Back to a fall from grace III

3 of 12 in the ‘About Brighton’ series

I found it on the high tide line
after a night of fire
the grand old lady of the sea
destroyed by spite and ire
Never proved but always known
her final hours presumed
the work of arsonists with flame
the pier now lost, consumed

Yet carried on an ebbing tide
along the coast to me
a memory of those boards I trod
now rescued from the sea
And though her grandeur now has gone
complete her fall from grace
Brighton’s West Pier always will
in history have a place


Series photo is from the front cover of a First Edition of a book by Antony Dale from 1951

On 28 March 2003 the pavilion at the end of the derelict West Pier in Brighton caught fire. Always presumed to have been the work of arsonists, yet never proven, it was still the final death knell for the grand old lady. Opened back in 1866 and surviving two world wars, the pier was sadly closed to the public in 1975. However, I still have fond memories of walking its promenade decks back in the 60s and early 70s. Who knows, I could have trodden the very board fragment I rescued and which now has pride of place in my back garden.

['A fall from grace III' was first published in October 2016]

Back to i in the sky

2 of 12 in the ‘About Brighton’ series

Towering like a monolith
up into the sky
Brighton’s i-360
is really, really high
Dwarfing the remains
of the ruinous West Pier
it stands alone just waiting
for the summer to appear

Then the doors will open
and its pod all bright and new
will carry people skyward
to take in the marvellous view
Sussex seen from high above
for over twenty miles around
from Brighton’s i-360
Four hundred feet above the ground


Series photo is from the front cover of a First Edition of a book by Antony Dale from 1951

[‘i in the sky‘ was first published in March 2016. It’s about the Brighton I-360, a 400 ft vertical hydraulic viewing platform, opened in August 2016]



Seagull silhouetted on the canvas roof
as we sat with cup of tea
in January sunshine there with Sal
and Holly, Grace, Wolfgang and me
He made a happy picture there
synonymous, replete
so I quickly took a picture 
making this fine day complete


Photo – Jempics

Start VI

6 of 12 in the ’12 months VI’ series

February the first, hip-hip hooray
to start afresh on this Wednesday
what it will bring I cannot say
but all the best to it

I'm sure there will be smiles and tears
there always are in all the years
as each day comes and more appears
with all the best to it

Yet best foot forward as they say
for tomorrow is another day
and we'd not hasten on delay
so all the best to it


Photo – Jempics

Red Leicester mine

This Red Leicester cheese
is completely divine
but this is not yours
for it's wholly mine

But if you're near Co-Op
go get some today
'cos your mouth will thank me
in every which way


Photo – Sally Croucher


I have written of winter, the chill and the rain
and the ice and the snow and the shivers again
of the iron cold muster that lingers and bites
finding its way into warmth with a spite
But throughout all of this always I have half a mind
on the warmer days coming I know soon I'll find
For it's January now but soon I'll see May
and the sunshine that'll soon brighten my day


Photo – Jempics

Colourful Brevity

For a brief moment in the sky
a rainbow glowed and caught my eye
but in a moment it was gone
replaced by lovely sun that shone
that briefly dried up all the rain
before the grey clouds came again


Photo – Jempics

Redwood gone

In October red I paused beneath
its lofty heights in wonder
at the absolute magnificence
of this redwood tree asunder

So imagine my dismay today
to find that storms with thunder
and a lightning strike reduced it
to a stump and piles of lumber

Yes, there's like still there but
its pride is lost for good
a sad, contrite reminder
of a once proud tall redwood


Photos – Jempics

This what the Redwood at Sheffield Park in Sussex looked like back in October 2022. It had towered over the landscape for over 140 years but the top was blown away by a lightning strike in a storm on Wednesday 16 November 2022. The team at the park are now looking to how best manage both the tree and the land around it to give it the best chance of survival. The plan is to work with natural processes to see it can take on new shoots and growth over the next couple of months and years. As a start to that, the felled topmost part of the tree has been mulched and added to the ground around the base of its remainder.

Angel II

An angel perched close by our side
in the branches of a tree
as there we sat beside the lake
with flapjacks and cup of tea
He tweeted sweet a little song
reminding us in case
we needed that, though it was clear
by his exuded grace
He stayed there just a little while
before fluttering away
an angel on his angel rounds
on this fine winter's day


Photo – Jempics


No. 5 in the ‘Colloquy’ series

This twenty rod* plot, our 'erf', our realm
our saving grace, our haven
is such to bring a 'joie de vivre'
and oft a cause for 'pavan'*
As though each year we toil for long
to dig and plant and sow
the reward of produce that it brings
gives reason more to grow


Photo – Jempics

[In the ‘Colloquy’ series, I’m exploring some the of English language’s more obscure words. Some little used, some no longer used but all recondite. ‘Erf’ is an adjective for a plot of land; an allotment, for example]

*’rod’ – from the Old English ‘rudde’ and akin to the Old Norse ‘rudda’ (club) – a unit of measurement equivalent to 16.5 feet. The annual ground rent for allotments is charged by the ‘rod’.

*’pavan’ – a stately dance originating from the 16th and 17th centuries

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