A poem inspired by the brilliant performance of the Lionesses at the World Cup
Millions of us keenly tuned in,
A World Cup Final – could we win?
Go for it girls, it’s been far too long,
And Sweet Caroline’s now our favourite song.
A poem about animal sentience and how we can understand chimpanzees’ facial signals
Since we descended from great apes,
Their gestures form familiar shapes,
We can tell if a chimp seeks some food,
Wants to groom or is in the mood.
Reading the signs upon their face,
Comes from our shared genetic space.
Calling animals dumb is simply unfair,
We know they can think and share and care,
They have their own sets of social rules,
And some can even work with tools.
They’re much better than us in many ways,
While we risk causing a nuclear haze.
We weren’t the creators of conversation,
So, let’s master the art of conservation.
After a four-year gap, going on safari again was a real treat. I’m very lucky to have seen the Big Five a few times, so these days I like to choose a destination where I’m likely to see something new. This time my target was wild dogs, or painted wolves. For this I selected Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, to be followed by a week’s holiday Cape Town.
Madikwe is Northwest of Johannesburg, near the Botswana Border. I set off in early February with good friend and travelling buddy, Bernie, and (most important of all) my camera gear. We flew overnight to Johannesburg, then were taken on a five-hour drive to the reserve. It was lovely to be back in SA seeing the familiar and expansive countryside.
Despite the long journey and absence of sleep on the flight (thanks to BA’s ridiculous rationing of space in Economy), we couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a game drive on arrival. We saw lots – but no wild dogs.
It was our family tradition to gather together early in December and prepare our Christmas wish lists. My brother, sister and I would carefully write our lists and hand them over to Mum and Dad to be checked. Then we threw the lists into the fire and let the smoke carry them up the chimney to waft away to Father Christmas. …
When visiting war graves on Crete, we were told that relatively few soldiers were buried there. But it still seemed a lot.
The bush-flecked Cretan slopes
Surround the glistening graveyard,
Where pale monuments salute in rows
Those heroes felled in war.
The repeated remorse of pointless loss
Laid out in military symmetry. …
The latest litany of events in the life of our PM began just two weeks ago. In a rare revelation, Prime Minister Bravo Jollyone talked of his enthusiastic participation in domestic duties. He focused on a recent bout of jam making. Bravo claims that in the short time he was able to spend in the No 10 kitchen one recent Friday evening, he produced 10 jars of jam. As his wife, Carryon, was putting their young children to bed at the time, it seems the PM did most of the task unaided. In typical Bravo style he described it is a, ‘Tour de sauce, one that really hit the sweet spot’.