Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

What John doesn’t mention here is that he was a young schoolboy in Gibraltar in the 1950’s and has fond memories of his many escapades there. You can find further details on his blog and he also contributes, on Facebook, to Gibraltar Old Photos 2.

I lived in Gibraltar, as a serving Royal Signals soldier, from 1974 to 1976. I was a Corporal, and single when I first arrived, living in Governor’s Cottage camp. I was promoted shortly afterwards and move to the Fortress Sergeant’s Mess, in Town Range, just above the The Convent.

I returned home to get married in July 74, and my wife joined me in Gib, even though we had nowhere to live. We hopped from quarter to quarter when people were on leave in UK and then ended up in 263/7A Main Street, a very small flat that cost £14 per week.

Our daughter was born in October 75 and holds dual nationality, so Gibraltar, of course, holds a very dear place in our hearts.

Gibraltar:  British families, survivors from the RMS Larconia, torpedoed by German U-Boat on the 12th September 1942 RMS Laconica was originally commissioned as an ocean-going luxury passenger ship for the Cunard line. With the outbreak of WWII she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and fitted with eight six inch guns and two three inch guns. […]

Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

Poem-A-Day 2021, Day 11: Hafiz — Sappho’s Torque

I came across this profound and lovely poem on Angélique’s blog. Please click on the link here.

If you have never read any of Hafiz then this could be the start of a life journey for you!

Sappho’s Torque

the blog of Angélique Jamail, Author

Here is another lovely fragment from Mala of the Heart, this time by Hafiz of Persia (Iran). It reminds me of the need and mutual benefit of kindness in the world. God blooms from the shoulder of the elephant who becomes courteous to the ant. *** Hafiz (ca. 1320-1389) was born in the garden city of Shiraz. It is said that after the early […]

Poem-A-Day 2021, Day 11: Hafiz — Sappho’s Torque

Sigh – A poem by Carolyn

I’ve been considering this post for a few weeks now. It is particularly relevant today as The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) release their latest report that is a dire warning that we are heading even more rapidly towards killing our world.

We in the UK say Oh Dearie Me, we must do something, but meanwhile we will carry on with new oil and gas extraction and there is no need to have an adverse effect on the growth of the economy!

Meanwhile, those of us who are not fleeing wild fires, or flooding, or extreme heat, or rising water levels, will turn up our heating, or switch on the air conditioning. We will take our children the mile and a half to school in our gas guzzling vehicles deigned to go off road and up mountains. We will complain about having to pay more than a couple of dollars for fruit that was picked by children and flown across he world for us. We will pay a dollar for a bunch of flowers that were picked that morning and will earn the grower 2 cents. We will pack 2,000 chickens into a barn so we have cheap eggs and chicken burgers, and we will have cows that never see daylight so burger producers can make a fortune from the millions upon millions of us who demand cheap food. We will complain about the rain forests disappearing, but demand palm oil and wood products that emanate from them. We will happily buy cheap clothing and throw it away after a few weeks. I could go on, but……………..

This was never meant to be a rant from me, it was meant to share Carolyn’s excellent, and very apt, poem, so please let me introduce……………………………….Carolyn:

Carolyn, also known as Yetismith, lives in upstate New York along with 13 cats, give or take a couple.  She feeds all the birds and critters that pass her way and they reward her by eating everything that dares to grow anywhere nearby. 

For many years she worked in customer service at JFK and at SEATAC but is now a lady of leisure, if that is possible when you have so many cats!

Carolyn posts regularly on her blog CatsinCambridge and sometimes intersperses her lovely photographs with poetry.  She claims she is not a poet, but I beg to differ. 

In June, Carolyn posted a lovely set of pictures of flowers that had, so far, escaped the hungry animals. She included a poem that warned of humankind’s neglect and disrespect of the planet and ended by saying “Time for all of us to be responsible, in every and any way possible.”

I asked if I could share her words and, later, if I could share a spoken version.

This is my interpretation(s) of Carolyn’s poem. I may not read it as she would read it or, for that matter, in a way that anyone else would.  However, I hope that I have done it justice!

Before you listen, please do look at the original post which can be found here.  The pictures really are lovely and behold, a poem!

SIGH 1
SIGH 2

The final retirement

Sue at Nan’s Farm and Gerry at The Main Aisle run a weekly prompt on their shared site Weekly Prompts.

This week they have chosen RETIREMENT as the prompt.

I have just retired for the last time and it was an easy decision to make, although, in some ways, it was the hardest decision to take.

I would have difficulty in telling you how many times I have retired.  It depends how you define retirement.

In simple terms I have retired three times.

Firstly, I retired at age 45, having served 28 years 151 days in the British Army.  I know that because I have a little red book to tell me so! 

I would have preferred to carry on serving but, quite naturally, in a time of cutting the numbers of serving personnel, preference had to be given to younger, more active, men and women.

I retired from paid employment at the age of 64, a year earlier than normal at that time.  I was more than ready to retire because my role was stressful and overworked, although I enjoyed it tremendously.

With my newly found leisure I volunteered to become a trustee of a local charity that had been providing housing for ladies and gentlemen of modest means since 1708.  I have been honoured to serve, alongside my fellow trustees, for the last nine years, the last five and a half years as an active Chairman of the Board of trustees.

My latest, and final, retirement was necessary due to ill health.  I had probably (definitely according to my wife) not resigned early enough but I felt that I would be letting down my fellow trustees and the near 100 residents that we served.

Today, I received a magnificent bouquet of flowers from the charity.  I will cherish these blooms but, more than those, I will cherish all the lovely tributes I have received from my fellow trustees.

This retirement is my last.  I shall enjoy it!

Rapid rhymes in stereo?

Back in September 2018 I posted my first Rapid Rhyme.

I didn’t define what a rapid rhyme was but had in mind that it, and any subsequent similar rhymes, should be fairly short (hence rapid you silly man!), should be written as they came to mind, with no editing whatsoever, and should rhyme (is this man as dense as he makes out?)

I’ve only posted 35 Rapid Rhymes so far but many of them have been influenced by blogs I’ve read, by current events, or by something encountered on my daily walks.

One of the writers I follow, trE, at A Cornered Gurl, did me the honour of liking the idea of Rapid Rhymes so much that she started to write her own.  Not only did she write them, but she started to narrate them too.  An example, The Roamer, can be found here.

I rather liked trE’s idea and wondered whether I should have a go at the Spoken Word myself, an idea I quickly abandoned.  After all I have a squeaky voice, not at all fit for reading poetry, and definitely not my own poetry.

I then came across another blogger, Tom Alexander, whose poetry blog, The Lighthouse, features lots of very professional sounding audible poetry.  Tom assures me he uses very low-tech methods, but he certainly achieves some very good results. Check out Fulfilment here.

This resurrected the idea of recording some of my poems.  I could never achieve the quality of Tom, but I might just have a go……….so I did!  I chose a suitable short poem and recorded it……….11 times,  11 different versions, all of varying squeakiness, or huskiness, or choking half way through.  It wasn’t perfect, but it sounded not too bad.

Then I hit a brick wall.

The ultra-simple, free version of WordPress I was using did not support audio files. 

Step forward a fairy godmother in the form of Sue at Nan’s Farm who offered to host my audio files.  I had to think about that very kind offer.  Meanwhile, I researched other ways of being heard.

Now we have lift off.

Watch this space!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye…………………You may be disappointed! 

How Dare You?

I was recently honoured to be featured, for the second time, on Sammi Cox’s Whispers and Echoes, an online journal of short writing where Sammi invites bloggers to submit Flash fiction and poems. It is just one of Sammi’s various offerings and the more you look the more you will be delighted by her work. Please do follow the links below and explore the world of Sammi Cox, and those that she features. You are bound to find something you love.

https://whispersandechoesmag.home.blog

How Dare You? | Peter Matthews

Posted on December 7, 2020 by sammicoxwriter

I wrote this as a social commentary on the modern phenomenon of X feeling that their opinion is the only one that matters. It seems that no-one has the right to disagree, debate, discuss, or do anything other than accept that X is right and has the absolute right to have everyone else accept that opinion. You can choose your own X!

HOW DARE YOU?

I really am very offended

that you will not think as I do

My opinion’s the one that should matter

why should anyone listen to you

All that you say is just rubbish

it’s plain you are just a buffoon

If the men in white coats do not know yet

be assured that they will very soon

I’m reporting you now to the agents

who police all these matters of state

I’m sure they’ll agree with the things that I say

that your mind is just twisted with hate

And if I can’t prove that you’re evil

I’ll just make up stories that tell

you are obviously wrong in all that you think

and you’ll surely be going to hell

I’ll laugh as they take you to prison

and make sure your family go too

You will ne’er again make that silly mistake

of not thinking the way that I do!

More than Equal

I was recently honoured to be featured on Sammi Cox’s Whispers and Echoes, an online journal of short writing where Sammi invites bloggers to submit Flash fiction and poems. It is just one of Sammi’s various offerings and the more you look the more you will be delighted by her work. Please do follow the links below and explore the world of Sammi Cox, and those that she features. You are bound to find something you love.

Posted on  by sammicoxwriter

I’d like to take a moment of your time if I may

to tell of the stupidity of man

For those who would demand that equal rules apply

you’re welcome to add wo when you can


It seems to me I’m stupid and I really should take care

for political correctness should enthuse

but to me a man’s a man and a woman surely can

do anything and anyone she choose


I’ve long espoused the thought that a woman really ought

be in charge of everything that is in sight

It seems to me it could, and if left to me it would

be enshrined in law and be a natural right


The world will surely wake and each of us partake

in a life that has equality at heart

and those bastions of hate that simply can’t relate

should be burned and then extinguished with a fart


You may think this extreme but modern life is mean

and the haves have had it much too much I think

It’s time equality reached down to you and me

It’s time the have nots saved us from the brink!


Peter Matthews, a country boy at heart, lives with his wife and British Shorthair cat in the suburbs of Nottingham, England.  His greatest achievement is that he has aged fairly gracefully but has avoided growing up.  Peter has written poetry from the age of sixteen and blogs regularly at www.pollymermaid.wordpress.com.

Rapid rhyme #31

Owen, Beleaguered Servant, with No Talent For Certainty is a poet whose prodigious output simply amazes me.    His post, yesterday,  I’m Really Glad You’re Happy inspired me to write the following Rapid rhyme.  Do check out his poetry.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

A Rapid rhyme is one that comes to mind straight away and is not edited or amended. By their very nature they can be rough at the edges, a little unfinished, but I like them!

Incidentally, trE, of A Cornered Gurl, has taken a liking to my idea and has started to produce her own Rapid rhymes, going one better by adding an audio file to them (I’m not ready to share my squeaky voice yet!). They are great, and an example can be found here.

Here is mine, inspired by Owen.

I’m really glad you’re really glad that I am glad you’re happy

I’ll help you now in helping me to help you change your nappy*

I think you think I think you’re cute but I think you are cuter

Especially now that you have let me see your great big hooter**

I like the fact you like the fact that I like facts of fiction

I say that you will say I do and I will say good diction

I’ll state the state that you are in is really rather snappy

I’m really glad you’re really glad that I am glad you’re happy

*Nappy = Diaper

**hooter = Nose

A Beautiful Day

Today, as most days are, was a beautiful day.  It doesn’t have to be sunny, or warm, or special, it was just beautiful.

I was alive when I woke up, that’s always a good start.

I ate breakfast, hung out some washing, fed the cat, washed the dishes, had a (please pardon the expression;  it is crude, but adequately describes nearly every morning, and dates from army days) shit, shave, shower, and shampoo.  I went for a walk. Talked to the trees, to spiders, to dogs and cats, and to a couple of humans.

I returned home, had a coffee, and started to read the blogs that I follow.  Now, I follow far fewer blogs than (supposedly) follow me. I do, however, attempt to read every single post of every single person that I follow.  I like every one of these, but choose fewer to comment on. It is very time consuming, but I enjoy it, and that, surely, is what life is all about!

On one of my regular reads,  Ann Koplow’s The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, Ann’s post was entitled It’s a Beautiful Day. It was, as all of her posts are, very positive.  I shall leave you to explore her blog, if you so wish, but that is not my main purpose here.

Ann included a most exquisite piece of music by Tohpati (featuring Moonlight Project), and she commented that ‘It’s a beautiful day to share “It’s a Beautiful Day”, also that It’s a beautiful day when I find out about an Indonesian jazz guitarist and songwriter whose “most significant influence came from Pat Metheny.’

Do you know what, she was absolutely right. (and if you listen to the very end you will also discover that the musicians had a beautiful day too)

How my home movie became a MAGA hit — Living in the future present

For a glimpse of mid 1970’s America, especially California, you will find this a fascinating read. There is the benefit of seeing  a good old fashioned “home movie”, although a very highly sophisticated one, if you follow the link:

The spirit of 77 in Los Angeles

In the mid 1970s, I worked as an exchange teacher in a California high school. It was an exciting and formative year for me and my family. 1976 was the bicentenary of American independence, and signs and flags everywhere announced “Spirit of ’76”. There was a palpable feeling of optimism. The Vietnam war was over, […]

via How my home movie became a MAGA hit — Living in the future present