Categories
Beauty Cosmetics English Culture fashion Poetry Romance Society

How to look Great

Well, it is Sunday 3rd January 2021. I woke early, (as usual) and after looking out of the window at the pouring rain, decided that my scheduled Sunday walk with my good friend, John was likely to be cancelled. A quick text message exchange confirmed that yomping across the saturated heathland around the Oakhanger satellite ground station was not high on our list of priorities.

So, I decided to make today a very productive one, so I launched myself into the task of clearing all the old papers from the home office.

I spent most of the morning going through old documents, and had to stop, as the shredder was showing signs of iminent meltdown.

Opening another dusty box that appeared to have been packed in 1999 (judging by the papers, letters and bank statements) I came across a hand written poem, written by none other than SWMBO.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I think it’s very good, so I have reproduced it below. Well done Sue, it seems that you and I are both wordsmiths…

So here it is!

How to look Great!

A look in the mirror can shatter a dream,

Lotions and potions, a bottle of creme,

A wrinkle, a spot, a tragedy great,

Will I be ready for dinner at eight?

Photo by Anderson Guerra on Pexels.com

Oh No!

A crater, a canyon, a ravine very deep,

So into a bath full of bubbles I leap,

The hair, and the nails, and the make-up all done,

“Darling, how on earth do you always look so young?”

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

If only he knew the stress it creates,

The mess and the anguish that making-up takes,

To look like a model from the pages of Vogue,

Here’s to dinner at eight, and one for the road!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Sue Gaffyne© 2021

Categories
Aircew Armistice combat English Culture English History pilots Poetry Remembrance Society Veterans war

My Tribute to the Fallen

For those that never came back, and for those that came. back broken

Don’t Tell ‘Em I’m Only Sixteen Mum

Don’t tell ’em I’m only sixteen, Mum,

Or they won’t let me go the front,

I’ve been issued a Lewis machine gun,

Which I clean as I sit on my bunk.

The Lewis Machine Gun. Being used for Anti-Aircraft purposes, by Australian Troops

I’ve heard there’s a big push tomorrow,

The barrage is starting at dawn,

The sky’s grey and dark with Gods sorrow,

The Poppy’s stand limp and forlorn.

Poppy Wreaths, laid at the Menin Gate, Belgium

We stand in the mud of the gloomy old trench,

Waiting silent for daybreak to come,

Backing us up are Belgians and French,

All shaking from fear of the Hun.

Some lonely boy in a dugout, is playing a gramophone now,

Memories of crisp sheets and my bedroom at home,

Taking my girl to the theatre, to see the show, Chu Chin Chow,

Surrounded by men in the close-crowded trench, I’m alone

Don’t tell ’em I’m only sixteen Mum,

Or they won’t let me go over the top

I’m no longer a schoolboy, so, I must go and battle the Hun,

I’ll make you proud, Mum, and I promise I won’t get the chop.

British Troops, going over the top…

The Sun’s golden fingers, are now probing the top of my trench,

A whistle is blown, the ground starts to shake, my ears filled with brimstone and noise,

Dawn’s freshness, corrupt, by explosions, the smoke, the cordite stench,

A shout, and the smell of fresh mud hits my face, as I climb up the steps with the boys.

Field Guns in Flanders

The barbed wire fence is in tatters, like a snake’s skin, just freshly sloughed,

The whipcrack of bullets buzz by my head, like so many furious bees,

We slowly move into the maelstrom, friends falling like rain from the clouds,

Away to my left is Sid from the village, chest crimson, he sinks to his knees.

Devastation…

Through the smoke I see a small crump-hole, half filled with my comrades, and mud,

I look back to the trench that was home, about fifty yards I would guess,

I crouch and hobble to safety, and see Charlie, who’s covered in blood,

I held his hand, as he died in the green slimy mud, I cry, “My God, what a mess”

The Cenotaph, London.

Don’t tell them I’m only sixteen Mum, I’m really just doing my bit,

If the Captain finds out that I’m under-age, they’ll send me home in disgrace,

It’s just that I’m so very scared Mum, that on the next push, I’ll get hit,

Then it’s back to the factory, white feathers, and old ladies who spit in my face…

Don’t tell them I’m only sixteen Mum….

Lest We Forget…

Mark Charlwood 2020

Categories
Aircew airlines Airport aviation Flight Humour pilots Poetry Transport Travel

Boeing 747-400 Preflight

Aviation is fixated, quite correctly, on in-flight safety. From the humblest sailplane or microlight to the mightiest 747, safety procedures have to be completed, to ensure that aircraft don’t drop out of the skies like confetti.

Before any aircraft takes flight, it’s crew must conduct a thorough inspection to make sure that it is in a fit state to fly. Cabin attendants will check every door and overhead locker, and ensure that all of their required safety equipment is in place. 

Their pilot colleagues will also be checking all flight systems thoroughly. There are two elements to this – the internal cockpit checks, and what is known in the trade, as the “walk-around” or the exterior preflight inspection.

Each item to be inspected is laid out in the Flight Crew Operating Manual, or FCOM, and follows a carefully planned and logical sequence so that no item is left unchecked.

As an instructor, strict adherence to procedures is part of my everyday working life.

Here is my lighthearted look at the external walk-around procedure for the Boeing B747-400.

I think it’s a little better than writing about the procedure I follow on my own, much smaller aeroplane.

Jumbo Pre-flight

Whilst our Jumbo’s on the ground,
Before each flight, we must walk round,
And carefully check so many things,
Are engines fixed, likewise the wings,
Are panels shut, are windows clean,
Do nav lights work, do lenses gleam,
And as a safety-conscious fellow,
Be sure to wear your vest of yellow,
To help you check before night flight,
Be sure to use your bright flashlight,
Do just what the FCOM says,
Check the tyres, and gear door bays,
Check the cowls, and drain mast pipes,
Inspect the engine pylon stripes,
Look at the fin, and check the slats,
The lightning wicks, and Fowler flaps,
For safety’s sake – what could be worse?
Than looking forwards whilst in reverse!
Check the brakes and steering too,
The vacuum outlet for the loo,
The outflow valve, the pitot head,
Oh boy – you should have stayed in bed,
Cos whilst you check in pouring rain,
The captains in the warm – AGAIN!

Categories
Aircew airlines Airport aviation English Culture Flight Nostalgia Old Friends pilots Poetry Transport Travel

One from My Back Catalogue

Artwork Fantastically provided by Bev Pook, Friend, Pilot, Motorcyclist and Bon Vivant…

Categories
Aircew Airport aviation English Culture Flight Lyricist Nostalgia pilots Poetry Transport Vehicles

I’ve always been a hangar rat at heart

I’ve hung around small airfields, since I was just a lad,

A hangar rat, an air cadet, just aviation mad,

Sent solo in a sailplane, when I was just sixteen,

Soaring over English fields, a  quilt of gold and green.

The miracle of flight. Too young for a motorbike, but able to fly the Kirby Cadet Mk III

Sweeping out the hangars, polishing the props,

Cleaning all  their windshields, hanging round in ops,

Topping up the tanks and tyres, mowing taxiway and strip,

Befriending all the pilots, to see if I could blag a trip.

Gissa Flight Mate…

I worked hard at my day job, slaving nine till’ five,

Then pumping gas, and cleaning, to keep the dream alive,

When I wasn’t working, I was studying my craft,

Funny how quickly, the months and years flash past

Practicing the art and skill of landing a taildragger.

As I got older, I got bigger,  and the airfields did the same,

And I was thrilled to hang around, much bigger aeroplanes,

Still in operations, briefing crews and planning flights

Working out performance, a blur of days and nights.

Bit bigger that I was used to!

Then one day, the time arrived, when I had to say goodbye,

To the mighty ships that plied their trade, so high up in the sky,

I left the airport on that final day, without once looking back,

Already thinking of my former self, and could I get him back?

So I wandered up the airstrip as the sun climbed the clear blue sky,

Pulled my little airplane out, I prepared myself to fly,

Turning round, I saw him, overalls, broom and cap,

Young, fresh-faced, teenager, My replacement Hangar Rat

So I took him flying….

Categories
English Culture Lyricist Music Poetry Society Songwriting Uncategorized

ME? A WANDERING MINSTREL?

Its a funny old world.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved music – in particular, any song that tells a full story. It seems that the only genres left that adequately do this consistently are country music and country rock. I could be wrong though, as my music taste has become more and more discrimnatory and selective over the years. I could be unfairly judging modern music, but, hey, I’m a product of my generation…

A Good Ole Country Boy, telling it how it is…

I havent listen to a “pop” station for decades, prefering the wider range of genres presented by (dare I say it ) Radio 2, I also listen to Union Jack Radio which plays all British artists and when I’m feeling nostalgic, Eagle 80s. If you’re interested, both of these staions broadcast on DAB and over the internet, so no excuse not to give them a try…

Anyhow, back to musical story-telling…

Now, love him or hate him, who can forget Kenny Rogers telling the story of The Coward of the County, or The Gambler?

Maybe listen to the Eagles, and let them sing the sad story of the love-lorn woman and her uncaring husband in Lyin’ Eyes.

If you like a little humour in your music, listen to the late, great Johhny Cash telling the story of the Boy Named Sue.

Love of music must be an almost genetic thing though.

My Father was a musician. He couldn’t read a word of music, but he was a competent guitarist, and played banjo in a Jazz band. He could also busk it with a trombone, and the harmonica.

My Dear Old Dad, playing the Trombone at a charity fund-raiser with the Fleet Jazz Band, circa 1957

Sometimes he would arrive home with a new instrument – purchased just because the mood took him. I seem to recall him coming home one evening with a ukelele and within a few hours of tinkering he could bash out a reasonable number of recognisable tunes.

My Mother on the other hand does not have a musical bone in her body, and couldn’t carry a tune if her life depended on it. But she does have a lot of poetic ability, some of which I think I must have inherited from her.

So, over the years, I have written reams of lyrics and poems, none of which had seen the light of day – mainly because as I am unable to read music or play an instrument, I have been unable to marry the words with a suitable musical vehicle.

Possibly one of the best Mystical Musical Stories – The Eagles’ Hotel California

That changed when I went to work for the Civil Aviation Authority. It turned out that one of my fellow managers was a skilled guitarist, and played in a band, and spent the rest of his free time either as a Johnny Cash Tribute artiste, or playing in a duo called Loki.

Discussing my problem with him, he said that if I sent him a lyric, he would see what he could do with it.

With a little trepidation, I passed over some lyrics that I had written in the early 1990s,

In my minds eye, I imagined this particular song being played by a group like Sad Cafe, or Air Supply, so I didn’t really know what to expect it to be like like after Kevin had played around with it.

A few weeks later, and it was finished. In a quiet side room at work, Kevin played me the embryonic song – which sounded weird – hearing words that I had written melded with music.

After a little tweaking, Kevin treated the number to a full studio workout, and the result was intriguing. I think it works very well, but I guess I’m a bit biased.

So, here it is.

Yesterday You Told Me It Was Over (Lyrics Mark Charlwood, Music by Kevin Russell)

Kevin Russell is The Fat Man in Black – Johnny Cash Tribute Atriste

Kevin appears regularly on the music circuit, and plays pretty much throughout the South East. One of his regular gigs is at the Sharpthorne Organic Cafe in Sharpthorne, West Sussex – so visit for a relaxed and mellow Sunday lunch whilst being entertained.

The Sharpthorne Organic Cafe in Sharpthorne, West Sussex

He may even play this song, if you ask him nicely…

Go Well…

Mark Charlwood© January 2020

Categories
Comedy Humour Poetry Satire Society

How to Keep a man – one for the ladies…

You’re a beautiful, talented woman,

With a mind that’s clever and keen,

But you whine that Your  body clock’s ticking

You forget that You’re only nineteen

You constantly fret that you’re boring,

You say You’re a bit of a mess,

You constantly talk about diets,

And does your bum look too big in this dress?

You go to the clubs and the parties,

Where you hang out with your friends and your mates,

You discuss with them all in great detail,

About you’re failure to hook men and get dates,

You’ve probably tried make up and fashion,

Smart Hairdos, maybe leather and lace,

You go to the trendiest places, You wear all the latest gear,

But I’ll tell you how to pull men, girl,

JUST COME NAKED, BRING BEER!

So now you’ve landed your feller,

And you want him to be faithful and true,

The lesson to learn is quite simple,

And now I’ll explain it to you

Be a domestic god-dess in the kitchen,

Cooking meals that would be fit for the Queen,

You can whizz round the house with the Hoover,

Keep the home spotlessly clean,

You can be his constant companion,

You can go to the football and cheer,

You can wash, and iron his clothing,

But to keep your man in contentment,

SIMPLY TURN UP NAKED – BRING BEER!

Mark Charlwood 2017

Categories
Driving Motorcycling Motoring Poetry Society Transport Travel Vehicles

Biker Down!

Black ribbons of tarmac, shimmering heat,

Rolling green pastures, tall golden wheat,

The hum of the engine, the smell of warm oil,

Hot wind in my face, and I’m starting to boil,

Road curving ahead, sweeping round in a loop,

Ahead are four Harleys, all part of my group,

In my mirrors, two bikers, both riding too fast,

Engines screaming like banshees, – hurtling past,

They pass our Harleys, disappear from my view,

And I slowly catch up with the rest of my crew,

Traffic still flowing,  in fast, disciplined lanes,

Cars in the distance like passenger trains,

Tail lights now flaring, deep cherry red, glowing,

I squeeze on the brakes, traffic rapidly slowing,

Come to a stop, cars bumper to bumper,

So I don’t overheat, I turn off the old thumper,

Sitting and waiting, No longer plain sailing,

On the hard shoulder, the sirens are wailing,

For an age we just sit there, then comes the chopper,

It looks very bad, someone’s come a real cropper

Cars up ahead, now starting to drive,

Engines starting, bikers starting to ride,

Slowly passing the accident site,

Viewing the debris that once was a bike,

Ride on,…. Ride on, hide your tears with a frown,

Spare a prayer for the departed, 

The biker who’s down………

Mark Charlwood 2017©️

Ride Safe – Shiny side UP, Greasy side DOWN!
Categories
Airport Flight Old Friends Poetry Romance Transport Travel Uncategorized

Night Departure

Tail lights vanishing into a darkening sky,

A symbol of your leaving,

An intermittent spark of fading cherry red,

Dwarfed, and made miniscule by the vastness of night,

The lonely silver disc of the moon, bathes the landscape with surreal intensity,

In it’s unfeeling spotlight, for an unknown reason, I feel desolate,

You, speeding across the roof of the world, chasing the eastern mystic dawn,

I gaze at the last seductive blink of light, yet distance and darkness conspire,

The universe wins, and defeated, I stand alone,

I trudge to the car park, wearing shoes of lead,

Having nowhere to go, yet no reason to stay,

Out! Out! onto the highway, My reality here,

Yet My spirit soars east, chasing, never catching,

Radio taunts, me, romantic songs,

I turn south, and briefly look up,

I see another, red, winking, vanishing into a darkening sky

Mark Charlwood© 1989

Categories
English Culture Poetry Society Uncategorized

My Rural Pub

My Rural Pub

 

 

Balmy evening, sun not set, sky is azure blue,

As I set off to the pub, to sink a pint or two,

I stroll along the leafy lane, and cross a rotting stile,

It’s not a gruelling journey, just barely half a mile

 

The woods I have now passed through, and either side are crops,

And over in the distance, is the village church and shops

On my left is golden wheat, to the right is yellow rape,

And my friend, the lonesome horse, stands waiting by his gate

 

I walk into the village, up round past the church,

Up cobbled lane, my local, The Robber and the Birch

Rural English tavern, horse brasses, and oaken beam,

Weather-beaten whitewashed walls, slowly turning green

 

Ducking to protect my head, I push the creaky door,

Entering the alehouse, where footpads drunk before,

All the chequered history, of my ancestors lie here,

You can smell it in the woodwork, and taste it in the beer

 

Minstrels, Monks and Robbers, perhaps a Prince or two,

Have stopped to quaff a jug of ale, as they were passing through,

Relaxing by the window, I slowly sip my beers,

With the sounds of Merrie England, still ringing in my ears

 

The cricket teams’ just entered, a very happy crowd,

I think that they’ve just won their match, and feeling very proud,

The clink of cheerful glasses, loud celebrating toasts,

With giant plates of sandwiches, provided by our hosts

 

 

It’s time to go, I nod goodbye to the old man by the door,

Glancing round my local pub, it’s English to the core,

I wander back, round past the church, and down the dusky lane,

Down through the fields, and past the horse, away, to home again.

 

 

Mark CharlwoodÓ 2018