Figuring out weather

I’ve been trying to figure out weather. I haven’t got very far. It’s just too full of contradictions. Take sunshine, for example. The sun is very hot, and sometimes when the sun is out the weather is very hot too. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s freezing when the sun is out. That’s understandable when it’s windy as well as sunny, but sometimes the sun is out and the air is calm but it’s still cold. So, logically, that must mean that sun and wind have no relation to ambient temperature. Except that’s bollocks. Because sun and wind do affect the temperature.

If logic is bollocks, and sun and wind do have an effect on temperature, then that effect must be unlogical, random, unpredictable. In which case all those weathermen on the telly are talking out of their arse. They must have no more idea about incoming weather than we do. So they should be fired. We should close down the Met Office and use the savings to fund research into something more useful. Like chocolate kettles or left handed rakes, perhaps. Or – whisper it gently – a robot that can figure out the weather.

The sun is bright, the sky is clear
But more than that I’ve no idea
Freezing? Boiling? Don’t ask me –
I hate you, Meteorology.

M1 Southbound

Southwards, ever southwards
Far beneath a Simpsons sky
Grinding past the landmarks
As the settlements fly by.
Doncaster and Maltby
Sheffield, Worksop, lots of sheep.
Power stations, Mansfield
Tibshelf coffee, fighting sleep.
50 zones and traffic cones
No workers can be seen
Windmills spinning slowly
Webs of power, clean and green.
Donnington and Shepshed
Down to Leicester Forest East
A footbridge crosses overhead
The traffic has increased –
Lorries, coaches four-by-fours
And hatchbacks by the score
Timid mice and roadhogs
Wives and girlfriends looking bored.
Watford Gap, where football fans
Are always hanging round
Then off at 16a at last
M40, homeward bound.
No crowds to meet and greet us
Simply Oxfordshire at peace
Hills and fields and hues of green
A sense of sweet release
From the weight of being absent
And the heavy Northern air,
The motorway was trying
But I’m home, that’s all I care.

Scavengers Of Horus

I start work at stupid o’clock every day, which means that I get to see 6am in all its myriad forms. At present I walk through town just as the buildings on the horizon are turning grey, and as the first hints of purple hit the sky.

There are a fair few people about, despite the early hour, but they’re quiet – almost silent – as they go about their business. No-one ever shouts before the dawn. But seagulls, on the other hand? Noisy bastards to a man.  There was a flock of them overhead this morning, divebombing pigeons and stealing their chips whilst screaming blue murder. Then, all at once, they rose into the sky and buggered off back to sea. Which was my cue to write a poem…

What noise! The seagulls circle
Up above at 6 am
Round and round they hurtle
Round and round and round again.

Drawn by chicken drumstick bones
And chips left on the street
They’ve left their natural seaside homes
To forage, and to eat
In Reading, umpteen miles inland
Before the sun’s arrived –
They woke at 4am, as planned
Were here by ten past five.

How they scream in harmony
Above the Metro Bank
Before they head back out to sea
Without a word of thanks,
Godspeed then, noisy scavengers
May Horus guard your fate.
Farewell then, noisy scavengers
Be gone. The dawn awaits.

The Prophetic Bottom

I’ve always loved Bottom. The comedy program that is, not the wobbly hairy things above a man’s legs. I love all the episodes (although the 3rd series went a bit downhill) but one of my favourites is ‘Apocalypse’.

In this episode, Eddie and Richie visit a fairground and, in a bid to escape a man they’ve shot in the eye with an air-rifle, they end up in the tent of a crooked fortune teller. The fortune teller (Liz Smith – brilliant) tells Richie that “Before the moon rises three times.. you’re gonna die!” And here’s where I get to the point of this essay….

Richie, the most gullible man in the world, falls for this rubbish hook line and sinker. He is completely terrified by his impending death, and decides to take preventative measures: he turns the sofa upside down, covers it in blankets and proceeds to spend the next three days hiding underneath. He won’t come out for any reason, and he wont even eat any food unless Eddie has safety-tested it first.

A bit of an extreme reaction, perhaps, but nonetheless that is exactly what I would be doing now if I was a celebrity over the age of fifty. Every time I see such a celeb on the telly I’m thinking “What are you doing you idiot?! Don’t you know this is 2016? Haven’t you heard! Hide, you fool! Hide, hide! Take cover under your sofa and cower ’til we get to 2017!”

I’m not exactly sure just what 2016 has against celebrities, but whatever it is it has to be pretty big. You don’t kill this many stars on a whim. This isn’t just a case of “Celebrity X didn’t return my lawnmower and I don’t like his eyes – they’re too close together”. This is serious. This is major. Someone has fucked 2016 over in a hardcore way, and now it wants revenge. And somewhere, somewhere there’s a celebrity who knows why. A celeb who knows exactly what’s got 2016 all annoyed, and who is, right at this very  moment, hiding under his sofa.

So here’s a message for this celeb. This parasitic, cowardly star who won’t come out and face the music. The message is simply this: “Show yourself! Own up! Show a tiny bit of honour and sacrifice yourself for the sake of your celebrity colleagues! You owe it to mankind!”

I don’t see why this poor excuse for a celebrity should be allowed to live whilst other, nobler souls are lost. I don’t want to lose any more Victoria Woods, or David Bowies. Or even Ronnie Corbetts, although he did scared the shit out of me as a kid. It’s time for the scumbag concerned  to show himself, and to face the music (assuming there’s anybody left to play the music by then, of course).

So if you’re the guilty party then reveal your identity now, I beg you! And if you’re one of his friends then grass on him, dob him in, throw him to the wolves! And if you’re just a common or garden celeb aged over fifty… get yourself under that sofa! Now! Before it’s too late!



It’s Christmas Time Again

This poem is a bit of an experiment, as it’s different from my normal style. More words, less metre! There’s still a ryhming scheme in there though, even if it’s not as obvious as usual. Hopefully it came out ok!

It’s Time For Christmas


It’s time for Christmas again. The second week of October has come out to bat

and, like frustrated spectators when the Umpires offer the light, the leaves are just beginning to turn.

It’ll be a few weeks yet until there’s full scale rebellion, but a wise man puts on his tin hat

at the first sign of trouble. Especially in England, where the sun can burn

lethally at ten am and then vanish, Lucan-like before the clock strikes noon.

The English have mastered the art of the anticipatory quick change. Like Clarke Kent

they hurl themselves through revolving doors and emerge, miraculously in tune

with weather that hasn’t even started singing yet. And so, now that summer is spent,

It’s time for Christmas again.


The shops are filling, gradually – a Santa-hat there and some wrapping paper here –

with the accoutrements of Christmas. That shiny, glittery tat that we don’t really need

but that we buy anyway because it’s Christmas. Even though it’s October. The reindeer

shaped chocolates. The baubels. The aftershave gift-sets. If we buy them now before the greed

and pomp of December arrives with full force then we won’t have to remember to buy them later

when it really is Christmas. And by then, of course, we’ll be so damn sick of the whole shaboom

that we won’t feel like buying them anyway. So it’s better to get them now. In October. The greater

sin would be to leave it too late, and end up with nothing. So clear those shelves, make some room –

It’s time for Christmas again.


Christmas doesn’t get it all its own way, however. At least not yet. Halloween and Guy Fawkes, still a few

weeks from their own, tawdry fulfilment will put up a good scrap for window space. Sly punches in the abdomen

when Santa isn’t looking, the odd toe crunching stamp and a finger or two

in a crinkled, merry eye. All to secure a few more feet of shelf, another inch or ten

of counter space beside the till, where the tinsel-topped pencils and reindeer brooches stand proud.

Harbingers of the invasion to come. For a week or two, then, the shelves will be shared –

if contested – and the full force of Yuletide will be held in check by the crowd

of ghost-masks and fireworks and age-inappropriate plastic swords. But once all those kids have been scared?

It’s time for Christmas again.


These final two months of the calendar must be purgatory to the Grinches, the ardent atheists and the people who just like being grumpy.

But I must confess, ashamedly perhaps, that I rather like this time of the year. The creeping tide of crimson tat

brings to mind cosy evenings, sherry and the always amusing sight of our local paranoic jumping

from his kitchen window to hide in the bushes whenever snowballs splat

with sinister abandon against his double strength, steel lined front door.

Rumours that I pay local urchins a pound for each snowball that hits his letterbox are, of course, completely without foundation.

All this is to come. For now it is two weeks into October, and the leaves are starting to turn. English to the core

I, too, have zoomed through that revolving door and emerged from the other side with a mince pie in my mouth and a sense of anticipation.

It’s time for Christmas again.

With apologies to Kenneth Grahame…

I was thinking about assisted dying and Dignitas and all that stuff, and I remembered that I’d written a poem about the true end to The Wind In The Willows. I re-read the poem and still liked it (which isn’t always guaranteed when I read my older stuff) so thought I’d post it here.

(Incidentally, if you want to read any of my older writing – and there’s a fair bit of it! – then you can find it on, under the usernames Primate, Jonesey and Cloven Hoof. There’s also some on UK Authors under the username Kris)

Anyway, here’s the poem:

Heading Downstream

“Oh Ratty,” said Mole. “Are we ancient?
All wrinkled and nearing our last?
With my heart and your liver
Are our days on the river
Just memories fading too fast?

Now Badger is buried in woodland
And Toad’s in the Pond Of The Sky,
There’s only us left
And I’m feeling bereft
And I’m dreading our final goodbye.”

“Oh Mole,” said the rat. “Don’t you worry –
I’ve thought it all out, don’t you fret:
Before we are sacked
We will both make a pact
To resign and then seek out a vet.

They say that there’s one in Geneva
He lives by the lake, on the shore
We could bid him hello
And then take one last row
Before quietly shipping our oars.”

“Oh yes, my dear friend,” said old Moley
“A pact is the way to the light.”
So they set off together
Before once and forever
Rowing softly downstream to the night.

A Panoramic View

They’ve given us a different office. It’s upstairs and we’ve a panoramic view

Sitting at my desk I’m confronted with an expanse of sky, sometimes grey but mostly blue

It’s very distracting. It’s hard to concentrate on a computer screen when there’s a sky

It’s the choice between the restricted and the free, the small and the infinite.

And when you add in the three trees that are tall enough to dent that sky then who, in their right mind, could look away?

When it all gets too much I stand up, leave my desk and wander up to the window to take it in properly.

The sky, the trees, the church and the two multi-storeys, the civic offices and the shops.

And the cranes. Ah yes, the cranes. Henry Blofeld’s cranes, lining the horizon like lazy storks.

We can see 5 of them from our window. The town is one big building site these days.

None of them ever seem to move. I’m often reminded of the ‘Blink’ episode of Dr Who

Where the Weeping Angels can only move if you’re not looking at them.

The cranes are like that. They never move when you’re watching

But the next time you look they’ll be in a different position.

Imagine if they were alive, and decided to hunt us. We’d never see them coming.

Just like the Weeping Angels.

Duty calls me back to the desk after a couple of minutes, but the view never escapes for long.

Pigeons fly round in circles as the autumn sun begins to set.

They’ll start earlier tomorrow and I’ll be here to see them again.

Off home now though. Leave the view behind until the morning

When I’ll get to see the sunrise.