(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.')
(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.')
(Part One of 'The Tripping Up In Scotland Tales.')
Are We There Yet?
When you've scraped and saved up all your pay
How your heart soars as you fly up up and away,
Ever so ready to embrace that longed for holiday.
How gleeful were we three to be sat by the bulkhead,
So conveniently next to the galley, so, first to be fed!
Inconveniently near to the wee room, it must be said.
But why must every relieved facility user be a door slammer?
And must the cabin crew prepare each meal with such clamour?
Long haul travel is all perpetual motion, not glitz, not glamour.
Between the crew's solicitations, verging on the intrusive-
Punishment inflicted behind closed doors, sounds abusive-
After all these comings and goings, sleep remained elusive.
So, how slowly, grumblingly, tediously the hours pass,
As one unravels travels in jam-packed Tourist class,
19 hours sat on your butt is a proper pain in the ass.
Theme song for this blog has to be Wilco’s ‘Red Eyed And Blue.’
(Just back down to earth (and the blog) after a fantastic month in Scotland with our daughter, her husband and our now 8 month old grandson: Not only Scotland, a few days in London at the beginning and butt end of of our journey too.
To see our grandson in person, see and receive his smile, to feel his strength as he gets a grip on your fingers and pulls himself up, it brings a tear to my even now. Especially now that I'm waaay back here at home. So many things we've seen and experienced, so many things to blog about, the so many happy and good, but a few sad, bad and mad.)
Count Your Blessings.
It's no secret I voice my personal opinion, loud and long,
I'm always ready to bitch pitch in, show you your silly mistake,
Doggedly hog the conversation, tell you where you went wrong,
But I'm taking time-out, from acting childishly, for arguments sake.
Oh, I know I'm seen to be a carping old curmudgeon,
That grumpy guy who perennially sees a half-empty glass,
There is no pedantic point I won't be the final judge on,
So many I'm familiar with consider me a pain in the ass.
I've spent a lifetime becoming a cold hardened cynic,
The look of lip-curling contempt's one I've long mastered,
When it comes to put-downs and disses I can put on a clinic;
So many bad-mouther's out there swear I'm a right bastard.
But I'll stop butting heads with other buttheads stubborn mules,
Just for now my flailing, railing and ranting days are done,
As I look at what's sprung into my life, my temperature cools;
Who dare argue I'm not blessed with the perfect grandson?
(Give me a month of silence and I'll be back, cooler and calmer. I'm sure...)
Dick And Jane In A Spot.
See Dick t(run)dling 'round Walmart?
See Jane select a stray shopping cart?
See Dick search deep for a parking slot?
Did Dick see Jane in his Jeep's blind spot?
See Jane hear her phone 'b-ding?'
Well, now Jane won't see anything,
See Dick's head turn side to side?
See Dick's patience being tried?
See Jane gaze raptly at her screen?
Hear Dick mutter something obscene!
See Dick's head all but swivel 'round?
Not an accursed park to be f- found.
See Jane cross behind Dick?
See Dick's cheek start to tic?
See Dick see a most welcome sight?
Ahead, a Dodgy Neon's reversing light!
See the smile on Dick's face!
Dick has found his happy space!
See Dick's foot hit the Jeep's brake!
Let's see, which path will Jane take?
Look, see Jane, walking and talking!
Concentrating on talking not walking!
Dick has stopped, Jane's not slowing...
Can we see where this is going?
The Neon vacates the parking bay,
See Dick at the wheel, sawing away,
Dick can't get his Jeep Compass aligned,
Dickily reversing without glancing behind.
The very first day at Drivers Ed
What do they drive into your head?
Chapter One in their Good Book,
Before going forth, first LOOK.'
But Dick does not remember jack;
With Dick there's no lookin' back,
Backing back, back out into the lane,
'Dick in Jeep, meet Chatterbox Jane.'
Jane, holding wobbly wheeled trolley
Perfectly placed to compound his folly,
See Jane, lost in a world of her own,
Rattling away, eyes on her iPhone.
What a moving sight they both failed to see!
See Jane's trolley! See Dick's truncated Cherokee!
See Dick's not-so-tuff bumper, mangled!
His Jeep and her trolley, sorrily entangled!
Dolt Dick agreed it was all his fault,
Fortuitously Jane suffered just the jolt,
One broken fingernail, no broken bones,
And Dick's insurance covers cracked phones.
So, after names and details were taken
Dick saw Jane looked stirred and shaken,
Said he'd treat her to a hot sweet latte;
Today they marry, a year to the day.
See Dick and Jane take their wedding vows!
Though their venue raises actual eyebrows!
A Walmart wedding might sound perverse!?
If you know their journey, quite the Reverse.
* Chel Owens Terrible Poetry Competition. I try to plumb the depths, but God help me, my foolish ego says 'you're better than that.' Whatever, I guess I lose either way.
Misery Bus Tour.
(Brighton And Hove Albion 4, Manchester Benighted 0.)
Let us follow Manchester United down the road
On this fun-filled chartered bus to the jolly seaside:
'Tis seasons end and all aboard are in holiday mode,
What long lasting memories will this road trip provide?
After losing 4 frikkin' nil to pitiful Brighton and Hove
Suddenly the whole lazy gang can't wait to get going,
As back up North the dark charabanc funereally drove
A sad loss (to Brighton!) leaves Ralf* with tears a'flowing.
* Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United latest all-lost-at sea Manager.
(Seriously, 4-0? To Brighton? To that fu flock of Seagulls?) To BRIGHTON!!! I'd want the money wasted on my bus ticket and my season ticket back.)
We cain't leave without thanking the Maternity Team-
To those oh so many who helped deliver us our dream
Understand, this poor mother was full of Nitrous Oxide
And an eight-pound boy who wasn't ready to be outside.
Salutations to all in the endlessly rotating parade of staff
Who worked with us as she laboured for a day and a half,
We're sorry, to all those many nurses who came and went,
Believe me, those flippin' curses weren't personally meant.
Untold thanks to the NHS* for giving so freely of their time,
We're blessed to know we can go not owing one thin dime,
Happily we three can leave- scot free- the Royal Infirmary-
If he'd been born in the USA we'd be paying for all eternity.
*The National Health Service, free to all residents in Scotland and the UK.