Fridge Magnet Memorabilia

Fridge Magnet Memorabilia

Some people collect stamps or quaint comic books
For others it’s coins or treasured old spoons
All sorts of odd objects and strange paraphernalia
For me, I prefer Fridge Magnet Memorabilia

Collection is too big for the fridge door to hold
So I simply had to take some action quite bold
On the bathroom tiles these icons stuck firm
Testimony to worldwide visits these can confirm

European cities are well represented
Almost enough to get us disoriented
But each little icon brings into focus
The time when that place had been our locus

Some of our tribe went to far destinations
Across the wide oceans, exotic nations
Returning to base with memories filled
With stories which left the home birds quite thrilled

It’s amazing how a fridge magnet vignette
Of towering mountains or a beach at sunset
Can transport us in our mind’s inward eye
A gift that fond memories can thus supply

So this collection of magnets held on tiles with blu-tac
Provides every day a welcome feed back
The pictures and symbols and miniature maps
Keep images fresh when much time has elapsed

Ken Fisher

The Cumbernauld Clock

The Cumbernauld Clock

I remember well this iconic clock
When strolling past on a lunch-time walk
In the centre of town in Cumbernauld
Whose architecture some critics appalled

I was teaching there in the shiny new college
Hoping to increase the residents’ knowledge
At that time the clock became the locus
On which much attention would then focus

Gregory’s Girl provided worldwide renown
And in Jubilee Year the Queen came to town
The clock features in both these events
As of course did many proud residents

Cumbernauld in the beginning tried to ensure
That pedestrains from traffic were kept quite secure
Converging paths from suburbs approached the top
To then pay homage to that venerable clock

Now the clock is the subject of a tug of war
Twixt the townies and others who would it restore
And move it away to a quite different location
To keep time in newly renovated Queen Street Station

So whatever the fate of this worthy time piece
Of horology no doubt a great masterpiece
I hope it will continue to tick quietly away
As it measures the passing of each welcome new day

Ken Fisher

Removal Upheaval

Removal Upheaval

 

I don’t know how often you have changed your address
But for the inexperienced this seems to cause great distress
And although we look forward with keen anticipation
We advance to our move date with some real trepidation

At first there’s the trauma of the purchase and sale
Which can push your blood pressure right off the scale
Having found your new home after diligent search
You hope you aren’t out-bid and left in the lurch

And once your target property is safely secured
Will the price leave you among the indigent poor?
Then panic sets in as you now need to sell up
Caught in the pincers that could leave you bankrupt

Of course there are professionals to help steer you through
Estate agents and lawyers, and mortgage brokers too
They are all case-hardened by years of experience
And promise their efforts will make such a difference

In the fullness of time the dark clouds will lift
And earlier worries can at last be dismissed
Your old home sold off and a new one acquired
Surely your clever dealings will be duly admired

But now you are faced with an onerous chore
Of clearing your old home from ceiling to floor
Then moving all your chattels to their new habitation
You must get on quickly with no procrastination

There is no doubt that we cannot avoid this disruption
When all our normal routines suffer vast interruption
It affects our body and mind and no doubt our purse
Perhaps selling agents should provide us all with a nurse

However, in the end when in our new flat we have settled down
Perhaps we can smile and dispense with that frown
The removal upheaval no longer an obsession
And in our new home we find pride of possession

Ken Fisher

Independence Day (4th July)

Independence Day

 

Greetings to our friends across the pond
Of whom, despite The Donald, we are quite fond!
Whatever might be your future fate
It’s bound to show that you’re still great

Of the Special Relationship no-one seems sure
But after so much time it should remain secure
And as the globe shrinks with every passing year
The cyber world perhaps brings greater fear

So thank you still for American Pie
And Stars and Stripes this 4th July
After 242 years as a new nation
You deserve warm congratulations!

Ken Fisher

Who Wants the Library?

Who Wants the Library?
[Libraries week 9 – 14 Oct 2017]

Sometimes we are told our libraries are under threat
And if we don’t use them we could lose this valuable asset
I hope this won’t happen as the library is a treasure
It educates, and informs us, and brings us all great pleasure

The traditional view of a library where silence must prevail
Among the dusty shelves of volumes now quite stale
Is far from the reality of the modern resource centre
You will recognize this fact if you but dare to enter

Of course the book stock still predominates
And is hugely extensive to cater for all tastes
Within its compass you find books of diverse classification
Fiction and fact of every genre to satisfy the nation

But the library has been fully reconfigured
The range of high tech gear may leave you quite bewildered
Computer screens and audio devices are everywhere apparent
All ready to meet the needs of any keen aspirant

One of the greatest changes in the library provision
Has been the encouragement of a child-friendly vision
So every day, in their allotted space, parents and the young
Engage in song, dance and games, all sorts of active fun

If this is all a bit too rumbustious for your own taste
Don’t worry there is also other quieter space
Study rooms, WiFi access, copying and printing
And comfortable chairs in which to do some thinking!

So let’s rejoice that the library is still there to serve
And give it the support that it surely does deserve
The staff are there to help you and offer kindly advice
The open door says Welcome – so simply step inside!

Ken Fisher

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

Llandudno

Once again we have headed for the coast of North Wales
Whose attraction for us never seems to pale
Most of our time was spent on the Isle of Angelsey
In a little hamlet, well suited for rest and for play

It is interesting that even in the modern world of today
The Welsh language is spoken here every day
And reading the multi-lingual road signs
Can quite often be a bit of a bind

However this is a minor irritation
And Wales on the whole is a generous nation
Across the Isle of Anglesey and from shore to shore
There is much for the holiday-maker to explore

The eastern gateway to Anglesey is Telford’s mighty Menai Bridge
And not far way the Britannia crossing spans the Strait’s wide ridge
At Holyhead in the west you can escape overseas
And take the Irish ferries with the greatest of ease

Having exhausted the pleasures of Angelesey’s beaches
The short trip to the mainland makes it easy to reach
Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, and royal Caernarfon
And Snowdonia’s mountains there to be climbed on

Llandudno is a seaside town you really need to see
Its pier, long promenade where Punch & Judy still brings the kids much glee
There’s the Great Orme tramway, Happy Valley and even some copper mines
Shops to spend your money and restaurants for food and wine

For the tourist North Wales offers many attractions
Scenic railways, slate mines, Bodnant Gardens bring much satisfaction
And wherever you go or whatever you do
To have chosen Wales you will never rue

Ken Fisher

 

[See my previous poems on this subject:
The Wonders of Wales – Sept 2015
North Wales – A Holiday Treasure – July 2016
See also my Poem – Dublin’s Fair City – Aug 2017]

Dublin’s Fair City

Dublin’s Fair City

From Anglesey if you look to the west
At least if perched high in the crow’s nest
You could perhaps catch sight of that city so fair
Where the denizens seek to live with such flare

I refer of course to Dublin so fair
Which many claim is beyond compare
Not just for its girls ever so pretty
But for all of life in that capital city

So a quick hop on the Stena Line ferry
From Holyhead these ships never tarry
And with hardly time to say goodbye to Wales
You have safely landed within the Pale

Now with Irish politics one never should meddle
Digging into their history might simply court trouble
So on a quick city tour you just watch and listen
Don’t let your temper arise to a frisson

There is much to excite as you straddle the Liffey
And the commentary explains it all in a jiffy
This University town boasts many literary giants
And not just a few who excelled in science

The writers have enjoyed world renown
Shaw, Yeats, Beckett, Swift and Heaney all owned this town
But science was never neglected there
Of Robert Boyle, Ernest Walton, and Kathleen Lonsdale you will be aware

The achievements of the citizens are too numerous to quote
But one city concoction will always tickle your throat
I refer of course to their particular Erin brew
And don’t be confused it is not Irish stew

If you enter a pub in any Dublin Street
The evidence of this libation you surely will meet
I refer to the ‘Black Stuff’ – that’s the name they shout
It’s Guinness the world’s most famous stout

So it’s no use protesting that you are TT
Your eyes will light up as soon as you see
A tall pint of this quite unique Irish brew
Pulled by the barman especially for you

At last it is time to leave behind all these Irish sensations
And head back to the port for our home destination
As we leave Dublin behind with a glow in our heart
For this city where living is somehow an art

Ken Fisher

Continental Train Journey

Continental Train Journey

The joy and romance of a continental train journey
A feeling of excitement and even mystery
Each and every destination seems exotic
Despite the fact that many are quite quotidian

Perhaps it is the element of the unfamiliar
The anxiety of ensuring you are on the right platform
That you line up at the point for your intended coach
And not forgetting to compostez votre billet in the yellow machine!

The train trundles in to the station and you scramble aboard
If you have reserved your seat, can you find it?
Perhaps it is upstairs! A feature unfamiliar in Britain
Soon the journey starts, are we travelling in the wrong direction?
Who knows? Who cares?

We steadily progress through the suburbs and into the hinterland
Fields of stony ground support the serried ranks of vines
We are in the South of France where vineyards abound
Perhaps you prefer the olives, here in equal abundance

We gaze out at red tiled roofs and farm steadings
They seem to stretch for miles in every direction
No wonder the French are keen to support agriculture
It is claimed most city dwellers are only one generation from the land

Sometimes, at a distance, we catch sight of an ancient hilltop monastery
For centuries home to a venerated religious community
Offering up prayers for this profane world
As they devoted themselves to their Order

As you look out across the landscape little things surprise
The pylons seem like elaborate constructions from coat-hangers
And of course, who can ignore the railside graffiti?
Far exceeding the art of David Hockney or Jackson Pollock!

Inside the train we are not neglected and if you travel TGV
Or similar, you may be served a very civilized lunch with wine
And always the sun seems to shine perpetually
Surely this affects the outlook – warming the soul – who needs the wine?

One disconcerting feature which can concern the traveller
in a foreign land, is the on-board announcement to passengers
Schoolboy French provides about ten percent of the message
Check how the natives are reacting – then follow the crowd!

This journey is but a mere snap shot, a transient moment
In our life and theirs. But as the track bisects land
Little cameos of local life flash before our eyes in rapid succession
And in some small part we catch a glimpse of similarity and difference

In due time we reach our destination and climb down
to the platform – We know what sortie means!
So we emerge on to the station concourse
In expectation of further delights of the unfamiliar

Ken Fisher

Fifteen Miles on the John Muir Way

Fifteen Miles on the John Muir Way
[North Berwick to Dunbar]


Routemarker – the John Muir Way

In the shadow of Berwick Law we set our easterly course
A happy band of ramblers, eyes fixed on the road ahead
Steady is the pace, chat comes easy, spirits high
As we tread this walkway opened to commemorate
The 100th Anniversary of the death of John Muir

Our first objective is to reach East Linton and the Preston Mill
An ancient structure , still preserved, for grinding grain to flour
Powered by a waterwheel fed by the speeding flow in the lade
An energy efficient method – so long as the rainfall does not fail!


Preston Mill

Enlightened and refreshed by our visit to the mill
We continue our rural ramble, encouraged by brightening skies
Through open country our journey takes us inexorably toward the sea
But not before meandering through fields of wheat bordered by woodland

Among the joys of walking with friends is the chance to
Tune in to the natural world around. The birdsong,
The flowers and trees of infinite variety, the differing landscape
And times of animated conversation or moments of silence and solitude
To wonder at creation and breathe it in to our jaded souls

We eventually enter the John Muir Country Park at Belhaven Bay
This extensive sandy inlet changes with the tides’ ebb and flow
And as our eyes are drawn outwards from the shore line
We catch a view of the steep volcanic sides of the Bass Rock
Featured in works of fiction, including Catriona by R L Stevenson


The Bass Rock

And so our steady progress continues, our faces weathered
By the changing conditions, the cobwebs of the city blown away
Our hearts inspired by the heady mixture of fresh air
And recognition of the beauty of life, we press on gratefully

As we near the town of Dunbar we skirt a verdant golf course
Then the coastal path reveals vistas below of the rocky shoreline
Notwithstanding our weariness, we have to descend
And then ascend several stone stairways which brought back childhood memories
Of scenes in some of the adventures of the intrepid Rupert Bear

At last, like pilgrims on a journey, we reach our final destination
Weary but contented. Happy to have completed the distance
Happy to have communed with nature, happy to have been in
Each others’ company. Grateful to share in  John Muir’s legacy

Ken Fisher

 


Dunbar

200 Years of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

200 Years of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

 

Congratulations to this old friend
Providing such pleasure and satisfaction
For two centuries you have been our pride and joy
Playground and classroom for successive generations

Thanks to those whose foresight became our legacy
Benefactors and botanists who nurtured this grandiose project
The City Fathers in their own time too
Who promoted the development of the gardens

History tells of the sub-terranean railway line
And the old bandstand at the crown of the hill
In more recent times the Kelvin Walkway
Arboretum and Bard in the Botanics

In the wide pathways and greensward
Now liberated from restrictions of an earlier age
Children of all ages cavort quite uninhibited
While others meander along riverside walks

Surely the crowning glory of this renowned parkland
The glasshouses, Kibble and Main Range
Custodians of exotic plant species
Promoter of science and art together

Past venue for political diatribes to sway our views
And religious rallies to stir the heart and save the soul
Meeting point for horticultural aficionados
And platforms for booksellers and plant societies

Couples newly wed parade quite unabashed
Along the main pathway’s wide expanse
As photographers like the paparazzi
Seek the image that will surely flatter

And tiny tots with their attentive guardians
Flex youthful muscles while learning how to balance
In the play areas especially designed for them
A kindergarten for growing minds and bodies

Behind the scenes at the Botanics
Much serious work is undertaken
While visitors refresh themselves in cafes
The cultivation of the plants is centre stage

So thanks to those who had the vision and the will
To establish this treasure trove in our green space
We salute those pioneers and innovators
And pledge to do our part to honour their generous legacy

Ken Fisher

Scotland’s National Museum

Scotland’s National Museum
[Thoughts prompted by a recent visit]

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Perhaps it is the ancient rivalry between Scotland’s two major cities
Or just some kind of inertia which has kept Glaswegians from visiting
The National Museum of Scotland – situated in the capital
But having discovered it recently, I assure you this is a treasure
Without equal – including the Kelvingrove compendium

In Edinburgh you will find the story of life from pre-historic times
Trace the evolution of creatures through to development of human societies
The origins of culture and art, the inventiveness of homo sapiens
In science, technology, engineering, communication, and space exploration
Man’s fight against disease, and his conquests against his fellow men

The whole realm of natural history is on display from primitive life
To Dolly the sheep and the latest revelations in genetics
And in the human sphere the history of fashion is traced in its glory and triviality
Then on a higher plane the world of ideas, of philosophy, religion and literature
Indeed this museum seeks to encapsulate the story of our world and beyond

But perhaps one of the most interesting things to consider is
The enormous contribution that native Scots (and others educated here)
Have made to the advancement of culture, health, physical science, human endeavour,
And the limitless quest for understanding. Thus we remember the names Stevenson,
Scott, Watt, Smith, Simpson, Livingston, Hume, Burns, Carlyle and so many others
Who sought to shed light and truth in each successive age

Ken Fisher

 

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Kelvin’s Banks

Kelvin’s Banks

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The River Kelvin plays second fiddle to the Clyde
[And if you think the Cart is bigger, then it’s third]
By drawing water from the city’s northern fringes
Channeling it through valleys, beneath so many bridges

The Kelvin with the Canal may be seen to flirt
As they each progress, as rivals in concert
At Maryhill the Forth & Clyde leaps straight across
Using the aqueduct to show who’s boss!

At Kelvindale the river once powered the paper mill
At North Woodside, flint grinding oft quite shrill
Thus the River ensured both work and play
Labour and green spaces to this very day

Esteemed thinkers reflected by this river’s banks
In the University or other famed think-tanks
Lord Kelvin, physicist whose renown is universal
And other learned academics with ideas rational

Bordering this river we find an acclaimed garden botanic
Leafy walkways nurturing tyrsts e’er so romantic
A haven for cyclists and walkers with their dogs
Jostle with health fanatics determined to enjoy their jog

So thanks for the Kelvin with its banks and verdant parks
Its bridges, its churches and other famed land-marks
As the water flows downstream to join up with the Clyde
Lovers of this watercourse can assuredly take pride

Ken Fisher