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
Nanda has self-published a book of her Covid-busting odes on Amazon. All proceeds go to a local children’s hospice who have seen a dramatic fall in funds due to Covid.
Under Starter’s Orders (8th March)
Today’s the day no-one can scupper First real chance to share a cuppa Yes, today I sprang from bed New freedoms going to my head Lockdown’s sent me round the bend But now am off to see a friend We’ll get fresh air on country land With frothy Starbucks clutched in hand What the hell, I think I’ll risk it Take along a little biscuit Or even, as we stretch our legs We could go mad and munch scotch eggs Our choice to stand, as thirst we quench Or hang it, sit down on a bench What a wild, exciting date Today’s a day to celebrate Let’s treasure every little mo Tarrah my lovelies, off I go!
No More Comings (19th Feb)
Written in response to Dominic Comings’ comments on the MR industry. Nanda says “I don’t normally like to drag politics into my poetry but I know how upset some of us have been this week over slurs on our industry. So when a member suggested it may provide inspiration for this week’s ode, I’m afraid I couldn’t resist”
A headline came my way this week that gave me indigestion An ex-advisor calling our profession into question He claimed that firms ‘lack competence and most are unreliable’ I found his words offensive and – what’s more – unjustifiable He deems that we’re dishonest and we’re crap at focus groups So because we can’t be trusted, he rallied his old troops They got a juicy contract, with little need to tender I bet they rubbed their hands with glee and dined that night in splendour It’s sad to think that balding chap has slurred our reputations The thought he’ll get away with it sure gives me palpitations But I can think of something as a salve to my frustration Is it worth considering the merits of castration?! (Hence the title)
Wanderlust (12th February)
I’d like to book a holiday, to bring a ray of hope Quite frankly it’s the only way I feel that I can cope To dream of warm exotic lands, new places to explore Of foreign foods and cultures, strange languages and more Local crafts and artisans, quaint souvenirs to find For now though, all that I can do is journey in my mind I’ll just enjoy my future, however far away But it feels like a hunger pang I’m trying to keep at bay Cooped up at home, nowhere to roam I stare at these four walls Recycling distant memories of the Iguassu Falls Of aromatic India or San Francisco Bay And other lovely places where I may return some day My mouth begins to water thinking back to foreign dinners So many reminiscences it’s hard to pick the winners I count myself so lucky to have travelled far and wide At least I have back catalogues to draw upon inside Yet still I long to get the nod to say we can be off And when we do, forgive me, I might stifle that dry cough I’ll stuff down loads of lozenges, put ice-cubes on me face To quash a hint of temperature that keeps me back at base I'll sunbathe in a hazmat, do distancing and such Or put my oven gloves on if there's anything to touch I’ll triple-dose on vaccines and wear a double mask Just get me on me holidays, is that too much to ask?!
Separation (29th January)
Life is cold, monotone, without laughter As if you've spent months in the fridge When you've been kept away from a loved one And are aching to give them a squidge When cuddles come back after Covid (And though I'm not often a loafer) The first thing I'll do with my daughter Is lie for a week on the sofa Well snuggle up tight under blankets And binge-watch some trash on the box Surrounded by deep downy cushions While polishing off all the chocs I'll sit with my favourite concoction Of Twinings I'll slurp from my mug Then once I feel warm and contented I'll reach for another fat hug Although I have funds in my ISA No money can buy what I miss The arms of my daughter around me And the warmth of my child's loving kiss So hurry on up with the vaccine I'm quite a way down in the queue I long for the day of home coming Here's hoping I'm hugged black and blue!
Happy New Year 2021 (5th January)
When all around me things look bleak And worry starts to hit its peak You're there When furloughed, if I'm sad and bored And happiness can't be restored You're there When shut indoors, nowhere to go As latest tier rules make it so You're there When I regret the year that was You always comfort me because You're there I love you ... Chocolate* *Merlot/Kettle chips/all 3 at once - delete as appropriate
A very different Christmas (22nd December)
Life was in Clover, But the party’s now over It’s mayhem in Dover We’ll try and stay perky, But Christmas looks murky, Some folk can’t get turkey There’s even more trouble They’ve downsized the bubble Our plans turned to rubble Yet it isn’t all gloom Me poinsettia’s in bloom And there’s love in the room (or on Zoom) There may be no flights But we’ve got party bites And a tree decked with lights We’ve a smell of Scot’s pine And a fridge stacked with wine So I’m sure we’ll be fine (hic) Though we cannot go out And must force down a sprout We’ll have fun I’ve no doubt So let’s toast: We’ll survive And with laughter we’ll thrive Praise be – we’re alive! And don't forget, for a festive singalong on Xmas day ... Jingle bells, Covid smells, Brexit's on the way But oh what fun it is to know that a vaccine's on the way ...
Happy Days (4th December)
My husband's new draft beer tap is his latest favourite toy With pubs all shut it has become a source of pride and joy [He argued too that it was ‘green’ - recycled kegs, not tins So bought it ‘just to do his bit’ and not clog up the bins] He snatched it off the driver, when his van stopped to deliver He couldn't wait to set it up and lubricate his liver It perched upon the counter while he paced round like a fool Suffering hours of torture in the wait for it to cool At last it came to temperature. He popped his beer glass under The frosted chill, the frothy head – his eyes were glazed in wonder He took a sip and beamed, impressed, then briefly wondered how This little pump so modest served the perfect Lowenbrau I doubt it will be long before he's steamed through several kegs Quite frankly it's delicious and we've BOTH got wobbly legs He's told his pubbing mates of course, it's on their Christmas list So, what will happen on the day and will they all be missed? For, if Santa delivers one, forget the family carols They'll be sloping off to garages to try out all the barrels The moral if you want a Christmas fun and free from strife Invest in Phillips Perfect Draft – You'll have a friend for life!
Remembrance day (8th November)
Their courage spurred them on that day As they flew, sailed, marched away In foreign fields were sent to roam Fought hard but failed to make it home Their one desire: to protect For that they earn our deep respect Brave souls, we owe you such a debt Today’s your day – lest we forget
Oops! (6th November)
Home made mask? Need you ask? Know it looks wrong Cos it’s a thong Went out to roam Left mask at home Then got chastised So improvised!
Covid Chrimbo (October)
LATE OCTOBER 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 CHRISTMAS DAY AFTERNOON 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’ CHRISTMAS DAY EVENING 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/
SARTORIAL SLOUCH (9th October)
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!’