Google+ A Tangled Rope: 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Where Few Dare Venture


Of course, you may get one or two of them on your own local High Street, but more often or not they are completely hidden away down a backstreet where few people go, unless they know that such a place exists down there. Even then, few will venture near such places alone, especially at night.

There was a time – inconceivable to civilised people nowadays – when political parties were quite popular. Sometimes people would even confess to being in a political party quite openly and without any of the shame that, these days, attaches to the practice.

Nowadays, though, to even know where your local Conservative, Labour or Liberal club is, is to be regarded with suspicion and - in more genteel places – to risk ostracism. People these days tend to regard the avowedly political as somehow tainted, as infected with some unmentionable disease that could be contagious and so such people are best avoided.

Legend has it that this fear of contagion by politics was the reason for the building of these political-party controlled ‘clubs’ as places – similar in many ways to mental hospitals – here those infected with politics could be kept, isolated and controlled and far away from decent people. These ‘clubs’ were envisioned as places where those infected with the disease of politics could spend their lives without them escaping into wider society and infecting anyone else, or – indeed – doing what those infected with politics usually end up doing – fucking it all up for the rest of us.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Corridors Between Worlds


Eager for her breakfast, it wasn’t until Alice looked around, after locking the door to her room, that she realised she wasn’t in the hotel any longer.

She stood, staring around, up and down the corridor, not quite able to believe it.

Admittedly, she had been tired when she checked into the hotel the night before, but she remembered the long straight corridor, almost anonymous, sparsely decorated with the normal bland hotel pictures, fire safety instructions, and the other odds and ends of a typical modern hotel.

This was not that corridor.

For a moment, Alice was not sure, but she remembered that last night, next to her room was a storeroom. She remembered the door propped open as one of the chambermaids filled its shelves with freshly-laundered sheets. The chambermaid had looked up as Alice passed by and exchanged greetings, asking if she needed anything. By then, all she wanted to do was wash, eat a quick meal in the restaurant and then crawl between some of those freshly-laundered sheets and sleep.

Now, here she was in some… suddenly it reminded her of a visit to a stately home from school. One of those school trips that is supposedly educational, but ends up with a herd of wild kids rampaging through the grounds as though being chased by some ravenous pride of predators.

Alice shrugged, thinking that maybe, contrary to what she thought she knew, her room had more than one door that led to more than one corridor and the parts of the hotel she had been in last night from reception to her room to the restaurant and back was part of some modern annexe, and this she was now in was some old ancient part.

She turned to her door, pulling out her key card and found not only was her door locked, it had an old-fashioned lock that needed a key: a big heavy metal key, judging by the size of its keyhole. She looked around over every inch of the doorframe fro top to bottom, but there was no sign of a key card reader, sighing she turned and looked for someone to complain to, but the corridor was empty and the place felt deserted.

Alice shivered, suddenly not wanting to know what lay at the end of the corridor.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Ending Well


Well, not only that there was the question of the pineapple… and the look on her face. I have seen that look before… and it did not end well, not for the person who had provoked her wrath, anyway. However, her grim smile of satisfaction as she walked away, wiping her hands, did seem to suggest that she got far more satisfaction than him from the experience.

He looked like he would be waking up from nightmares, screaming, for a long time to come, as well as walking rather gingerly for a while… and remembering – suddenly – not to attempt sitting down.

Still, I suppose it is an effective way to make sure the lesson is learnt… and learnt well.

Rather a waste of a pineapple though, in my opinion.

I am rather fond of pineapples…. Well, I used to be. That is until I’d seen what uses she could put them to.

Could be worse though,… Although, short of an actual visit to a fully-operational medieval torture chamber, I’m not really sure how.

Afterwards, though she was rather pleasant and easy company, so not only did her victim get something out of it, in terms of a lesson well-learnt, she too seemed to find the whole thing rather cathartic.

I suppose I too learnt something, by further increasing my knowledge of the number of things she does get rather too touchy about.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Gruyere


It was only to be expected really, even though she claimed to be an experienced cheese-driver, rallying a Stilton around the country lanes of Gloucestershire is a bit different to taking a Brie out for a drive down your local High Street.

Not only that the speed that some of the high-end Double Gloucester can come off the cheese board from a standing start will do little more than leave a stain on your cracker, especially if you try to take the corner of a water biscuit without changing down your cheese knife.

Of course, some of those continental super-cheeses with their powerful acceleration and speedy assaults on the taste buds may look the part when you seem them spread out on the cheese board, not one of them would be suitable for an English country lane, especially at high speed, and as for using any of them as an off-road cheese, forget it. There you need the traditional English Cheddar, or at least a Red Leicester, unless you want to end upside down in a muddy ditch with butter stains across what is left of your face and a small heap of crumbs where your cheese biscuits used to be.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Path to her Heart


I knew the way to her heart. I had walked down similar paths with many other women before I met her. I knew what I would find, which turnings to take and which shortcuts would lead me to that secret heart of her she tried to keep safe from explorers like me.

A long time before, and many women ago, one woman had shown me her secret map. In those long summer afternoons we spent together while her husband sailed the distant seas, Kim would take me by the hand and lead me to her bed. There she showed me all the routes, and the journeys I could take to get to her, or to any woman’s heart.

That summer I learnt those routes off by heart, and when autumn arrived and Kim’s husband came home from the seas with tales of journeys of his own to tell her, I took off on a journey of my own, searching for more of those routes to take me deep into the hearts of women.

I found so many of them, so many women, waiting at the ends of paths and roads never taken. So many women living lonely lives in towers overlooking those roads that no-one every ventured down. So many women waiting for an adventurer, an explorer, like me to take those routes to the door of their hearts, where I only had to knock to get a warm welcome and a hand to take mine and lead me deep inside the secret corridors of their souls.

Monday Poem: Like a New Wishing Moment

Wadi El Rayan - fayoum

Like a New Wishing Moment

Some unformulated extravagance
like a new wishing moment
taken on the air, like a bird
flashing down over a clear river

reflecting sunshine and blue sky
empty of all but a few clouds,
light and insubstantial as wishes,
as we make promises we know

will never be kept, at least
not in a world like this, when all
moments seem so transitory
and permanence is something akin

to a lie, or a story told to calm
the night-time fears of small children
or tales of gods and heroes told
around ancient camp-fire to keep

the dark night and its crawling shadows
far beyond the edges of the moment.
I could make that gesture
form that extravagance into something

that you will keep forever close
to remind you of these precious moments
when you wake to wonder
where they could all have gone,

like that bird that one day flew
down along a slow summer river,
when it seemed such times could never end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Something for the Weekend: Free Short Story – The Wife’s Best Friend


Available FREE this weekend for the Kindle.

The Wife's Best Friend

‘Baffy… drum paddle…. hen tambourine.’

‘What?’ Frank said, shoving Jane across the bed so he could squeeze back in.

Jane sighed and opened her eyes. ‘I said: Be careful walking about, Dawn stayed over last night when we got back late.’ She closed her eyes again.

‘I know.’

Jane half-opened one eye. ‘How? You were fast asleep.’

‘I just met her. I went for a pi... to the toilet, then I needed a drink. She was in the kitchen drinking coffee.’

‘Oh, right.’ Jane closed the half-open eye.

‘I was stark bollock naked.’

‘What?’ Both Jane’s eyes were now wide open.

‘Well, how was I to know she would be here, sitting fully-dressed in our kitchen at this time in the morning, drinking coffee?’

‘Did she see… er… y’know… your… well, y’know?’

‘Yes…. Yes, she did.’

‘Oh, bollocks.’

‘Yes, those too… probably.’

‘You weren’t… y’know?’


Jane reached down. ‘Like this? Up and alert.’

‘No… no…. Relaxed and at ease.’

‘You didn’t do that thing…?’

‘What thing?’

‘That thing where you just seem to start playing with it, sort of absent-mindedly.’

‘No….er…. Well, I don’t think so.’ Frank said. ‘I may have scratched it… before I knew she was there, obviously.’

‘I didn’t hear any screams.’

‘No, I think I handled it rather well… er, not the ideal turn of phrase… I mean I obviously handled it well by definitely not handling it at all in her presence… if you see what I mean.’

Jane sighed and got out of bed.

‘What’s the matter?’

‘Are you sure it wasn’t hard when she saw it. I mean it was when you got back in bed.’

‘Well,’ Frank said. ‘You know the effect you have on me.’

‘Do I…? Really?’ Jane preened as she fastened the belt of her dressing gown. ‘That’s all down to me is it?’

‘yes, of course. Apart from those times… y’know… when I’m over-tired or ill… or something.’



In the kitchen Dawn was sitting at the table, absently playing with a teaspoon.

‘Morning,’ Jane said, walking to the sink to fill the kettle.

‘Morning, how’s the head?’ Dawn said

‘Not too bad.’ Jane sat down opposite Dawn. ‘I want to apologise for earlier… for Frank. He didn’t know you were here.’

‘Oh, no problem.’ Dawn said. ‘After all, you get used to them, don’t you?’

‘Er… yes, I suppose so.’

‘I mean, after you’ve been doing it for a while, you get to recognise people with the same interests, don’t you think?’


‘Why didn’t you ever tell me about it, though? I thought we were friends?’

Jane stared for a moment. ‘Not much to tell, it is just a normal o….’

‘Exactly,’ Dawn said. ‘I wish you’d mentioned it before, though. I’m one too!’

Jane couldn’t help it; she stared down at Dawn’s crotch before she could stop herself. She looked back up at Dawn’s face; she didn’t look like a transvestite.

‘You… you mean you are a m….’

‘A naturist… nudist… Yes, yes I am.’ Dawn beamed. ‘What a co-incidence, eh?’

‘’Er….’ Jane nodded quickly. ‘Yes, er… isn’t it?’


[Continues - free for the weekend - here (UK) or here (US)]

Royalty and Poking Sticks


Of all the indignities the flesh is heir to, being poked in the upper thigh by a minor member of the British Royal Family with a stick especially fashioned for the purpose is – of course – one of the most bewildering for those not familiar with some of the strange customs and institutions that have – over the centuries – built up around that family.

As everyone knows on the day of their birth every member of the royal family, no matter how distantly related to the current ruling monarch, is presented with their own ceremonial Commoner Upper-Thigh Poking Stick (except for the Duchess of Argyll, of course, for the obvious royal protocol reasons).

Then from as early an age as possible – which for some royals can often mean the late teens – they are taught the duties and responsibilities that lie behind the use of the thigh-poking stick and the protocol about when and – most importantly – where it is necessary for them to poke commoners in the upper thigh with the stick.

The tradition itself dates back to medieval times when one of the royal ancestors – historians mostly tend to agree it was Edward II – found himself almost within touching distance of some commoner or other and did not want to besmirch the royal body by actually coming into contact with this unsavoury person. Legend had it that some quick-thinking courtier found a small branch that had fallen from a nearby tree and ceremoniously handed it to the king in order that he could poke the commoner in the thigh as recognition for whatever service it was that the commoner had performed for his – or as some historians argue, her - majesty.

Consequently, as royal protocol invariably demands the tradition of poking commoners on the thigh with a stick has continued right up to the present day without anyone really knowing why, except that it is a ‘tradition’ and therefore inviolable.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Full English


It was only to be expected really. After all, she had approached the kipper fillet from downwind – as all the text books suggest – so she wasn’t expecting me to be there, just behind the azalea with the pump-action porridge gun loaded and ready to fire.

However, she had, by then got her hands on several individual containers of marmalade and was beginning to outflank the full English breakfast. I had to act fast, bringing up all my reserves of toast (wholemeal and white), just in case she instigated a cavalry charge against the scrambled eggs.

Breakfast can be a fraught business at the best of times. I’ve known normally brave men go to pieces when faced with a shortage of coffee and women and children fleeing in terror in the face of an onslaught of kedgeree at dawn.

Still, though, when the enemy see the full English breakfast staring back at them on the plate, they begin to feel the first taste of fear, often their weak continental croissants will fall to pieces, crumbling uselessly on their side plates once the full power of those sausages, bacon and – in heavy warfare – the black pudding begin their work in earnest, even though the enemy throw all their cereals against it.

So, much throughout the long and noble story of British breakfasts has depended on that thin red line of ketchup keeping the horror of feeble continental breakfasts from our shores, and long may it continue.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Between the Shapes of this World


I once thought I could take these shapes of the world and carve words out of them that would stand here for all to see and perhaps understand. I thought I knew the secret of turning things so they could say what I saw, tell what I knew. I thought this world was malleable, that I could be one of those who shaped it into something not seen before.

I wandered between the shapes of this world, finding those places that could be carved and stood there with my tools waiting for the solidity to speak to me; waiting for it to tell me what it needed to become. I had all these words waiting that I could use to shape, to form, to create.

The words and the world, though, do not fit each other. The words slip off the edges of the world. The world is too hard for the words; they break and crumble at my feet while the shapes of the world stand there, oblivious.

All I can do is heap the words up in these piles, hoping that the wind will not blow them away, that the storms will not wash them away; that they will still be here when I turn to them, looking for something to say.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First They Came for the Fish


Still, though, you do have to wonder where they get them from, don’t you?

You don’t?


Perhaps it is just me, then.

Although, when that knock comes on your door in the early hours of the morning, don’t say you weren’t warned.

First they came for the fish… and all that.

You may think those penguins look cute in the nature programmes on TV and at the zoo, but their day is drawing ever closer.

That is why there are so many of them in those formerly-secret Antarctic bases of theirs.

One day you’ll go to the zoo, and all the zebras, lions, antelopes and everything in the children’s petting enclosure will be gone. There will be penguins everywhere: ranks upon ranks of them, just standing… watching your every move.

Then, another day, you will go to the supermarket biscuit aisle, wanting some kind of ordinary digestive, or Rich Tea, and there will be nothing but Penguin biscuits as far as the eye can see.

Not only that, all the meat, pizzas, frozen vegetables and the essential ready meals that keep this great nation alive and malfunctioning will be gone. All replaced by fish, with only the occasional kipper or fish finger to break the monotony.

There will be gangs of penguins on every High Street hanging out, waiting for the fish and chip shops to open. There will be penguins everywhere and it will all be too, too late….

So don’t ever say you weren’t warned.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Poem: Pulling the Darkness Out


Pulling the Darkness Out

I saw the night creep away to hide
cowering in shadows and dark places
where the sun will not find it
and pull the darkness out of it
and tear our secrets from within its folds.

It curls up to hide out the day
taking all our secrets with it
that we whispered in the dark
knowing the day could not come
and steal away those things

we want to keep hidden from the light
and the way you coiled around me
as though you wanted me kept deep
in the darkest shadow of your heart.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Something for the Weekend – Free Kindle EBook



Free: Sex, Pies and Sticky Tape

Here we are back, once again, in Little Frigging in the Wold: England’s most perverse, erotic and excitingly-moist village, for some more tales of rural life, with more adventures and tales featuring Grand Uncle Stagnant, Old Feebletrousers, Strom Thighhammer, the cake shop manageress and many more of Little Frigging’s residents.

This book includes over one hundred stories involving inter-village competitive orgies, the erotic use of foodstuffs, how to extract as much money from tourists as possible, the naked pogo-stick steeplechase, mid-air and deep-sea perversions, the use of the fetish unicycle, medieval woodland perversions, the erotic use of cardigans, achieving match fitness in an inter-village orgy squad, accountancy fetish night in the village hall, and – of course – the best way of sellotaping a Cornish pasty to an assistant librarian for erotic purposes and much, much more.

This book free for this weekend only

(15th –17th June 2012)

Available here free for the Kindle:



Some comments on David Hadley’s writing:
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“brilliantly funny story. I love it.”
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“highly creative and hilarious as always”
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In Close Proximity


Even if you are one of the many people of this fair isle who know, understand and appreciate the correct way to place a banana next to a social worker without falling foul of any sexual harassment, diversity or Correct Use Of The Banana legislation, then you may not be aware, no matter how diligent you are, that the EU's latest ruling on similar activities to this has now outlawed eating jam sandwiches in the close proximity to any local council worker, no matter what the date.

This is, of course, in direct contravention of the age-old British tradition of eating jam sandwiches in the close vicinity of a council worker – depending on what part of the country you live in – on Whitsun Monday, Easter Good Friday, Midsummer Day or National All-Praise Tesco Day on the third Friday of June.

This is a tradition which dates back into the mists of time, possibly going back to before there was even such a career option as a council worker, or even sliced bread, maybe even as far back into the mists of time as the birth of Cliff Richard, which archaeologists now place somewhere in the early Cro-Magnon period.

This tradition is recorded as taking place in Victorian workhouses and many of the facilities for the poor and unfortunate that existed before then: such as poor houses and monasteries and other similar places. No-one is entirely sure why this tradition began, although there has – of course – been plenty of speculation, especially about the religious significance of strawberry jam.

Although, of course, like many of these traditions, such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween and so forth, the practice long pre-dates the introduction of Christianity in these islands, as was an existing tradition appropriated by the Christian religionists for their own ends, especially the age-old one involving strawberry jam and the virgins – which was ultimately banned by the Catholic Church in 1267.

However, in Europe from the middle-ages onward the use of strawberry jam in religious ceremonies was almost unheard of, except – of course – for that things the nuns did to one-another in the privacy of their cells which – allegedly -involved some very nasty habits indeed, much to the disgust of the church officials who - no matter how they tried – could not catch any of the nuns involved actually indulging in such acts. However, it was the use of the strawberry jam in such acts of sexual depravity that led to the phrase ‘caught red-handed.’

These acts, though, died out as civil, secular law slowly replaced religious law as the Middle-Ages gave way to the Renaissance and beyond.

Consequently, under the Code Napoleon, use of strawberry jam to cause distress to a government official going about his lawful business was made a crime punishable by the enforced public wearing of a beret by the convicted criminal. Such was the dread of been seen out in public wearing a beret that soon such unwarranted use of strawberry jam throughout most of Europe became rare and virtually unknown.

When the UK joined the Common Market, as it was known then, there was shock and horror expressed throughout the rest of the community when they discovered that the British still continued with what the rest of Europe regarded as a barbaric act, which the other countries insisted that the UK abandon.

However, Margaret Thatcher managed to negotiate an opt-out for the UK, when she in an infamous sound-bite, declared ‘The lady is for eating strawberry jam sandwiches, no matter who she is sitting next to!’

Unfortunately, recent EU treaty changes have now meant that the opt-out is no longer valid and therefore – if the UK wants to remain a member of the EU - it must end the practice of eating jam sandwiches in the close proximity to any local – and/or national government worker by 2015 at the latest or face legal action by the EU up to and including sanctions against British strawberries.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paying for It


William finished his mug of tea and put the mug down. ‘The next door neighbour, Paula, she pays to have sex with me,’ he said, breaking the silence.

‘Oh, yes?’ Jill curled her legs underneath her as she sat back on the sofa, her head cocked towards him at a sceptical angle.

‘She pays quarterly, and that is a whole year - paid in advance…’ William gestured towards the mantelpiece. ‘…there, on the shelf.’

Jill arched up to glance at the pile of coins. ‘Ah, yes. But what can you buy for four pence these days?’

‘Well…. But that is not the point.’

‘What is the point then?’ Jill grinned. Apart from you claiming there is some poor woman is deluded enough to want to pay to have sex with you?’

‘No, yes. In a way….’ William shrugged. ‘Anyway, you married me.’

Jill shrugged back at him. ‘We were young then. I was foolish.’

‘Ha.’ William laughed mirthlessly. ‘No, but the point is…. I mean, this four pence thing is an obvious joke.’

‘Obviously,’ Jill agreed. ‘Not even Paula could be that crazy.’

William leant towards her. ‘It must follow though that there are women out there who are really in that situation.’

‘What, living next door to a loony?’

‘Ha ha, very funny.’

‘What?’ Jill said. ‘Women so ugly that that they have to pay for it, you mean?’


‘They must be real dogs then, if they can't get a shag. Isn't it you that is always saying that a desperate enough man will shag anything?’

‘No, I'm not talking about that.’

‘What then?’

William shrugged again. ‘Sex without complications.’

Jill shook her head. ‘No, women tend to want the complications. Look at the letters to the problem pages. Men: is it long enough? Do I last long enough? Women: does he love me? Is he committed? Women probably won't pay to get a shag, but they might pay to talk.’

‘Oh…’ William looked down at his feet.

‘Hang on,’ Jill said. ‘Just how much is there on the shelf?’

William got to his feet and picked up the pile of coins. ’Fifty-seven pence.’

‘Jill got up too and walked towards him, unbuttoning her shirt as she did so. She took William’s hand and placed it inside the open shirt. ‘Fancy a good time then, big boy?’ She said, holding out her hand for the money.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Olympic Indifference


Now, with the media all trying to get us interested in a series of events where some people train themselves obsessively to become fractionally better than some other equally-obsessive people at running fast, or running a long way or jumping, or throwing things and various other ways of passing time, it is hard to get yourself to care one way or another about it all.

At least, it was all rather dull until she suggested it could be interesting to smear the cream cakes over her naked body for me to lick off, rather than eating them in the conventional manner….

Which was all well and good, and certainly brightened up one of the more mundane of our Tuesdays.

Well, it was, until some killjoy in the Sea-View Tea Rooms complained and the waitress made us both get dressed again and leave.

Admittedly, that did put a damper on events, until later when she suggested a stroll up to the cliff top overlooking the bay. Initially, it was an idea that didn’t enthral me that much, until she whispered in my ear that she still had a fresh cream chocolate éclair left over from the tea room incident.

There are times, though, when it would be interesting to differentiate precisely when a brisk stroll towards a nearby cliff top turns into a run, and would no doubt fascinate those who define such matters for the Olympics and other related events. However, such a quibble was far from both our minds as I chased after her as she sped up towards the top of the headland, discarding her clothes as she ran.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Consequences of Certainty


Here was where it began; there are echoes and memories here. The trees themselves seem to stand as mute witnesses to those times. The ground seems to hold memories within its every undulation.

It is easy to be brave when you are young. Youth breeds certainty. Back then we knew we were right and the cause we fought for was just.

Nowadays, though, those of us that are left, those of us who have had to learn to live with the harsh consequences of our certainty are not so sure.

There are some, older now, but perhaps no wiser, who hide their doubts behind zealotry; who pretend to still feel the passion of our cause; its nobility, still running through their old veins and tired muscles. We, who have learnt only doubt and uncertainty over those intervening years, do not admire those who claim not to have changed. We pity them. They have become old, but they still lie trapped in the mindset that has brought us all nothing but pain.

It is as though their certainty brings comfort and that comfort reinforces the certainty, so that they cannot allow even a single small doubt about their rightness to penetrate, unless the whole edifice should fall. They think they still know, still understand, the truth, but – in fact – they have built these impregnable castles of belief, of ideology, of certainty, against the world and stay huddled inside them, too frightened of the world to ever step outside and confront it.

Those of us, though, who no longer believe those old certainties, now have this whole world to wander in and to wonder where it all went so wrong.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Poem: Meet the Moment


Meet the Moment

Here is the day I found for you
out here in dappled meadows
where the clouds chase their shadows

across the waving grass
and the flowers dance away
from the touch of languid insects.

We came here to meet the moment
and search for newer days that flow
around us as we lie together

watching our lives float by
just like those clouds that hold themselves
up out and beyond our reach

as we shade our eyes against the sun
to turn towards each other
and our nakedness once again.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ode to a Stickleback and Romanticism


Trackback Pseudopod is – probably – the least well-known of all the Romantic poets, even though to his contemporaries, his Ode to a Stickleback was one of the best known poems of the time, even outselling – for a time - Lord Byron’s epic ‘Ere Mate, I’ve Shagged Your Sister.

However, Pseudopod’s fame was short-lived. Even though he did have the essential wild-eyed sister that was de-rigour for a Romantic poet, Pseudopod had also spent nearly an hour in a Lake District thicket with Dorothy Wordsworth and shared a pipe or two with Coleridge; despite all this he felt he was never really accepted into the Romantic’s inner circle.

Scholars have often wondered why Pseudopod felt he was never really accepted by the rest of the Romantics. Some put it down to Pseudopod suggesting that Keats had more than an aesthetic interest in nightingales and kept a chicken in his rooms at Wentworth Place for ‘inspirational’ purposes.

Later, Pseudopod was also accused by Shelly of trying to get Mary ‘to have a feel of a real monster’ on that infamous night in the Villa Diodati in Geneva. Percy Shelley’s later claim that Mary based the monster on Pseudopod was believed to be what caused the rift between Pseudopod and the other Romantics and mainly responsible for Pseudopod kicking Robert Southey in the couplets when they met on Westminster Bridge early one morning.

Pseudopod’s masterpiece, Ode to a Stickleback, however, did go a long way towards re-establishing his credibility with the other Romantic poets, with Wordsworth admitting later that it was ‘better than a field full of daffodils’ and an early draft of the first stanza caused his sister Dorothy to write to Pseudopod, offering to meet him around the back of Tintern Abbey, where Pseudopod could prove to her that ‘it really is measureless to man’.

Pseudopod had managed to collect fifteen words for his poem by late 1810, but he did not have any idea what kind of order he wanted to put those words in, so he thought a trip to Venice would give him a chance to collect more words, perhaps even enough for one complete stanza. Pseudopod was far too optimistic though, his Italian trip, even though it lasted three months, ending in a wild altercation with a gang of gondoliers which resulted in Pseudopod fleeing the city, he returned home with only one additional definite article and a tentative conjunction for his poem.

For five more years Pseudopod wandered around the Lake district until he felt he had enough words for five or –possibly – six stanzas of his poem, but still he had trouble thinking up a rhyme for the word ‘punt’ that would convey the wistful romantic image of young lovers alone on the river as the young poet poled his lover along to see the finest stickleback she was ever to see.

Tragically, it was while Pseudopod himself was poling Dorothy Wordsworth in her punt that he lost his footing and fell into the river. Despite Dorothy’s heroic efforts to get Pseudopod out of his wet clothes and her frantic pulling of him onto the riverbank, Pseudopod caught pneumonia.

Pseudopod died a few weeks later with his masterwork unfinished. However, a tentative draft of his ode found amongst his papers by Coleridge when he was frantically searching for something to use to light his pipe on the day of Pseudopod’s funeral.

The remaining Romantic poets had a whip-round, which Dorothy Wordsworth said later was the best night of her life, and raised enough to have Pseudopod’s ode published posthumously, thus assuring his place in the literary cannon.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

In That Way


Andy and Billie sat at their usual pub table, side by side, their backs to the window. ‘It's Always the same,’ Andy said.

‘What is?’

‘Us. We come here and then… well, we do this.’

Billie turned to look at him, her head cocked to one side. ‘So?’

‘Well, we could… I dunno… do something different.’

‘Like what, for example?’

Well, I'm a man, and you're a woman.

‘Er… yes,’ Billie said. ‘That is something I've noticed.’

Andy stared off into the distance, not meeting her eye. ‘So, have you ever thought… y'know… us?’

‘What? You and me?’ Billie laughed and shook her head. ‘Never.’

‘Really?’ Andy turned back to look at her. ‘Not once?’




Andy picked up his drink and took a sip. ‘But, I thought you liked me…. Well, we get on all right - mostly - don't we?’

‘Yes, of course. And I do like you… a lot. But not in that way.’

Andy put his drink down. ‘Ah, Not in that way.’ He nodded as in confirmation.

Billie turned to him. ‘What do you mean by that?’

‘It is something - as a man - that I find hard to understand,’ Andy said carefully as he ran his fingers up and down the outside of his pint glass. ‘If I like a woman then the… er… in that way, as it were, is a part of that… an important part of that.’

‘So… have you… y'know….’ Billy edged closer to Andy on the seat, leaning towards him. ‘Have you… thought about us in that way?’

Andy looked away from her again. ‘Well….’

‘Come on, be honest.’

‘Yes… but….’

‘Now, I'm interested - what did we do?’

‘I can’t… well… y’know…’ Andy felt himself getting hot around the neck.

‘Oh,’ Billie took a drink. ‘That is a shame.’

Andy looked down at his lap.

‘Well if you can’t tell me….’ Billie said.


Billie finished her drink and stood up, taking Andy’s hand. ‘How about we go somewhere more private and you show me?’

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Making Contact


I don’t know what you’d call it, except that you probably wouldn’t call it Simon. That is, at least not unless you are the sort of person who has a tendency to name things Simon.

Still, I suppose Simon would be better than Ermintrude, providing you have the sex thing sorted out, of course. Providing they do have sexes as we know them.

After all, when we first came into contact with the Z-Ulithian we made the mistake of presuming they had the two sexes, like us. Luckily we managed to sort that out just in time before war was declared. You have to admit that anti-matter ray whatsit thy used to destroy that rogue asteroid was a very tasty bit of kit. I wouldn’t want to be standing near the nasty end of one of those whilst making a tasteless joke about a Z-Ulithian’s mother-in-law, or – as we now know – Mothers-in-law.

Still, that is the problem with aliens… the fact they are… well, alien. I mean you just can’t go around assuming things, even as the ex-(now very ex-)US president discovered when he thought he was shaking the hand of the Quergite ambassador, only to discover he’d been publicly masturbating her on universe-wide TV. Still, he didn’t have long to regret it, and we all do have to admit that the vice-president has been better at the job than everyone expected, especially in the way she avoids shaking hands… appendages… with all and sundry that come from various far-flung corners of the universe to meet and greet her.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Key for the Morning


It is almost as if there is something there, something just beyond the grasp that lies so tantalisingly close, which – if twisted just the right way for just the right amount – somehow set the whole thing right. Sometimes, it seems that other people know this secret, that they have taken hold of this mysterious thing and twisted it, turned it, so they can go about the kind of life they want; while we yearn and reach, grasping out into empty air, feeling the fingertips brushing the very edge of what could be possible.

Other times, though, it is the others that seem lost and alone, as though they once knew some great secret, but now have lost it; as though they are blindly seeking something they do not know how to name or describe.

Perhaps we are all lost, lost and seeking, searching for that one thing – whatever it could be – that would make all of this make sense for us, give us a reason to get up in the morning to face another unknown day that lies out there in the mists of morning ready to pounce, rip and tear.

Then we think that if only we could find the right key for the morning, we could unlock a day that promises so much: a morning of spring and sunlight and fresh breezes that blow the scents of promise towards us, a morning we could walk in and find around every bend something we had yearned for, but could not name.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Monday Poem: The World can hold so Much


The World can hold so Much

We hold each other close against this world
around us. But each day that passes by
becomes another story for our children
to learn about what lies beyond these walls.

The springs and summers, autumns, winters, days
that grow from nothing and take us away
from all we hold to shape us all against
this jagged world and all its sharpest corners
and hidden danger out beyond our reach.

The way the world can hold so much of promise
and possibility beyond these walls,
the way we will always be here for them.
to hold each other close against the world.

Local Government


Well, what if you can’t find enough cupboard space for every local government-mandated inspector that comes around to discover whether or not you are complying with the latest directive on precisely how you are to live your life in the currently approved manner? Don’t you realise that is exactly what all those various and multi-hued recycling bins are for – at least I presume so, not having had the hours necessary to peruse all the many leaflets that our most munificent council in their great wisdom and even greater - seemingly infinite – budget inundate us with every chance they get. What with all the leaflets, the new ‘initiatives’ and the council newspaper, one has to wonder where they manage to get the time to do the nothing they do so well in each and every other aspect of their multi-faceted endeavours, with all that results in so little happening despite so much being spent.

Then, when all is said and done, they are doing it for us… so they say.

However, we are we, but mere mortals without a mandate, to question these proclamations, pronouncements and all the other effluvia produced by our governing bodies whether local, national, European or even the UN… after all they must know what they are doing…

…mustn’t they?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Free: Poetry Book -This Brief Life of Sparks


Available Free for the next few days:

This Brief Life of Sparks

A Collection of 100 poems by David Hadley.

David Hadley's poems have been published in Stand, Eclipse, Envoi, Poetry Nottingham International, Raw Edge and several other magazines in the UK and US. 

Several of his poems have also been cherry-picked by the editors at

Some comments on David Hadley’s poems:

“your lovely poem awoke my own memories”
“An elegant poem”
“wow well done”
“That was beautiful.”
“That captures my ambivalent feelings about morning! Love those last five lines.”
“This is simply gorgeous, poignant and bittersweet. Thank you for this”
“Lovely and delicate, like your dancer.”
“This is a beautiful poem, hadley! I love the two-stansa structure and whole reflective, traquil feel. Well done ;)”
“I like the way you write - sounds a bit strange, lol, but true.”
“very Keats like … much enjoyed.”
“another scorcher!”
“Lovely rhymes and rhythm, quite a warming feeling, good stuff!”
“What a beautiful picture you paint with your words.”
“Wow, this is pure perfection. I absolutely love this poem. You use a whole different dimension here- a unique story told in familiar ways. Each stanza, each line and each word is in perfect harmony. This is what I call craftsmanship. Well done.”
“Absolutely beautiful. I'm awe struck, well done :)”
“I really like the way this evolves… The line: 'Silence speaks like a sullen child.' is great,”
“really enjoyed, beautiful :) Especially the last lines.”
“I found this strangely haunting.”
“absolutely spell-bounding stuff.”
“I liked this, especially the last few lines”
“This is a nice piece of work - well done.”
“Thoughtful and thought provoking.”
“I like this. Can identify with the little things forgotten when waking and lost.”
“an interesting - and thought-provoking -piece.”
“fantastic! Love this line: 'where all the rules are torn / to scatter like coloured confetti '”
“An excellent evocation of the dreamworld.”
“'it's harder than you think to close / the doors of all those memories.' So true...”
“I think this is a beautiful poem…”
“Good one.”
“beautifully poetic, I really like this.”
“"Running the sands of my life / through my opening fingers" lovely lines”
“Brilliant stuff. Loved it.”
“I liked this. There is a good truth in this”
“Eloquent, beautiful.”
“Lovely words.”
“This is stunning, I've read it over and over again and will do many times today.”
“Great. Love the opening lines, turning a cliched image into a new, fresh one. This so mirrors my own reflections on where I am. Fabulous write”
“I love the first two lines. Gripped my attention straight away. A lovely poem. Well done.”
“That's really good.”
“Quite heart-rending.”
“I love the refrain - so song-like and yet sad!”
“I enjoyed this, Hadley. Some nice imagery here.”
“Really poignant.”
“this is a really good read. I love the descriptions, I can almost see her! Well done.”
“Simple words, simple form; complicated things.”
“Enjoyed the complexity behind these thoughts”
“Very touching and nice...”
“That is just such a beautiful image”
“simple, pure, evocative”
“Reading this makes me uncomfortable. That's what makes it interesting!”
“A very well written solid piece of writing here.”
“I really like this poem.”
“This was beautiful in a kind of sombre way”
“Beautiful poem - rich in imagery.”
“Such a beautiful take on the detritus of war, I really like this”
“So rhythmical, lovely and lulling, sounds like a sad lullaby”
“I like this poem, telling of the wind’s character.”
“this is lovely Hadley - really enjoyed it”
“This is a nice cosy poem, thinking of Autumn not far away, and longer nights to come. Enjoyed very much.”
“I really liked this poem. You have given it an air of mystery, as this woman looks out on the world she cannot quite trust. Very descriptive and poignant.”
“This is a beautiful poem and yet it is unbearably sad.”
“'And then we fall apart to lie alone'.. Great line. Lovely poem. Nice job.”
“Some brilliant images and beautiful words here”
“what a true day to day picture you paint with this poem, it rings very true.”

Also available free here.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Those Watercress Sandwiches


Well, as you can no doubt imagine, a fair amount of the wainscoting had to be repainted and some of the more elderly of the academic gentlemen needed a fresh hosing down with disinfectant, but still all things considered we got off lightly. I, for one, did not fancy creosoting the entire History Department, even after the recent cutbacks, some of those emeritus professors have some rather tricky recesses, alcoves and cornices, making it very difficult to work the creosote into them, especially with a large brush.

Still, I digress….

Although, the doctor has promised me it will clear up if I take the course of tablets until they run out.

So, moving on….

Or, not.

No, hang on, I remember now. It was that night you and I shared those watercress sandwiches whilst half-watching the ending minutes of some reality programme or other.

No, it doesn’t matter which one, they are all the same…..

No, listen, anyway you said….

No, it was the one where the putative chefs have to dance on ice with a z-list ‘celebrity’ whilst creating a soufflé out of a section of MDF and three rolls of flock wallpaper in order to get a job helping to run a market stall… or at least, from what I saw of the programme, that was what it seemed to involve.

Anyway, as I was saying…..


See, you’ve made me forget now….

Still, the watercress sandwiches were nice.