The Humble Potato

The Humble Potato

The is nothing wrong with the humble potato
Affectionately known as the spud
So there are fancier foods that we all know
But for the British it’s our lifeblood

There are different kinds of this globular fruit
To the French it’s the pomme de terre
Even here you can choose whatever might suit
Golden Wonders, Estima, others you may prefer

Some like the potatoes boiled in their jackets
Others cannot resist them as chips
Restaurants sometimes are on to a racket
When they fleece us for fancy ‘pommes frit’

Over the years attempts have been made
The potato to synthesize
But packets of POM never quite made the grade
As the public soon realized

So there is nothing quite like bangers and mash
Any type of sausage will do
And you might even desire corned beef hash
Or potatoes floating in stew

Perhaps you prefer your potatoes quite posh
In salads, with gratin, they’re really good nosh
And if you wish to separate ‘them’ from ‘us’
Go the whole hog, have them dauphinoise!

You can see why the potato enjoys such renown
In whatever brand or type they appear
They’ve never been known to let you down
So of its demise there is little fear

 

Ken Fisher

[The potatoes shown above, drying out, after
having been harvested at our allotment]

Chutzpah

Chutzpah

 

Chutzpah is a word sometimes used today
Which can mean impudence, even audacity
It seems to have a long Jewish pedigree
Yiddish or Hebrew we are led to believe

You may have encountered it in the press
Used for exuberance in excess
I suppose we might simply call it cheek
Which quickly removes any mystique

It depends whether you wish to give offence
Or test your companion’s tolerance
In this light chutzpah is really effrontery
You cannot describe it any other way

But if the user wishes to compliment
And to offer  praise is your real intent
Then chutzpah is thought to be fearlessness
Heroic and daring showing real gutsiness

So it seems that you need to give it some thought
For the use of chutzpah is quite easily fraught
And it rests on the context or what we intend
As to whether we praise or perhaps deeply offend

Ken Fisher

Shoehorn

Shoehorn

 

If ever there was a useful device
That solves one of the problems of daily life
The shoehorn is surely one of the best
To prevent our feet being unduly distressed

We all know that feeling when trying to get shod
Forcing our feet that seem far too broad
Into that slim tight-fitting shoe
A narrow gap they refuse to go through

We tug at the laces to make them go slack
We push the foot forward and then pull it back
We turn it around like a twisting corkscrew
But to no avail whatever we do

You would think modern ‘trainers’ would need no shoehorn
But round the ankle they are with padding adorned
Thus inserting your foot through such a thick cushion
requires much assistance as you begin pushing

It is then that the shoehorn comes into its own
By some kind of magic as yet unknown
Slid behind the ankle the horn guides our foot
By this method our problem we can troubleshoot

Shoehorns are produced from various materials
Plastic and metal, even obscure minerals
They are sometimes quite short but occasionally long
Some seem quite flimsy and others so strong

However they look, and by what means they are made
They act like a miniature form of a glassade
But just like a spade or sometimes a shovel
The shoehorn avoids all that foot-fitting trouble

Ken Fisher

Objet D’art

Objet D’art

You may have seen some of these in the Antiques Road Show
An ornament, a painting, jewellery, or an old faded photo
Indeed any kind of decorative or artistic object
Quite collectible, even if no longer seen as perfect

Some of us, less cultured, perhaps inclined to debunk
Regard many such items us dust-gathering junk
Perhaps we have an underdeveloped awareness of art
Aesthetic appreciation has not yet touched the heart

But the fact that the public appears these items to hoard
In quantities in their loft on shelves or a concealed cupboard
Seems to imply that for them they have quite strong affection
So that over the years they build up a treasured collection

Yet I wonder if the chance to make a convenient disposal
Would result in a quick response to an overt proposal
So at the Road Show, or even a lowly car boot sale
A good price would ensure that reason prevails

And so to the treasured objet d’art they wave their goodbye
Parting is sweet sorrow but won’t induce them to  cry
And perhaps they will indulge some self-congratulation
As the original price paid has swelled through inflation!

Ken Fisher

The Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech

 

This time the Queen’s speech was somewhat truncated
Which may have left some of us feeling frustrated
But nonetheless our parliament will be put through its paces
Despite the Queen having to dash off to the races

Some raised an eyebrow about the lack of a Crown
Her headgear may make the traditionalists frown
But apparently to some the hat’s colour seemed bizarre
Giving more than a hint of the European flag’s stars

But I am sure the Queen stays aloof from all politics
No matter Government’s volt- faces and very strange antics
The original manifesto seems to have been whittled down
Ensuring nothing will result in an opponents’ showdown

So it would appear that for at least two more years
Brexit will obsess all the MPs and Peers
Anything else will be considered peripheral
To be squeezed into any convenient interval

So the business of Parliament is expressly defined
The way ahead has been clearly outlined
Let’s hope they get on with the job without any distraction
And pray that we avoid yet another election!

Ken Fisher

Get Wired In

Get Wired In
[for National Paper Clip Day]

I wonder if like me, you had no idea
That there is a useful device that brings us cheer
It’s a humble item of office equipment
Which ensures our papers get proper treatment

I am referring to a widget often overlooked
But is ever so useful to keep our sheets hooked
Together in some storage container or file
Where they need to reside for quite a while

This simple device, just a bent piece of wire
To greater fame it would never aspire
But the service of the humble paper clip
Is vital to ensure that loose pages don’t slip

So today I am told is National Paper Clip Day
And coincides with another office holiday
So perhaps all the paper clips will straighten themselves out
And leap from the desk-tidy as they dance and shout

For we certainly should celebrate the paper clip
Whose value our minds will often let slip
We should rejoice in its power to keep things together
An example we humans might sometimes remember

Ken Fisher

 

typo

typo

Discovering you have made an unfortunate typo
Is enough to turn a sane man into a sycho
After you’v checked every word of the script
Your reputation for accuracy has suddenly sliped

Typos come in many different disgises
Sometimes in ways that would even surprise us
You find them as as unintended duplication
And ocassionally with ones’ wrong punctuation

Spelling as you see is very often a trap
Resulting in many a ritten mishap
And of course there is the sin of omis ion
Its something that would justify strong admonision

Of course such prolbems we can quiet easily solve
And a good spell-chequer would these mostly resolve
Typos might simply be caused by a smelling mistake
And with determination the foul habit we’ll brake

An example of a typo I will never forget
Caused the passing public quite an upset
A sculptor, on a statue, carved out the following inscription
“This monument was paid for by pubic subscription”

Ken Fisher

Midges

Midges

 

It’s official, the hot news is newly broken
From the sleep of winter this little beastie’s woken
And there is little doubt it is a bigger menace
Than the eponymous comic kid known to us as Dennis

Apparently there are billions of these tiny little creatures
Which of summer, in our Highlands, is a distinctive feature
Their thirst for our blood is completely unremitting
Which sometimes forced defeated visitors into quickly quitting

Press reports tell us the female midge is the one to blame
As she seeks out her victims and sets their skin aflame
‘Cause midges have decided that we make a tasty meal
Caring little for the itch and lumps, and how they make us feel

These beasts force us to look for methods ourselves to protect
Our face and arms and legs and other parts you wont expect
For they are very persistent in their determined hot pursuit
And to the consequences they simply don’t give a hoot!

There is no simple remedy for this annual intimidating plague
Pundits offer creams and sprays but on success they are quite vague
Perhaps we simply must reconcile ourselves to the midge invasion
Pleading with visitors still to come, by all powers of persuasion

Ken Fisher

Political Correctness

Political Correctness (PC)

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In the past it was simply considered good manners
But now there seems a much higher standard
For things that we say or words that we write
The risk of offending has become infinite

We have to reflect on the language we use
And avoid using terms whose meaning is loose
And above all we must never discriminate
By adopting a term which others berate

Thus mankind is replaced by humanity
Never appealing to mens’ vanity
Workmen joined by their women equivalent
So the term workforce is much less ambivalent

The killer whale is the orca, a much kinder term
Spring Spheres replace Easter Eggs we confirm
And Christmas foliage becomes the holiday tree
So that from religion we might all be kept free

PC is not just restricted to the use of words
Some other changes you may think absurd
So to make Dennis a little less of a Menace
A softening makeover so as not to offend us

Punch and Judy, a staple of the British seaside
No more inappropriate hitting or woe betide
Brainstorming must now be described as thought showers
Such revisions took the PC inspectors many hours

A major concern of the PC advocates
Two concepts which they often like to conflate
Equality and diversity they seek to promote
Only such policies deserving our vote

One school plans to make its toilets unisex
So that any LGBT pupils will n’er be preplexed
Thus avoiding any possible crisis of identity
Binary division removed quite acceptably

So the whole agenda of political correctness
By many new measures designed to direct us
Ensuring that nothing will ever divide or offend
Perhaps a new tyranny that seems without end

Ken Fisher

 

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

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An elephant seems to have entered our room
Surely someone will say something soon
Because its presence is so clearly obvious
Yet apparently ignored by the entire audience

Despite the fact of its enormous frame
Everyone agrees to play the game
Of pretending this tusker does not exist
So speaking of which they firmly resist

The risk of its presence they simply ignore
A course of action they all should deplore
Because this mighty behemoth won’t go away
A solution is needed most speedily

Of course the elephant is simply a metaphor
For a problem we must find a solution for
Like the King’s New Clothes concealing a lie
The elephant too would the truth deny

So let our profession be honest and true
Not sending that giant back to the zoo
And candour can once again resume
When we accept the elephant is in the room!

Ken Fisher

 

 

Curmudgeon

Curmudgeon

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Sometimes we should briefly pause
And ask ourselves what is the cause
Of our behaviour so carnaptious
Childlike and quite often fractious

Perhaps it’s a rheumatic twinge
Or the result of some eating binge
When sometimes we feel out of sorts
Gloomy face, and temper short

Maybe a symptom of old age
Is that the reason why we rage?
At little gripes that bring dismay
That shouldn’t happen every day!

Sometimes we echo John Paul Sartre
Philosopher so very smart
He claimed ‘hell is other people’
Among them we ne’er can be gleeful

And for our temper we always find excuse
Too often we seem to feel the blues
But if a cure we hope to find
To others we need to be kind

And if we live life with a smile
Make acceptance our new style
The curmudgeon will soon fade away
As joy to others we display

Ken Fisher

Signature

Signature

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Watching ‘The Donald’ make his mark on documents official
Adding his signature to edicts advisory or judicial
Reminds me of the importance of when I sign on the line
I confirm that what is written is then truly mine

Perhaps within our land the signature most notable
Is that of Elizabeth our sovereign so admirable
Thus Acts of Parliament duly come into force
When Her Majesty assents and does them formally endorse

But the word signature has other applications
And is used in many differing situations
Thus TV and Radio shows are sure to emphasise
Their arrival with a tune that we all recognize

And if to watch the Bake Off was your fondest wish
Observing competitors concoct their signature dish
And of course if we wish to use a cheque to pay a bill
We sign our name confirming payment’s our own will

And the legal world still needs us to sign our name
On contracts and wills or an insurance claim
And if it’s your intention your promises to pledge
In marriage or mortgage, signing you simply cannot hedge!

Now that handwriting seems just about extinct
How do we prove we are unique and distinct?
Perhaps only by signing our personal name
Our identity to the world we still seek to make plain

On reflection it seems some hand-writing is so poor
And especially the signature which looks totally obscure
To me it’s not surprising the smart card’s usurped the pen
And perhaps those cryptic scribbles won’t e’er be seen again

Ken Fisher