Goose Down!

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The guard geese who patrol our farmyard have suffered a fatality. One of their ranks has gone on permanent AWOL. It is strange that they are something we see and hear every day, yet it was immediately apparent that their numbers had been reduced by one…

Goose number 13,
has run out of luck.
not a lucky number,
if you’re goose, human or duck!

Into the cause of death,
I had no wish to delve,
just went out one morning,
and only counted twelve.

No need for a casket,
or even a box,
just a pile of feathers left,
after feeding a local fox.

So there is now one less,
patrolling up the yard,
“Intruder Red Alert –
Call out the guard!”

© Baldock Bard 2018
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 New Year!

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There was a very famous poem written, even before I was born, that dealt with the turning of a new year. As a child, I was often quoted the first line of ‘The Gate of the Year’ by Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957) but had forgotten why it was deemed to be so special by the older generation. It was used by King George VI in his Christmas Day broadcast of 1939 as the country slid into the uncertainty of the Second World War. This January may (or may not), be judged in hindsight to be uncertain times, we shall just have to wait and see…

I spoke to the man who stood at the gate,
at the entrance to a brand new year,
“Can you take a look,
in that rather large book,
and tell me what you see appear?”

He mentioned some dates,
some financial rates,
some states, cities and towns,
some footballers names,
some half-decent games,
and academics dressed in gowns!
I sneaked a look over his shoulder,
my heart immediately sank,
no prophecys nor hint of disease,
every single page was blank!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year.
With apologies and thanks to Minnie Louise Haskins

 

© Baldock Bard 2018
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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Carols in Baldock!

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When I went down to Baldock last night to fetch a Chinese take-away, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Next to the town’s Christmas tree was a large group of townsfolk singing carols. Suddenly that old Christmas feeling was all around and I found myself singing along as I strolled back to the car with my take-away (with apologies to ‘We Three Kings’)

An old farmer from Baldock ‘aarrh!’
taking his take-away back to the car,
humming carols in farmer’s apparels,
hadn’t been near a bar!
It’s a wonder, it’s so right,
singing carols on a Monday night,
it’s not snowing but Santa’s going
very soon to take flight!

If I happen to forget in the mad dash towards Christmas, may I wish you a very Happy Christmas. BB

© 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 Christmas Cards

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According to media reports we are sending less and less Christmas cards every year. Also the annual ‘Round Robin’ letter detailing family achievements has been largely replaced by ‘Look At Us’ daily postings on social media. I must be very old-fashioned as I rather like receiving cards. Last night I recoiled in horror as I realised I’d not written a single one and so spent over four hours furiously using something called a pen whilst applying for a mortgage to buy the stamps…

Less than half the under-thirty-fives,
are sending Christmas Cards,
they’d rather use social media,
(than use a pen like bards!).
Everyone already knows,
what they’ve done each day,
it’s all played out on Facebook,
there’s nothing more to say!
Once I was caught out,
with cards I did decorate,
(I realised that at least three,
were from folk a few years ‘late’).
So if I’ve left you out,
no card ends on your mat,
Have a very Happy Christmas,
and lets leave it just like that!!

(Todays picture shows a selection of cards already received at Bard Towers!)
Happy Christmas from the Bard! (That was far easier and quicker than writing all those cards! Maybe next year…)

© 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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Feeding the Birds!

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The other day when we were busy fencing, our neighbour, John was ploughing. Following him was the biggest flock of gulls that I’ve ever seen behind a plough. So impressed was I that I had to capture the scene with my faithful drone…

Following John’s plough,
is a large white cloud,
that descends on worms,
with screeching loud.
They communicate,
to others from afar,
“Bring all your friends,
siblings, Ma and Pa!
There are fat juicy worms,
he’s using a furrow press,
just like MacDonnalds,
with portions to impress!”

Have a good day and watch out for the gulls!

© 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 Fencing Team!

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Yesterday a local fencing team were in action on the roadside near the town. Not being livestock farmers, the art of erecting a fence doesn’t come naturally to this arable team. Thankfully son-in-law John, who has much experience of such things in a previous incarnation, was there to guide us along and make sure the new post-and-rail fence was presentable…

The local fencing team,
(I’ll not mention any names!)
is hoping for a place,
in the next Olympic Games!
Who will tell them?
(they’re bound to be bereft)
the closest they’re likely to get
Olympic Breakfast at the Little Chef!

© 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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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
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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
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Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

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The Artist’s Gallery!

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Whenever you walk into someones house for the first time, you can almost always tell if they have small children or grandchildren from the artwork displayed in the kitchen. Secondly you can roughly guess the age by the quality and assortment displayed. I’ve always thought it is a vital part of parenting and natural support for a child, although is possibly frowned upon in this modern age of Nanny-State demanding that ‘Everyone’s a Winner!’ Our kitchen has hosted exhibitions down the ages…

Most famous artists,
from whatever ‘school’,
held their first exhibitions,
on a kitchen wall.
Whether England, Holland,
The States or France,
supported by parents,
or uncles or aunts.
And some progressed,
to a better thing,
glorious landscapes,
even Campbell’s soup tin!
On our wall,
(as we oughta!),
artistic progress,
from our granddaughter!

…and I’m keeping them, you never know!

© 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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Synchronised Sleeping!

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Our guard-geese are very clever at synchronised sleeping, to the casual observer it may seem ok to creep past them, however the slightest snap of a twig or clack of a stone and they are up-and-at-em! Most mornings they chase me (or anyone else who knows what they want!) down the yard and we have to admit to being mugged again…

The geese are synchronized sleeping,
they’ve got no work to do,
they’ve been on duty all night long,
the over-night security crew!
All of a sudden they start honking,
they chase me – their wings drum a beat,
it may seem like they’re angry,
but they after their breakfast of wheat!

If you’re caught sleeping on the job, just tell the boss you were resting your eyes whilst thinking about the work in front of 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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