Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Lines Composed on Using for the First Time a Sheepskin Cycle Seat Cover Received as a Christmas Present from my Sister Emily

As the first grey light of morning revealed an icy dawn,

I climbed upon my bicycle: its tyres and brakes well-worn,

But a brand-new woollen cosy I placed upon my seat

To keep at bay the wintry air, and help keep in the heat.

Oh wondrous manufacture! Ingenious idea!

A stylish saddle-cover to insulate my rear!

No more the frosty blasts feared I; no more the arctic weather

Would be a cause, however foul, to hinder my endeavour.

So off I set, astride my steed, and straight away I knew

However low the temperature, my lips however blue,

That my buttocks were protected, besat upon this fleece

And never more would frost-nipped cheeks my ped'ling cause to cease.

Away! And down the hill I flew, the fields all white around;

And white steam rose from a herd of deer, and crows pecked frozen ground.

I set my course toward the West, across the 505,

And though all about was frozen still, I felt the warmest man alive.

The frost it gripped the earth all day, the sun it never shone,

But never once I grumbled while my backside perched upon

This miraculous invention, this draw-string'd, snug device:

Let the weather do its worst to me, the wind let it blow twice

As strong and fierce and bitter, still its penetrating chill,

As I pedalled 'cross the country, to my rump could do no ill:

Through Herts and Cambs and Beds and Warks, West Midlands and Northants -

The warmest parts within me were the parts within my pants.

The honest folk at Ashwell, each still warmly wrapped in bed,

Had they woken would have marvelled as through their little town I sped

Past their gables hung with icicles, their step-stoned pond iced o'er,

To see me still unfrozen, as the mercury sank lower.

So onward I to Hinxworth, up and over the A1

And down again the other side to Langford - Oh, the fun

Of racing on my bicycle between the hoary trees

Off the ridge to Cardington, my legs a blur of knees

Pumping, piston-like, my pedals, leaving Bedford in my wake

Heading northward now, through Bromham, and on my right, a lake

Upon whose frozen surface the geese ungainly slid

But my woollen mat beneath me kept me warm as 'twere a lid.

Easton Maudit, Castle Ashby, the villages slipped by

Then Cogenhoe and Houghton and Northampton seemed to fly

Past my wheels, shrouded still in wisps of white

Fog and ice that now, at noon, had long outlived the night.

I stopped to eat my picnic lunch - my strength from hunger waning -

Now as I munched my frozen sandwiches my buttocks were complaining,

For my trusty bottom-warmer coddled still my cycle's seat

And the iron bench I lunched upon drew out too fast the heat.

So I wolfed my vittles quickly as cold numbness seeped to bone,

And soon through Daventry's broad avenues I rushed on fleecy throne,

And I pedalled through the still chill air, my feeling now restored

Past Industry's great bastions: Rail Freight Terminal, and Ford.

Then to Staverton and Shuckburgh, and Napton-on-the-Hill,

Long Itchington and Offchurch, up to Leamington, until

My journey's end at last drew near, as the brief day's light was fading,

And the darkness of another night my icy road was shading.

Yet past Kenilworth to Beausale the last long miles stretched out,

And as the cold wind blew through Dorridge, I knew beyond a doubt

That without this soft and warming rug to place beneath my bum

On such a day I never would have made it home to Brum.

So glory be to Stella, who invented this delight!

And glory be to Emily G, who correctly guessed it might

Make the perfect Christmas present to invert the chilly cyclist's frown.

What's more: my bike in sheepswool clad 's now the smartest one in town.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Lines Composed on Using for the First Time an Electric Spaghetti Winding-Fork Received as a Christmas Present from my Dear Mama

O deprived, benighted British diners! Still fed up
With daily munching stodgy, samey stews?

With this life-changing gadget now on foreign pasta you will sup,
And banish those spaghetti-winding blues!

Yes! Come see! Our new, unique and patented device!
No more those filamentous strands, mechanically extruded

Will bedevil your attempts to eat alternatives to rice:
Indeed! Your search is ended! (NB Batteries not included.)

Buy now! And soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Our customers as one agree that there is nothing finer:

It’s practical, hygienic, and, what's more – we’re proud to shout - it
Uses genuine materials: moulded plastics, made in China.

The instructions are quite simple: insert in bowl your fork
And switch the flick (marked X) so prongs (marked Y) will roundly go!

Now (ignore the flicking flecks of gravy) carefully adjust the torque,
And shove the contents in your mouth, and chew for an hour or so.

There’s never been a better time to join this latest craze!
From the Highlands and the Islands down to Walton-on-the-Naze

With their Electric Spaghetti Winding-forks, in a hundred different ways,
The sophisticated people eat Spaghetti Bolognese.