Daleks in drag

Friday November 10, 2006

“I think we’re in for a stormy night,” I said when I got back from the supermarket.

“What makes you say that?” he asked, brush in hand.

“Oh, the sycamores were dancing and the sky looks set to join them.”

“Don’t you get all poetic at me or I’ll have an accident with this paint. All over you.”

“Can’t help it. Tea?”

“Sounds good.”

A little while later he found me pacing the tiles in the kitchen, back and forth, mumbling ‘rumply, tumply, dumply tum’ to myself.

“What on earth are you up to now?”

“Working on a poem.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Not really. I’m just a slave to the rhythm.”

“That’s a quote, isn’t it?”

“Think so. Grace Jones? Something like that.”

“Sounds like something you need to take a cup of tea with.”

“Okay. I can take a hint.”

Just then Dolly came into the kitchen to see what all the fuss about and wondering if perhaps it wasn’t time for a drop of Carnation milk.

“Oh dear,” I said. “I don’t think I can cope with a poem, brewing tea and dishing up Carnation milk, all in one go.”

“Of course you can. Don’t let the blighters generation gap you.”

“Yup. You’re right. I’m not sure how you’re right but I’m convinced that you are.”

And so the cloakroom got its last coat of brilliant white paint, Dolly got her Carnation milk, and we all celebrated with a nice cup of tea.

After lunch, and a nap, it was time to jump into the car and take Graham off to the holiday camp once more. Rain squalls rattled along the road, buffeting the trees and damping down wind devilled swirls of fallen leaves.

“Looks like you were right about that storm,” Graham said.

“‘Fraid so. The sycamores never lie.”

“These aren’t sycamores,” he said, peering up at the branches wind-whipping overhead. “They’re beeches.”

“There you are then. Proves it, does that.”

At that point we turned down the dark track to the camp, which was just as well because I’d have had a tough job justifying the logic of my last remark. The headlights carved a way ahead of us between the hedges. We skirted the windward side of the darkened club building and down to the caravan where I sat for a while with the lights blazing so’s Graham could see his way to the door, open it up and snap the lights on. I made a wild dash to join him, leaving the little silver Ford lodged safe under the tall hedge.

We sat for a while sipping hot drinks, tea for Graham, coffee for me, and listened to a snatch of the evening news. Not much of it because they were going on once more about Muslim ladies wearing the full veil in some public place or other.

“Wish I understood why they do that,” he said, switching channels to BBC Radio Seven.

“What’s to understand? If they want to go about looking like Daleks in drag that’s their affair.”

“That’s the funniest thing you’ve said all day.”

“What, funnier than the ‘rumply, tumply, dumply tum’?”

“Oh, much funnier than the ‘rumply, tumply, dumply tum’.”


First Autumn Storm
Half a gale on a November night
rattling the sycamores, pulling poplars
hard over, frightening fallen leaves
to wildly cluster-turning flight.
Somewhere beyond the dark cliff edge
the sea rumbles and mumbles along
the shingle bank. Bramble vines
flail from the wind washed hedge.
It’s a stormy night and that’s for sure.
I hold my coat throat-tight and make
a dash for the welcome, warmth and safety
of the lighted caravan by the shore.
Dodge the showers, avoid the grasping windy blast,
light the fire, wait quietly till the worst is past.
John Bailey
Somerset, November 2006



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