Farmers Gone Green!

Share

The other day a visitor to the farm looked at the large heap of used one-ton fertilizer bags in the shed and asked whether I had a very large dustbin! I explained that once a year those nice people from re-cycling firm Kelshall Plastics come to take them away…

Many years ago
in the days when
‘Going Green’
meant going to look at crops,
we’d go fertilizer spreading,
with 50kg bags
which we loaded by hand
into the spreader.
As for getting rid of the bags
we were armed with a disposal system:
It fitted neatly in a pocket,
and was called a box of matches.
In later years
when the bags
became much larger
we used a JCB Loadall
to lift the bags
and matches were banned
as we were now
“Gone Green!’
So once a year,
we load the bags onto a truck
and off they go
to be recycled
into something more useful
than a small bonfire
at the side of the field.
© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

Share on Facebook
Share

A New Year!

Share

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

 

Share on Facebook
Share

The Fourth Wise Man!

Share

Some years ago I entered a worldwide writing competition and was amongst the winners. My entry was published in the States and then gathered dust on a stored file on my backup disk. While doing some file clearing recently I rediscovered it. The only competition rule was that the story could contain exactly 55 words, no more, no less. So here it is, as my gift to you this Christmas…

The Lost Gift
The Wise Men had followed the star for many days.
They were a congenial group who, apart from one, discussed many important topics as they traveled.
The Fourth Wise Man, being never wrong, turned left into the desert, and it was nearly two thousand years before the world rediscovered plastic.

NB As we all know there is no recorded mention of a fourth Wise Man, so the part of the fourth Wise Man in the above photo is played by an angel!
Happy Christmas Everyone!
© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

Share on Facebook
Share

A Brush with the Law!

Share

Sometimes it’s good to time-travel! Yesterday Mrs Bard and I were having Sunday lunch with some relations who live near to where I worked in a previous life many eons ago. Another guest was the neighbouring farmer who I’d not seen for nearly 40 years. I have never been a great one for reminiscing, as it can be painful! I wouldn’t dare re-visit old haunts for fear of stirring up black and smelly mud from the bottom of the pond that is my memory! So it came as a surprise when so many memories surfaced, especially a brush with the law in 1979…

I was awaiting a visit from my ‘big boss’
a cause always for alarm,
when ‘Frank Cannon’ the village policeman,
came to visit me on the farm!
He was a jovial type of bobby,
always up for a laugh,
a raucous sense of humour,
but you wouldn’t want to cross his path.
He was showing me his new-style handcuffs,
he tried them on me just for size,
then started looking for the key,
a look of fear in his eyes!
He jumped into his patrol car,
lights and sirens ‘on alarm!’
I heard him go off into the distance,
I was attached to the wall of the barn!
He finally returned with the key,
had just released me at last,
when in walked my ‘big boss’
the moment for hilarity had passed!
As Frank left in his police car,
“a social call” I lied (quite hard),
“Why in that case please tell me…
did I see blue flashing lights in the yard?”

Frank Cannon was nicknamed after the 1970’s CBS TV series about a rather large policemen who solved every crime put before him. Many thanks to Hugh, Cathy and Winks for helping to ‘stir the mud!’

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

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share

The Christmas Cards

Share

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

 

Share on Facebook
Share

World Day of Remembrance

Share

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

Share on Facebook
Share

Van Gogh’s Ear Defenders

Share

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

 

Share on Facebook
Share

Limited Edition Beer!

Share

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

 

Share on Facebook
Share

Back To The Future!

Share

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

 

Share on Facebook
Share

Maurice’s Story

Share

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

Share on Facebook
Share