A booklet of poems entitled 'Southleigh' by Alfred Grosch,
price sixpence, has appeared in the editor's in-tray and we
will reproduce a poem from it from time to time. Further
research is necessary but it would appear to have
been produced round about the time of the
second world war.

John Long

  • The Village Sweet Shop

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    Do you remember from childhood days?
    The little village shop
    With their lovely cone shaped paper bags
    Jars of sweets, and fizzy pop.

    Acid drops, and chocolate limes
    Jelly beans, and other treats
    The excitement of a lucky bag
    With a toy and treats too eat.

    Space shaped flying saucers
    Fizzy sherbet from a jar
    Bertie Bassets liquorice Allsorts
    Peanut brittle in a bar.

    Sherbet fountains, Liquorice Comfits
    Candy Shrimps and Catherine wheels
    Lemon flavoured toffee Bon Bons
    Are among our favourites still.

    Blackjacks and fruit salads
    Liquorice laces, red and black
    Crisps with a twisted bag of salt
    That made a tasty snack.

    Lemonade came in a bottle
    With a top you could unscrew
    And a penny back deposit
    Should you return it when you’re through?

    No modern shop can be compared
    To the sweet shop of our youth
    Which probably helps explain the fact
    Why I’m left with just one tooth.

  • Mr. Claudius Bartram Scott

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    Mr. Claudius Bartram Scott
    Blows his nose I kid you not
    At least a hundred times a day
    And never turned his head away.
    No hanky would he hold in place
    To stop the germs fly into space
    What he had he liked to share
    Who caught his germs, he didn’t care.

    In a pub on Friday night
    He gave the customers a fright.
    He sneezed with such tremendous force
    He blew the darts way off their course.
    A fellow drinking at the bar
    Thought things had gone a bit too far
    While trying to enjoy his beer
    A feathered arrow pierced his ear.

    The fellow’s wife was not too pleased
    By Claudius’s gigantic sneeze
    The dartboard’s where you throw the darts
    Not stick them in some facial parts.
    Patrons who sit near the board
    Weren’t particularly enthralled
    At having darts whiz by their ear
    And froth sneezed neatly off their beer.

    A game of darts should cause no danger
    But if you’re playing with a stranger
    Who sneezes at an alarming speed
    That has the means to make you bleed
    Perhaps the time has come in life
    To spend the evenings with your wife
    Just quietly sit. But don’t be barmy
    Give up darts!! Try origami!

  • Coronation Day

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    The date was June the 2nd
    In the year of '53
    And Dad had bought a tele
    For all the street to see.
    He placed it in the corner
    Made sure the plug was tight,
    A picture was appearing
    Although it was in black and white.

    No-one then had colour
    But the set it was our own
    With its plastic imitation wood
    And a really lovely tone.
    The neighbours they were coming
    To gather round the set
    Some were friends from years gone bye
    And some we just had met.

    Mum really put a spread on
    With spam and paste as such
    Remember we had won a war
    So there wasn't very much.
    Mum made tiny sandwiches
    With little chunks of spam
    With just a touch of some mint sauce
    Just like eating lamb.

    The jelly was quite runny
    On the spoon it would not stick
    So Mum made semolina
    That stuck and did the trick.
    In all we had a good day
    The neighbours they were grand
    In unison we raised our glass
    To toast the best Queen in the land.

  • Missy

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    About 8 years ago, while living in South Leigh, Sheila and I had a visit from a small black and white cat.
    She was looking for a couple of servants and called on us to interview us for that position.
    We must have passed because we have been her servants ever since. This is a poem about Missy.

    Missy the cat, she's the Sheriff
    She looks good with a star on her chest.
    The star was the best they could buy her,
    Shining bright on her black and white vest.

    The town she must clean up was dangerous
    It went by the name of South Leigh,
    Mason Arms was the worst place to visit
    No one bothered to go there for tea.

    Hard liquor was all they would sell you.
    Strong cocoa if you really were rough
    Cigarettes that would blow away cobwebs
    With the occasional pinch of strong snuff.

    Bar room girls all danced on the table
    Did the can-can and strutted their stuff
    And turned all the men into jelly
    Those men who thought they were tough.

    Into the pub walked Miss Missy
    Matching guns hanging down by her side,
    She was looking for Annie the bar maid
    A floozy she couldn't abide.

    Miss Missy she loved her dear Johnny
    He was a handsome and debonair cat,
    Miss Missy was very determined
    To find out what Annie was at.

    The two locked their eyes across the bar room,
    Annie's hand went down for a gun,
    But the look in her eyes was of terror
    She knew that Miss Missy had won.
    BR> Missy's guns they came up a blazing
    Annie staggered a little and fell
    Now Missy was free to love Johnny
    While Annie had a ticket to hell.

  • Homeless Christmas

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    Homeless people, hungry people,
    No cosy home to warm these people.
    No chestnuts on a burning fire,
    Or carol from a touring choir.
    No wreath of holly on their doorway,
    No sign of Jesus born on this day.
    No Christmas cards with snow and holly,
    Or a short, fat man all bright and jolly.
    No indigestion medication,
    No presents from a close relation.
    No binge drinking on the street,
    No gift of socks to warm their feet.
    No 'Happy New Years' shouted your way,
    For the homeless it's a normal day.

  • My Birthday Treat

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    Today we went out for dinner
    I was 80 and feeling quite old.
    My family were all there to greet me
    I was the only person not told.
    The location was really quite perfect,
    The food was the best that you'd find,
    The company very congenial,
    And conversation was almost refined.

    The choice from the menu looked tasty,
    With large helpings of beef, pork and ham.
    The only thing that was missing,
    Was a voluptuous Kiss-O-Gram.
    No one came who was dressed nearly naked,
    No buxom wench that I had to tame,
    Then in walked an eighty year old granny,
    Who stripped with her chrome Zimmer frame.

    First she rolled down her flesh coloured stockings,
    Pulled a glove off by using her teeth,
    Then undoing the front of her cardy,
    Revealing her vest underneath.
    Unleashing her provocative powers,
    She started to play with her hair,
    But on me her charms they were wasted,
    I had fallen asleep in my chair.

    I'm too old for life in the fast lane,
    I'm too old, to walk anywhere,
    And as for an ageing old granny,
    I'm too old to bother to care.
    My life should be quiet at 80
    My family is what I need best,
    Not a tired, decrepit old Granny,
    Who just wants to show me her chest?

  • Youthful Days

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    Scabby knee, with broken skin,
    Black, blue bruises on his shin,
    Trousers half-mast about his knees
    Wouldn't stop the coldest breeze
    While socks that garters should restrain
    Fall down, then on the shoes remain
    This is the livery of a boy
    Who when asleep is his mother's joy

    Hands he never would allow
    To come in contact with a towel
    His face detesting soap and water
    How Mother wished she had a daughter
    A Fair Isle jumper Granny knitted
    Always tight and never fitted
    Blue and green, pink and red
    To wear to school filled him with dread

    Misfortune seems to follow boys
    Like break bones, and smashing toys
    A toy the makers do declare
    Will never break, or need repair
    Is often first to go to pieces
    In the hands of little beasties
    A toy the makers do decree
    Is not covered by a guarantee.

  • NHS Cut Backs

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    Very soon it will be smarties
    That a doctor can prescribe
    With medicines so costly,
    The ones that help you to survive.
    We will call the smarties Happy.
    For at least they make you smile
    You may not feel much better
    But they'll help you for a while.

    For depression take a blue one,
    Influenza take a red,
    If the symptoms still persist,
    Then you sweat them out in bed,
    Green will cure many things
    Coughs and cold, and sudden sneezes.
    Distemper and bubonic plague
    And lots of tropical diseases.

    If blood pressure is way up high
    And nothing gets it down
    Look deep into your smarty box
    For the magic colour brown.
    And when you can't sit comfy
    With a burning fire in your back
    Don't bother with a doctor
    Just take a yellow and two black.

    The NHS is done for
    Governments don't care
    Pharmacists they do their best
    While the doctors all despair.
    Smarties aren't the answer
    Won't make your illness go away
    But their magic will work wonders
    As they lift you through the day.

  • The Alligator

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    When walking alligators in the park
    It might be best to wait till dark
    So should they do that dreadful deed
    A poop and scoop is what you'll need.

    When chasing after tennis balls
    What if the creature trips and falls
    Who sticks a plaster on his knee?
    I'll tell you now it won't be me.

    The vet's the man for sticking plasters
    And mending beasty type disasters
    He's taught to do this to the letter
    To say 'Oh dear!' and kiss it better.

    Pets should be a friend for life
    And should he ever eat your wife
    Just stay calm and never panic
    It's so healthy if your wife's organic.

    He will learn to do her chores
    Washing. Ironing. Scrub the floors,
    To cook the meals, and so much more
    So you'll need to buy a pinafore.

    After all it must be seen
    That you keep your reptile clean
    So a saucy apron tied neat with bow
    Will protect his scaly bits below.

    Alligators can be a life long friend
    On which you surely can depend
    He'll fill your days with sheer delight
    But be careful when you kiss good-night.

  • The Last Rose

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    Next spring the Snowdrops will be blooming,
    Daffodils come close behind
    Bluebells then complete the picture
    In reality, and not just mind.

    Spring buds will soon become a flower,
    Their beauty there for all to see
    Heavy perfume overpowering
    That tantalizes the busy bee.

    So much beauty to behold,
    Colours far beyond our dreams,
    Watch dragonflies, dipping and diving,
    As they dance above a flowing stream.

    Not long ago we had fresh roses
    Rainbows for your eyes and mind
    Now withered heads are all that's showing
    We just need winter to be kind.

    Now the year draws to a close
    Flowers shed their final bloom,
    Shrivelled petals now hang dying,
    Like holly in a heated room.

    Thank you God for all the seasons
    Thank you God for sun and rain,
    Thank you for the autumn shadows,
    And Winter, now it's back again.

  • James Cagney

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    We were tough little kids in the fifties,
    Just as tough as the men on the screen,
    Like James Cagney we could poke with our fingers,
    Curl up our lips and try to look mean.

    But James Cagney, his Mum didn't dress him,
    No home knitted jumper for him,
    Just a suit with room for a holster,
    And a hat with a well fingered brim.

    You wouldn't find James in a jumper,
    Not one knitted by his Granny or Mum,
    Brown shoes and fancy gold waistcoat,
    But to a jumper he'll never succumb.

    Not one that was knitted in Fair-Isle,
    Brightly coloured, and stretch in the wash,
    How will I look when I'm getting older?
    In a stretched jumper and gangster moustache.

    It's hard to be tough when you're thirteen,
    With pressure of being the boss,
    And wear cloths that your mother has bought you,
    Or she's likely to be ill-tempered and cross.

    Today's kids wouldn't be such a problem,
    If short trousers they all had to wear,
    It's hard to beat up senior people,
    When your knees are dirty and bare.

  • Why Computer, Why?

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    For crying out loud computer
    You are slowly ruining my life
    My hair's falling out by the handful
    And I've started browbeating my wife.

    You were put on this earth to assist me
    And give me your priceless support
    Not stand like some waste of time statue
    To scrap you, is my final resort.

    Your Google isn't responding
    Your spell-check has no will to live
    Your hard disc is tired and weary
    Your memory has a head like a sieve.

    Sending emails, well it's quicker to cycle
    Least you know they'll arrive there this week
    What happens when they leave my computer?
    Where you send them, is entirely unique.

    I'm not sure you're fit to recycle
    Or fly-tip by the side of a lane
    But believe me, you nasty computer
    It's the end of your dictatorial reign.

  • If Birds Return?

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    If birds ever came back as humans,
    I wonder just what they would be,
    A blackbird would be big in business,
    And probably have a degree.
    His dark suit is right for a banker,
    Or to sit at the head of a board,
    He'll be an expert to deal with all finance,
    And a knighthood would be his reward

    Now a starling is more of a trader,
    With a barrow up Petticoat Lane,
    Selling sun cream and tiny bikinis,
    When the weather is pouring with rain.
    He surrounds himself with his cronies,
    So called friends who tell him he's great,
    In his iridescent suit he's a dandy,
    It's his merchandise that in a right state,

    The jackdaw he would sit there in judgement,
    His prisoner, a murderous cat,
    Who ate many birds and their feathers,
    Grew to be notoriously fat.
    The judge would find the cat guilty,
    And place a black cap on his head,
    The cat knew from this simple gesture
    That he'll hang from the neck until dead.

    Sparrows would come back as children,
    All going to secondary school,
    With uniforms dark brown and modern,
    They'll look so incredibly cool.
    They'll be good at football and rugby,
    All sports that require a crowd,
    The girls would win medals for hockey
    Making parents exceedingly proud.

    A song thrush would make a fine teacher,
    Teaching music his specialist thing,
    He would take all the children for music,
    Their singing would herald in spring.
    In his waistcoat he would look very handsome,
    A gold watch adorning his chest,
    For service to music he'll be honoured,
    An OBE would be sure to impress.

    A bailiff, that's a job for the cuckoo.
    After all when it's said and done,
    He spent all his life throwing birds from their nest,
    Evicting folks from their homes, much more fun.
    He'll take their possessions and sell them,
    Getting the best price that he can,
    It's sad time for the poor homeless people,
    When their life's in the back of a van.

  • Fly Tipping

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    What's the fastest growing thing,
    That the modern world has seen?
    RUBBISH: yesterday it wasn't there,
    Today, a toilet, and an old arm chair,
    There's a mattress with a dubious past,
    When first was made, was made to last,
    Now lies in tatters by the road,
    Part of some elicit load,
    Builder's rubble, bricks and stones,
    Worn out cloths, discarded phones,
    Tyres with illegal tread,
    Contents of a garden shed,
    Gone the parsley in a gown of white
    That was such a grand and elegant sight,
    The hawthorn hedge once so rich in bloom,
    Won't live to smell the lanes' perfume.
    Birds and retiles, spring time flowers,
    Begin to count their dying hours,
    All this causes so much pain,
    When someone dumps rubbish down a lane.

  • The Flower & Produce Show

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    With a silver cup and money prizes,
    For those whose veg is of winning sizes
    It's time once more for all to go
    To the Southleigh Flower and Produce Show
    Take all your veg your cake and flowers
    The ones thatÕs taken many hours
    Just to hear the Judge declare
    That youÕre the only winner there

    Folks who slaved throughout the year
    To watch opponents cringe with fear
    Men who only grow one size
    Who need to win that coveted prize?
    Scented perfume from a rose
    May mesmerise a judge's nose
    But when arranged for all to see
    Could win first prize of, 20p!

    Home made marmalade and jam
    All improved with an added dram
    That brings a smile to the judgeÕs face
    Who goes back for a second taste?
    The auction now has just begun
    With your pockets full of money won
    Go see the Duke and do a deal
    And have yourself a slap up meal. (Packet Crisps!)

  • The Privy

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    The fire burns brightly in the grate,
    You have to go, you cannot wait,
    The rain is teeming down once more
    It beats a rhythm on the door
    Reluctantly you leave your chair
    Put on your mac, that’s hanging there,
    With cap pulled firmly on your head,
    You reach the point that you all dread,
    Open the door, out in the rain,
    The blessed torch plays up again,
    Instant darkness closes in,
    As your walk of urgency begins,
    Arriving at the toilet door,
    You’re aware of water on the floor
    Then as your trousers they descend,
    It’s with the water they do blend,
    Your trousers now all sopping wet,
    “Please God provide a new toilet”,
    You're feeling cold. Your spirit’s low,
    Now you find you cannot go.

  • The Return of Spring

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    Winter's packed its suitcase, all ready to depart,
    While spring has got her jacket off, waiting eagerly to start,
    Shaking hands, they say farewell, we'll meet again next year,
    Then winter quietly goes away, and a refreshed new spring is here.

    First she sorts the weather out, evicting ice and snow,
    Then heavy rain and thunder storms, and tells the north wind not to blow,
    She replaces them with morning mists, and a softly blowing breeze,
    Enough to stir the new formed buds, now growing in the trees.

    The birds are in their finery all ready now to sing,
    At the start of early dawn, they herald in the spring.
    Snowdrops then the bluebells grow vast among the trees,
    Butterflies and frogs and toads and the very welcome bees.

    Birds they all return to us, soon start their courting song,
    Building nests, hatching eggs, so busy all day longs,
    In the evening as the sun goes down. You'll hear a robin sing,
    It has to be the nicest way, that we can welcome spring.

  • The Snowman

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    My face today's, a happy face.
    For snow lays all around
    From chimney pots high on the roof
    To thickly on the ground

    It beckons to me, quickly dress
    To rush outside to play
    The snow won't linger very long
    Before it melts away.

    I don my gloves, my scarf and boots
    Took a shovel from the shed
    Built his body, large and wide
    To support his handsome head

    Placed his head upon his body,
    His face was carved with care
    A carrot made a lovely nose
    A string mop, was his hair

    Lumps of coal soon made two eyes
    Mum's hat which made him blush
    He looked so suave and debonair.
    Before he melts to slush.

    The sun comes out, I look around
    He's nowhere to be seen
    The snowman's slowly melted
    And the grass is sparkling clean

    The snow which came, and gave me fun.
    Will return another day
    It comes and gives the world a wash
    For spring's not far away.

  • Sylvie

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    I never knew my grannies,
    They died when I was young,
    I don't know if they were fat or thin,
    Bad tempered or good fun.

    So if I could go back many years,
    And choose one of my own
    Then she would be a lot like you
    She would have to be your clone

    My Gran would be a short arse
    And have a wicked smile
    Dress like a granny
    In a certain Granny style.

    On Saturdays she'll buy me sweets
    Or take me for a walk
    When things were bothering me at school
    She would sit me down to talk

    After listening to my troubles
    She would ponder for a while
    Wipe away my troubled face
    Replace it with a smile.

    Then with words of wisdom
    As only grannies can
    What she tells me as a child
    Will help to guide me as a man.

    The granny that lives in my head,
    She doesn't have a name
    But as she is a clone of you
    Her name must be the same.


  • The Village Pub

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    The walls said, "Come in stranger"
    The chair said "sit you down"
    The bar said "are you drinking?
    I've not seen you around"
    The fire said "come sit with me
    Be drawn in by my flame
    Enjoy our humble company
    We're so glad that you came."

    The menu said, "come see my list
    I've more then you require
    All meals come with a choice of veg
    Or what else you desire
    With potatoes either chipped or boiled
    Or baked within their skins
    The food we serve is always fresh
    Not from packets, nor from tins."

    "Our food is quite delicious
    It's cook fresh every meal
    The steak cooked as you like it
    Or there's tender pork or veal
    There's Abbot Pie in Guinness
    Lemon sole for something light
    And if you like Italian
    The tagiatelle, cooked just right".

    Mr Oak tree's in the garden
    To watch the children play
    With a fence all round the garden
    So small children cannot stray
    It's a garden to relax in
    The Village social hub
    There is no finer place on earth
    That can beat the Village pub.

  • Mugabe

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    What kind of man can rule by force?
    Yet show no pity or remorse
    Can't have a feeling left inside
    To commit horrendous genocide
    He robs his people, they've nothing left
    Some would even welcome death
    He is now a man with ample wealth
    Collected be dishonest stealth.

    Soldiers leap to his commands
    To gather in all he demands
    Black or white no one is saved
    As they become a modern slave
    A slave that has no place to run
    To escape from soldiers with a gun
    He doesn't care about your plight
    You try to run, you're shot on sight.

    Now bulldozers have wrecked their town
    Their squalid homes have been knocked down
    Rats and mice run everywhere
    Yet it's rats who put the people there
    At night the old and children freeze
    The time is ripe to catch disease
    What on earth must people do
    To have a life like me and you.

    Please countries, hear the people's plea
    Open your eyes so you can see
    All it takes is common sense
    And no more sitting on the fence
    How many more lives will it take
    To admit there's been a huge mistake
    This man should never have the power
    Remove him from his Ivory tower.

  • The Bag Lady

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    Who is the bag lady?
    Where is her home?
    Does she have family?
    Why does she roam?
    Her belongings she carries
    Every mile that she walks,
    Never stopping to gossip,
    Rarely stopping to talk.
    Her bags are her sideboard
    They contain all her home,
    Is it all that she owns?

    When the rain falls at night
    Where does she sleep?
    When it's time for a meal,
    Where does she eat?
    For washing and toilets
    There are places near by
    But you need to pay money
    There must be times she could cry.
    Our lives are in order
    Our house is our home
    Not like this poor lady
    Who is destined to roam.

    Shoes are in tatters
    Worn down at the heel
    Her feet are neglected
    Walking becomes an ordeal,
    Her skin is all shrivelled
    Burnt brown by the sun
    Surely someone must love her
    There must be someone?
    People in Parliament
    In comfortable homes
    Find some way of helping
    Those destined to roam.

    This is dedicated to a lady who
    Walks the road between
    Botley and Farmoor
    And has done for years.

  • The Hedge Layer

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    On frosty mornings, you will find him
    Armed with just his Billyhook
    Carrying on the old tradition
    From a time before the doomsday book

    All his lifetime he's laid hedges
    Built dry stone walls when a call would come
    Skills begotten from his Father
    Who passed them downward to his son.

    His strong brown fingers bend the bough
    Plait's the branch both neat and strong
    Helps the boundary to survive
    Make firm the hedge where birds belong

    Once an art form, near forgotten
    Cut hard a hedge and bend to shape
    A strong defence for man and cattle
    Built from nature with no escape.

    He'll be a man of timeless patience
    Committed to the work in hand,
    His energy is never wasted
    His is the work that's in demand.

    He'll talk of pleachers, and binders
    Grubs the hedge, to tease the soil,
    So wind and the rain will not bother
    The creation of the hedgers toil.

  • Noah's Ark

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    God sent Noah an E-mail,
    Stating just what Noah must do,
    You must build a big boat, one that will float,
    Then fill it with beast ftom the zoo,
    With animals you'll also need insects,
    And wasps with a sting in their tails,
    Some snakes and two bats, and don't forget rats,
    Why Noah, I think you've turned pale?
    You don't need to question my wishes,
    But please do as I'm telling you too,
    Build the boat ftom wood from the Cypress,
    Then bring the animals on two by two,
    Two lions, two tigers, two of all living things,
    And some cows to give milk: for the crew.

    Now Noah, he thought this seemed funny,
    Who would help me to sail this great boat?
    You've got Sham, Ham, and Japheth,
    That's enough to make any boat float,
    But Noah I'm telling you this much,
    I'm sorry I ever made man,
    He's become so wicked and selfish,
    So listen to my cunning plan,
    The earth I will cover in water,
    40 days you'll see nothing but rain,
    So a holiday's out of the question,
    Don't even consider, going to Spain.

    Noah and sons went to Wickes,
    But no Cypress wood could they find,
    There were plenty of tools, and a nice metric rule,
    But the timber was just knotty pine,
    They had chipboard, plywood, and block board,
    And a new thing they called MDF,
    But God said it had to be cypress,
    So they used Wickes toilets and left,
    Now Noah's thinking was modern,
    The E-bay the next thing he tried,
    And there on the screen was some cypress,
    Which Noah had two days to buy?

    The wood was soon delivered,
    And the ark they started to build,
    With hammers and nails, and cloth for the sails,
    You could tell that these people were skilled,
    Then soon the ark it was finished,
    Next they needed a name,
    Titanic was one that Sham thought of,
    But Ham said it sounded quiet tame,
    What about Ark, cried Noah?
    Japheth said yes that sounds about right,
    And with such a short name, it won't use much paint,
    So we just need a small tin of white.
    Two by two the animals were loaded,
    With animals all nose to tail,
    There were just enough pens for the sheep and the hens,
    While the parrots they perched on the sails,
    Then the good Lord, just as he stated,
    Sent the rain down to wash sins away,
    Mrs Noah had just hung out washing,
    It just wasn't the good ladies day,
    40 days the rain it keep falling,
    With the earth all depressing and wet,
    A giraffe developed a sore throat,
    But God had forgotten a vet.

    The rain at last stopped falling,
    But no land could anyone see,
    So they all thought it best, to put a bird to the test,
    And sent a Raven to look for a tree,
    The water was now subsiding,
    But the Raven found no place to land,
    Then a Dove was sent out, and after flying about,
    Came back with a form in his hand,
    The water board beg to inform you,
    And I've no doubt you'll all understand,
    But because of a shortage of water,
    The use of hose pipes is temporary banded.

    The Lord he did as he promised,
    40 days it had poured down with rain,
    But the waters now gone and it won't be too long,
    'til all living plants grow again,
    So on earth corruption was over,
    No murders, No violence, No sin,
    Just Noah his wife and his children,
    And a new world would start to begin,
    So if you've been wicked and selfish,
    And then you get caught in the rain,
    Remember the Lord keeps his promise,
    Is it time to start flooding again?
  • Holidays

    Open or Close

    Do you remember back in the sixty's,
    When holidays all came along,
    You booked to have two weeks at Butlins
    Two weeks of sunshine and song,
    You'll queue each morning for breakfast,
    At lunch time, you'll queue one more time,
    For dinner it's the same old story,
    The days spent just standing in line.

    In the eighty's you're starting to travel,
    With more holidays being taken abroad,
    You could fly cabin class, very cheaply,
    Which more people found to afford,
    Flying to Spain people found was quite normal,
    And going to France that was just the same,
    The powers to be made it easy,
    Dug a tunnel to allow for a train.

    Today people really do travel,
    With mountains all ready to climb,
    And go chasing beasts on safaris,
    Or goes pot holing to get covered in slime,
    Backpacking in regions of Thailand,
    Look for coral deep under the sea,
    Though all of these breaks are quite pleasant,
    They not really my cup of tea,

    This year I'm going to Park Hurst,
    For two weeks I'll be pampered all day,
    With cordon-bleu cooking to die for,
    All this and I don't have to pay,
    My bed will be made in the morning,
    All day I will polish my nails,
    Two weeks of resting and comfort,
    When you book in to England's, top jails.

Alfred Grosch

  • Splitting Logs

    Open or Close

    I bought some logs from Farmer Brown
    Away back in the Spring,
    And often thought of all the warm
    In winter they would bring;
    I had in mind a roaring fire,
    And I, my labours done,
    Beside it in the slippered ease,
    That day-long toil had won
    But I, alas, had yet to learn
    Some things I knew not then,
    And one was big logs will not burn
    Unless they’re split again;
    That’s why I found my neighbour, Timms,
    Defying time’s attacks
    By splitting with apparent ease
    Logs with a grubbing axe.
    And it is now a sorry tale
    I tell, my arms and back
    Ache with the unaccustomed toil,
    And seem as they would crack;
    Though younger by a score of years,
    And sounder in my limbs,
    At splitting logs I’m nowhere near
    As good as neighbour Timms.

  • December morning

    Open or Close

    Upon the bleak December morn
    The sun, on winged chariots borne,
    Pours down from spaceless, eastern skies
    A blaze of light that blinds the eyes.

    Meanwhile, except for tide and time,
    The world stands still beneath the rime
    Which coats grass, hedges, fields and trees
    With such exquisite traceries.

    And what but yesterday was mire
    Glows diamond-like with dazzling fire,
    While on the stone roofs, ’twixt bunching moss,
    The tiles shine with a darkling gloss.

    Then oh! The fragrance on the air
    Of pungent wood smoke everywhere,
    As each small chimney stack assumes
    A softly billowing mass of plumes!

  • My Neighbours’ House

    Open or Close

    My neighbours’ house is rather​
    Two rooms; one up, one down; that’s all
    It may be humble but not mean;​
    And quite enough for one to clean.​
    The roof, half slate and half stone-tile​
    Will serve its purpose yet awhile,​
    Indeed, about their little house
    I’ve never heard my neighbours grouse.

    But then why should they, like a glove​
    It fits them both, and seems to prove
    That happiness rests not on wealth
    And splendour, but on mind, and health.

    “Blessed are those whose wants are few”
    Has in my neighbours’ house come true.

  • A Summer Morning In Oxfordshire

    Open or Close

    The dew amid the misty sheen
    Of morning sparkling in the sun,
    Lights up, though day has scarce begun,
    A million diamonds on the green;
    Behind a faint yet perfect screen
    Of filmy web but newly spun
    Which seems from branch to branch to run,
    Blooms softly now the eglantine.

    While old man's beard and lady's lace
    Mere weeds by gardeners decried
    Festoon the banks on either side
    And fill the lane with fairy grace
    And, oh, how crisp the grass I tread!
    How blue the clear sky overhead.

  • The Lane To Bamard Gate

    Open or Close

    I like at times to walk along
    The lane to Bamard Gate;
    To hear the rising lark in song,
    Or some bird call its mate.

    I look to look at fields and trees
    And cottages by the way,
    And all the other things like these
    That one sees every day.

    For somehow when I walk the lane
    I feel in better state;
    Within my love and kindness reign,
    There is no room for hate.

    And I, my agitations shed
    With all that is unkind
    Discover there is peace instead
    Of chaos in my mind.

  • Cogges Turn

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    From Cogges’ Turn ‘tis a pleasant mile​
    Or so to Marjin’s Cross​
    Especially when the countryside
    Puts on its Autumn Gloss;
    The road goes down into a dip,​
    Then rises up again,​
    Winds to the left , and to the right
    Like any country lane;​
    ​You’ll find a cottage here and there
    Until you round the bend
    And see a chapel standing just
    ​A few yards from the end
    At Marjin’s Cross both left and right
    ​Lies beautiful South Leigh,
    Whose ancient church upon the hill
    Still offers sanctuary.

  • Primroses

    Open or Close

    Along the lane as I, today,​
    Which, on a Summer’s morn,​
    I saw to my intense delight
    Those harbingers of Spring​
    Whose name our forbears coined to note​
    The first flowers to appear
    In England’s lanes and byways
    As those of Summer time.​

    They clustered ‘neath a thorny hedge
    Was quietly wandering,
    I’ve seen the lovely, pink, wild rose
    With countless blooms adorn;
    And though the budding hedgerows were

    Still faintly touched with rime,
    As lovely as were these primroses
    he Spring time of year.

  • The Limb Brook

    Open or Close

    You’ll find no penetrating gleam
    Of sunlight on this narrow stream,
    No hint of laughter, lilt of song,
    As Limb Brook makes its way along.

    In winter time its muddy brown,
    Thick water swirling darkly down,
    Fringes the willows with a froth,
    Above the twirling, khaki broth.

    In spring time and in summer too,
    A lazy flow just trickles through
    To hollows, where it stops and fills,
    Then overflows to other rills.

    But all the same, as it may seem
    To some unbeautiful, this stream
    Possesses charm, and holds for me
    Quiet and tranquillity.

  • A Cottage On The Green

    Open or Close

    A small thatched cottage in between
    Miss Harrison’s and Station Farm,
    Stands on the far side of the Green,
    A picture full of old-world charm.

    And there lives bright-eyed Mrs Gunn,
    In that serene which men call “Age”,
    With still, please God! some years to run
    Ere bidding farewell to this stage.

    Her pleasant smile, her voice so clear
    When welcoming the visitor
    Bring to our time the atmosphere
    Of forty years ago, or more.

    And so I hope that Mrs Gunn
    Will long bide with us on the Green
    And keep her small thatched cottage one
    Where courtesies are heard, and seen.

  • South Leigh

    Open or Close

    A few stone cottages cluster still
    About the Church upon the hill
    As they have done through countless years
    Of human hopes, and human fears:
    A little green, a patch of scrub,
    A chapel, and a single "pub",
    A road that wanders round about
    The village ere it wanders out.

    And, oh yes, I forgot the stream
    Beside which one might sit and dream
    Forgetting time, surroundings, space,
    And of the present see no trace,
    For hear are quiet, sanctuary,
    And absolute tranquillity!

  • Bread Forever

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    Upon the ancient church-tower walls
    At Southleigh, Oxon, you may find
    A painted notice which recalls
    An old-time charity to mind;
    One Richard Talbut gave ten pounds
    To buy the poor of Southleigh bread
    Forever, and, strange as it sounds,
    This ten pounds seems unlimited.

    Though many a decade since has flown
    In January nineteen forty three
    The church loaves as they are now known
    Came round as usual, two loaves free;
    Brought by the baker on his rounds,
    And handed in at each cottage door
    All paid for by the said ten pounds
    That Talbut left so long before.

    Since this poem was written some seventy years ago, the said ten pounds and a few other similar donations have been invested in land, the rental income from which is still used by the South Leigh Charity to disburse funds to aged, sick or ‘down on their luck’ residents in the village.



We live in a country called Daftland,
The Britain we knew is no more
Where sensible people do ludicrous things
Or risk breaking some Daftland law.
In Daftland we've police dogs with muzzles
Less the villain has cause to complain
And to steal from a shop and say 'sorry'
Means your free with no stain to your name.

You had better leave lights on in buildings
When you lock up and go home at night
'cause the burglars might hurt themselves entering
And there's no way you'll be in the right.
When speaking be wary in Daftland
As some terms that you've used all your life
Now have connotations unintended
And you'll end up in all sorts of strife.

We elect politicians in Daftland
To give us the laws of the land
Yet eight laws in ten now come from abroad
The whole thing has got out of hand.
The borders are open in Daftland
And of migrants there's no keeping track
Just a few of the thousands illegally here
Will ever be caught and sent back.

The exception to this is the hero
Who fought for this land in the war
He's old and he's sick, he might cost us a bit
So he's not welcome here any more.
When the history is written of Daftland
Historians may just recall
That the craziest people in Daftland
Were the public who put up with it all