Chirpy the Chicken!

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C1As I get older I’m getting softer, or so everybody tells me! Last week we had a death on the farm. Chirpy the Chicken. She was a natural show-off: right from when she was hatched, if a camera was pointed in her direction she’d assume it was for her and preen. She’d also rush to greet visiting groups of schoolchildren assuming that they were on the farm just to see her! Despite having other chickens roaming the farmyard she was always special, we’re going to miss her…

Chirpy’s mother was a duck!
Who was most surprised to hatch her,
Ever since then she’s hogged the limelight,
No other chick could catch her!
C2As she grew she liked attention,
For children she would run,
She’d show off as if on the stage,
And sometimes show her bum!
Chirpy schoolIn harvest she played ‘chicken’!
With the giant wheels of the trailer,
I’d be waving it into the store,
Her courage never failed her!
Chirpy chickenWe discovered her body without her head,
And buried her in a box,
She’s been denied retirement,
By a bloody murdering fox.
C3 2RIP Chirpy.

© Baldock Bard 2013
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Oats Away!

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Oat BinAnother bout of loading lorries on the farm. We’ve moved oats from the bins in the main grain store into the flat floored barn. This is for two reasons: firstly so we load the lorries quickly using the large grain bucket on the JCB Loadall and secondly so that we can do a final visual check for quality and take a moisture reading before the load leaves the farm. Unfortunately this doesn’t always guarantee a claim-free consignment as the mill can choose a test from a different part of the load…

We’ve sent away a load of oats
So in the bank we’ll be putting pound notes!
They’ve gone North to make boxes of porridge,
To be sent back to towns like Norwich!
Oat1In the next day’s post there’s a notification,
They’ve cut the price for non-specification!
Moisture wrong and admix not nice,
£5 per ton removed from the price!
Oat2I suppose all in all I can’t complain,
I finished harvest before the rain!
So I won’t boast or tell a story tall,
As some have no harvest to sell at all.
Oat3We should never boast or brag,
Until the deal is in the bag!
I recommend that you eat oats of course,
Because they’re pure and contain no horse!
Oat Bowl© Baldock Bard 2013

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Sad Old Letchworth

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Letchworth Feb 2013There is an old family story: Many years ago, at around the turn of the last century, my grandparents travelled in a pony and trap to look at two houses in the middle of a field. Everyone laughed at funny little man with a pointed beard, not only because he was a Quaker but because of his vision of a ‘Garden City’. The concept was revolutionary: Every house would have a big-enough garden to feed the family, an industrial area and shopping centre would be separate from homes to add value to the quality of home life and there were to be no pubs. Against all odds Ebenezer Howard’s vision became Letchworth Garden City and thrived. Yesterday I returned for the first time in many years to the shopping centre, it was a melancholy visit…

Letchworth was empty,
like the child’s paddling-pool in winter.
One or two walked the streets
huddled against the cold
to look in shop windows at
stuff they didn’t want
couldn’t afford
or just didn’t interest them.
Empty shops held no attraction
and there seemed to be
plenty of them.
The only shop I found
that attracted the pound in my pocket
was an old-fashioned sweet shop
but that’s not surprising
I have a sweet tooth.
Where were the shops I used
to know and use?
Dead, gone, vanished.
It was as if
the First Garden City
was sitting in a high-backed chair
frail
aged
and quietly weeping as it
wondered where
it all went wrong.

© Baldock Bard 2013
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A Tall Story of a Small Car!

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Fiat 500Do you find that sometimes the weirdest of objects can suddenly invoke a memory that has been laying dormant for years? The other month I saw a small Fiat car in a car park and I took a photo. Looking through some photos last night I suddenly remembered someone I hadn’t thought of since college nearly forty years ago…

Looking at a photo,
A memory stirs within,
Of a fellow student,
Very tall and slim.

I’m sure his name was Bob,
A memory – I can see it!
This vision of a lanky lad,
Getting out of a baby Fiat!

When he’d left the car,
Of ownership – some proof,
A noticeable head-shaped bulge,
In the small sun-roof!

Another thing I remember,
His tall girlfriend’s name was Sue,
And I’m pretty sure that I’m correct,
That little car was blue!

….that’s all folks, memory gone!

© Baldock Bard 2013
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An Ordinary Saturday Night in Baldock!

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Golden Rickshaw BaldockMrs Bard and I had a very ordinary Saturday night in. Chinese takeaway with the latest Bond film on DVD. My assignment was to collect a top-secret package from Baldock and deliver it, still hot, to the table…

In the Golden Rickshaw in Baldock,
The counter-man stood there ‘real hard’,
In a deep voice he asked for my name,
I replied: “Bard,” (with a gap) “Baldock Bard!”

I left through the door with the package,
Checked both ways (so by the book!),
Missed by an inch by a white van,
I shot him (a real dirty look!).

By the bank just up the High Street,
A beauty offered poisoned-deep-Posset,
I pushed her into the Cashpoint,
Where she made a no-interest deposit!

Just outside Chapman’s the butchers,
I tackled a crafty Fu-Man-Chew,
I threw him back through the window,
And said “it’s been nice to meat you too!”

Further along by Days the Bakers,
A giant – steel teeth in his head.
I fought him off with some Rock Cakes,
Two donuts and some handy sliced bread.

Two baddies on bikes tried to chase me,
I reversed my car in a hurry.
They crashed through the window of the Lancer,
I presume they were after a curry!

I reached home with the takeaway still hot,
Mrs Bard watched me straighten my tie,
“Was it busy or quiet in Baldock?”
“Just the usual, quite quiet” said I!
P1090661Dedicated to Ailsa and Mark ‘Bond’ with thanks for the reminder that nobody does it better than 007!

© Baldock Bard 2013
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Grandfather Bard and the Goats!

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ChevreI was granddaughter-sitting the other day when she became restless and started to cry. I knew her nappy (diaper for my American readers!) was dry/clean and she had recently been fed. So I put on a silly hat hoping it would help calm the situation. When that made no difference I resorted to marching up and down singing a made-up song. This went well until I ran out of intelligent lyrics and had to improvise as I sang. Needless to say, even though she’s just 5 months-old, my granddaughter is wondering if I am possibly not the best role model she could have…

Did you know that mountain goats,
Keep their cheese in the pockets of their coats?
Just in case one should fall,
They distribute the rounds amongst them all.
In case they find that they are hungry,
They carry biscuits and ironmongery.

Lowland goats are a different breed,
Go to the beach to collect seaweed!
They paddle in the rising tide,
Build sandcastles with stones inside!
Then with ice-cream (rhubarb and pomme!)
They go racing down the prom!

If you meet a goat on the London train,
Be polite and please refrain,
from asking “Could I have some cheese?”
Because a refusal may not please!
Just raise your hat and always respect her,
She’s probably hiding from the ticket inspector!
Goat TongueMountain goat picture found on QOOP.com

© Baldock Bard 2013
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Baldock’s Finest Butcher!

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Buy BritishWe’ve all heard the jokes, we’ve all seen the news reports. There is now nobody left on the planet that does not know that supermarkets have been caught with their trousers around their ankles. The supermarkets have been buying cheaper every year until the suppliers could no longer supply the required products at the price. Something had to give, so it is little surprise that horsemeat has appeared in processed food. There is only one way to guarantee quality and animal welfare standards: BUY LOCAL and BUY BRITISH
Chapman AwardCongratulations to the Chapman family on winning the East of England award and Good Luck in the National Finals. 

Our local butcher has won an award,
They’re an East Anglian Champion winner!
They know just where their beef comes from,
So you’ll know what you’ve got for your dinner!
Chapman ShopThey source their supplies with great care,
Finding such meat is an art,
It means that the shopper,
is fed good and proper,
And there is no sign of a cart!

However…
Go to the impersonal supermarket,
They buy the cheapest from abroad.
Your lasagne dinner,
A Romanian race-winner
Profit their only award!
Cow and Horse© Baldock Bard 2013
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Gill’s Magic Cake!

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Coffee Cake 1As regular readers will appreciate, I have one very large weakness – food! I seem to be tempted by food everywhere: on the street, in the car, even at the bakery! The other day I went on a shopping session with Mrs Bard and Mrs Rhos-Bardd. I’d hoped we’d do more eating than shopping…

I recently chauffeured Mrs Bard and a friend,
to St Albans for shopping (there was no-end!).
I had no cap but had a hunch,
that I’d be joining them both for lunch!
We ate at a restaurant that was Italian;
it was prime beef, not a hint of a stallion!
Then we continued in the shops
the excitement of shopping never stops!
St AlbansTK Max and baby clothes,
the pile of bags continually grows!
I portered them all to the car,
Please can you stay just where you are?
Misheard their reply that I mistook,
ended up browsing in New Look!
New Look 1Didn’t know where to alight my eyes,
the assistants looked with great surprise!
Found my shoppers at last, they both said:
“Why are your cheeks glowing so red?”
New Look 2In the car “I’m ready for tea!
the answer came: “just wait and see!”
Went to the larder and despair,
cup of tea, no cake there!
Then a sight, my heart did quake,
Gill had sent a coffee cake!
“Oh what an Angel,” I had to shout!
She’d delivered while we’d been out.
Coffee Cake 2Word traveled fast by phone and text,
“They’ve got a cake, we’ll go there next!”
I tried to say it wasn’t fair,
But was told “shut-up and learn to share!”
So the coffee cake (Don’t blame me!)
Is now safely under lock and key!

© Baldock Bard 2013
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Frosty Sounds!

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SnowdropsThankfully February is drawing to a close. The weather is becoming slightly warmer, the sun a little brighter, the evenings gradually lighter and we can start to think about coming out of our winter hibernation…

‘Clip, Clop, Clip, Clop!’
echoes around the farmyard.
Either a film sound-man
is knocking
two empty coconut shells together,
or Dolly and Charlotte
are returning from an early
pre-work ride on this frosty morning.

A conference invitation
drops onto the mat.
An exciting chance to hear
how a remarkable
new chemical
will obliterate weeds and
magically enhance the farm’s profits.
After the industrially-sponsored buffet
a bank manager will explain
how market trends can lead to
Future Profits
(One wonders for whom?).

Meanwhile snowdrops,
sheltering under a hedge,
quietly announce:
“Another Spring is around the corner!”

© Baldock Bard 2013
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Built Up Shoes!

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Built Up ShoesI was walking past a shoe shop yesterday when I saw something that made me stop and stare. How in the name of Derek Doogan could anyone walk in those back-to-front shoes without having a Spice Girl moment and a visit to casualty? But then I remembered that when I was young I was forced to wear a built-up shoe…

Many years ago when Great Uncle Percy died,
Before the funeral, mother called me inside:
“Try on these shoes, never worn, almost new,
He was about your size they’re bound to fit you!
While you’re here you must try on his coat,
It’s old fashioned quality just you take note!”

The day of the funeral was bitter and cold,
Many mourners present and most were so old!
Some showed me sympathy my gait was all bent,
The old herringbone coat was as rigid as a tent!
I had difficulty walking, the coat all askew,
All because of pain from the one built up shoe!

© Baldock Bard 2013
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