Sony version of the seventies. Now all I needed to do was find that case of cassettes somewhere out in the barn…

All I want for Christmas is a Walkman,
not an MP3 just a Walkman,
I don’t care if my CD player’s gone,
‘cos all I want for Christmas is a Walkman.
I can hear the hissing afore the music,
the tape has concertinered up inside,
I can’t find a pencil now to tighten it,
so I can have music and bike ride!
The quality from the tape is quite appalling,
there’s hiss and scratching all around,
I go to turn it over onto side two,
tape’s blowing off the bike a mile behind!
All I want for Christmas is an iPhone,
so I can have some music when I drive,
ten-thousand tracks are now on my menu,
what I’ll listen to I’ll never now decide!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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The City Fox!

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Yesterday, on our way back from Addenbrokes Hospital in Cambridge, the old passenger in our car was delighted to see a city fox cross the road in front of us. Thrilled that it had been caught sauntering across the road on our dash-cam I rushed to download the footage when we reached home. Unfortunately the image was blurred and not a fraction as impressive as in real life. Therefore the words have to attempt to make up for the inadequacies of the picture…

He strolls across the road,
although he wouldn’t risk it,
or he’d end up brown and flat,
like a Foxes Ginger Biscuit.

He has no need to run,
for lunch to provide,
his chicken always comes,
in a box and deeply fried.

As cool as they come,
but as sharp as a flint,
you just know that he’s sucking,
a Fox’s Glacier Mint.

His parking space is small,
but he wouldn’t drive a box,
it’s his perfect city car,
a red VW Fox!

He is well informed,
always has his views,
sits down in the evenings,
watching the Fox News!

He doesn’t need to hunt,
doesn’t ride a horse,
doesn’t give a damn,
He’s a City Fox of course!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

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Maurice’s Story

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Yesterday was Rememberance Sunday. I was asked to recount the story of one of the four WW1 dead from our tiny village. The service was held in the parish Church in the neighbouring village of Sandon. As I walked up in front of a packed congregation to speak I suddenly realised how important my job was. It was my task to tell the story of villager Maurice Barnes so others could remember him. He wasn’t famous, just a simple farm-worker and ordinary soldier, who died in France in 1917. I post my tribute, not to gain praise, but in the simple wish to tell you his story so that you may remember him too…

Maurice Barnes was the only son of Arthur and Eliza Barnes. Arthur (his father) and George Turner (his grandfather) both worked on my grandfather’s farm.
Maurice was born in 1883 and grew up in a cottage on Hickmans Hill, Clothall. The cottage looked towards Windmill Hill, the last hill before Baldock. This was next to a farm track that is now the A507 road.
When Maurice was seven his mother died, on the 23rd of April, St Georges Day. She is buried in the churchyard in Sandon (where the service took place).
Maurice joined his father and grandfather on the farm in 1897 aged fourteen. He volunteered for the army in September 1914, within a month of the outbreak of war. My grandfather’s wages book records his last working week as the 29th August 1914 when he earned 16 shillings, cutting late barley on Windmill Hill.
Maurice served with D Company the 4th Battalion the Bedfordshire Regiment stationed at Bedford before the company moved to Felixstowe to provide home defence in the Harwich area. After the disaster on the Somme in July 1916, the battalion was sent to the Western Front, landing in France on the 25th July 1916 and eventually on to Arras.
At the start of the Arras offensive, Gavrelle was a fortified village in the third line of the forward German defences of the Hindenburg line. If Gavrelle and the high ground, with it’s shattered windmill to the North of the village could be taken, the British Army would be able to observe the German positions on the Douai plain beyond.
It is truly poignant that a son of Clothall, born and raised within sight of Windmill Hill, who spent his last working days on Windmill Hill, should go on to lose his life in an action where the ultimate aim was to wrest control of La Colline du Moulin a Vent – Windmill Hill.
He died, aged 34, on 23rd April 1917, St Georges Day, on the same day his mother had died when he was seven years old.
Maurice Barnes is one of 35,928 names of the missing that are remembered with honour on the Arras Memorial Pas de Calais.
To this day his remains lay somewhere on that Windmill Hill,

Far from Clothall…
Far from Home.
He is remembered.

Baldock Bard
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

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Ignoring Old Friends!

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I met some old friends while out shopping the other day. Wherever I looked there they were trying to get me to step back in time and put them in my basket. This was going to be a tough battle of wills…

I met old friends in the shop,
they shouted at me: “Hey, You, Stop!
You’ve not chosen us since May this year,
That’s six whole months it would appear,
You’ve not bought eclairs or cream cakes,
You’ve hurt our feelings for heaven sakes!
You’re quite a bore and have become quite trying,
on the shelf the Wagon Wheels are constantly crying!”
I ignored their cries and persistent protest,
concentrated instead on my next blood test!
Not wishing to risk criticism from the Diabetes Nurse,
who has the ability to make my day worse!

Have a great day and have a cream cake for me! (go on – just the one!)

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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A Dogs Life!

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Yesterday, following a frosty morning, the sun appeared and streamed through the windows. My trusty hound, Mali, took full advantage and chose the sunniest spot available. I suddenly had a wish to be a dog…

“It’s a dogs life,”
so they say,
wouldn’t mind being a dog,
any day!
I’d choose to lie,
in the sunniest chair,
doze all day,
without a care!
The only stipulation,
I could see,
I’d want to be a dog,
owned by ME!

Have a great day, go on – treat yourself! Choose the sunniest spot in the house but don’t go sniffing any bottoms!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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November the Fifth 2017

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Last night the sound of explosions rang out across our towns and cities as it always does on the fifth of November. For my readers who live beyond these shores I must explain: the fireworks celebrate the discovery of a plot to blow up parliament by Mr Guy Fawkes in 1605. Some MP’s might wonder if others are plotting now as the Whitehall sex abuse scandal uncovers more revelations each day…

Remember remember the fifth of November,
in Westminster there’s a new plot,
It seems some MP’s like touching girl’s knees,
and touching elsewhere quite a lot.
Are we mere mortals surprised,
when our MP’s finally lose face?
The higher they climb enjoying power sublime,
the further they fall in disgrace.

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

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Peering Through the Gloom!

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We have been very lucky with our autumn weather this year. We have reached November with by and large dry and bright days! However just around the corner lies winter and as a prelude we have to endure gloomy mornings…

It’s a murky Thursday morning,
almost wet like rain,
the leaves are mostly off the trees,
November’s here again!
It isn’t quite cold enough for frost,
the grass is soaking through,
Autumn will soon be a memory,
and so will Christmas too!

Enjoy Thursday! Friday will be sunny and then it’s the weekend!!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

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