Chemin de fer sans wi-fi

Welsh colliery narrow gauge steam train; Princess

Welsh colliery narrow gauge steam train; Princess

Garum, garum, garum. 

Garum, garum, garum.

Gadagady diddy de dadady de.

Garum, garum, garum.

The train upon the tracks as it starts upon its journey.

Building rhythm slowly, interrupted over points.

Garum, garum, garum.


Wahwhu, wahwhu, wahwu. 

Wahwhu, wahwhu, wahwu.

Gediddlyde, gediddlyde,

Wahwhu, wahwhu, wahwu.

She lengthens her stride to canter on the track,

the odd bump or thump as she slips a hoof in a hole,

sucking diesel now!


Sheeeee, sheee, sheee,

Ga Da,

Sheee, sheee, sheee,

Thug, gug, gah,

Shee, sheee, sheee,

The constant susurration of the breeze along her flanks,

Is punctuated by the cloddish ineptitude of the fools who laid the tracks,

She stumbles where she should float and fly.


Iron Horse, Mighty Mare,

Thundering over the countryside,

Belly filled with sweaty commuters,

Looking for a missing wi-fi signal,

Condemned to write bad poetry instead.

Lies, Lies and Resumés

It was Francis Bacon who wrote of three forms of lies in his essay “Of Simulation and Dissimulation”, which you can read in full here:

Bacon told of three forms of lying.  Secrecy, which is the hiding of the truth, is the least of them.  Dissimulation, which is the art of misdirection without overtly lying is the second.  Finally you have simulation, which is the overt telling of porky pies.

In the Catholic church we have a whole sub-classification system for excusing lies.  They can be good lies, which we sometimes call “white lies”.  These are told to save someone from harm or to avoid causing them pain.  It is the automatic response to the question “does my bum look big in this?”  (For reference the answer to western white women is “You look great” and to Afro/Caribbean women the answer is I believe “Hell yeah!”)

Then we have venal lies, which are bad, but can be easily absolved with a standard confession. 

Mortal lies are the really terrible ones, that require pilgrimages, sackcloth and ashes.

It is interesting to run through your resumé and to classify the lies you have told.  Which ones are secrecy, leaving out salient information that will not get you hired.  Which ones are dissimulation, where you “suggest” achievements or seniority that is a stretch of the truth.  Which ones are outright lies.  Watch the latter, because those are the ones that can trip you up.

So to one of the great liars:

Matilda; by Hillaire Belloc

Who told lies, and was burned to death.

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London’s Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
‘Matilda’s House is Burning Down!’
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda’s Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out–
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street–
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidnce) — but all in vain!
For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’
They only answered ‘Little Liar!’
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.


The winter has at last loosened its cruel grip upon the land and has allowed the sun to come to play a merry tune over field and stream, meadow and woodland, in the towns and villages, on city streets and seaside strands.  The nation basks and bakes, summer dresses flouncing in the breeze as pallid skin warms, glows and finally fries red and raw.  Break out the sunscreen.

This is the day I change my own rhythm, trading car for train on my commute.  It takes me longer to travel, but on the plus side, I get time to write my blog.  That can’t be all bad.

This it seems is a year of Moment (capitalisation intentional).  My oldest brother celebrates his 60th Birthday.  He is 10 years my senior.  And to add to those two landmarks Louise & I celebrate 20 years of marriage this June.  What to do?

With any luck I will finally rid myself of the stinker of a cold that has been dogging me for the last two weeks.  I finally figured out the Aircon in work today.  It is hidden in a cupboard.  Someone had set the sensor over my head to deliver 16 degrees C.  With the rest of the office at an ambient 21 the system was dumping freezing air on me to compensate.  No wonder I caught cold.

Now that we have this lovely sunny June I am minded to celebrate the joys of the April we should have had.  So I give you the “poet of the blackbirds”.

A Rainy Day in April: by Francis Ledwidge

When the clouds shake their hyssops, and the rain
Like holy water falls upon the plain,
‘Tis sweet to gaze upon the springing grain
And see your harvest born.

And sweet the little breeze of melody
The blackbird puffs upon the budding tree,
While the wild poppy lights upon the lea
And blazes ‘mid the corn.

The skylark soars the freshening shower to hail,
And the meek daisy holds aloft her pail.
And Spring all radiant by the wayside pale
Sets up her rock and reel.

See how she weaves her mantle fold on fold,
Hemming the woods and carpeting the wold.
Her warp is of the green, her woof the gold,
The spinning world her wheel.