Research Knowledge

The Perky Poet

Posted on Saturday 10 October 2020

During these difficult times, the ICG’s resident poet, Nanda Marchant has been composing little ditties to make us smile … see more of her work on Facebook/ThePerkyPoet

Covid Chrimbo

I wonder what Christmas will bring us this year
That usual time for tinsel and cheer 
When friends may turn up, smiley faced at our doors 
With gifts and mince pies held aloft in their paws 
Our homes look inviting, the tree is bedecked 
And rellies stuff faces or drink til they’re wrecked 
There's letters to Santa and stockings crammed full 
Plus turkey to carve and crackers to pull 
The kids get spoiled rotten and diets are blown 
As we overindulge on a huge Toblerone 

The big day was dismal I’ve got to confess 
The black cloud of Covid created some stress 
Being socially-distanced left me feeling glum 
No family crowd, just hubby and mum 
Great boxes of crackers were left on the shelves 
The ‘rule of six’ meaning we didn’t need twelves 
Our fat golden turkey? Afraid no such luck 
We sat there forlorn with the scrawniest duck 
No visit from Santa, no reindeer for me 
As our little village was deemed a ‘Tier 3’

We waved bye to mother, deflated, subdued 
Having drunk little wine and just picked at our food 
Imagine our shock when she came back a-knocking 
To say: ‘I’ve forgotten to give you your stocking I
t was popped in the car, days ago, sanitized 
So it’s now quarantined – only just realised’
‘I’m too old for stockings’ I wanted to say ‘And how could you truly lift spirits today?’
But my fears were all groundless, how wrong I had been
Cos I undid the wrapper and got the vaccine!

©Nanda Marchant : Facebook/ThePerkyPoet/


Has Covid killed sexy? the newspaper asks 
Now that our beauty is covered in masks 
I tend to agree, as it's something I've felt 
When stuck behind fabric, my make-up a-melt 
Foundation rubs off, gets clingy and drippy 
Plus what is the point of that bright glossy lippy?

'Go for sexy attire’ – An alternate suggestion 
But one that seems pointless and out of the question 
You can't rock an entrance in heels, through a room 
When most of your meetings are held over Zoom 
And nor can you cheekily flash a bare calf 
When all that's on camera's your face and top half

Instead I’ve gone comfy and thrown out my Spanx 
They conspire to constrict all my wobbles - no thanks 
I’ve fully embraced a life lived in joggers 
And turned all ‘authentic’ like some lifestyle vloggers 
Hope others embrace the TRUE ME underneath 
What the heck, I'm so chilled I've stopped brushin' me teeth!

So would they panic buy again? (25th September)

‘Twas not a case of if, but when
It started early yesterday
When toilet roll just rolled away
Then tinned tomatoes all ran low

I drew a blank in TESCO so
I turned to WAITROSE in a huff
But they were low on other stuff
For tins and bread I didn’t look far
But they were out of best foie gras

And women fought like seasoned mobsters
Over two remaining lobsters
They'd put a limit on quails' eggs
Leaving me with just the dregs

ALDI was a different story
Got some goodies, felt the glory
But there I saw a pair of fools
Stocking up on paddling pools

There's no limit on your crumpets
But they have put a cap on trumpets
You can freely find your rice
But welding kits sell in a trice

So pop in quick for your ‘best buys’
Things disappear before your eyes
For me, I feel: ‘Let’s stop this madness 
Panic buying leads to sadness
I’ll just think: ‘Who gives a damn?
There’s always that old tin of Spam
I can soon blow off the dust
And face Fray Bentos if I must!

On the road (7th August)

This year we’d planned to slow it down and take exciting trips 
But after things shut down in March we thought we’d had our chips
Our booking made for Serbia – a 60th surprise
Became the first one cancelled, plans dissolved before our eyes
‘Twas back on the agenda when there came a little flurry
Of countries with a ‘corridor’ – we rebooked in a hurry
With Belgrade looking promising. 
But then the FCO Decided that, with riots there, we could no longer go
‘We’re still the lucky ones’ we felt, we’ve also got a ticket
For Italy, September, which we thought a safer wicket
So something to look forward to, but then to our disgust
We learnt that our provider sadly went and bit the dust
It felt like we were fated, but we chose, with trepidation
To not throw in the towel, or opt for a staycation
Instead we searched to find a place where Covid still was low
So plumped for lovely Czechia, and little-trod Brno
We followed all the guidance, washing hands, masks on the plane
And what a lovely trip it was, I now feel far more sane
I know some think it’s risky, and the fallout could be chronic
But leaving these four walls for once was truly such a tonic
The beer was great, the weather warm, the castles quite enchanted
Plus lesson learnt, to never take my freedom so for granted!

Hands … Face … Space Cadets (11th September)

Yeah I'm a minor rebel, I like to break a rule
It started in my childhood, at a straight-laced grammar school
I may not wait for the little green man
Prefer to jay walk if I can Another of my mild offences 
Once stuck champers on expenses
Yeah I'm a minor rebel and I like to think I'm cool

Yeah I'm a minor rebel, but some diktats I follow
They're easy rules to flout, yet the victory would be hollow
A favourite one across these lands
Is you must often wash your hands
Another, not too much to ask
Is, shopping, you should wear a mask
Upon yer face, not under-chin
(As useless there as in the bin)
Yeah I'm a minor rebel but these rules ain't hard to swallow

There are other minor rebels, but some of tiny brain
No matter how you spell it out and ask them to refrain:
Keep your distance, save a life
Don't cause a spike and risk your wife
Scrub those hands and done those masks
But some won't do these simple tasks
They may be minor rebels but I wish they'd think again!

Lockdown love in Lutterworth (17th July)

This tale is of Maggie, a fair maid from Lutters
Cursed by Corona, her wedding in tatters
Her beau, after years, had asked for her hand
Then lockdown came in and nuptials were banned
Yes Alan, a twitcher, had wooed his love-bird
But alas his ‘I do’ just couldn’t be heard
He’d plucked up the courage and got on one knee
But months stuck indoors meant it wasn’t to be
Now at last lovely Maggie can stand by his side
As the golf club plays host to a radiant bride
A few small adjustments they needed to ask
Saying ‘please keep your distance and do bring a mask’
This didn’t phase Mags for she answered to that:
‘I’ve found one with sparkles that matches me hat
We can do without music, the pomp, and the doves
As long as we don’t need to wear rubber gloves
The rest I can stand, but that rule was a shock
I just can’t comply as they won’t match me frock!’
The venue caved in and the bride had her way
So our story ends well, twas a fabulous day
The weather held good, they remembered the rings
Friends came and gifted them all sorts of things
Vows were exchanged, and cake eaten after
They lived long and well, with life full of laughter

Revenge (3rd July)

That pigeon’s madly flapping 
And the bastard has been crapping on My car 
I thought he was just resting 
But he squawks to me ‘I’m nesting, Ha ha ha!’  

I’m sure he has no mean intent 
But sadly he’s incontinent, 
So no I can’t indulge that tiresome bird 
And I’m afraid the little nerd Must go  

He’s also looking for a mate 
So DOUBLE plopping is my fate I fear 
One shot would pick him off I bet 
The only stumbling block’s to get The gear  

What’s more he loudly coos to me 
And breaks my sleep at half past three each morn 
It’s time he gets what he deserves 
I’m tetchy and my poor old nerves Are worn  

But wait, I’ve a less evil plan 
My neighbour (I can't stand the man) 
And so … I’ll lob a fat ball on his roof 
To lure the greedy bird there – pooff! He’ll go!  

Now that, I know, would bring me cheer 
Indeed, I think this new idea May work 
Then ‘next door nutter’ can enjoy 
Some droppings on that brand new toy, His Merc!

Don’t try this at home (19th June)

’I started YouTube yoga, to limber up my joints
‘But was it such a good idea?’ I’ve thought at certain points
I’m hopeless at the Down Dog, my hamstrings poor at stretching
With bottom pointed in the air, I never look that fetching

I gamely tried a head stand, but that I failed to knobble
My legs were flailing uncontrolled, my fat began to wobble
I had a go at Warrior – my stance would make you cringe 
Especially when I lunged too hard and felt the muscles twinge

I try to watch the guru’s moves (he claims he’s best in town)
It isn’t always easy when my head’s lodged upside down
Perhaps some steps are easier, I’ll try them one day maybe
There's one I know I'm sure to like, it’s called ‘The Happy Baby’

And Corpse pose – that I’ve mastered, just lie down on my back
 Start dribbling, then drop off to sleep, so think I’ve got the knack
Yet maybe yoga’s not for me because: Oh bloomin ‘eck
I’ve now been stuck for hours with my foot behind my neck!

Those were the days (6th June)

Those were the days when we went to the pub
We just sat right down and relished our grub
We’d all pile in to a big bowl of dips
And a wandering hand might steal your chips
We loved the Friday night, after-work crowd
Where the bevvies were cold and the banter was loud
A queue at the loo, and a scrum at the bar
We were all packed in at The Crown or The Star
Oh halcyon days, where are you now?
For we can’t go to The Lion, The Plough
All we can get is a sanitised box
With a take-away in, to avoid the pox
We’re told: ‘Thirty quid please including tax
But before you pay, here’s our antibax’
So I long for the moment I’m back in the pub
I’m no big drinker, but I love my grub
When it’s served with finesse, appetizing and hot
Not tepid and sweaty in a plasticky pot
Oh bring me the lamb shanks, the jus-covered duck
Into sizzling fajitas I’ll readily tuck
As for home cooking, I’ve now had my fill
And for crispy pork belly I’M READY TO KILL!

Time for Tea (22nd May)

I thought: ‘The world’s gone helter-skelter
Stopping in an old bus shelter 
For a safely distanced meeting.’
We couldn’t hug, so waved in greeting

It smelt of wee, I didn’t care
Because my lovely friend was there,
And we’d been waiting for the day
When seeing a pal is deemed ok

This spot would do, though dark and sleazy
It sheltered us, as it was breezy 
What a treat to see a mate
I’d even dressed up for the date

Short sleeved dress, a touch of lippy
Regretted it, as then was nippy
So quickly broke out flask of tea
And balanced biccies on me knee

Glad the weather didn’t scupper
Plans to meet and have a cuppa
And with pubs closed, this had to do
Couldn’t stop long, there was no loo!

As venues go, it may sound bleak
Yet was my highlight of the week
Indeed the world IS helter-skelter
But life’s OK when we find shelter

Then and Now (8th May – VE day)

After many lives dashed, and so much true sorrow
Young soldiers who’d lost their dreams of tomorrow.
Fighting in trenches in some awful place
Lucky to make it alive back to base.

In such dark days, parents dreamed of times better,
But thousands received that condolence letter.
Yet many won medals and proved they were brave In time,
with their courage, our lives they would save.

Hidden heroes emerged: The Bletchley code breakers
Others kept us all fed, be it butchers or bakers;
While housewives donned wellies and made a firm pledge
To do their bit too, and dig up our veg.

After years of real hardship and fighting the hun,
The moment at last when we did it, we won!
As news spread like wildfire they danced in the street,
And people were hugging whoever they’d meet.

They drank and they cheered with exuberant passion,
The only big drawback – twas all still on ration.
So how did they feast, did they borrow and beg
For a bit of home brew or some cake with dried egg?

We’re more blessed today for we’ve warm scones and beer,
Plus loo rolls and pasta to bring us some cheer.
So let’s thank our luck, those guys had it so bleak –
They did six years of shutdown, we’ve just done six weeks!

Single Mum (1st May)

She really needs three pairs of hands
As on the keyboard porridge lands.
She tells herself ‘keep calm, come on, you’ve got this’
For wriggling, fractious on her lap
Sits her cheeky little chap,
Spilling breakfast all over her office  

Did they take her for a fool
When they said ‘Now please home school
Your toddler and your four year old, it’s easy.
Even though they’re little yobs,
You can also do your job
From home’ … No wonder she felt queasy  

She had no choice, as we can see,
But Jessica now needs a wee,
While Arthur’s nappy whiffs and feels quite dirty
Yet does he care? No he sits there
And jams his porridge right into her QWERTY  

Her nerves are frayed, she battles on,
A work persona she must don
So clicks on Zoom and starts her morning meeting,
But Arthur’s having none of it,
He’s got more food, the little git
And flings a fistful at the screen in greeting  

So when they said ‘It can be done,
To work from home is so much fun’
They maybe didn’t think of kids like Arthur,
Whose mum must juggle many plates,
She has no time for fancy dates
And wonders: ‘Where the hell’s his absent father?!’  

The short walk home (24th April)

'Right, I'm off to the Crown then'
Said hubby, all full of cheer
I know it's the second time this week
But I'm desperate for a beer.

Peeved that he was leaving
But not one to cause a rift
I slapped on a smile and sweetly asked
If he'd be needing a lift

But he shrugged 'no' politely
And sauntered off with a swagger
He was only going to the study
So not far back to stagger

Firing up the laptop
He relaxed in his cosy room
Clicked to join the virtual pub
And chat to his mates on Zoom

It's not too bad as a night out
You can chat, do a quiz, play bridge
OK, there's no pint from the landlord
But you only need pop to the fridge

Thus another good night of male bonding
Was had as they chatted and laughed
But he still missed the taste of cold lager
Poured fresh from a pump on draft

He soon asked me 'Fancy a cellar? 
I'll dig one for you as a gift'
The look on my face gave the answer
Now there WILL be a marital rift!

Drastic Measures (17th April)

My fringe was down to my armpits, 
my roots were silvery grey, 
when my daughter turned to me innocently 
and said, with a smile, one day 
'Mum – I’ve cut hair at uni, 
us students have so little cash.
Why don’t you find me the scissors, 
sit down and I’ll give it a bash’.

With hairdressers closed in the crisis, 
I thought 'well I’ve got little choice’,
so I found myself saying ‘go on then’, 
in a wary and trembling voice.

‘I might as well touch up your colour’ 
she added, producing a box, 
as I acquiesced, I then did my best 
not to fear for my poor little locks.

It started out well with the hair dye, 
as she painted each strand, every follicle.
My hair appeared fine, a deep shade of wine, 
but the bathroom looked quite diabolical.

Her efforts at splashing on colour, 
had sent streaks of red up the wall,
Attempting to wipe, she’d left a great stripe, 
and I wasn’t too happy at all.

But what harm could she do with the trimming? 
There was simply a fringe to get straight. 
Yet when I was cooked, I finally looked 
and realised I’d left it too late.

In lining it up to my eyebrows, 
she’d left me no more than an inch; 
I’d hoped for a ‘Sassoon’ make-over, 
but ended up more like the Grinch.

Zoom is Furloughed (6th April)

Well, it looks like Nanda has competition! Here is an offering from Carol Raithatha…

Home is work and work is home
The essential shop is how we roam
We try so hard but lose the plot
Our hands are scrubbed, our bodies are not
Each day more dosh we sadly owe
Even zoom may start to furlough.

Hope (3rd April)

What does nature know of our plight?
The bees still buzz and the doves take flight
Daffodils grow and the clouds float by
The moon still rises in the sky

Crops push through and tilt in the breeze
Squirrels continue to peek from trees
Early blossoms share their scent
Sparrows chirp until they're spent

Though I may think my world has stopped
With all my privileges dropped
I'm starting to learn of life's true worth
And enjoy the beauty of mother earth

I see with fresh eyes this stunning place:
For free I can feel the sun on my face
Can listen to cows low in fields nearby
Take strength from the sight of a bright blue sky
Savour the smell of the rain and grass
And trust that this difficult time will pass

Fast forward to June (20th March)

We are down at the pub in a wild celebration
Freedom at last after self-isolation
Enjoying a laugh with our dearest of friends
Time for cold lager* and summer weekends
[*A sensible move has been made by the owner
Who’s taken off tap his usual Corona]

Though April and May were lonesome and bleak
We’re now at a time when the bug’s passed its peak
So tonight here we are, breathing sighs of relief
With a few tears of joy after moments of grief

For we’ve lost ones we loved, and some jobs are in tatters
But also we’ve learned what in life really matters
We stopped being selfish and thought about others
Held tight** to our children, our parents and brothers
[**Metaphorically speaking – we did keep our distance
And kept washing hands, sanitised with persistence]

We offered up loo roll that once we’d have stashed
Held onto our nerve when pension funds crashed
Helped little old ladies who needed some shopping
Even when illness showed no signs of stopping

As the virus took hold and quickened its pace
Those struck down stayed home and ate pancakes and plaice
A strange combination, not eaten before
But twas all that our folks could slide under the door

We stifled the boredom with jigsaws and books
Stopped haircuts and waxing, gave up on our looks
For banned were the hairdresser, spa, gym and nails
So we slouched and got lazy, avoiding the scales

But tonight we don’t care, and we’ve no need to hide
For we’ve learnt that what matters is not our outside
We may look like yetis, our pensions have dived
But break out the champers, at least we survived!

Life Hacks (27th March)

As all our supplies get increasingly low,
Here’s handy home tips to put you in the know
When shelves in your Asda are starting to lack
Do try improvising with one of my hacks:

I’m fresh out of loo roll, have used a dock leaf
It’s ok I s’pose – rather rough underneath
My razor got blunt so sandpaper was used
It’s left my poor legs feeling bloody and bruised

I’ve got low on dairy, am milking the cat
The scratches I’ve got show her views about that
I ran out of hand cream so tried mayonnaise
That tip worked a treat, mitts stay silky for days

And hubby had hair straggling over his ears
But topiary worked, with the gardening shears
Another thing missing because of this bug
Is a worldwide mass shortage of comforting hugs

But I’ve solved that one too, hope you’ll think, on the whole
That we might somehow manage with gloves on a pole
It’s not all depressing, some things don’t run out
Community spirit – there’s plenty about

There’s love, song and dancing, and dry British wit
Dark humour or daftness to make your sides split
There’s plenty of tech to keep people in touch
And listening ears if you’re needing a crutch

If your stash of good books is starting to dwindle
There’s always the infinite joy from a Kindle
And if you’ve a bath, to put some fruit in
Happy days boys and girls, you can make your own gin

So take heart dear friends, we’ll see this thing through
I’ve thought of some options, now over to you
If no inspiration, don’t end up in tears
Just Google ‘survival’, ‘Bear Grylls’ or ‘Ray Mears!’

Leave a Reply