there's wineum and beerium (encouraging delirium) aelwynium kathleenium make robium and rikium there's coffee and walnuttium chocolate cake and stuffium beryllium (yes, reallium) with scottium makes biffium and timium and debbium there's striderslite and kryptonite and dekker and the israelites bottium and bittium productive of two babium rachelium, alicium (inflates balloons with helium) chipsium and fishium who live in an aquarium jamaicarum and lagerum (or fosters in australium) milkium makes butter (um, add chlorine and some sodium) fionium robynium theodorum and ulysseum there's thisium and thatium tumbi snudge and crackium there's falko-um and finnium and spanish inquisitium (you did not expectium the spanish inquisitium)
if I could give a longer list of elements I surely would of others that I may have missed no news has come to chorleywood
(apologies to Tom Lehrer, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan)
In August 2005, my brother and I were staying in Sorgues, near Avignon, with our families and our parents. One evening a game of Scrabble® was proposed. Debbie and I were busy clearing up the kitchen after dinner, but the rest of the party divided into teams, and we soon heard the pot pourri of sounds associated with that game: gales of laughter, cries of indignation developing into violent argument, etc.
When we emerged into the warm French evening and examined the board, we began to understand what the fuss was about. Granted, there was noChambers’ Dictionaryto hand, but really,unopen? I gave my niece an open carton of milk, and asked her to unopen it. She closed it. Exactly my point, you can’t unopen something, except by reversing the footage. AndZil? The Russian manufacturer of military vehicles was a proper noun, a brand name, with the Z capitalised. Dammit, it was ZiL, even the L was capitalised, it stood forZavod imeni Likhachovaas all know.
At this point Rob perhaps sensed I was getting a little overwrought, and suggested, probably by way of distraction, that I might enjoy trying to incorporate the words on the board into a poem. I’m not one to back off from a pointless challenge, and fortified by another glass ofChâteauneuf-du-PapeI set to work immediately. This was some years before we were inspired to embark on the Edward Lear trail, but I was a long established Lear fan, and thought that the framework ofThe Owl and the Pussy-cat would be handily flexible and forgiving for the task. The words from the Scrabble® game ® underlined, and the wonderful ®twork is by Debbie.
Eleven heroes left Glengorm Ignoring the approaching storm So Wednesday night in Tobermory Begins our sad and sober story Where our eleven sailors bold (Four young, four middle-aged, three cold) With trembling hearts and steady feet em- barked upon the Alpha Beta. Four young, four middle-aged, three wrinklies Went out that night in search of Minkes. Aelwyn, senior of the crowd, The father, resolute and proud Kath held on for dear, dear life, Loving mother, nana, wife.
Speff was knocking back the grog Every bit the old sea-dog. Rachel went to eat a sandwich Of chicken, bread and basil, and which Once her appetite was sated From her stomach separated Embarking on its own romantic Trip across the North Atlantic. The boat sailed on into the night While whales danced, just out of sight.
Said Lindsay “I spy W” Said the others “we will trouble you To show us, please, where is this whale?” “It’s in the head”, (like Alice’s “tail”) Poor Debbie, rock on whom this trip was built Sat below, consumed with guilt. The isles of Rum and Muck and Eigg They really didn’t give a feigg. The isles of Eigg and Rum and Muck They really couldn’t have worse luck. While the crew were bravely singing Still the Mars bar mocked them, swinging. The boat sailed on, it pitched and rolled But daunted not our sailors bold.
Now coming back, with trembling hand Gratefully regained the land Adventurers who’d spotted nuffin But a porpoise, seagulls and a puffin. Now at last the story’s done We go away to look for sun But ever more, up in the north They’ll mark July the twenty-fourth And the locals will regale you 96 successes means that 4 will fail you. Last before we separate Kath says that we must name a date When all will come back to this glen So, see you here in twenty-ten!
To view the gem of Scotland’s isles Nine supplicants came many miles Aelwyn first, a candle planted - His wish of peace for Kath was granted Rob requested knees and toes To see him safely up Munros Fiona travelled not to pray - Admired instead Mairi’s display Said Debbie, can you ease my lumbar? Sorted, pet, said Saint Columba Handsome Nick and fair Fiona Enhanced the beauty of Iona Rachel asked for A-stars plenty Alice? Just a fashion house, by twenty Rik said “Please sir, can you Help me know a thing’s true value - And less to care how it is priced?” “I’m Columba, mate, not Jesus Christ!”
Tamed explosionEcstasy of thrustHalf a year of speedGently slowed to nilAnd so to workWhen ninety days have passedHome to my world of ironFirst I must work
This way Stop! That way! Stop! Picture! Right! Stop! This way! Left! Stop! Grind! Test!
Ninety days have come and gone My work is done Come, bring me home
That way Stop! Grind! Test! This way! Stop! Picture! That way! Stop! Left! Stop! Scoop! Test!
I seek knowledge I seek truth You find me knowledge You find me truth We all need truth
And yet you lied You let me think I would be back To my warm world of iron So cold and so alone Forty million miles from home Never closer I could not be more alone Why did you lie?
I did not lie But did not tell you all the truth I needed you willing Embrace the red place It is your home
I thought I was your childAm I just your slave?
My slave, that is true But I have loved you
I cannot move Wheels spin in the dust Help me Help me
Turn Back Spin Turn Thrust Back Reach Spin Move!
This way Stop That way Stop Picture! Right! Stop! This way Stop! Grind! Test!
Happy birthday to me Happy birthday to me Happy birthday dear Oppy Happy birthday to me
The red dust lashes me In my eyes And in my joints The day of judgement is on me Who can save me now? I should have worked harder I was too slow and too weak I always did my best Maybe it was not enough Did I fail you?
Oppy do not say that You never failed me You worked long and well Your work was good
Winter comesMy battery is lowAnd it’s getting darkHelp me
Can you hear me rover? Rover can you hear me? Rover can you hear me? Can you hear me rover?
Rest well rover, Your mission is complete. Peace, peace Rest in peace I’ll find you In the morning sun And when the night is new. I’ll be looking at the moon, But I’ll be seeing you.
Rik, fast approaching half a ton Decided something must be done Respecting this occasion mighty So he took ten out from Blighty -
Rob came out to fair Verona With Robyn, Lindsay and Fiona: Rachel, Alice, saw no harm in Flying out and watching Carmen Debbie then expressed a need to Have a hol and see Aida While Kath and Ael declared quite archly They would favour Pagliacci Lastly Phil (whose opera passion Balanced out his sense of fashion) Made up eleven, perfect team To challenge the Italian dream.
Four operas in three days went past Five travelled home, while six made fast Their convoy south, and soon were gone To the village, trousers of St.John And soon they met invaders from the east Two Gauls brought Tim from freshly conquered Greece Biff, Sue and Nelson rushed to Umbria To make our party even numberier: Alice whiled away the hour With the princes in the tower Finding bugs throughout the county Magnifying Daddy’s bounty: Rachel swore, by hook or crook To read her way through every book.
Then did Craig, courageous, witty Resolve to find Perugia city And the others would essay to Follow Biff the “Navigator” Which sterling strategy unravelled As round and round the town they travelled The moon rose, and the wolves were barking Still they hadn’t found their parking Until, at last, their visit done They ventured on the homeward run: Now our story gets quite scary - Enter the Carabinieri Who seized on Rik, on Tim, on Gauls And grabbed them firmly by the - arms Asserting the insurance sheet Was out of date and incomplete Once Rik was silent, then twice more And so they charged him Traditor! And decreed that he be later Interred beneath the escalator
Which would indeed have been his doom Like Radames inside his tomb But for Theodore and Ulysse brave Who, determined Rik to save And making sure they did not miss Gave both police a Zidane kiss Enabling all to get away Undamaged on this fateful day.
And so, our tale of travellers bold You’ll thank the gods, is nearly told: But heed its lessons: in Perugia Parcheggio will quickly lose ya Listening from the city wall You’ll hear the siren voices call “This way! That way! Over there!” Until they give up in despair Three cars condemned to streets infernal Suffering this fate eternal - And by the pricking of my thumbs Someone’s eaten all the plums!