Monthly Archives: January 2009

The shelf stackers

This is another piece to mark the first anniversary of The Ice Prince’s cargo of timber washed up on Worthing’s beaches …

I must go down to the sea again
To the roaring sea and the tide
I’ve got 2000 tons of wood down there
I wonder if it’s dried?
It’s got to be someone’s decking
It’s bound to be someone’s shelf
Have you seen the twilight trekking
Loading roofracks by stealth?
My dream conserv-a-tory
Is stacked up on the shingle
The DIY man’s glory
The thought just makes him tingle
With some sawing and some planing
With his drill and Black & Decker
Some awesome light construction
Hardly make him a villainous wrecker
While his joints won’t be mortice and tenon
More Superglue and bodge
And his angles may look a bit wonky
More tumbledown shed than park lodge
It’ll be fashioned from flotsam and jetsam
The stuff that the tide just brought in
Like a boon from above, a woodworker’s offering of love
Strewn from the god of Homebases’s bin

You should have seen their cars go
Weighed down with the loot
Half a dozen splintered planks
Protruding from the boot
It may not be strictly legal
But many a blind eye was turned
And many’s a glass has been raised to the Prince
As some flaming good firewood’s been burned.
Nice one, Icey.

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10 tips on surviving the recession

1 Do not go out. People will try to sell you things. You will be tempted to spend money. Enough said.
2 Chew all your food twice as much as you normally would. So will extract every last drop of nutrition from it. And you will need to eat less. And you will use more energy chewing, which will mean you will have a very fit jaw. Which may Be A Good Thing. And your body will have to work less hard to digest it all, thereby ensuring your insides wear out less quickly. Or something.
3 Remember – soup is a meal! It is hot and can have things to chew floating in it. Of course, if you can make your own this will be much better than buying the stuff in tins, cartons or packets. Except the Covent Garden stuff, which is brilliant. If expensive. You can, of course, add water to make it go further. But it will be more waterey. Which may, or may not, Be A Good Thing.
4 Enjoy your garden, if you have one. If you don’t, enjoy someone else’s garden. They won’t mind, provided you don’t camp in it. Garden plants are largely recession proof, as no-one turns the sun and rain off if you don’t pay your bills.
5 Use credit cards for scraping the ice off your windscreen in the morning. And for nothing else.
6 Listen to the radio more. There is great stuff on it, it is largely free, and it will mean you have less time to go out buying expensive coffees, clothes you don’t need and holidays you can’t afford.
7 Spend more time with friends and family, preferably at their houses so it’s their heating, coffee, biscuits and stuff you’re using.
8 Breathe deeply and appreciate the fact you’re alive, you have a house to live in and something to eat. Compared to most of the planet, you’re rolling in it. Especially if you’re a hippo in a muddy pond.
9 Use your local library. It’s a lovely place filled with lovely people and they let you use things for free, mostly. Well, the books anyway. And sometimes they have free poetry events, or storytelling for the kids. And there are reference books and newspapers and it’s normally warm. And there are only a few people smelling of booze and mumbling. One of which may be you.
10 Remember, all recessions finish eventually. So hang on in there – at some point you’ll be able to look back on it. Which is a comfort. And may Be A Good Thing.

(final serious suggestions – use – and make what little dosh you do have go further!)

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Strange fish

This has been written for the Ice Prince arts festival – marking one year since Worthing’s wood invasion, due to the discharged cargo out at sea

You can’t see
You can’t see the beach for the wood
For the wood has become forest
Planks stretched aloft
Like the yearning arms of the crowd at the 100 Club
In 76, wanting to catch the salt drops of rebellion
Before they become the dried sweat of the ordinary
Pale pine fingers crossed
In hope of rescue
Cargo gone
Benches pressed
Decking bobbing
Shelving diving
And suddenly arriving
An angular invasion force
A splinter group that doesn’t mind being split
Or savaged with steel teeth. Or screwed. Or nailed.
Elvis would have liked our beach.
It once had a wooden heart.

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Filed under poems for adults