(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.')
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.')
(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.
Remember Hillary's insecure e-mail server?
Remember Fox and Friends patriotic fervour?
How they pitched forth every wild-eyed reason
To get 'that b witch' locked up for High Treason?
Burn her at the stake!
Pitch her in the lake!
Dip her in the Ducking Stool!
Sitting punishment, cold and cruel!
Give her Chinese water torture!
Troll that devils daughter!
Remind her of Bill's affair!
Give her the 'lectric chair!
Shoot her at dawn!
On the White House lawn!
By the NRA Volunteer Artillery!
Fox say 'pillory Hillary!'
Ready to pile on the hurt!
Ready to dish the dirt!
To positively relish it!
Polish and embelishit!
But as Don's damning document trail is unfolding,
Since Don has been found to be secretly withholding
Flippin' Fox hope the Right-thinking man understands
All our Tip-Top secrets are safe in his basement hands.
Security issues have rebounded!
Fox say 'Don's being hounded!'
It's a Presidential affront!
It's an FBI witch hunt!
Don holds a Privileged Position!
Don's above common inquisition!
Where's their shredded evidence??!!
Don Declassified them documents!
On Don's word, his solemn bond!
Donny waived his Magic Wand!
Totally Deep Statedly unjust!
In Don alone we trust!
Believe him- or not!
Support 'Mericas Great despot!
Ignore fifteen toxic hot boxes!
No view is crazier than Foxes.
'Little White Mistruths and no big Consequences.'
(I'm aiming to steer away from political comments, but c'mon, I couldn't let this lot lie.)
Son Of A B...
(Two games in and bottom of the table already. Last year is lookin' like the good old days.)
I've been a well seasoned Man United supporter
Since George Best* moved on from Spring Water-
And yet I've never felt such hopelessness before,
Even during those dark dismal Saturdays of '74.**
Last week, to see our Red team lose to Brighton in Blue,
When even after they'd gifted us a goal we lost 1-2,
Sillily I secretly thought there might be hope for us,
But now losing by 4 to the Bees;*** that's ridiculous.
Once again our prized Portuguese pair
Played out another ninety minute nightmare,
And today the Leagues best paid goalkeeper
Has shown it's time to try someone cheaper.
What a less than Premier performance Dave gave,
What was looked to be a simple Sunday League save...
The ball slipped twixt the fingers of our Number One,
And De Gea's 'pick-it-outta-the-net' day had just begun!
Not one United 'player' looked likely to score this day,
The first shot Bruno skied tried went up up and away,
That mishit ball rapidly disappearing out of the ground,
Followed by our first sad fan, already homeward bound.
To go up to Brentford and draw is no great shame,
But couldn't United manfully try playing the game?
I'd thought after Brighton bad couldn't get worser,
4-0 to Brentford? Brighton was just the precurser.
I silently turned off the TV, and it pains a poet to admit,
What I had just witnessed then, I hadn't words for it,
Therefore, Gentle Reader, I think a warning is only fair-
Beware, I promise I'm going to clear the air, I swear.
*Georgie, finest dribbler and drinker the club ever produced.
**1974, when the team went down a division. Relegation, a dirty word.
*** Brentford, nicknamed the Bees.
Born To Be Riled.
Young Davy kept bugging his big bro Chester,
Unceasingly, all day long he continued to pester,
'Please Chet, puh-lease, I won't venture far,
Please please please lend me your Yamaha.'
Eventually Chet gave in to his pleas,
Tossed Davy the ol' Twin Jet's keys,
Davy was off and gone in a smoky haze
Just as sudden regret clouded Chet's gaze.
Davy had sworn to Chet he'd be back very soon,
But with the Yam hummin' along, changed his tune,
Buzzed as he was with the Jets ring-a-ding-dinging*
Davy decided his ventures were just beginning.
Would Davy rue his passing flippant remark?
"It'll just be a quick spin 'round Riverside Park,"
So what if his turning point turned into starting mark?
He'd be back safe at home before the day grew dark.
You shoulda seen young Davy brightly beam;
And since the tiny Twin was runnin' like a dream
Davy shot past Riverside Park like a Shooting Star**
Never suspecting he'd just gone a bridge too far.
Riverside Park was but a stones throw away
From our happy home, therefore, on a good day
If an ill-wind don't blow, a cocked ear should hear
The howl of a returning Jet, both loud and clear.
As the air turned from welcoming, closing, close and shrill
To droning, then fading... distant... faint... fainter... still...
I stood quietly, patiently, by our back gate,
Wondering how long in silence I would wait...
From the depths of a converted chicken-coop in Austin Street
Chet let out a stream of promised oaths I dare not repeat.
Oh, but young Davy heard none of this- yet,
He thought he could charm good ol' big bro Chet,
If he came home late, but with a tank-full of gas
Chet would smilingly thank him and not kick his ass.
Young Davy raced along with a blissful smile,
Oh, but the ol' Yammy had done many a mile,
When the dinky carburettors began to splutter
Far far from home Davy felt his heart flutter...
Young Davy reached down, fiddled the choke,
Giving a bit more juice to the wee two stroke,
Davy looked downcast, the Jet kept slowing-
A heads-up Dave- look, see where yer going!
A wiser boy would have stopped to check,
Avoided the increasing probability of a wreck,
Of breaking the Yam, or his darn fool neck,
But there's always one silly Joker in every deck.
For Davy had his head down at crotch level,
Where even Evel Knievel, legendary dare devil,
'Gravity Defying Motorcycling Jumps Master!'
Wouldn't have seen the looming disaster.
You'd think a wiser boy would've used foresight,
But dumb choices are part of our family birthright,
A wiser boy would have heeded her first cough,
Wheeled her in, turned her in, not written it off.
The Jet Twin ran into the rear of a parked Rover,
Young and supple Dave flipped up and over...
Hanging on by the handlebars,
Bell helmet ringing, seeing stars,
As he hung up in the air he had time to lament
His big brother would kill him, not this accident.
Neither Yamaha nor Dave bounced back well;
The Jet's poor front forks were buckled all to Hell,
Dave's best bell bottomed Lees, ripped to shreds,
Blood and tears rained down on Dave's red Keds.
Then Dave bucked up, thought 'what's done is done,'
Then Murphy's Law kicked in; damn Yam refused to run.
So Dave pushed the heap home, with mounting regret,
The thought of Chet awaiting left him in a cold sweat.
Dave puffed the stuffed Yam through the gate, red faced ,
Chet, visibly pale, looked at the fu- front forks, displaced,
And when Dave quietly said "but 'tis just a scrape,"
Wow- then did Chet ever get bent out of shape!
Chet's gaze went from stunned to volcanically glowering,
His mood flipped from angry to enraged, towering,
Davy sought Ma's protection, quivering, cowering;
Was the fabled Three Stooges bonhomie souring?
Ordered/in order to pay for repairs to the front end
Dave disconsolately sold his stereo to a 'friend,'
Sorrily and regrettably Dave righted his wrong.
Who knew an old Yamaha would go for a song?
Yet what a bond us three bike loving brothers still had,
Neither Chet nor I wanted that relationship to go bad;
So, no more lending of motorbikes
From older bros to younger tykes;
Dave, forget your precious Walkman, CDs, your Telly-
I'd be after your holy soul had you broke my Benelli.***
* That 'this close to irritating' sound of a hard working two stroke engine.
** Long obsolete, long fallen to earth British BSA motorcycle from the past. BSA was apparently an acronym for 'Bastard Stops Anywhere.'
*** A fine example of Italian craftsmanship. Five star handling, first class motor, bright deep red paintwork, sleek modern design, dark ages electrics.