maurice spillane

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Two Friends who are 90

Two Friends who are 90

I have two local friends who were 90 recently, Joy Vincent and Barbara Carey. Unfortunately, there was no celebration because of Covid. We’ll have a knees-up yet. Elderly people with time on their hands need an audience. They tell a story and, like links on a necklace, one thing leads to another and then you…

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Worst Poet of the Year

Worst Poet of the Year

We need a laugh this month. My friend, Stuart Lavis, sent me a video of Scottish poet, Walter McCorriscen, who won the “Worst Poet of the Year” award in 1979: Dear Sir, Never bite your fingernails It makes your fingers lumpy Never bite your fingernails Your sincerely, Stumpy. Walter was pure genius! But humour can…

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Out of the Morning Haze

Out of the Morning Haze

If you travel roads near where I live before 8am, you’ll encounter a blonde vision. The colour of her hair through the winter grey lifts the morning; the silhouette of her good posture etches her figure as she gets closer. Her partner walks beside her pushing his bike, a fine-looking young man. We’ve swapped “good…

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Cheltenham Races from a Pub

Cheltenham Races from a Pub

I’d a few pints with two friends, John Dale and Ian Handey, recently. They are both in their 80s though you wouldn’t think it. They were mischievous in their lives with hilarious stories to endorse their adventures. In the pub, in direct proportion to the number of pints, they reverted to their youth: playful teenagers…

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Make Your Own Poetry Video

Make Your Own Poetry Video

I live in a cottage that was the epicentre for Swindon’s cobblers, back in the days. My father used to repair our shoes when we were kids so I had hopes that the cottage would have the sweet smell of leather and stitching and polish and that I may even hear the haunted sound of…

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Our NHS Doctor Retires

Our NHS Doctor Retires

When I was young there were three people who were revered – priest, schoolmaster and doctor. The first lost his way, the second lost his awe, but the doctor, ah, even to this day the doctor holds allure. The poem this month, “Faith,” is about a surgery doctor who is retiring this month and whom…

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The Coronavirus Graduation

The Coronavirus Graduation

Paul Waites was Vice-Chancellor for the day and I was Professor of English. You couldn’t make it up. Two friends, Katy Crowley and Kelly Newton, had been granted a BA and MSc respectively, but because of COVID-19, there was no ceremony. The degrees came by post. You couldn’t get duller than that after all the…

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Sorting out the Book Shelves

Sorting out the Book Shelves

I reorganised my bookshelves during lock-down. I’m a bit anal about it, collections by author, compendiums by country – drives my wife crazy. I think she’d prefer them by colour. I was easily distracted and an hour’s task lasted weeks. Buried in the shelves I found gems, such as three collections by Pat Ingoldsby, who…

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