(Based on recent scary events.)
She turned up early at Houston Airport,
Not close to late, yet looking overwrought,
However, the casual check-in staff at Southwest
Did not believe she to be a woman possessed.
With ticket to Columbus held in sweaty hand
She looked to the Heavens for her 737 to land,
She held no bags to check in, no carry-on of any kind,
Yet some baggage was weighing heavy on her mind.
She trepidatiously sat upon her seat in the plane,
Another twitchy troubled passenger, this all too plain,
One or two closely confined fellow travellers drew away
When she began to pray as they sped down the runway.
For all on board it was a most distressing time,
Her high-pitched whine accompanying the climb,
After an eternity the creaking Boeing reached cruising altitude-
Now we all had quite enough of her 'Saved by Jesus' gratitude.
But now- good Heavens- He's telling her what to do!
She'd abide by good God's word but not heed the crew!
She tried opening the exit door, at nigh on 37,000 feet!
At which point I felt compelled to evacuate my seat.
The flight crew soon had the situation contained,
God knows she was bound to be tightly restrained,
But I'd still spend the rest of my flight sat white-knuckled
In the sole seat on the plane one can sit upon unbuckled.
'But Jesus told me to do it,' she declared on her arrest,
Now she's banned, in perpetuity, from flying Southwest,
Still, next time I'm liable to fly the Houston/Columbus route
I'm packing me a bible, clean underwear and a parachute.
'Southwest Airlines will get you there on a wing and a prayer.'
(Song for this one was always destined to be 'Airline To Heaven' by Billy Bragg and Wilco.)
(Part five of the 'Tripping Up In Scotland Tales.')
Taking A Load Off.
We'd spent a fine fortnight up here in bonny Scotland,
Long days wanderin' new highways and olden byways,
Then, when footsore and selfie stick felt heavy in hand
We'd stop at one of a plethora of quaint old skool cafes.
Testing the legend of the warm genial Scottish host-
Truly, we had had to rate Scots hospitality A+ so far-
Aye, we were happy to prove theirs had been no idle boast-
Oh, but, after that day, at the sad cafe- sorry, but no cigar.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Up, up and on toward Edinburgh Castle we gamely strode
Following ancient footsteps up the hallowed Royal Mile,
At the crest we had a rest, turned, took the downhill road,
Seeking succour, a tearoom, a host with a welcoming smile.
So, into the handy Do Drop Inn we duly tottered wearily in,
The hostess glared up from weighing up her overfull till,
A look at her displayed fare showed our pickings were thin,
This quick stop in for hearty repast was fast going downhill.
We bypassed the iffy egg sandwich with its turned up crust,
Didn't try the pre-war tea pot with the tannin-stained spout,
Bought a can of Coke and pre-wrapped teacake rather than trust
The green cream covered pikelets that may well have laid us out.
We paid our surly hostess, parked it in a cold hard dark booth,
Looked to our hostess for either a napkin or a smile, in vain,
So, to my flint-faced skin-flint hostess I offer this hard truth-
Should we return, och aye, we'll nae come near 'ere again.
'What? No tip???'
(Song for this post is 'Hungry Heart' by Bruce Springsteen.
Left High And Dry.
If you've hauled ass to fabled and far off Qatar
There to feast your eyes on the Football World Cup,
Don't think you'll breeze into some friendly corner bar
Replete with some foamy sudsy Buds on which to sup.
Qatar authorities don't condone public drinking here,
They frown on out-of-towner's downing a cool beverage,
It doesn't matter if it's merely Budweiser's sLitest beer-
Stay way up in your hotel and clean out the mini-fridge.
No, do not go out once you're boozed in the bag,
And if you're a woman, don't dare show bare skin,
But then don't wrap yourself up in a rainbow flag,
Dressing gayly here appears to be a mortal sin.
Tourists flock to Qatar to watch the beautiful game,
Most used to emitting loud cheers and drinking freely,
Now some who were glad to come feel sad they came,
And is getting a skinful of Bud Lite all that sinful, really?
Kicking 'round the desert sure does build up a thirst-
What madness, sweating it out 'neath a swoonday sun!
My excitement over seeing the World Cup's already burst,
Druther be chillin' at home, knockin' back 'nother cold one.
'Way more than feeling half empty'
Song for this dry and dusty post is 'Super 8' by Jason Isbell.
(Part Four of the 'Tripping Up In Scotland Tales.')
All Downhill In The Highlands.
Sat on the Saturday train rattling up to Inverness,
Passengers packed in chokka-block, cheek by jowl,
At Pittodrie onto the train stepped a maid in distress,
Coughing and spluttering away with a cough most foul.
Towards the last empty aisle seat she wheezed-
The window passenger looked most displeased.
These days, with Covid blessedly on the wane
I'd hoped, nay prayed I could tuck my mask away,
But as she shuffled and snuffled down the train
I wished I'd retained mine to reduce her fine spray.
The train inched slowly up the long incline
Accompanied by a nasal and diesel whine.
The wheels of the train spun 'round and 'round
Trying to gain traction to crest that highland hill,
Sparking squealing wheels masking a ghastlier sound,
My thoughts turned to my life insurance- and will.
In tandem diesel and damsel were working hard
Judging by the panicked look of the passing guard.
Up the painful grade the twain coughed and hacked,
In this carriage of infection a miasma of doom clung,
Could (should?) our carrier get quarantined, sidetracked?
Would our Highland Princess bring up the other lung?
I searched in my coat for a Kurol or Fishermans Friend*
But I fear I'll hear her accompaniment till journeys end.
I had no lozenges to offer her or me much relief,
No sweet something to sooth her irritating throat;
Also, loath to proffer her my pristine handkerchief,
I turned away, turning up the collar of my overcoat .
She sat, openly coughing, never a thought to mask it,
Would she, the poor diesel, or just me bust a gasket?
To those of us unluckily stuck in the closely confined crowd
Keeping clear of her presence proved stickily problematic,
I showed her my back as she hacked on, foghornly loud,
I couldn't face her expectorations and remain phlegmatic.
And so my three day stay at Inverness was plagued with fear,
Every morn waking, hoping my covid test and snot ran clear.
*Brands of supposedly soothing throat lozenges that smell and taste like a cross between mentholatum, wintergreen, Kimchi and kerosene.
'Breath warmed up.'
(Song for this post is- no, not 'the Doobie Brothers 'Long Train Running' but an obscure one, Hammond Gamble, 'Whistling The Blues In The Rain.')
Canny Generals and clever Chiefs Of Staff
Set out their boy soldiers on their bloody stage,
So sure of victory, with Right and God on their side,
All to please some President, Princeling, King or Kaiser.
Then the winds of war blow away the chaff;
Them old Field Marshalls live to a grand old age,
To think back on service and sacrifice with due pride,
Mind full of their many medals, yet still none the wiser.
'Life is an all-too fragile thing'
Song for this post is 'Mama Bake A Pie (Daddy Kill A Chicken') by the Drive-By Truckers.
(Part Three of the 'Tripping Up In Scotland Tales.')
Haunted By Our Uninvited Pest.
Our historic ground floor Edinburgh Airbnb was a joy to behold,
All the modern conveniences of now fused with the charms of the old,
As a guy raised in an archaic house it seemed a second homecoming-
Hardwood heated floors, re-enameled old bath, antiquated plumbing.
As I turned the front door key
I felt with a stone cold certainty
the ghastly pestilential presence an old house oft retains
Lurkin' deep 'neath a twisted maze of dank and clanking drains.
First night there came a scream as Aunt Kath stepped into the bath,
What cellar dweller caused conniptions in Aunt 'Scaredy' Kath?
Out of the plug hole Doris the Spider proceeded to calmly crawl,
Her arrival saw highly strung Aunt Kath climb straight up the wall.
You should have heard her shriek
At that Daddy of an eight legged freak,
Be it rare exotic tarantula or common house spider
Whatever Doris is, our Kath couldn't bear or abide her.
Poor petrified Kath couldn't stand to see a creepy arachnid,
Petting freaky creepy crawlies wasn't something our Katie did,
Two days on, Kath remained skittish 'bout using the bathroom,
Only when Doris is flushed away can normal service resume.
Before stepping into bath, shower or toilet stall
Wary Aunt Kath gives each and all the hairy eyeball,
Don't want an arachnophobe Aunt to totally bug out?
Then don't leave that ol' big-ass bath with the plug out.
'Aunt Kath's bath night eight legged freak out.'
(The theme song is, predictably, the Who's 'Boris The Spider.')
Two Sides Of The Coin.
Gracious me, Jerry Lee Lewis could put on a show!
It's a miracle his smokin' hot piano didn't catch fire!
Lee could sit down at any damned honky-tonk and tear it up
Or stand up at any staid Church Dance Hall and burn it down.
But now Jerry Lee, The Killer, has played his last show,
The time has come to judge the guy who played with fire,
Will Saint Pete say 'the Boss says 'let that Bad Boy step on up?"
Or 'Lee, He's reviewed your record- sorry, He's turning you down.'
OK, it is still a bit raw but it is said tongue in cheek, and as Jerry Lee would most likely say, 'the Hell with it.'
(Theme song for this post, in the circumstances, can't help but be 'A Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On,' by the bad boy himself.)
Sweet And Sour Halloween.
We have a 'Welcome All' sign adorning our door
But that 'Howdy' loses its sheen come Halloween,
Kids come a'rappin' just to come runnin' back for more-
Guess handfuls of M&M's beats the rush of Benzedrine.
Each hungry soul, double dipping and double dealing,
All filled with a deep primeval heartfelt burning need,
All too soon my treat bag held that empty feeling,
Yet they continue to have an all-consuming greed.
They're here knockin' again and they ain't gonna leave,
Kids of today, like I did in in my sweet toothed youth
Believe it's OK to give but far more fulfilling to receive-
Been my Gospel truth since I received my first Baby Ruth.
So I emptied out my covert Covid candy secret stash,
Aghast, I watched as my basket emptied, and toot suite,
Seeing my empty look made teeny tiny milk teeth gnash-
Soon I'd discover the cruel childish side of Trick or Treat.
Those bloodthirsty nippers were still not content,
They wanted more, more, more, but I'd been bled dry,
Behind smiley masks teeth shone, bright, malevolent
They demanded my S'mores, with dark avaricious eye.
I could do no more than raise up my empty hands
Appeal to the better nature of the little bu- beggars,
But within this lot of buccaneers, pirates and brigands
Lies a deep pocket of nasty stinking rotten little eggers.
Here I was, on Halloween, left bereft, with no more to give,
Talks were going downhill quick, and about to get trickier-
I made a fateful decision- one at night I lie awake and relive-
Closing the door on their demands made my situation stickier.
Now there's no 'Welcome' sign adorning our darkened door,
Nowadays I can no longer entertain Halloween at our place,
Wise-cracking munchkins don't tap-tap on our door anymore,
Slammin' my screen door left me wide open to egg on my face.
'Kids ain't all sweetness and light when they rock up on Halloween night.'
(Theme song for this could be 'Cracking Up' by Nick Lowe.)
(Part Two of 'The Tripping Up In Scotland Tales.')
Flagging Capital Cabs.
We had come to Edinburgh with a Capital Cab pre-booked,
Paid for on-line an age ago, but now we'd been 'overlooked,'
So we called and re-called Capital Cabs till our calls were hooked-
So now I'm calling out this mob in hopes their goose gets cooked.
Capital Cabs have proved to be a bunch of f... odd ducks,
Call Capital Cabs on a fair day and their service is de lux,
Call on a busy pissy rainy day and their fine service sucks,
NO pick-up unless a promised tip- in the vicinity of 50 bucks.
So I stood, beside myself, steaming in my streaming suit
As a fleet of Capital Cabs cruised by, not giving a hoot,
One paused, raised a playful eyebrow, then planted boot,*
Left us looking at two tail lights and a one-fingered salute.
And should you dare to try to flag down a Capital fare
The Capital Cabbie won't stop with a curse and a glare,
I swear you'll get the full skidding swerve and Death Stare
Requiring a smart step back, and a change of underwear.
I'm (not) sorry, Crap Cabs, if these all too candid comments
Place your Company at the centre of a sad chain of events
But you afforded us a disservice, offered us no recompense-
I feel free to call out your bad Company as a Capital offence.
*NZ slang; plant boot- to put the pedal to the metal, stomp on the gas, light up the Firestones, lead foot it etc.)
'Call Capital Cabs if you want the piss poorest of service.'
(Theme song for this post might as well be Talking Heads 'Road To Nowhere.' Or, judging by the time we waited, Neil Young's 'Till The Morning Comes.')
Number Ten And Counting.
Which latter day Tory leader ranks worst?
Big Party-goer Boris's bubble soon burst,
But for three crazy years he'd partied on,
Aren't those left Rightly glad he's gone?
Liz Truss lasted barely a month and a half?
One doesn't know if one should cry or laugh,
Liz bit the dust and quit in six sad weeks;
How the tears roll merrily down my cheeks.
Three scant years seems the average tenure
Before for your Tory PM it all turns to manure.
So Truss packs it in after a bolloc rollicking 45 days-
An ingloriously shorter stay than Theresa Mays,
Whoever the f- fickle Tories pick cannot be worse!
Pluck some worthy to put the Clown Car in reverse!
Blimey, whose slimy grimy hand arrises, unbidden
From the Conservatives festering unholy midden?*
Could it- is it Boris Johnson, come back for more?
Before you go Liz, lock and bar Number 10's door.
*Midden- British term for a junk yard, rubbish tip, a compost heap where old tools or past their use-by date heads of cabbages etc are abandoned to decompose; discarded, unwanted and mostly unlamented. Like Johnson and Trump best left dumped, NEVER to be disinterred.
(Theme song for this debacle just has to be the Beatles ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy.’)