Beast No-Show in Baldock!

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Have you ever attempted a massive tempt of fate? Last night I decided that if the heavily-promoted ‘Beast from the East’ hadn’t arrived by this morning, I’d laugh in its face and walk outside in my pyjamas and slippers! Well it hasn’t and I did (although not far as it was slightly chilly!)…

Outside I strode,
(not as far as the road),
in my night attire,
not a hint of satire.
The snowplough is ready,
it sits in the sheddy, (ouch!)
fuelled up to go,
but there is no snow!

My high-vis is hanging,
on the back of the door,
Thermals I’m wearing,
boots on the floor.
Where’s all this snow?
I want to know:

The Beast from the East?
Nah! The Kitten hits Britain!

If it doesn’t snow after that appalling rhyme I’ll just have to give up and accept that it was all hype! Have a great day and stay safe.
STOP PRESS: The Bard New Slipper Fund has just reached a record-breaking 38p! Thank you for your generous pledges!

© Baldock Bard 2018
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Mum’s Exclusive Taxi!

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Some months ago a friend asked ‘If I could be given any car in the world what would I choose?’ Apparently he had always yearned for a Mustang! I had more boring yearnings, a Tesla! As I was driving through a local town last week I spotted one dropping kids off at school…

Tessa drives a Tesla,
to take the kids to school,
glides up to the pavement,
Thinks “Wow! This car is cool!”

The gull-wing doors rise open.
out the children climb,
as if they’re both time-travellers,
to arrive at school on time.

Dad works in the City,
he goes up to town by train,
by the time that he gets home at night,
the kids are asleep again.

Tessa does a lot of driving,
she thinks her life is cruel,
she does so many miles each week,
she’s grateful there’s no fuel.

On Fridays Suzy has ballet,
Colin plays in a Junior Band,
she’s the only mum whose ‘taxi’,
cost over a hundred grand!

On second thoughts I’ll stick with what I’ve got as knowing my luck I’d be the first person to be stuck on the side of the motorway with a truly ‘Flat Battery!’ Whatever you drive, do it safely today and always. BB

© Baldock Bard 2018
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On Dover Beach 2018

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Sometimes I get to read poetry written by proper poets. Observing the depth and meaning of their writing, I feel as if I’m standing staring at a puddle when an unseen ocean laps the shore in front of me. The other day I read ‘Dover Beach’ published in 1867 by famous poet Mathew Arnold (1822-1888) As I was in East Kent at the end of last week, I decided to look up Dover Beach for myself and see what I’d make of it…

Of Dover Beach there was no sign,
nothing poetic, nothing to rhyme.

A vast expanse of modern concrete,
wind-blown sea-spray as cold as sleet.
In the distance cross-channel ferries,
jostle for position like adversaries,
shuttling off to Northern France,
choreographed as a giant’s first dance.

On Calais beach looking out to sea,
two dark eyes stare back at me,
across from France asylum’s waiting,
so near but far and so frustrating,
her child was drowned in the Aegean Sea,
through a fog of tears she can’t see me.

I was disappointed by Dover Beach,
that so many give their all to reach,
instead of saying “What the f**k”
perhaps I should just count my luck.

If only I had thought and tried,
I should have known it was high tide!

Obviously written with apologies to Matthew Arnold© Baldock Bard 2018
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Behind the Red Door!

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Yesterday I went to a salon for a haircut. Laura had trimmed my unruly mop many times at home in our kitchen, however this was the first time in her new salon, ‘The Red Door’ in Baldock. We have very few mirrors in our house and I was not prepared for the reflective qualities of the large mirror facing me…

When I took a seat,
in front of the mirror you see,
I noticed an old man
gazing back at me!
My hair was a mess,
I looked pale,
more lines on my face,
than Network Rail,
Laura was kind,
chatting away,
“Was I going somewhere nice,
for my holiday?”
I mumbled a reply,
(I looked like a clown,
made strange faces,
even a frown!)
When it was over,
I even smirked,
my hair looked great,
Laura’s magic had worked!

I have used much poetic licence – of course Laura didn’t ask ‘Was I going somewhere nice for my holiday?’ however my hair did look great when she’d finished!
Laura’s Red Door in Baldock is well worth a visit, she is truly a magical craftsman.
© Baldock Bard 2018
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The Little Dog’s Secret!

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I wonder how many of you, having looked at the picture above, though ‘aaah, look at that lovely little dog!’ Unfortunately I have to tell you that you’ve been had! Our ‘little precious’, puppy-like Chihuahua crossed with a Jack Russell (apparently sweetly termed a Jack Chi),  has a hidden secret…

Without a sorry,
nary a pardon,
she runs out of the house,
straight down the garden.
For her every day,
can turn into a thriller,
she’s a cute and charming,
wood pigeon killer.
They strut across the lawn,
(looking out for a cat),
but see no danger,
in a cute doggy like that!
Before they know it,
take flight to the air,
the little dog is leaping,
“It’s simply not fair!”
This terrible act,
in all sorts of weathers,
the evidence is there,
pigeons tail feathers!

Whether people or animals, it’s always the most innocent-looking that strike the hardest!

© Baldock Bard 2018
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Anne – a Valuable Mentor

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Anne and Geoffrey at the Car Boot Sale near Baldock

I have been very lucky in my life to have enjoyed the support of mentors. Most have come from the farming fraternity, however a few have helped me in other ways, even if at the time I didn’t recognize the significance of their guidance.
One in particular, Anne, was my brother’s Godmother and a family friend. It was she who encouraged a troublesome teenager (me!) to pick up a book and read. It is therefore, by default, that you (and I) have her to thank for the fact that you are amongst the over 250,000 people worldwide who have read my blog pages.
How did she help? She helped by not only encouraging me to read, but also giving freely of her time and interest, even when the subject matter must have bored her almost to tears!
On one all-too-rare visit when she and husband Geoffrey stayed on the farm, she asked me what I was reading! I well remember, with the greatest of embarrassment in hindsight (I can feel my cheeks redden even now, many years later), how I went into great detail about a book whose subject was truck-driving between the UK and Saudi Arabia (Cola Cowboys, if you’re interested!).
It was always my intention to thank her and show her what that patience had lead to in my writing and my (much improved!) reading. I never did and I shall always regret it.

Later this week I journey to Kent, to say goodbye. I shall be whispering a very personal ‘Thank you’, to the mentor who installed in me a love of books and I shall not be in the least bit ashamed if I spill a tear or two.

The greatest gift you can give a child (particularly a difficult teenager) is your time.
How about you give it a try sometime and while you’re about it, whisper a silent thanks to Anne as well.
Also if you have thanks to give, do it now, if you leave it too long then one day it may sadly be too late.

© Baldock Bard 2018
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Painting The Ceiling!

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Yesterday, being St Valentines Day, I spend the time being attentive to Mrs Bard. Oh dear! I cannot lie to you, I actually spent the morning coating the ceiling in one of the industrial units with fireproof paint. Unfortunately my skill at this, as with most things I do, is far from award-winning, in fact it has been described as ‘woeful’…

Many years ago when the children were small,
my wife went to play a Lacrosse match at a far-away school,
“Right kids!” I said with an authoritative tone,
You know what we’ll do, we’ll paint the kitchen at home!
Preparations were minimal it looked easy on TV,
the whole process seemed to be a doddle to me!
By the time she returned we’d managed to paint,
three walls two children and she said she felt faint!
But the greatest surprise had yet to reveal,
we’d painted around things on shelves this was ‘unreal’
I was never asked to paint anything again,
except on the farm where it would be seen by ‘just men!’

Have a great day and if you’re painting remember that ‘an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of performance’ (apparently!)

© Baldock Bard 2018
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No Headline…

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There’s one noise that drone flyers hate, and that is the sound of an approaching helicopter. In the main, planes are far higher than the maximum height of 400ft that drones fly. The near-misses so often quoted in the media are almost always at over 1000ft (a height my drone won’t fly, being electrically restricted to 395ft), so when I heard a noise I recognised while flying, I took immediate measures…

While flying my drone,
having some fun,
a noise made me shudder:
‘Dun Dun Dun Dun’
I looked around,
and I could see,
a Chinook helicopter,
flying towards me!
In a flash,
I landed my drone,
as the flying machine,
flew over my home!
It was one of those moments,
I won’t forget,
particularly thanks,
to the clammy cold sweat!
It was not a ‘near miss’,
no journalist story,
no breaking news,
not a hint of furore!

If you’re flying out there today, take care and watch out for a media headline event!
I was lucky to be trained by RUSTA – ex military instructors who taught this old farmer what a helicopter looked (and sounded) like!

© Baldock Bard 2018
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Time Flies…

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The little church on the hill at Clothall where David can be found

There is a parish church in a village called Furneux Pelham in Hertfordshire (about twenty miles from the farm) that has the inscription underneath the clock that reads: ‘Time Flies Mind Your Business’.
I can scarcely believe that it’s already fifteen years since my twenty-two-year-old son, David, was killed in a car crash while at university. Much has changed in those intervening years, it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Many of his friends have careers, partners and some have even started the next generation.
However, despite the passing of fifteen years, there are many who still visit him in the churchyard just down the road from his beloved farm. There are many more who still remember and miss him. While this brings much sadness it is also brings comfort to his family.
Time may fly, but the memories remain.

Love you, my darling David. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing today, spare a moment to tell those you love “Love You’. Life is fragile, so do it now, not for David, not for me, but for you.

© Baldock Bard 2018
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The New Ceiling!

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Yesterday was spent erecting a new false ceiling in one of our small light industrial units to prepare for the arrival of a new tenant. Over the years the small pig sheds (about the size of a double lock-up garage) have been so popular that we only get to refurbish about one a year. So yesterday was day one…

Russ is in the cage,
screwing a new ceiling,
his arms flag time does drag,
in fact he’s lost all feeling!
But we’re on the home straight,
the end almost in sight,
in a day (or so we pray!)
the ceiling will be white!
Then ‘Tim’ will take possession,
the unit just like new,
Russ will say, ‘Hip Hooray!’
and exclaim a happy ‘Phew!’

Thanks to Russ for his vital help, hope the arms recover soon!

© Baldock Bard 2018
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