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Chris Slade Apr 23
There’s a phenomenon; happens at night.
Apparently it’s a lot to do with
the turning of the earth
and bedclothes… You know?
Both the duvet and what I call
the dog barrier! That’s an old throw.

Sure, I have to believe what I’m told.
But every night there’s a real fight
and amidst it I do try to keep hold.
… But every morning it seems
I wake up shivering and left out
in the cold…

I mentioned it to 'the others' in a gentle
and incidental kind of way.
The dog wasn’t bothered.
He was busy having HIS day.
And my missus, with no remorse,
said glibly, and probably without thinking...
"It’s the centrifugal force!"

So there you have it!… The duvet I mean… Or rather you don’t!
Time for separate rooms
Chris Slade Apr 21
Politicians, when questioned, who begin their answer with “So”... Those who waffle when questioned and yet they clearly don’t know.
Juggling “ums”, “erms” and “aahs” when struggling to avoid the truth.
It alienates, infuriates and generally makes those interviewed sound unprepared, uninformed, dense, almost uncouth.
But that doesn’t stop them!

The nation’s thirst for updates demands Government be contrite. Approaching difficult situations, yeh - but ours, dropping ******* left & right.
It means an address from a hapless minister almost every night.
Each department must have top aides quaking in their boots
because the media correspondents, incisive, sharp, erudite and firm
shoot tricky questions, deliberately, to make the politicos squirm.

It shines a light on what the country needs... clear thinking, logic common sense, honesty, truth, stealth and less guille.
Not subterfuge, not **** covering,“let’s dodge the bullet” style. Certainly not ten grand extra for having to work from home.
But sharper more contrition, put yourself in our place for a while! We want to be reassured, buoyed up, not consumed with bile.

You get more support and sympathy if you just tell the truth!
A poem based on the UK Government Press Briefings during Covid-19.
An awkward time
Chris Slade Apr 18
Ted Slade • (my cousin)
Withernsea, Holderness, East Yorkshire

Last night the sea ripped the beach from its bed.
We heard the screams
but know too well not to interfere
in these family disputes.
In the morning we gathered to look,
ghouls at a death,
the sea at our feet, calm,
sated, gulls riding at anchor on it shoulders.

The meadow’s gone the same way,
yard by yard, year by year.
Now the house sways on the brink.
When he saw his rose bushes
scattered down the cliff, Jack cried.
Finally we moved out when
the garden shed was launched
one winter’s night.
Very Important Persons
brought their sympathies,
and went away nodding.
Perhaps we’ll become little islanders.
Though surely not.
... New Atlanteans at least.

Ted Slade • 1939-2004
From Ted's book 'The Last Arm Pointing'.
Chris Slade Apr 17
When the skylarks would warble hover and sing
at about a hundred feet, high on the wing, and we…
on a heat clicking Sunday between Salt End and the sea,
well we knew - just from the ozone, on the breeze
that we’d be off …a shimmering heat haze convoy of old crocks,
Bud, Margaret, Brian and me to Tunstall,
a diminishing, mystical land of sun, sand, sea - and tumbling rocks.

But it wasn’t just us…it was a cavalcade - motors galore.
Uncles,  Aunties, Cousins, Grans, Grandads and more
in Austins, Morris’s, Vauxhalls and Fords,
And a big old Rover wi’them wide running boards,
a motor bike’n’sidecar with Maurice, Denise & our Val
to wring the best from the day a’la Plage de Tunstall’…

The beach crackled in the heat…
if you walked too slow it’d burn your feet.
and our Dads, our ‘civil engineers’, built a brick oven and in a
giggling gaggle… Mums cooked a real Sunday dinner.
Kids’d run back & forth to the sea and back
buckets & spades, hacking big holes and shots in goal,
cricket with fallen rocks for a wicket and,
after pudding, burying drunken dads in the sand.

Heavy, wet woolen cozzies, sand in groins,
...changing in turn, under a soaking wet, gritty towel.

“Don’t dry me with that, Ow! Buddy hell - watch my sunburn.”
Then, all back in the cars, for our return
into the sunset and driving away.

Chaffing sore shoulders.

Chuffing good day! - yeah…Parfait!!
Memories of an East Yorkshire childhood. Let's hear it for Tunstall.
Chris Slade Apr 15
Let me get this straight, it's 1914.
Arch Duke somebody or other
gets shot in Sarra-******-Yavo…
And Austro-Hungary declares a
war on Serbia? So?
We, within no time…
and in the blink of an eye,
the whole bleedin' world
goes to war!..Why?

I had a great Uncle. He WAS great!
A proud Yorkhireman, by chance,
gets blown to bits in a trench
on Boxing day, in France!
Just a day after watching a sodding
football match... Our lads against
the bleeding Germans
in No Man’s Land… No way!?
Yeh? Yeh! On Christmas effing Day?

Am I going out of my mind?

“But, there’s worse to come…
“the ****** Germans won 2-1…!”

And get this, right… where I live now,
the great and the good
played a hunch…back then.
“I know we’ll give our fighting boys
a send off.  A slap up lunch!!…
So the Mayor, Civic Officers
and Councillors
waited on the squaddies’ tables.
To gee them up.
And so it did!
“Good Luck” bellowed the bulbs
outside the Kursaal Dome…
After the Brown Windsor,
the Mutton and Plum Duff
and, as if the ignominy of the call to arms,
wasn't quite enough...
it wouldn't just get tough
it became obvious; downright plain,
that many of those worthy Worthing men
wouldn’t be coming home again.

That’s the trouble with war… It's a killer!
Chris Slade Apr 9
I’m feeling a bit ‘other worldly’
like you do coming out into the light
from the dark of the cinema
in the daytime obviously…
Or that first few steps after
taking off your roller skates…
Remember that?

When, in your head,
you’re still gliding, sliding
rather than stepping
and stumbling.
I’m starting to miss the
contact of others.
Those I wouldn’t maybe
normally see anyway.

How mad is that?

But it’s the knowing
that you CAN
even though you CAN’T
… Don’t want to
that’s what’s important.

I’m looking for closer hugs
rather than distant nods,
smiles, waves or shrugs
Looking for the WILL
rather than the WON’T.

Looking for the SHALL We?
rather than WE SHOULDN’T!
the COULD rather
than the COULDN’T.

We’ve all just got the
LONGING to meet
rather than just having the
THRONGING to beat.
We all have a yearning
for normality and
I’m worried about
losing my personality
I’m ready for the great outdoors
not lockdown laws.

I’m starting to want to go to
places I haven’t been for a while
even though I might not have
enjoyed them when I did.
I’m reminiscing
as well as just ‘missing’.

I think I might be a bit crazy
….Stir crazy!
Chris Slade Mar 25
Jack brought his ‘work’ home after that first day away…his Trojan!
a 22 foot van chassis on the kerb, in Cottingham, outside, that first night.
And Mrs Ellis, number 49, moaned about her front room’s loss of light.
Bud, fascinated, transfixed, sat up front, jiggled with levers, switches and gears.
"Steady on lad… calm down you’ll ****** up the settings,
here, turn that off, flick this switch, push that button. Wow… *******, the roar!
Be careful, ease your right foot off - he shouted - No! No, don’t push it to the floor!"

"Now then…foot on that one, yeh? That’s the clutch. Now push the stick top left.
Ease your left foot off… no, no gently, slowly, else you’ll **** it"…
“******* Jack, we’re moving’ what’s next, what’s next?”
Jack crouched behind the driver’s seat and shouted step by step…
“Ten to two! Hold the wheel tight. Go on, left foot on… stick back… Yep!”
“Foot off, more gas on the right. That’s it. That is it! Tight left lock.”
They were off… along the road - left, left and left again round the big block.

“Go round again, go on!” Jack shouted”. Turn right this time just here, slow down.
“Let the engine tek the load.”
and, instead of just skirting the houses
they were off down the Beverley Road.
No cab, wind in their hair and not a ****** care.
The trees, with wind filled cheeks, and enraptured shrieks
all the blurred green whizzed by…
Bud was driving. He was actually driving, at fourteen!
What a feeling?!

“Mam… Mam… I even double-de-clutched!…
“Did he Jack? Did he?  What is that anyway?”
“Aye Mam, he did… He were just gradely!”
Bud often told me about his early driving experiences...
Maybe it’s why he was so tolerant when, whilst he was at work, I took his car out on the roads around our house in Birmingham when I was only twelve.
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