Tottington Wood

To Tottington Wood
in the mud and the rain
resolute and determined
we seven we came
And with best foot forward
we entered the trees
squelching through mud
which came up to our knees

The rain was incessant
and got in everywhere
but we all had fun
and didn’t much care
Because we are the Crouchers
for ever and ever
with fun times and frolics
as family together

©Jemverse

Photo – Emily Rose Croucher

Days gone by (Auld Lang Syne)

And so these few words
at the end of ten years
to wrap up a decade
of laughter and tears

We’re all ten years older
with the wisdom that brings
and we all must have seen
many wonderful things

Some which have brought us
joy and some gladness
and others some grief
and immeasurable sadness

And yet here we all are
as the twenty-teens end
looking forward as one
as family and friend

To another new decade
with all that is fine
as we all raise our voices
to the ‘auld lang syne’

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

First IV

4 of 12 in the Jemverse ’12 months III’ series

December is here and as the first arrives
I am content for Christmas
to make its annual entrance
November’s too early or course
But this year there were ads in October
which borders on a step too far.
Yet today with a house full of adults remembering childhood
dusty boxes from dark attics
open to reveal their treasures
And sparkle brings glow as festive spirit blossoms into joy

©Jemverse

Photo – Shoreham’s Christmas sheep – Jempics

After the small hours

After the small hours we awaken
and with Wolfgang to Alcampo
Parking in our usual space, he leads the way
for he knows this place well
with coffee and conversation and
dog biscuits in a bowl by the bar
We break fasting later, laugh
and smile and cry and hug
before charity shop browsing
to part with small coppers
An old book for me, green glass for Sal
and a cute little piggy bank
with a cork stop nose I was
told not to buy but still did
This is Sunday loveliness spent
with extended family filling
moments to fill a life and cherish

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

[‘Wolfgang’ is my daughter and partner’s 1-year old Patterdale Terrier; ‘Alcampo’ is a gastropub in North Brighton, East Sussex, UK; the piggy bank pig I was told not to buy but still did now has pride of place in my music/writing/games room]

Family

On the last day of summer
in the sunshine in Bromley
a barbecue out in the sun
The family together
for the first time in ages
for good conversation and fun

Dogs running for balls
and chasing each other
whilst we sit and chat and relax
It’s something that we
need to often repeat
as it’s good for the soul, that’s a fact

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

Companion & Friend (Ruth)

As her eldest son, I wrote this as the eulogy for my late Mother’s life celebration on Friday 14 June last.

Ruth Eunice Shrimpton
Was Croucher, Nee Dainton
is having a whale of a time
So I thought I would capture a bit of her life
for you in some syntax and rhyme

Seven and eighty years is a
good innings to have for a start
And whilst we don’t have the time
for all of that here
These words have come from my heart

So bear with me a while
close your eyes if you like
Travel back in these lines for a bit
As I’ve tried here to capture a life lived in full
and share a little of it

I’ll take you back to the thirties
Ruth’s childhood days
and regale a few of those times
Then on through the years like a film in your heads
all woven into these lines

So let’s make a start
eighty years ago when
life was quite different from now
And though most of you here are younger than that
Cast your mind there with me somehow

Ruth earliest love was a
mongrel called Ted
A white dog with gingery ears
And at five Repton Road another called Gyp
the family dog for some years

Ruth’s Dad was a baker
and in the loft twixt the sacks
Snowdrop the little cat lived
keeping the rodent populace down
until the flour was sieved

And during the war
as the Bristol bombs fell
Tinker the tortoise-shell was
a comfort indeed to a girl in her teens
in the air-raid shelters because

Onto the fifties
and Ruth fell in love
with a graduate of Pharmacy
John Alan Croucher the graduate’s name
Dad to my siblings and me

A move up to Surrey
after two years or so
whilst retaining the West Country twang
And though the years passed Ruth never outgrew
her birth-born Bristolian slang

A couple of examples
to give you a taste
‘PEE-ANO’ for piano for one
Mispronunciation her forte it seemed
as Ruth was never quite done

Charles flew to Miami
a short while ago
and in conversation one day
Pronounced it ‘MEE-ARMY’, made us all laugh
in her own inimitable way

Ruth was a mother
and the fifties and sixties
had seen us four siblings all come
Her love it exuded, kept us all safe
Til our formative years were all done

Dad left in the seventies
His time had arrived
Went to heaven in seventy-four
And then there were five but love it endured
as there was a promise in store

The eighties arrived
and three of us left
But then from Ruth’s distant past
a widower called Tom arrived on the scene
Cupid’s arrow was once again cast

In eighty-five I gave her away
Unusual for a son then to do
But the pleasure was mine
as two hearts entwined
and true love she once again knew

Tom got his doctorate
Grandchildren came
Life knew its joys and its tears
But faith and its wisdom continued to live as it
had in her life through the years

Ruth as a grandma
A match made in heaven
Warm, soft, gentle and kind
are just some of the words they’ve given to me
of the Grandma they have in mind

Ruth was a selfless
woman of peace
with never a thought for herself
Faith to move mountains steadfast in love
in life and in failing health

She was wisdom and patience
and comfort and strength
with a smile that always saw fun
Finding the best in all that she saw
until her last days were done

A wife and a mother
A grandma and friend
A sister, an auntie and more
Ruth Eunice Shrimpton, we all here agree
was a person we call adored

And yes she’ll be missed
there’s no doubt of that
But think of her now if you will
Jumping and dancing and running about
ageless and no longer ill

When she left us
an angel I met at the door
took me aside with a smile
Left me picture to treasure and hold
in my mind’s eye and keep for a while

A rounders match waiting
on a warm summer’s day
And all of the loved ones she’d known
Waiting for Mum as she ran to them now
forever in her Father’s home

My father was there
Tom of course too
and her Mum and her Dad and her brothers
A celebratory game to welcome her home
with the angels and thousands of others

These words then are done
I’ll retake my seat
But leave a request if I may
Please don’t be sad but with Ruth be glad
on this celebratory day

©Jemverse

Photo – Jem of ‘Jemverse’ with his Mum, Winter 2017 – Sally Croucher

I hadn’t thought to publish this tribute to my Mother, who passed on 20 May this year; but know now that I must. Ruth would have wanted me too as it captures the heart of who I am and what I do.

Drusillas

We went down to Drusillas
for our anniversary
four of us this time, Bezza
Sally, Grace and me
There were parties of schoolchildren
but we made an escape bid
and marched on up ahead of them
so from the masses hid

Sal and I as senior citizens
got cheaper entry too
First time to take advantage
just for asking, as you do
And we made sure that we got there
when it opened on the dot
As that’s always best on days like this
especially when it’s hot

We saw marmosets and meercats
and penguins and anteaters
and goats and little horses
beavers, otters and some cheetahs
Capybara munching breakfast
Monkeys resting on their knees
some really laid back lemurs
and coatis climbing trees

It really was a special day
and we’re really pleased we came
As Drusillas is fantastic
and never quite the same
There’s always something different
to capture imagination
so it’s somewhere we return to
as it holds such fascination.

©Jemverse

Photo – laid back black lemur – Drusillas zoo park, Alfriston, Sussex – Jempics

 

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