Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Poem - Extract From Summoned By Bells - John Betjeman

In today's extract fro 'Summoned By Bells' John Betjeman recalls his father arriving home in a foul mood and unleashing his anger on his rebellious son. (Blank verse - read according to the punctuation, not line to line.)

A motor broke the spell and that was that;
And here was home, and here the gate, and there
The Arrol-Johnston crawling down the lane.
And on the morning after burst the storm:
"How often have I said the bacon's cold?
Confound it, Bess! Confound! When will they learn?"
Bang! Boom! His big fists set the cups a-dance,
The willow-pattern shivered on the shelves,
His coat-sleeve swept an ash-tray to the floor .....
"Just down for breakfast, sir? You're good enough
To honour us by coming down at ten!
Don't fidget, boy. Attention when I speak!
As I was saying - now I look at you -
Bone-lazy, like my eldest brother Jack,
A rotten, low, deceitful little snob,
Yes, I'm in trade and proud of it, I am!"
Black waves of hate went racing round the room;
My gorge was stuck with undigested toast.
And did this woman once adore this man?
And did he love her for her form and face?
I drew my arm across my eyes to hide
The horror in them at the wicked thoughts.
"My boy, it's no good sulking. Listen here.
You'll go to Bates and order me the car,
You'll caddy for me on the morning round,
This afternoon you'll help me dig for bait,
You'll weed the lawn and, when you've finished that,
I'll find another job for you to do.
I'll keep you at it as I've kept myself-
I'll have obedience! Yes, by God, I will!"
"You damn well won't! I'm going out today!"
I darted for the door. My father rose.
My saintly mother, on her serious face
A regal look of dignified reproach-
"They both are in the wrong"-now seized her chance:
She waved an arm and dropped her cigarette.
"Come back!" she cried, and heard her cry ring out
As rang the martyred wife's or mother's cry
In many a Temple Thurston she had read,
Or Philip Gibbs: "He is your father , John!"
I scraped my wrist along the unstained oak
And slammed the door against my father's weight-
And ran like mad and ran like mad and ran .....
"I'm free! I'm free!" The open air was warm
And heavy with the scent of flowering mint,
And beetles waved on bending leagues of grass,
And all the baking countryside was kind.

Extract from Summoned By Bells
John Betjeman

Swimming With Polar Bears - Pure Magic

There's a place in the world where children can swim among polar bears. Since July 2004 , in the little town of Cochrane, Northern Ontario Canada, you can visit the Polar Bear Habitat.
It's a kind of local zoo where people can live the once-in-a-life-time experience of an outdoor swim with polar bears. Of course, the humans are in a different pool, separated from the bears' habitat by just a layer of glass.
Can you see the water drops now?

There's a bullet proof, shatterproof glass that's about 9 centimeters thick , because although they're cute, polar bears are among the worlds most ferocious carnivores.

It took 20 years for the Polar Bear Conservation and Education Habitat and Heritage Village to get off the ground.

When it opened it attracted some 11,000 visitors in the first six months.

And now your invited to go and swim with all those bears if you dare.

Hyphenated Faux Pas

Winter Blonde

One winter morning in Michigan a couple was listening to the radio while eating breakfast. They heard the announcer say, "We are going to have eight to ten inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowploughs can get through." Norman's wife went out and moved her car.
A week later while they were again eating breakfast, the radio announcer said, "We are expecting ten to twelve inches of snow today. You must park ....." Then the electric power went off.
Norman's wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, "Honey I don't know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the snowploughs can get through?"
With the love and understanding in his voice that all men who are married to blonde's exhibit, Norman says, "Why don't you just leave it in the garage this time."

Can You Believe Your Eyes

(Click on image to enlarge)

Animal Crackers

Today's Smile