Sunday, 13 August 2006


A young man loved a maiden
Who turned from him aside
To one who loved another yet
And took her for his bride

The maid at sore resentment
At fortune so ill-starred
Married the first who came along;
The young man took it hard

It is an old, old story
But it is forever new
And whosoever suffers it
It breaks his heart in two


Song of Solomon

Cherry blossom in Battersea Park

The Song of Solomon

My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise my love, my fair one and come away.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

Song of Solomon 2:9

The other Song of Solomon

1. The song of songs which is Solomon's also.

2. And the King who was Solomon did raise himself in his bed on to one arm and
shake his head, for he was sore perplexed, and he did speak thus unto Sharon who was of the Park of Gidea and sayeth:

3. Er, um... this has never happened to me before.

4. And Sharon, whose hair was as a flock of goats from Gilead, for that day she had been to Jason 'n' Gary in the Street which is High for a platinum rinse, did reply unto him: Yea! And truly I am a natural blonde – pull the other one, for it ringeth like the bells of heaven.

5. And Solomon spake saying, No honestly, it must have been that last Malibu; for did I not say that mixing it with Bailey's Irish Cream as the ram is mixed with the ewe in the field, was a bad idea?

6. But Sharon, who was the daughter of Beverley of Hendon and Murray of
Southgate, did cloak herself in fine silk and damask and 50% poly-cotton mix and was out of the tent smartish saying, You know your trouble, old son - you're past it.

7. And Sharon was not seen again in that land nor in Tyre nor in Ashkelon nor in Sidon nor yet in Edom, although a wise Moabite did see her sister once buying a boiling fowl in Sainsbury's.

8. Or it might have been Waitrose.

9. At any rate, Solomon was much vexed and did call unto his tent all the wise men and the assistant wise men and the friends of the wise men and he did say to them, Actually, it's all a bit embarrassing, guys.

10. And the wise men spake to him with one voice and did say, You don't have to tell us, squire. And one man who was neither so old nor so wise as the rest and who was known as Shmuley, said, Have you tried thinking of someone else? Like Vanessa, or Gaby Roslin, or that woman who slices the salmon at Shwartzes?

11. And Solomon said, You mean the one with the tattoo on her tuchas? You think I want to go blind, or what?

12. And so the wise men did go into the land and they did speak with the
apothecaries and the priests and the healers and at the end of the second quarter of the moon they did return to Solomon.

13. From Ararat came word that would be the woman dress as a servant from the
gentile lands, or a houri in silk, or as a traffic warden, success would be guaranteed and Solomon's loins would be girt and his seed spread far.

14. But Solomon did shake his head, saying, Who wants to think of a traffic warden in bed? I mean, where's she going to stick the ticket?

15. And a messenger who had dwelt long in the land of Tesco did say that he had heard that half-a-dozen oysters did the trick and then he did make a raucous sound which was like unto a snort.

16. But Solomon did shake his head again saying, Oysters? Oysters? What do you think we are here? Reform or something?

17. And there was a silence about the tent like as to the silence of death, for the oysters and the traffic warden were the best they could come up with.

18. But then up speaketh a man of the distant land they call Shnorrer and he did say, I have a potion that is called Viagra.

19. And Solomon did frown, saying, What, you mean you rub it on? Won't that be a
bit embarrassing? You know; she's about to take off her fifth veil when you stop and say, Hold on, love: there's this potion.

20. The man who was of Shnorrer did clutch his sides and laugh saying, But it is a pill. A blue pill.

21. Solomon did frown and did say Blue? Blue? Whoever heard of blue pills?
Pills are white. Except for Night Nurse which is green and yellow.

22. But the man who was of Shnorrer speaketh thus, saying, Shah! For I guarantee
that with one of these little beauties thy loins will be as the Cedar of Lebanon which grows above all the trees in the forest, not only straight but also long.

23. And Solomon did say, Hmmmm.

24. And the man who was of Shnorrer said. Straight up, squire, One of these and
you won't be able to stand up straight for a week. You'll be walking at five and forty degrees like Max Wall on a good night. You won't be able to get out of the tent sideways....

25. And Solomon said, Enough already - we take the point.

26. And so Solomon did take the blue pill and he did call unto his tent Deborah who was called also Debbie.

27. And also Samantha who was Sam, and Sarah who was Sar, and Fatima who was
er, Fatima.

28. And there was a great rejoicing all through the land, and Solomon did emerge
from his tent grinning like the grinning things of the desert.

29. But a priest did say to Solomon, Beware! For does this pill not contain that which is forbidden us in Leviticus?

30. And Solomon thought long and he thought hard, for he was a wise king, and he
said, Send forth a messenger to Jedediah, the Scribe who is writing the word of
Leviticus on a scroll as we speak.

31. And say unto Jedediah he has a deal. Leave Viagra out and he can keep his
bacon sandwiches in.

32. And so it was.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Hampshire 45 Years Ago

Stocks and Harvestgate Farms below Old Winchester Hill
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I grew up here. Nothing has changed in the more than forty years since this photo was taken in 1973