Bad Verse – Worse Verse is a collection of hilarious off-beat poems about aspects of life, love and (especially) death. The world created by Stan Zaman is populated by frightening leprechauns, footballing flies, absent-minded mice and a piratical pig, to name but a few. All the characters are brought to life (in some cases all too briefly) by Jen the Pen’s carefully crafted, colourful illustrations. Questions that only the reader will be able to answer include: ‘Did Stan’s father really jump out of a window?’ ‘Is old Uncle Stanley a self-portrait?’ ‘Why doesn’t Baby like baked beans?’ The author is anxious to stress that no animals (or nuns) were hurt during the writing of these poems - although Billy Bunny, Mervyn the mole and several squashed nuns might disagree.
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I didn’t want to stop, however, someone stood on the brakes, I skidded and lost control for a while, couldn’t see which direction I was heading. Then, when I thought I had corrected matters I veered off course without anyone to check my compass or direction, I was in no-man’s-land.
That’s roughly where I stayed for several years. I was now my own navigator, engineer and captain of this rather confused ship of mine. The passengers – my family – who had to endure this journey kept telling me to find a port, stop, re-group, take a break and I would then see things differently.
Well this captain thought he could do his own thing, without any help or charts of where he was heading. In fact, he had no idea where he was taking himself and these totally innocent and loyal passengers.
It has been a while however, I am now moored in a better place and can at least gather some thoughts together of what comes next. Certainly not the world I knew and was forced to leave behind, that really was a danger zone riddled with human land ‘minds’.
The problem is this, the new world I experience daily, in person on the street, hear on the radio - God save me from Nicky Campbell, or the mindless trash on terrestrial TV that is not for me either. If there is a parallel universe, then I might sign up for the journey right now.
You don’t get a hand book when you become a parent nor a guide book on reaching a certain age, so what do you do? If one is normal and I believe I can reasonably fit that description, then all sorts of pursuits, hobbies and holidays are available to while away whatever time you have. That certainly didn’t appeal, life had changed, and I was trying to come to terms with my new situation.
The conventions that I was having in my head were world class and destructive, every one of the demands was able to have a piece of me as and when they wanted, day or night. In fact, the night time visitors were easier to deal with. When the wolves began to circle, at least I could curse them out loud in the privacy of my home. Not so with the tormentors who came in the daytime. It was bad form to shout out loud at an imaginary foe in a crowded coffee shop, although that was exactly what I wanted to do and relieve the pressure.
So, for me to achieve some clarity of thought I had to, leap off the carrousel, step outside my comfort zone, be kinder to myself and those around me, even forget myself for a while. Someone else told me to break the circle. All great advice but not easy when you are the one taking it. You may even recognise that feeling.
Therefore, to get back on course I commit to paper that which seems to offer a distraction and which I find strangely therapeutic, my observations on human nature. How we all seem to bugger along as though life will go on as usual and assume nasty things happen to other people. In writing these short episodes I have, I admit, had to engage in a certain amount of voyeurism both at home and abroad. So, my apologies to all those folk who might have thought I was eves-dropping on their conversations. I couldn’t help it, you were broadcasting to the nation!
Finally, with a little help from my GP, my Welsh friend Di Azipam and his mate Flo Oxytine, I may be able to navigate myself through these unchartered waters of anxiety however, its early days.
I hope you enjoy the rest.
Years ago, one of the greatest rock bands of all time did a gig in North Somerset, and naturally the newspaper covered the event: ‘Thousands go to see rock legends in Somerset’ / ‘Thousands see Queen in Bath’. Which article would you read? The art of the headline writer is to inform, to amuse … but mainly to attract attention. Here are some of the finest headlines ever written – some clever, many amusing, a few hilarious, a handful confused, some downright bizarre … but all genuine.
‘Fries, feet, and farts — I smell the scent of men.’
From the moment Detective 00 Hansen controls the fate of the streets in Copenhagen, he becomes intimately acquainted with the self-paced and hygge lifestyle.
In The Poetic Murderer, Hansen and Don Cindy’s first mystery, the duo are informed by Denmark’s Queen Marmalade II and Prince Sandwich about an unimaginable murder at the supermarket. The body is marked by violence and the murder weapon an unsanitary rainbow trout.
The police are baffled by the circumstances of the crime. But when Detective 00 Hansen applies his incomplete consciousness of the present moment to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of unrequited love and deadly trout . . .
Have you heard of the woman from Dover and how her husband wove her? Find out what rhymes with Aberystwyth.
100 British Limericks is a contemporary twist on the traditional limerick form, with a distinctly British feel. By turns whimsical, ridiculous, rude and outrageous, you won’t be disappointed. Be careful where you read it though, you might just burst out laughing!
Building sites can be a mucky place especially during the Winter months where puddles of water and mud are everywhere. It was also hard work especially plastering as you seldom got to see much of your fellow colleagues as everyone was spread out so there was very limited time for socialising.
Working on new build was so repetitive, mixing plaster and spreading it on the walls. boarding out ceilings was also a nightmare, those eight by four sheets were heavy and needed two people. I believe now they have a machine that raises the boards into place before fixing to the joists.
I always recall my first visit to the states where I stumbled upon a building site, it was fascinating watching the differences in practice compared to ours. I watched two Mexican lads board out a ceiling in only a few mins. A lifting machine took the boards to the ceiling and these lads used a nail gun to fix them, these lads were also wearing stilts something Health & Safety would prevent in the UK. Here in the UK, we continued using galvanised nails and a hammer, we got there but it was hard graft.
New build was getting harder and a fortunate break saw me working on social housing. BS Heating wanted a plasterer to patch plaster where Electricians had rewired, this was a doddle compared to full walls and ceilings. This is where I met some of the craziest characters whose antics had you in stitches. I worked for a couple more companies that offered me a similar type of work but it was Durose & Gourlay where I met most of the characters featured in this book.
I have been tempted many times to write a book about these characters but no one would probably believe what they read. I can assure you that the contents of this book are almost 100% true and the people do or did exist.
Marcia Duncan, a young girl with learning difficulties, lives with her alcoholic mother in a small terrace house on a rundown council estate, manages to survive her non eventful life with a mixture of hilarity, ignorance and naivety. The only solace and comfort she has outside of her own little world is her best friend Molly, who, despite not being the idol Marcia perceives, takes her under her wing, protecting and guiding her through the highs and lows of growing up, moving forward from childlike activities in the park to the likes of disco’s, alcohol and fashion.
The day that Marcia was dragged by her mother to the doctors to find out that she was seven months pregnant changed her life forever. She genuinely had no idea how it happened, and after Molly explains the gory details, and Lily constantly bombards her with questions, the hunt for the father begins.
The consequent birth of her daughter is a blessing in disguise, giving her motivation for life, bringing family bonds to the surface and eventually a level of independence and self-worth. However the journey is far from smooth, and the frequent times when Marcia’s clumsiness and accident prone comical antics, hamper any kind of progress do not help in the least.
Terry Ann Morley was told by her Primary School teacher that she was ‘Not College material’ and by her father, ‘People like us aren’t teachers.’ Terry went on to prove both of them right by failing her English Literature ‘O’ Level three times.
She then went on to achieve a First Class Honours Degree in Education and taught for twenty five years.
Terry has three siblings, three children and three grandchildren. In the spirit of ‘Third time lucky’ she lives with husband number three and their three yellow Labradors.
During a spell of ill health she was advised by her doctor to focus on positive memories: Terry focused on the unusual and quirky situations she had found herself in during her career and then she wrote them down.
HEALTH WARNING. This book of short stories will make you laugh and make you cry. It is a delightful journey back to long-forgotten school days and will resonate with everyone who ever went to school and that means:Everyone, everywhere.