Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In February 2006 I created my first blog “Wise Men Say” in which I began posting what I called “sensible sayings and quotable quotes.” At the moment the number of entries in the collection is nearing the 1600 mark, and the site has an average of 95 “hits” per week.

Here’s a Portuguese saying, especially for all who are still a long way off from being EIGHTY PLUS.

“If you want good advice, consult an old man”


When Jean and I get together with our daughters, we like to reminisce. One memory leads to another and so it goes on, not without a few disagreements over what actually took place.

When the girls were small, they enjoyed playing with lego, but I had just as much fun out of lego as they had. After they had gone to bed, I would spread the pieces out on the table and construct something. The next morning they would appear, keen to see what I had made. I must add that last Christmas among my presents was a box of lego marked “ages 2-5.” Was someone suggesting - second childhood?

This past week we’ve been recalling the time when, with the help of the girls, I used to make things out of cardboard, wallpaper and sellotape. I remember making a house and one or two churches, and we also created our version of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Probably they had most fun with the little theatre we made. There were a number of cardboard entertainers, each with a long strip attached to their feet. By means of the strip, the figure was moved out on the stage where they would make suitable movements to a song sung by one of the girls.

Our youngest daughter Lesley always sang a particularly plaintive one. The first line is in doubt, for Margaret thinks it begins “a playful little puppy” but Lesley is sure it’s “two playful little puppies,” and we can‘t remember the rest of the line.

?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
“I would like to be, I would like to be
In the land where bones grow on a tree.”

A crowd of happy children were dancing in a ring,
“I would like to be, I would like to be
In the land where lollipops are free.”

A sad and lonely goldfish was swimming in a bowl,
“I would like to be, I would like to be
With all my friends in the deep blue sea.”

Happy days!!!


Having posted 50 Pre-Raphaelite paintings, my online collection came to an end earlier this month. “Among the Ruins” by Lawrence Alma-Tadema is one I didn’t include, so here it is -


I’ve already referred to two of my blogs, and I mustn’t forget “John’s Quiet Corner.” I always try to include a poem in it.

I suppose I was like most people, in that poems didn’t really interest me a lot. However, the more I’ve looked into poetry, the more I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read.

I’m finding that I include quite a lot of Thomas Hardy’s poems in “Quiet Corner.“ Here are two of his that will surely appeal to everyone.

A Practical Woman.

“O who’ll get me a healthy child -
I should prefer a son -
Seven have I had in thirteen years,
Sickly every one!

“Three mope about as feeble shapes;
Weak; white; they’ll be no good.
One came deformed; an idiot next;
And two are crass as wood.

“I purpose one not only sound
In flesh, but bright in mind;
And duly for producing him
A means I’ve now to find.”

She went away. She disappeared,
Years, years. Then back she came;
In her hand was a blooming boy
Mentally and in frame.

“I found a father at last who’d suit
The purpose in my head,
And used him till he’s done his job,”
Was all thereon she said. 


Faintheart in a Railway Train

At nine in the morning there passed a church,
At ten there passed me by the sea,
At twelve a town of smoke and smirch,
At two a forest of oak and birch,
And then, on a platform, she.

A radiant stranger, who saw not me,
I said, “Get out to her do I dare?”
But I kept my seat in my search for a plea,
And the wheels moved on. O could it but be
That I had alighted there! 


Every year at this time my thoughts go back to the beginning of World War II.

It was on Friday 1st September 71 years ago that the evacuation of children began, followed by the declaration of war by our Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the Sunday.

There are quite a number of videos on YouTube showing scenes from those days. The one I’ve chosen features the children of Sunderland in England, and also gives some idea of the bomb damage done there.


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