Memories of a Gentle Man

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I seem to have entered a phase in life where funerals comprehensibly out-weigh weddings, christenings and other celebrations! Yesterday, Mrs Bard and I went to say goodbye to a friends father, Roy. As I sat in the church watching people arrive, I wondered how they all fitted into the large jig-saw that was Roy’s life. Then I thought of how this ‘truly gentle-man’ fitted into ours…

Roy was a newspaper editor from the days when they were representative of the community they served and not just ‘swapsies’ for large faceless organisations. When our son was killed, it was to him we turned for help with writing the notice to be put into the newspapers. He sat in our kitchen and went through the word-options with such kindness and quiet helpfulness that the memory is vivid even some fifteen years later. When I delivered the eulogy for his daughter Sally’s funeral, he came up to me afterwards and paid me the greatest ever one-word compliment by simply saying ‘Thank you’, but in a way that conveyed a thousand unspoken words and emotions.
He had been a great amateur sportsman in his time and it was entirely fitting that we left the church to co to a ‘Cricket Tea’ afterwards.
The sun shone and the daffodils were in full bloom, how very appropriate.
Thank you Roy.

© Baldock Bard 2018
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The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 26 YEARS!
Season starts 7am Saturday 14
thApril 2018
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD


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The Showroom Display!

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The other day I visited a local builders merchants to buy some paint and various odds and ends. Walking past the bathroom showroom it reminded me of a true story told to me by an embarrassed dad about losing his toddler son in such a place…

Mick took his young son,
to buy a tap,
nothing unusual,
you may think about that.
Told the checkout girl,
“I’m on childcare!”
looked around,
his boy wasn’t there.
Back around the store,
blaming himself,
including where taps,
were displayed on the shelf.
His sense of failure,
was not diminished,
until in the toilet display,
his son shouted “Finished!”

I hope you had a chuckle at this story and that it set you up for an enjoyable week! Thanks to grand-daughter Marsya for getting this story to light at the trade counter!

© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 26 YEARS!
Season starts 7am Saturday 14
thApril 2018
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

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Shooting a Squirrel (with camera!)

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When I was young I was keen on shooting. I started with an air-gun on the multitudes of sparrows and starlings that used to guzzle the expensive pig food, moved on to a shotgun against pigeons that were guzzling the oil-seed rape plants and onto pheasants for the pot. As I grew older my aim grew more haphazard until I was even missing barn doors! The last time I fired a gun in anger didn’t go well and so I now confine myself to ‘safe shooting’ with a camera…

There was a squirrel eating oats in the shed,
that I’d put out for birds instead,
I thought I’d go fetch my gun and see,
I remembered last time – ‘stupid me’:

I’d poked the gun out from the window,
lined up the animal (not a flamingo!),
pulled the trigger to shoot it dead,
and shot the gutter downpipe instead!
The next time it came to rain
downpipe like a colander – not the same!

So having learned an expensive lesson,
I took a picture of the delicatessen,
leaving the gun safely locked away,
and the gutter to live for another day!

© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard

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(Not) a Treasure Trove!

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The other day while trawling through a seldom-used drawer I can across a future treasure-trove. There underneath a pile of old cheque-book stubs and expired business cards lay four old five pound notes, neatly pressed and with consecutive numbers. I realise this is not the equivalent of finding King Tut’s burial chamber, but it may help my daughter fund a burger in 2100…

I know it’s hardly exciting,
Unlikely to garner votes,
But recently I found,
Four consecutive notes!
I know they’re not legal tender,
Their day has been and gone,
I can’t even remember
Where I got them from!
Maybe in a hundred years,
They’ll be worth a mint,
So I’m giving them to Granddaughter,
might make her future glint!

I know the rhyming is bad and the content worse, but please forgive me as it’s Friday! Have a great weekend and see if you too can find treasure from them there drawers!

© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard

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Farmers Gone Green!

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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

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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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The Fourth Wise Man!

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

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A Brush with the Law!

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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

 

 

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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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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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