Tag Archives: country living

England Is …

England is ticking grandfather clocks
And country cots,
Their doors still without locks.
It is a place of church choirs
And open pub fires,
Where dogs lie
While their owner’s sigh
Or laugh
Over an article in the Daily Telegraph.

England is young men full of testosterone
Who refuse to leave it alone,
And draw their knives,
With no concern for mothers or wives.

England is a tower block
Where people lock
Their doors
Against thieves and hoares.

England is a place of country houses,
Where spouses
Sit at oak tables
Cherishing half fables
Of a past
That is vanishing fast

Thoughts Of Norwood Past

It is a quiet new year’s day
A weak sun shows his face
Then hides away.
I awoke to pigeons cooing
Thoughts of a bygone age
And country folk a-wooing.
The pigeons are silent now
No more do sheep or cow
No country lass
Gazing in the glass
Will say
“’Tis new year’s day.
I must away
To milk.
No dress of silk
For such as I.
Only the vaulted sky
And my love
For one who is nigh”.


Country Places

Books in oak cases,

Country places.

Grandfather clocks tick,

The squire leans upon his stick.

A gun dog through the bracken scrambles,

After him the squire ambles.



Neon advertising signs,

Clubbers drunk on wine.

Half dressed girls sway on unsteady feet,

Trying to keep to the beat.

Fruit machines flash,

After knife wielding thugs the police dash.



In his study the squire sits,

from a glass of fine brandy he sips.

The dog his hand licks,

Elsewhere society falls to bits.


young offender (Part 1)

The clear, sharp bark of a fox pearced the rural solitude. A blackbird sang and a magpie screeched from the uppermost branch of an ancient oak . The tree stood close to the 18th-century farmhouse, it’s boughs almost touching the building’s sandstone walls.

Jennifer Lewes stood at the open living room window, drinking in the fresh Yorkshire air. She was, Jenny thought lucky to have secured the property at a knock-down price. The previous owner had gone bankrupt and wishing to make a quick sale, in order to clear debts, had accepted her first offer.

Jenny turned from the window at the sound of heels clacking on the kitchen’s stone floor,

“I’m bored shitless” her cousin, Luan said.

“Why not go for a walk down to the village? I need some groceries. You could pop into the shop and buy them for me”, Jenny said.

“Don’t wanna do that. There’s nothing in bloody village cept old people. I wanna go back to London. There’s sod all ere”, Luan said, kicking the legg of the kitchen table.

“Don’t do that Luan, it’s an antique”, Jenny said, swallowing down the anger which she felt welling up in her.

“You don’t care about me. All you cares about is things”, Luan said raising her right foot to kick the table again.

Jenny moved in front of the girl, before she could put her intention into action. Luan glared at Jenny and before she had time to react raked her nails across her face.

Jenny raised her right hand. Trembling with emotion she glared at her cousin.

“Go on, I dares ya”, Luan said.

For several minutes the girl and the older woman stood toe to toe, fists clenched, attempting to stir the other out. The grandfather clock struck 10 am. The sound caused Jenny to recollect herself. What the hell was she doing, a woman of 25 raising her hand to a 15-year-old girl. Jenny let her arm drop,and reaching for a piece of kitchen towel began to wipe away the blood which flowed from a scratch above her right eye.

“One more outburst like that and I’ll be straight on the phone to your probation officer. Mrs Maddox can take care of you. You remember what the magistrate said, “this is your last chance. If you come before the court again you will, in all probability be sent to a young offender’s institution”. Is that what you want Luan? Well is it?” Jenny said.

Luan began to cry quietly. Despite her tough demeanour the thought of a young offender’s institution terrified her. She had heard tales of girls being driven to suicide as a result of bullying by other inmates. Stories of physical and sexual abuse made Luan feel sick to the pit of her stomach.

“Sorry Jen”, she said, looking up with tear filled eyes into the face of her older cousin.

“OK, we’ll go to the shop together and, if you can behave maybe go for a trip into Leeds afterwards. It’s not London but it’s a city and we can look around the shops”, Jenny said.

Luan’s face brightened, “I can go by meself. Give me the bus fare”, Luan said.

“You must think that I was born yesterday young lady”, Jenny said.

“I aint gonna do anything”, Luan said.

“I’m not taking the chance. The last time you went to court it was for shop lifting. Either we go to town together or you don’t go at all”, Jenny said.

Luan’s face fell.

“Well what is it to be young lady?” Jenny said.

“Suppose I aint got no choice. I’ll go with ya”, the girl replied, her face a mask of disappointment.


John paused on the wooden bridge and looked down at the stream below. The light reflected beautifully back off the water, the ripples dancing in the spring sunshine. Leaning on the sun bleached wooden rail John drank in the freshness of the air. On first moving to the place he had been amazed by the lack of pollution. In contrast to London the only scents which filled his lungs where those of new mown hay and wild roses which lined the banks of the stream. The place was paradise, well as close to that biblical state as one can achieve on earth.

“Morning John”.

He turned to see his nearest neighbour, Jenny Thomas, hand in hand with Maria, her youngest child.

“Oh good morning Jenny and hello to you Maria” John said a warm smile suffusing his face. “I was just thinking how lucky I am to live in this beautiful village. I wouldn’t go back to the city now whatever money the head hunters offered me. 0 stress or mega bucks and an early grave”.

“Yes it is a no brainer” Jenny replied, her smile matching that of John’s. Jenny’s eyes strayed to the headline of the Daily Telegraph held in John’s right hand,

“Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of 14-year-old Gemma Lewis who has been missing for 5 days”.

“Its shocking. Her poor parents must be frantic” Jenny said tightening her grip on Maria’s hand.

“They should bring back hanging for kiddy fiddlers” John said, “the country’s been going to the dogs ever since the 60’s, that’s why I moved out here, its still England not like London which is full of bloody foreigners. I don’t recognise the country I grew up in Jenny”.

Jenny shifted uncomfortably. “One of my closest friends is Jewish”.

“Oh the Jews are integrated. It’s the others I’m talking about. We take in the world’s flotsam and jetsum instead of looking after our own people”.

“I must be going. I’m taking Maria to Sunday School and I’d better get a move on as it starts in 5 minutes”.

“Have a lovely time in Sunday School” John said pulling a funny face at Maria. The child stuck out her tongue and smiled at him.

Jenny frowned at her daughter. “Don’t stick out your tongue like that darling it isn’t nice”.

Maria’s face fell.

“Bye John”.

“Bye Jenny, bye Maria”.

John watched as the disconsolate child trailed off, dragging her feet in the wake of her mother. “Poor kid, fancy having to be stuck in a boring old church on a day like this” John thought.


Prior to opening his front door John paused to savour the scent of his honey suckle. “Wonderful” he said out loud burying his nose in the fragrant blooms.

Entering the house John locked and bolted the door behind him. Removing his shoes he padded in stockened feet up the oak staircase. Reaching the top John turned right entering the large guest bedroom.

“Hello Gemma” he said to the girl who lay tied and gagged on the large four poster.