Allotment Haiku

A heavy harvest
among bindweed and cleaver
inedible fare

In three feet of soil
I spent a long hour searching
so where is the rest?

Forever harvest
bad company for sloe-worms
lives longer than themHeavy harvest 1

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Isolation Haikus in April and May 2020

Isolation has

Four syllables so I shall

write quite short Haiku

One single magpie

The spring of grief and sorrow

alone in the park

I hear ev’ry word

be still, lead by example

I bet you they don’t

A parcel arrived

The sugar of Eastertime

A greeting from home

A dress that is safe

From the back of my wardrobe

Not touched for a month

citroniere photo by Charles Humphries

I need 12 lemons

and a black wire citronière

must journey to France

(the photo is by Charles Humphries)

Me, isolated?

There are five of us here

I, two kids, man, dog

My cabin crew kid

fears her future has flown off

earth heaves a big sigh

Thursday nights loud hands

Ev’ry clap should be a pound

Fund our NHS

Pandemic Brighton

Go fast, don’t stop, no picnic

The beach is empty

Seagulls go hungry

No chips to steal from tourists

Fish taste not so nice

The Palace Pier shut

All slot machines are quiet

Bright Carousels still

Two buttons for masks

behind your ears no chafing

I can’t but crochet

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An excerpt from my autobiographical novel: Confessions of a Potato Eater

A little food-lover’s Christmas in Germany in the Sixties

Christmas is near and the memories start flooding in. I am 53 now but in my childhood this was such a special time that I can still picture it perfectly. I was born in Germany, where Christmas happens on December 24th, and while most presents are unwrapped in the evening, the whole day is very special. It was the same every year: the living room door would be locked and a cloth hung over the frosted glass pane so we could not see the slightest thing. I so much wanted to look in that my parents and my aunt – she lived with us as she was widowed with two children – had a hard time keeping me away from the door. They had put up and decorated the tree the night before and an incredible sense of secrecy permeated the house. If the phone rang, an adult had to sneak into the Christmas room and lock the door behind them again, if left ajar, one of us five would have found it too irresistible.

We drove off around 11am to visit our housekeeper, who always gave my sister and me useful things like towels and pillow cases for our “bottom drawer” which I found boring then but am grateful for today, as they are of superb quality. She had a bowl of the best chocolate and marzipan for us to snack from and we were encouraged for once not to hold back. It was quite heavenly, the local marzipan is a delicacy. Many people don’t like marzipan and I often say this is only because you have not tasted the real thing. Marzipan from Lübeck is neither too sweet nor cloying, it melts in the mouth with a slightly grainy texture but if you eat too much of it you might get a sore throat. Continue reading

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Peter the Refugee

Today was Peter’s fourteenth birthday, April 20th and he was so excited. Yes, Carl had bullied him at school yesterday and his big sister Annie had called him a ninny, but what did all that matter. There were tadpoles in the brook and he had seen a hare and a deer in the forest last evening and was sure they would be there again tonight.

His mother called him into the sitting room where the breakfast table was set specially for today. A candle was burning on a small cake and there were five presents, tidily wrapped and fastened with elastic bands. His mother was not one to waste anything and the paper had seen other presents before this day. She was a bookbinder by profession, nobody could wrap up things as well as she. Peter’s father had died when he was only nine years old and his stepfather was in the war. Last time they had heard from him, he was in Norway, but mother had not read the letter out loud. Bombs were falling on Berlin and the house he had grown up in was gone, but here in the small town with his grandmother and great-auntie everything was safe and quiet. Continue reading

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Wolfgang – or why the theatre is bad for people

My Uncle Wolfgang was not related to me, he was one of my godparents. The other one was my great-grandmother, who must have been over ninety years old when I was born. She died when I was five and Uncle Wolfgang never showed up, so I was given honorary godparents. These were two ex-girlfriends of my dad’s: Sonja, who lived in Sweden and Gisela, who soon emigrated to Canada. He had asked both of them to marry him and they had refused, so he had apparently taken my mother by default. Suffice it to say, I was basically bereft of godparents. Continue reading

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Molly and Rinaldo

It was hot. Far too hot to sleep and Molly sat in her light summer shift by the open door to the garden looking out into the darkness. She knew she should sleep, get some rest before her job interview in the morning, but it was her twenty-first attempt at getting a job as an administration assistant and somehow the urgency to get it right and make a good impression had passed long ago. She could reel off all the answers in her sleep by now – team work, equal opportunities, functioning under stress, tick, tick, tick, yes, I can do all that and a lot more, yes, I have worked in offices before, yes I can handle cash, yes I can prioritize, yes, I am computer literate and use email and the internet on a regular basis but I can also do so many other things that you don’t want to know about. Continue reading

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With a “SCIP” in his step

 An enthusiastic David Guthrie brings IT skills to community and voluntary projects in Brighton & Hove. Continue reading

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