Thursday, 6 August 2015

Poem: The Trampoline Instructor

The Trampoline Instructor

(For Jake and Annie)

Tell me, have you ever been
Bouncing on a trampoline?
Have you flown way up high
Until you’re floating in the sky
Like Superman or an acrobat?
There’s nothing better than that
On a trampoline.

Bounce, bounce, 
Bounce bounce bounce bounce!
You feel like you don’t weigh an ounce
Or a milligramme.
Send a telegram to say
You want to bounce today,
And if telegrams are out of date 
Then text
It’s your turn next!
Bounce, bounce
Bounce, bounce 
Bounce bounce bounce!

Be careful, you might get a shock -
Take off your shoes, bounce in your socks,
And careful you don’t hit the edge.
You must always mind your head
It has so  many thoughts inside
So do not bounce over the side
Stay on the trampoline.

And if your tummy’s full of chips
Do not perform those double flips.
Wait a while after you’ve munched
Maybe an hour after your lunch
For if you’re sick I fear
Your lunch may reappear

On the trampoline.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Ballad of the Camper Van (and the RAC Man)

I’ll tell you a story, I don’t want to trouble you
I bought a camper van, a VW
Got it on eBay, in Auchinleck
A cash-on-collection, no-timewasters-wreck
Resprayed, immaculate
MOTd, fully loaded
I was approaching Perth 
When the engine exploded
In a shower of milky white
Boiling hot water
I’d been screwed. I’d been led
Like a lamb to the slaughter
The man from the RAC simply giggled
showed how the gear linkage wobbled and wiggled
Held together with cable ties, duct tape and hope
The scales fell from my eyes, and I felt like a dope
The silicon sealing the cylinder head
It had been “newly serviced”, the seller had said
The timing belt changed, the water pump too
“But not by someone who knew what to do”
Said the man from the Royal Club of Automobiles
Not seeming to care a jot how I might feel
“But they did just enough to fool someone on eBay
has this happened before, sir?”
I thought, then replied “maybe
Just nine or ten times in the past 20 years…”
I remembered the agony, the blame and the tears
The moss and the fungus in that Talbot Express
From Orkney, my daughter’s awful distress
A Fiat, that broke down in a safari park
And stranded us on the Tay Bridge after dark
The T25 that I picked up in Kent
Got to Carlisle, before I found the chassis was bent
And you had to steer sideways to keep going straight
The several Types Twos that I learned to hate
For their back-breaking steering, their gear changes from hell
The air-cooled motors, the constant burning smell
And the breakdowns in Cumbria, Edinburgh, Wick
My wife always shouting, the kids always sick
“So why, said the man from the RAC, are you here
With another disastrous purchase. I fear?”
I replied “It’s an addiction, a gamble,  a chance
That somehow, just once out of all of those vans
I’ll find something solid and trustworthy and true
And we’ll drive off on adventures, to Katmandhu 
Or to Keswick (that’s in England, but only just)
Instead, I shut doors, and get showered with rust
I carry gallons of water, and Radweld, and oil
I sit on  hard shoulders as radiators boil
And ponder the thousands of pounds that I’ve spent
And wonder if I’d be better off in a tent
Or how many hotel rooms which could have been bought
With all I’ve invested in breakdowns and rot.”

“I’ve nothing to add to that” said the RAC chap

“Except just one thing: Your membership’s lapsed.”