Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Bumper bundle: Jeanie at 80, A Christmas poem, and dark thoughts on politics after Berlin

Jeanie and the big Eight Oh!


Oh, oh
the big eight oh!
But darling don't forget
that every year
sweet Jeanie dear
the lovelier,
the sexier,
the friendlier,
the charminger.
the lovelier
the cleverer,
the lovinger
you get.

Oh,so
the big eight oh
could bring the best years yet!



Christmas and the oak tree


When the sun is weak and the nights are long
You hear Earth singing a different song

The mist rises white from the trees all around
And life sleeps deep in its home underground
The deep dark earth, soon to be our home,
This is the place from where visions come.

The visions rise and seem to me
As solid as the trunk of the old oak tree.
And none would believe them if they didn't know
That something like the oak from dull earth would grow.
And just as improbable and just as odd
To this dark earth came the son of God.

Thoughts after the Berlin Killings

This isn't a poem it is a plea. There are thousands of deranged young men who can be persuaded that they can serve God or some other higher cause by killing people.  Probably a few deranged young women too.  The siren voices on the far right tell us we must pull up the drawbridge and keep them out.

We have to face the nasty truth that trying to live outside the horror is not possible any more.  When I was born in the 1930's Syria was several weeks journey from England.  Three hundred years ago it was months or years. Today we can do it in an afternoon.  Often and for most of us this is wonderful.  We can fly down to the med for a few days holiday. But it means those who hate the world can reach out and kill some of us now and then.

Incidents like the Berlin killings are going to happen and are going to get more and more common.  But Berlin is still a better place to live in than Aleppo. The solutions of the far right will only maker the world a nastier place for all of us. Men of good will must first acknowledge that more mindless killings like those in Berlin are going to happen, and that, despite this, the world will be a better place if we treat refugees with compassion and strive to find a way to end the ghastly wars thaet still stalk the world.  For the first time since 1945 it is clear that we live in dangerous times.  We must speak with truth and honesty against dangerous voices.  If we do no,t it will be the horrors of Aleppo that bring horror in our streets and not just the horrors of Berlin.

Nick Mellersh Christmas Eve 2016
I regret that I cannot express myself more coherently and more eloquently.  But I hope you will join me in speaking up for kindness and compassion amidst the mess the world sxems to be in.




Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mummers Sat 17 December 2016 on Minstead village green and round the pubs

The Minstead Mummers of 1912. Photo taken by famous Folk photographer called King
  Minstead has a long tradition of Mumming.  This photo above was taken in Minstead in 1912.  The photo below shows the current group of Mummers in the Trusty in 2008.  In the old photo one of the characters is an Abbott.  The Abbot family are still in the village and provided the script (hidden in their attic) that we still use today.  Be sure to see us this year.

    We resurected the Minstead Mummers almost 40 years ag and have performed it every year on the village green since then.  We come as a climax to the carol singing and the visit of Father Christmas. We always need more performers so if you would like to have a go, ring Nick Mellersh at Minstead.

The current generation of the Minstead Mummers performing in the Trusty in 2008

What are Mummer’s plays?

Mummers plays are traditional Christmas plays that have been taken around the pubs a big houses for many many years.
    The text with its talk of “Turkish Knights” and St George might well go back to medieval times.  Many people think so. They believe the plot of killing and resurrection is an example of the “old year” being killed at the winter solstice and the “new year” rising again.  Others see the tradition only going back to the 19th century. What we know for sure is that Mummer’s plays were performed in almost every village in the South of England one hundred years ago.  Minstead’s troupe of mummers was photographed in 1912, see the photo above. The great grandson (or possibly the great great grandson) of St George in the picture lives and works in the village today. Mummer’s plays traditionally end with an appeal for money and one hundred years ago this could be very profitable.  You could, so they say, earn as much in one night’s mumming as in a month of farm work.  We keep up the tradition of begging for money but nowadays collect for some good cause.

What is special about Minstead Mummers?

In simple terms - we are the best.  The troupe acts with verve and humour and we have added a few modern touches.  Each year there is a new topical joke and to suit the 21st century we have a female doctor and a female blonde (or brunette) bombshell to light up the proceedings.  Unlike many troupes our performers have all lived or are still living in Minstead and we perform a Minstead script handed down from the people you see in the 1912 photograph.  We are the real thing.
    We will be out and about on Saturday 17 December on Minstead village green and in the pubs in Minstead, Cadnam, Brooke, and Fritham.  Don’t miss us.  Below is the film of our 2014 performance.


This post of the blog is a special one for the Mummers play.  I intended to get this onto the village website but haven't done it yet.  This blog is normally for my poems and you can see some by looking at the earlier post.  Jeanie runs a blog too.  Currently it is about her iPad paintings.  See it here. http://ipadpainting-jeanie.blogspot.co.uk/


Saturday, December 3, 2016

2 Down - In memory of Pat and Michael Roberts


2 down
And 3 across.
Three sisters standing
Above their parents' grave. Now both gone home to earth,
Ex Pat, Ex Michael.  Two Irish buried in this English ground.

Both dead and yet we see them still. Caught in this moment.
Living in their daughters.

We raise a glass with them.
                                                               Nick Mellersh 2016 
 I love this photo.  Somehow the three daughters standing together seemed, between them and their contrasting looks and characters, to catch the essence of their parents. The smiles, the love, the passing grief and the recovery from the loss of their parents seem miraculously captured in the moment.  Photographs are sometimes wonderful.

And on another subject: I have n't  put anything up for a long while but there is big news on the ebook front.  Illustrated fluteplaying will be avaliable soon from Just Flutes.  Tell all your flute playing friends.

Also Jeanie has an exhibition of her ipad pics up in Minstead Church now (Dec 2016).  Go and have a look if you are local. It's a lovely show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The TRUE BELIEFS of left and right

 

Jeremy Corbyn is quite absorbed in

The new found joys of adulation.
It's wonderful fun for Jeremy
But no fun for the nation.

For though very good at talk-ery
He's very bad at do-ery
It's pretty plain he couldn't run
A piss up in a brewery.

Oh, his fans all think him saintly
And as a martyr clothe him.
While anyone who's worked with him
Has swiftly learned to loathe him.

And so the left is forced to tell
This very silly story
That anyone who disagrees
Is traitor, rat, or Tory.

And now the people on the right
Determined more to vex it.
Are branding all as traitorous
Who do not worship Brexit.


And me? I despair.
     Nick Mellersh 2016



Sunday, September 25, 2016

The day of the Degu Flood

Now degu’s are a bit like mice
With fluffy tails. They’re rather nice,
But there is little that they do
But eat and poo and chew and chew
And chew and chew and chew and chew.
All degus are extremely small,
You’d think they’d do no harm at all,
But they don’t like to be ignored.
Degu’s are dangerous when bored!

Now Granny’s house, I’m telling you
Is really much too big for two.
And so she rents one of the ends
To people who become her friends.
This time they had a couple who
Were rather young and just come new.
The girl, was small and very neat,
And boy was bigger. Both were sweet.
They’d got together and thought “Let’s
Have lots and lots and lots of pets.”
They had a fish tank, very big,
A rabbit and an guinea pig,
Three terrapins that snapped in rage,
And three small degus in a cage.

The flat was new and bright and clean
They had a posh new wash machine.
It looked good, but it caused them trouble,
It caused them trouble on the double.
That posh machine had flooded twice
And, though the fixing man was nice,
They’d both tired of the flooding scene
And cursed that “posh” washing machine.

Back to the degus. They were bored
And feeling they had been ignored.
For they’d been stuck inside their cage
For what, to them, seemed age on age.
They’d run around, jumped on the floor.
They’d chewed the hinges on the door,
They’d ran around the little passages
They scratched and gave each other massages.
Then said “There’s nothing we can do.
It’s boring here. I’m telling you.”

But then one gave a joyous shout
“I’ve found a way of getting out!
Just push hard on this little door,
Climb out and then we can explore.”
They ran around in every space
They found in our young tenant's place
They chewed the aerial of the telly
They sniffed the shoes, got in a welly,
And then one degu shouted “Cripes!
Just look at these enormous pipes.
They smell good and they look fantastic
And taste of most delicious plastic.
Come here and join me! Yes please do.
We’ll all have a terrific chew.”
(The pipes the degus had just seen
Brought water to the wash machine
Because they bent, Gran had to settle
For plastic pipes, not pipes of metal.)

The degus chewed for hour on hour,
Then one said “Look I’ve made a shower!
There’s lots of water rushing out
I’ve made a lovely water spout.”
They bathed in it, and washed their hair
And splished and splashed it everywhere,
And hit the water with their tail
And looked round for a boat to sail.
One chewed some more. There was a call
“Look folks, I’ve made a water fall!”
That was the end of degu’s play,
The water washed them right away,
The pressure was so very strong
It pushed the degus right along,
And now they did not feel so bold.
They climbed up from the water cold,
And shivered upon little shelves
And felt most sorry for themselves.
And sadly watched the flooded scene
Damp floor and leaks round the machine.

The girl then came in through the door
And saw the water on the floor.
Then rushed to Granny, face in pain
“It’s leaking on the floor again!”
And Granny shouts to husband, Nick,
“Another flood! Please help us quick.
Bring towels and curtains, bring a sheet,
Bring wellies to put on your feet,
Bring sandbags, spades and bring a broom
To sweep it from the second room.
(The second room was lower down
So anything in there might drown!)
They mopped up water more and more
But still they saw it on the floor.
And soon it was extremely plain
That what they mopped came back again!
They turned the taps and switched the switches,
But clearly there were major glitches
For very fast and more and more
The water flooded on the floor.


The Girl who then was all alone.
Rang partner on the the telephone.
“Oh please come home, the phone man’s here.
The degu’s gone. Oh dear Oh dear,
And there is water on the floor,
And it keeps coming, more and more.
Degus are lost, there’s not a squeak,
And nobody can mend the leak.”

Then “Stop! I need you helping ME,
Tell them it’s an emergency!”

Then silence. Then her voice NOT sunny.
“Stop laughing NOW. IT is NOT funny!”

Then Nick pulled out the wash machine
And shouted “Look what I have seen!
Three degus hiding in the cracks
With water running down their backs.
The degu’s did it I will bet.”
The girl then really got upset.
“Look at their tiny paws and feet
Degus are far too, much too sweet.”

The phone man who had come that day
Had tried to look the other way.
He kept on working on his own
And fiddled with the telephone.
Then Granny shouted to him “Hey you
Look tall enough to reach that degu!
Come over here, stand on this seat
And Nick will hang on to your feet,”
And so he came, and reached, and got ‘em.
Two by the neck, one by the bottom..
He put them through the cage’s door.

They ran straight out, just like before,
And then we chased them round the floor
And got them in the cage at last,
And tied the door up very fast.

By now the answer was quite plain.
Nick turned the tap off at the main.
And people mopped, and by and by
The kitchen floor was almost dry.
And luckily, since it was summer,
They fairly quickly found a plumber.
He fixed a new pipe that would fit.

We kept the one the degu’s bit,
And up on top and down beneath,
There’s six inch marks of degu’s teeth.

The degu’s cage has a new door
They’re back inside – same as before.
But now they never get ignored.
Degus are dangerous when bored.

Nick Mellersh. November 2006

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poem of the week back again for autumn: What are poems for?


You ask me “What's are poems for?”
I say, “To open up a door,
And show things never seen before.
Show words that sing and dance and run
And make us laugh and give us fun.
And light our life like some new sun.
And calm us on the way to sleep
And show us life runs rich and deep
And bring us comfort when we weep.
And play with words like they were toys
And light up love for girls and boys.
And guard the hopes time would destroy
And fill our lives with depth and joy.”

                                                                                          Nick Mellersh
I found this looking through my old poems and liked it. Now summer is almost over I'm starting up "(Almost) a Poem a Week"  again and it seemed a good way to start.  I hope you like it.  Please tell me if you do, writing a blog is a lonely business!

PS: Daughter Lucy is having a sculpture exhibition this weekend see http://ipadpainting-jeanie.blogspot.co.uk/

Our big news is that Illustrated Fluteplaying e-book edition is taking off.  More news later.  There's a good movie of Jeanie Mellersh and Robin Soldan talking about the history of the book and future plans that you can watch here: http://njeanius.uk/flute-book.html 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The bent banana song

Give two cheers, for our Brexiteers,
I stand up and applaud 'em
Soon we'll have our bent bananas
With less money to afford'em.

The banning of bent bananas was one of my favourite Euromyths (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromyth)  When we've left the EU, doubtless we can gorge on them.

I'm still bemused by the Brexit vote. Don't know if it is tragedy or comedy or what.  It would be nice to think of people rejoicing by eating heavily curved or misshapen bananas weighed in pounds and ounces and paid for at half a crown a dozen.  But I don't think it will happen.

More likely after the euphoria and shock we are likely to get slowly poorer, both in the pocket and the spirit as our money and horizons shrink. What is clear is that what people hoped for when they voted for Leave is not what they will get. Geography and economics have not changed. When Brexit fails to lead to paradise (or much change at all in all probability) politics could become really nasty.    

We need think hard and deep about this.  
 PS
Incidentally the centenary of the Battle of the Somme came up just after the Brexit vote.  The Somme where a million men, mostly British German and French, got killed in  3 months is a horrible reminder of what can happen when Europe is divided.  Let's work to see it never happens again.

My father was wounded on the Somme and wrote about it.  I have put the complete chapter on the Njeanius website.  Just click on the link at http://www.njeanius.uk/

Or go to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nick.mellersh/posts/1188540411176585