A letter, a twist, a tale.

1000509261001_2013980530001_William-Shakespeare-The-Life-of-the-Bard.jpgSaturday 10 September 2016.

Last evening after returning home from our holidays, we attended a parish get together to celebrate William Shakespeare’ 400th. It was all a bit rush as we had forgotten our promise to do a “turn” upon the village hall makeshift stage, the floor to be precise, and after consuming the usual sausage rolls, dodgy eggy delights and a can of the trusty speckled hen, I was called to perform.

As the previous ‘star turns’ had kept in keeping with the Bard theme, I had thought I would perform a take on his works, considering I never studied Shakespeare at school, ever, tonight’s foray, with a little tuition from YouTube and with dust in my throat and a severe case of the nervous dispositions, I stationed myself on the marker on the floor next to a musical lectern, (to be honest, I think it was a coffee stain) and held on tight to my written parchments, adjusting the position of my soles …. and trying not to make eye contact with any of the critics …….

The first piece was of course, a Sonnet, number XVIII, fourteen lines of goobledy gook and to be precise, and it went a little not like Richard Burton would have …

(cough, cough, excuse me) … adjusts spectacles!

“Shall. I. compare thee. to. a. summer’s-day?

Thou art more lovely, and. more. temperate:

Rough winds. do shake. the darling buds ….. of May,

And summer’s lease, hath all, too short. a date:

Sometime. too hot. the eye of heaven. shines,

And often. is his. gold, complexion, dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing, course. untrimmed:

But thy eternal, summer. shall. not. fade,

Nor. lose possession. of that fair. thou owe’st, 

Nor. shall death. brag thou. wander’st, in his, shade,

When. in eternal. lines to time. thou growe’st,

So long. as men. can breathe, or eyes. can see,

So. long. lives. this, and this, gives life. to thee”.

I finish, and am met with great applause from the lovely audience,  a small intimate group, lesser wouldn’t fill half the front row of a West end Musical theatre. I continue, so, as a modern-day tribute to the Bard himself, I select a composition I wrote last year, a letter, of which “Paul writes to the ninth month of the Gregorian Calender” …. shaking like the last leaf on a tree, and holding on tightly to my invisible friend, I start my first public oration.

(coughs, again)

My dearest September,

I can see just how well you are ….

Your beauty tells me, so,

let me take this opportunity to thank you, yet again, for a perfect month.

As always,

you bring me birthday greetings, … with cake!

Beautiful sunsets, the warmth from friends conversation and the great calmness of getting older.

And watching the progression of Mother Nature,

as she starts her transition to a different season.

Your waves come to greet me from the East,

and show me how they can do tricks with extremes of strength, and high jumps into the air.

They spray their might, up into the sky,

grasping the remains of the sun-lit rays,

before pulling them down, deep, deep into the briny depth.

It shows no fear, has no agenda or script,

and beats anything in its path that isn’t bolted down.

The low morning sun peeks into my courtyard,

and bounces her infinite rays off the shining glitter ball on the tree.

Showing no shame, she sneaks through the horizontal blinds and send blasts of inert energy which disperse silent imps of light, all through the house.

Fresh breezes start to dampen down early to late afternoon,

and your shadows lengthen,

beyond any reasoning.

Occasional smokey whiffs,

the scent of a chimney lit,

an aged person,

like myself,

rub our hands, in front of a drawing hearth.

We try hard to remember, how many times this ancient ritual of making fire has been completed, and in doing so we laugh to ourselves.

The sun sets much faster every evening now,

and by tonight,

the extended arm of heat retracts even more.

Local folk talk of Indian summers and sit late into the day,

they watch the sunset fall behind the moorland hills, whilst the intense rays of the sun heats their face with closed eyes.

Quiet conversation and small talk are answered with contented humms and laughter, memories of years past are screened, with perfect clarity inside ones head.

It’s time to say goodnight dear September and dear friends,

for tomorrow is nearly October,

and you WILL greet me, AND others,

with shrouds of sea mist, cold air, and many beautiful things.

For now good people,

it’s time to sleep,

awaken refreshed,

and let’s celebrate another day,

and if i don’t awaken,

I WILL remember,

that my beautiful September would have been my chosen month.

The End.

Apparently, it was well received, (knocks back a stiff one)

Paul Stamp Sept 2016  (amended)

Dia Uno …. Licensed To Drill

P1010853.jpgAnd here we go again, early start, Super-dude and Mrs Sally Sat-Nav have left us all behind here at the happy ranch out on the isthmus and are heading back to their Motherland.

(Without Prejudice) 

Destination home of the original Dagenham dustbin, the Ford Escort. Where sun-bed tanning salons have more hours clocked up than Marbella has actual sun. The white sock is de-rigueur and there are more pupils in a classroom named after a grape variety than any wine region in the Southern Hemisphere. This Motherland in question of course happens to be Essex, that’s if you hadn’t already sussed that bit out.

(I jest of course) 

In a way I envy the Super-dude, off to see his dear Mum, in another I know how hard it is when a parent gets older. And as a loving child, one does what one has to. Now matter what a four-day visit will put her to ease and her world to rights. I sure wish I could see my Mother again.

Anyway, that’s enough of the maudlin stuff …. back to the day ahead.

The slightest of noise and the four mutts ears fire up, ‘Head-boy’ leads his little rejects straight into choir practice, whooping and Aroo-ing [1] in unison, this has to stop, and stop it does RIGHT NOW. In my big daddy P voice I point at them and shout out ‘I WILL NOT HAVE THIS BEHAVIOUR’ as each one scuttle off to their individual stations, indiscrete grumbles and profanities can be heard as they mutter under their breaths.

The front gate opens, it’s the delivery man, he arrives juggling a large box of doggy dietary goodness for the unruly bunch and his “gizmo signing thingy”. We briefly exchange a few loud nice words over the noise of the frothing mass, the scoundrels are kicking off yet again. Already this early in the morning and I am exhausted, a promise to finish this damned kitchen alteration is paramount, it has to be. After nine weeks of on-off, on-off, and passing crates of dirty dishes over the fence to a neighbourly dishwasher the final hurdle is in sight. I shall certainly breathe a sigh of relief as soon as complete, talk about everything but, and a kitchen sink!

Day of all days, an email pops up, item I listed on an internet auction site reads ‘SOLD’.   So its tools down, a definite change of priorities, time to pack same said item, and get into town to post as promised, quick payers always get priority treatment, as is right and polite.

The BIG rigid book of ultimatum is read aloud to the mutineers “I will NOT be held to ransom AND do NOT even start to think about it.”  Flames shoot out from behind my flip-flops like a hot-rod at a drag race doing the quarter-mile as I head toward Brixham. Small talk from my once school friend now the Post Mistress puts our world to rights too. The ever favoured routine of popping into see the *me* from “and Millie” with my usual very sugary Double Espresso ensures my battery is recharged for the return leg.

Four very happy wagging tails greet me back at the institution.  No guilty faces. No mess. No upturned waste basket. Not a single peak ….. Surprising just what the threat of being recorded can do eh!  … ChewStix all round me thinks.

Kitchen? … pfft, there’s always tomorrow. I know, I know, a day less to complete, but do we have the technology? … Yes we can!

[1] Whooping and Aroo-ing = Howling their tits off.

See you all tomorrow.




Day 7even …. Gerbera


Pretty little thing isn’t she !
Travelled all the way from South America, Africa and Asia., and often referred to as the African Daisy and is the fifth most common used cut flower in the world. There is something rather enchanting about the contrast of the black centre right to the pearlescent orange tips of the individual petals, each one actually another flower. You can understand why the birds and the bees and the butterflies are attracted to her.

I never fail to smile when I see her, sometimes tucked in tightly within other blooms often in a petrol station or supermarket flower display or like a child in a schoolroom that knows the answer to the question and desperately wishes to be noticed by her teacher.

I adore flowers as you probably know, but, just the one single Gerbera in a vase brightens a whole room up, or on a dining table. One of my favourite Italian restaurants is ‘ASK’ in the Cathederal square in Exeter and although it is one of a chain outlet, each establishment has its own style interior and architectural merit which to me always makes dining special. Even better when a companion adores good food too. And each time I visit, there she is sitting, her beauty radiating and ready to continue where we last left our silent conversation in the language of love and food.

The tall olive-skinned Italian waiter with slicked back hair and eyes you could fall into approaches and asks ‘Are you ready to order Sir?’

‘So, that s, One Insalata Caprese, Followed by Linguine Con Fruitti Di Mare, and to drink Sir?’

…. “Puglian, Bianco Salento, Si, Bottiglia …. due bicchieri ….. “

Pouring just the one glass ….. To the Gerbera …. Salute !

The  Gerbera also happens to be my daughter favourite flower.






Circle of Life

img_2915Amazing just where our passage of time goes, before you know it, not just five minutes ago our children were just that, constantly learning and asking questions, and now, twenty five years on, they are now almost as old as I was when they were then.

As previously written, I explained there was to be a Christening in the family on Sunday just gone, a private service in the Church where myself and most of my cousins were christened too, the traditional “them and us” happened, them being the in-law side of the family and the friends we did not know, we positioned ourselves in a Dragons & Dungeons style start of campaign like two waring armies in the pews opposite each other, divided by the central passageway, muted comments were made about the Ladies-wear and hats and shoes and the general discord hung low like a very bad fart in a Zulu situation.

My Aunt, the matriarch of the family made comments which obviously were heard by those who were not wearing their ears for beauty and fits of giggles enthused, oblivious to the conversation I had eyes elsewhere, and passed comment that my cousin John looked like my Father and my other cousin looked similar to his uncle, my Dads brother. Well, Matriarch is was matriarch does and she, quite seriously and constructively said, well, of course, thats because of your noses, all the noses run in the Stamp family, (there is a joke in there somewhere).

Strangely, during the course of the ceremony, I noticed a lack of mobile phones being used to take photographs, it would seem, only by my observation, that the selfie seems to be dying a natural death, and lo and behold, a solitary digital SLR and a video cam were being used, so much more civilised now don’t you think!  Long gone are the days of the Grundig reel to reel tape recorder stood on a chair with a microphone placed discretely behind, or in a display of flowers recording the whole event, apparently, it was technology to the max in the late ’50’s.

The main common factor was that the newly christened baby, Holly May, was wearing the family robe, seventy plus years of care and intermittent storage bought this beautiful artefact out into the twenty first century and then reminded us youngsters that we too had been given our first names wearing same such outfit, more giggles bought shushes and frowns from the elders, sharply reminding them that I, as the youngest of, my title is heir apparent to Patriarch. Finally, a crown to wear, even though I am not possibly liken to King or a Queen.<grins>

Purposely I left my iPhone at home, and during the many conversations throughout the afternoon at the bun-fight I was asked when I last heard from my own offspring, surprisingly, during this space of time, my dear little fruit bat had left a message asking to be picked up from Exeter Airport at stupid o’Clock the following evening …….

So, in true Dad style ….. The school run I never took part in now becomes the late night old man rush bus!

….. and so the circle of life continues ….

Under The Influence

Its been sometime since I was last on here, and they say retirement is supposed to be relaxing! …far from it, goodness knows how I managed to keep not one, but two jobs going when I was actually working, talk about being pulled in different directions, that’s North, South, East AND West, oh, and the extremes of heat as a candle is burned at point Zero, between the cracks right under my ass.

Today starts a new chapter in my life, at almost sixty years old, and finally with the aid of a gracious monetary gift I have been able to order a bespoke iMac, it has arrived, been unpacked and here it now sits in front of me, pouting and sending love and virtual hugs to you all out there in WordPress land and to all of my dear dedicated followers on the many social media sites I tend to loiter and frequent.

I’m taking a few days off from the manic scenario that seems to have exploded on Berry Head Road recently, my mates flat is having new carpets, a new kitchen is being fitted in-between everything else going on, our normal routine has gone awry and everything scheduled on our busy social Calender has been shunned to one side to set this thing of beauty up.

This Saturday evening brings a still calm sea, Brixham is awash with visitors this Bank holiday weekend, Brixfest is being hosted in town and tomorrow I air my new suit again as the latest addition to our family is christened, family gatherings are rare these days especially as I have disowned my maternal family, so, its good that the paternal side seem to be breeding like rabbits which makes a good excuse for a decent bun-fight, being manhandled with tight (for goodness sake let me go I cant breathe) hugs, polite hand shakes and lipstick kisses on foreheads.

Hearing the latest news and gossip is always good, well, what other real reason is there to attend, apart from making sure that you let everyone else know that you are still very much alive!

James Morrison plays “Undiscovered” …… all seems good with me, mine and those in my world.

May 28 2016