Starbucks, Halfway House Shopping Precinct, Purgatory; Sometime post 13th. August 1910: Famed for her acts of kindness nursing the injured British troops during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale has since her death been stuck in Purgatory.  St Peter had taken it upon himself to deny her access to Heaven on account of perceived Health & Safety issues at the field hospitals she ran during the military campaign on the Crimean Peninsula. Despite her protests that she cleaned up the horrific conditions for the wounded there and saved countless lives the view from above is that she could have done more on the hygiene front. And so it is with a sad and weary heart that she has requested via Facebook a meeting with Satan to discuss her circumstances as she rightly feels that she cannot exist in limbo for eternity. We join Florence and Satan in Starbucks;

Satan: “Well nice to meet you Flo luv. What’s your poison girl?”

Flo: “Oh I suppose an espresso please – with an extra shot I think. I got used to stronger coffees whilst the war was on. I must say that was the only good thing to come out of battling the Ottomans. You could stand a spoon upright in an enamel mug the way the Turks dish it up.”

Satan, ever the gentleman, joins the queue and shortly thereafter returns with the drinks.

Satan: “I must say that I think it was a bit of a rum deal you not being allowed in upstairs. Health & Safety issues you say?”

Flo: “Yes unfortunately.”

Satan: “Still Flo His loss might just turn out to be my gain.

Flo: “How so?”

Satan: “Well down in Hell we hold no truck with Health & Safety issues. You can keep the place as filthy as you want. Look luv I’ve got a problem at the moment with the sex offender’s wing at my gaff. You see no one really likes those dirty buggers one little bit so we torture them good and proper under the supervision of the Marquis De Sade and his team. Obviously we can’t kill them what with them all being banged up on ‘whole of eternity tariffs,’ yet mostly we rip them apart limb by limb. Now I don’t mind them screaming all bloody day but the echoes of their anguish are giving me such insomnia I can tell you.  I think that night times they’d cherish a little solace from a girl like yourself. Interested? You’ll have your own rooms and no worries about having to stoke the fires of hell or anything like that – I save all that nastiness for the billions of low life to do.”

Flo: “It’s got to be better than Purgatory. Some of the types you meet here – well I don’t know what to say.”

Satan: “Don’t worry luv the gigs all yours. Now I heard they call you The Lady of the Lamp. What’s all that about? In my world talk of your ‘lamp’ implies you’ve got one hell – so to speak – of a right hook!”

Flo: “I’m left handed actually.”

Satan: “OK then left hook. Whatever. And there’s other bits and pieces you might want to take on. For example take old Oscar Wilde. He keeps going on and on that he can’t find it within himself to wax lyrical until he’s got his leg across and there’s not a tortured soul that’s caught his fancy lately. I’m missing his words of wisdom. Maybe you two could meet up and see how you both get along?”

Flo: “Rather you than me.”

Satan: “Crikey I never thought of that – clever girl.”

Flo: “If it hadn’t been for Facebook ‘so called’ friends slagging me off I’d have been in Heaven you know. It irks me so. All I did was post a few pics of the horrendous wounds incurred by our brave soldiers following the Charge of the Light Brigade and it all went pear shaped. Someone even said it was disgusting I posted all that ‘full on’ stuff – even the shots of the food parcels from Blighty bombed. Really I was only trying to let people see what it was really like and look where it’s got me?”

Satan: “Don’t take it to heart luv. Look you’ll have a whale of a time down below. The world’s your oyster now. Remember there’s evil and evil – like those sex offenders you’ll be quietening down. Now that’s not a form of ‘evil’ the boys and girls in my neck of the wood take kindly to. So we just fight evil with evil if you get my drift Flo. That’s how we hand out justice where I come from. Look you can put up whatever Facebook posts you like in Hell – sicker the better. You really ought to take a gander at some of the videos on my home page – that’ll lift your spirits. Anyway when can you start?”

Flo: “Well anytime I suppose – I am keen I really am.”

Satan: “Good on you Flo girl you might as well come back with me now. Oh just one thing. Now I’m not being overly critical you must understand that but the way you dress for work isn’t quite what we expect in Hell. I mean in your free time dress how you want – we’re all libertines after all. But I’m thinking here that your nurse’s uniform should reflect the mood of the place so maybe you should go for the shorter skirt, low cut blouse and without a doubt sexy black stockings and suspenders rather than tights – you have after all got a fine pair of pins girl. You’ve got no problems with that have you?”

Flo: “Well I’ve always been a bit conservative yet when in Rome……..”

With that Satan and Florence take the down lift from the Halfway House Shopping Precinct.




Her eyes

Windows chanced upon

Those sweet, sweet eyes

A tableau of

Her essence and

By way of bonus

A fraudulent glimpse of her

Delicious yet

Very private secret


He wonders


Whatever, they share

A fresh cocktail of

Flesh and soul

Hold back on the ice

Tastes best at room temperature


Afterwards blue hued

Intimate laughter

Over nothing much

Save for knowing each other

A little better than before


Then coffee

A must

Shared in the park


Hands to hold

Mother goose

Chases them away

More laughter


Love served up with

A smidgen of flirtatious relish

On a plate of expectation





A blouse torn in haste

Just buttons to sew

No harm done


More laughter

A dawning of an affair

The paper chase has begun


What will become of the pair

When and if

All the shreds

Along the trail

Have been found?

Should good fortune smile

Some will have been

Caught on the wind

Never to be discovered


This is an almost complete rewrite of a piece from a year ago



A Ribald Tale!

Well there’s a thing! I had the very strangest dream……a dream in which I was at one with an oak tree I had hugged in a fit of angst apropos my previous 55 unsuccessful attempts to top myself once and for all.  It seemed so very, very real…..the dream that is…….I felt so serene being part of the tree and the tree part of me.  Then I woke with a start and thought bollocks I’m still alive so it was back to the drawing board again – believe me it was ever so irksome.  You see I really couldn’t face the thought of living a life where I am being so very unlucky in love any longer.

Even down the pub I hear the boys talking behind my back…….things like, ‘Look at her she’s had more pricks than a second hand dartboard’……hurtful stuff although I do accept that there is a measure of truth in what they say.  I have after all….how shall I put it……… ‘been round the block a few times’ in my quest for a soul mate.

And then, quite out of the blue along came Jonny…….he’s a plumber you know who is often commissioned by famous artists to attend to their plumbing needs. Jonny brightened up my life no end and for the very first time I was, indeed am, truly in love.

The afternoon we met will stay with me forever.  There I was in the forest with my kit off – as per usual – having a private swoony moment hugging away on a rather fine elm when I heard his dulcet tones for the very first time.

“Oi luv you’ll catch your death of cold like that…….what on earth do you think you’re doing…..I mean you get fucking weirdo’s in the woods…….a fair damsel such as yourself shouldn’t be hanging around in the naughty naked nud.  Not at all safe in my book.”

I turned to see where the voice was coming from and it was at that very moment I noticed him stood there with his todger in his hand. At first I thought him to be a flasher and made to rush to bushes where I had hidden my clothes for within my jacket was my pepper spray.

“Sorry about that luv……I parked up in the lay by on the edge of the forest for a swift Jimmy Riddle and I was halfway through when I spotted you….you have to understand a chap…..not even me a plumber by trade, can turn off the old bladder valve when in full flow although I expect you really don’t want to know that. Don’t worry you’re as safe as houses luv.”

With that he zipped up and introduced himself, “Jonny Catapault the plumber the artists all trust at your service……and you might be?”

“Jessica…..Jessica Downlow…….I like to commune with nature…….you know tree hugging and all that…..the energy from the trees makes me feel less suicidal…….you see I mostly feel suicidal.” It was then that for reasons I’ll never understand I spat out my life story.  Jonny was such a great listener, a kind and sympathetic man with a heart of gold.  He told me not to be so hard on myself and take one day at a time and things would soon get better but not before his frivolous, some would say cheeky remark, “Crikey girl you do look gorgeous, never have I seen a pair of thruppenny bits so alluring in all me born days…….best you get dressed as I feel meself firming up a tad and that’s not very gentlemanly in the circumstances.” I must admit I’d quite forgotten I was naked so relaxed I felt with this man.

As the weeks went by we started dating.  Jonny had such an interesting life with all his famous artist chums and the bohemian things some of them get up to nearly took my breath away I can tell you. Anyway Jonny and I became……well we became more than just acquaintances if you get my drift.

Shortly thereafter Jonny and I were having a chat one evening when he said, “Tell you what Jessica poops you’re always going on about being skint what with you not having a job and I got to thinking that you’ve got no qualms about taking your kit off……….so that being the case have you thought about a bit of modelling……..nude modelling that is for some of me famous artists clients…….I mean they like nothing better than a new muse and they pay cash……beats paying income tax……you’d be quids in girl.”

I thought about it and thought ‘yes, why not’ and told Jonny I was up for it.

“Right then my old mucker Picasso’s sink is blocked – yet again – but I know he’s positively itching to knock out a swift nude painting……..why don’t you come along with me today……..if I know Picasso he’ll jump at the idea and likely will paint you there and then…….I’ll just send him a private message on Facebook to let him know we’re on our way.”

So off we went to Picasso’s studio.  I must say he seemed the strangest man yet being on my uppers I undressed and posed for him as directed and within about half an hour he announced that he’d finished the painting.

“Here luv come and take a gander at this……I think I’ve got you spot on…….oh by the way I hope this grand in hard currency is to your liking,” so said the great artist.

“Frankly Mr Picasso I can’t thank you enough…..a £1,000……..that’s, that’s wonderful…… let me see the painting……….oh…….well……that’s surely not what I look like is it?”

“Yes luv……..I mean it’s as close as you can get to the real you……..a selfie on your IPhone couldn’t do you any more justice than what I have just done……..don’t kid me you don’t like it.”

Even though Jonny was still upstairs unblocking Picasso’s sink I just ran out of the place in floods of tears for I really couldn’t believe I was so hideous and wretched. Once home I sat down with a cup of herbal tea and decided that this time I would top myself good and proper but not before writing what could be my very, very final poem thus;


A great artist proved to me I’m misshapen

Picasso is his name

He painted me nude and all deformed

And I cannot stand the shame


Of living out my life knowing

That I’m a revolting ugly wretch

For the man of such accomplishment

Must feel sick when he doth sketch


Me, the girl poor Jonny Catapault

Has been kind to out of pity

For I know he must be lying

When he says that I am pretty


So I will go and top myself

I really can’t go on

I’ll overdose on laxatives

When I’ve finished that’s me gone


I do hope Jonny doesn’t get upset at my passing……he’s been so very kind.  Still before I do the dreadful deed I think I’ll pop along to the woods and have a quick last hug of a horse chestnut tree I befriended a while back……he’ll understand.

SITUATIONS VACANT: Cartoonist Wanted

I can draw seagulls by turning a W upside down if that helps.

The League of Mental Men!


An out-of-date issue of a satirical magazine pictured being largely ignored last night

A well-appointed, London-based, satirical magazine is actively seeking somebody who’s quite good at drawing to illustrate a cartoon strip I’ve conceived, which features an alcoholic superhero as its main protagonist.

The successful applicant will be given a crippling deadline to produce 5 frames of half-decent cartoonery for absolutely no pecuniary reward whatsoever. However, in an almost unbelievable act of largesse, I’m offering an all- expenses-paid look at a picture I accidentally took of my foot using my phone when I was pissed last Friday night.

Bone-idle art students with fuck all to do all day other than to watch The Jeremy Kyle show and/or to masturbate periodically into a sock, will be fast-tracked to the top of the shortlist.

So if you know one end of a crayon from the other, are soundish in wind and limb…

View original post 156 more words


spin on a sixpence

She could spin on a sixpence

Of course she could


The egotistical fellow

Descended the

Spiral staircase

Wrought iron

Charcoal grey

Saw her at the

Unlatched door

Titfer crooked

Breeze tangled hair

Coat loose

A bustling girl

In a flurried retreat

Her war finally won on the

Back of battles lost


Autumn leaves

Whirled hallway bound

A mess to clear up later

A suitcase on castors

Straining to its very seams

Filled to the gunnels

Waving a hasty goodbye

Rosy cheeked

An almost abashed smile

That spelled ‘sorry’



No words though


She tickled easily

The tip of his tongue

In her ear

Sent her blissfully insane

Even the passage of time

Had not taken

That memory away

Nor that she volunteered for

Anything and everything

Charity her persona


Never understanding fully

The range of emotions

Of other men

Left his disposition aporetic

Devoid of answers

Interpretation unimaginable

It never crossed his mind

To call out her name

To call her back


An epoch later

Still he would wait

Wait and watch

Endeavouring to make sense

As to why

Why then?


That he practically cared

Left a void

Felt he should really

Definitively care

Yet could not

A trait that

Blighted his life

Then and now


Although it proved to

Be the case that

He never could expunge

The memory of her

She, the closest thing to love

He ever knew or

Would come to know



Spend wisely the

Currency known as passion

For there are

No snips to be had

You get what you pay for

With affairs of the heart


Too rare to be

At the mercy of

Greedy traders

Pulling strings

Force feeding or

Bloodletting of

Precious metals

Commodities and

Foreign Exchange

Tawdry things them all


There is no requirement

For the currency of passion

Hard or soft

In any financial

Market place


To her cost and

Insecure, she went

Out of her way

To be noticed

Best she could anyhow

He, the target of her fascination

One immune to allusion


In the privacy of a single room

She spat feathers at her folly

Spat feathers habitually



To his impairment

A man blind to anything

That was not a conclusion

A man easily noticed yet

Unaware that this was so


They neither spoke nor touched

Nor even properly met

Destitute his vision

Discretion her weakness


At least

No currency changed hands

Respective assets intact

Save for adjustments

Here and there

On the whole

A lesson learned

Is, some would say

An annuity realized



“I say Carruthers that secretary of ours…you know young Tiffany…well I’ve just caught her out sneaking orf work I’ll have you know!”

“Sneaking orf work…good Lord never heard the like of it.  Having said that where had the girl sneaked orf to?”

“Oh the ladies facilities.”

“The ladies facilities!  You mean you’ve been inside the ladies.  Bad form old chum, a gentleman must never, never ever enter the domain of the gals – you might get arrested for one thing! Whatever I mean just how could one determine that Tiffany had, as you put it ‘sneaked’ orf when most likely she had simply been answering a call of nature?”

“Well I was walking the corridor to the gents when I heard this ear piercing scream.  I at first presumed foul play…murder in the powder room or such like.  Plainly I was reluctant to enter yet then came another scream of similar velocity.  What a to-do. However at that very moment out popped Mavis – you know the rather large lady from the typing pool – and she told me that Tiff’s had been sat upon the loo armed with her tablet thingy for at least an hour engrossed in this new Halloween issue of the online magazine by the name of Sozsatire no less.”

“Good heavens – why on earth was she screaming.  Had the content of this publication scared her so?”

“Certainly not, the screams I had heard were of laughter only…not thankfully of distress.”

“Even so old chum best we issue her with a written warning or something.  I mean this magazine must not interfere with the very working of the State…not on in my book.”

“The oddest thing though – she told me that both you and I feature in this rag. Surely that’s a breach of the Official Secrets Act…I’m laying odds that radical leftie Lord Daniel Soz 7th Earl of Whitechapel is behind this outrage.”

“I’m with you on this one. Bleddy cheek of it. I think we’ll have to pay the swine a visit at his pile out in the Shires yet before we do I think I need a swift snifter over at the club after all this palaver before calling in MI5 to investigate…care to join me?”

“Too true old chap.”


If you do like it the odd share on Twitter etc. would be appreciated – if not then as our antipodean friends might say, ‘No worries.’



Too soon the time would come

When he would see her only

With his eyes tight shut


Waking to a nouveau

Same old, same old

His early solitary morns

A hell within Hell

In a now charmless

Dark Age Shangri La


The Great Hall

A feast!

Impaired joviality


Duckling, mead and

The potential for excess

Just uneasy and stilted

Superficial conversation

She, eyes averted


Sporadically gazing

Toward the squint

Firm in the knowledge

That her future lay beyond

The far flung horizon


The Frenchman studiously

Staring into his eating bowl

Prodding and picking

His hunger elsewhere

An aura of culpability

Brotherhood forsaken

Chivalry misplaced


The consort Queen

Appropriately still sat

Left of throne

Pregnant pauses and

Tainted silence

Injured him more

Than a dagger to the heart

She was at his side

Yet no longer his

Now just a mere chattel

Prized but no prize


The magician had

Once told him

‘You get no choice as to

Who you come to love’

An annoying truth

Hard to swallow

In any event

He agonisingly

Remained hers

That fact was at

The very nub of

Her insoluble dilemma

Also an impasse shared


This was the year it

Rained before September

This was the year

The Frenchman

Had stolen her heart

The man, his closest comrade

In battle and in life

To whom he had once said

‘What is mine is yours’

A perverse irony


A heart severed

From the soul

Even the heart of a King

Rarely heals


La malédiction de trois

Scellé le sort du Camelot



“How many kids did you say you’ve got Gustavio my friend?”

“14 at last count Jonny…no maybe its 15 now…um…not sure if the truth be told.”

“Well from the state of your blocked lavatory pan here I’d say they must have all shat at the same time.  In God’s truth I’ve never come across a kharzi like it mate.  Still all unblocked now…best you don’t flush those disposable nappies down the bog though…you know, not good for the environment and all that.”

“Bit of a problem there Jonny…I only have the kids weekends when all the various mothers drop them off – it’s like the M25 on a Monday morning outside my gaff and the neighbours keep banging on about not being able to park up…so with me and a rugby team of nippers in the house it all gets a bit frantic and the mothers don’t give me a clue what each kid does what; what kid likes what; don’t even know the names of most of them even….having said that I’m not even sure who is mum to each baby thinking about it….still I try me best.  Whatever thanks very much for popping over so sharpish and sorting the mess out.  Fancy a cuppa?”

“Certainly do…don’t suppose you’ve got any Garibaldi biscuits to hand to accompany what is my beverage of choice.”

“Course I have Jonny….wouldn’t be without them.  Here you go…enjoy.”

“How’s it going on the old painting front Gustavia…still feeding your insatiable sexual appetite shagging the models who pose for you?”

“Sadly yes the curse of constant desire still haunts me…just can’t control myself really…still the girls are always up for it…I mean I’m not one of the blokes who would take advantage or anything like that.”

“I know that mate…..if you were rest assured you could have stuffed your blocked toilet up your arse because as much as I also love the ladies I don’t stand for out of order shenanigans…done any new stuff since I was last round here?”

“Certainly have Jonny.  I am somewhat besotted with that lovely red head Eva presently……you probably know her…she works on the till down the Spar Shop most weekdays. I did a belter of a painting of her just yesterday as it happens.”

“Oh I know Eva alright, lovely girl with a heart of gold although being ginger wrong ‘un she doesn’t half have a temper on her I’ve heard tell…you don’t mind if I cop a gander at it?”

“Be my guest Jonny…here, what do you make of this?”

“Crikey she is gorgeous mate all fast asleep in the naughty naked nud on that old chair of yours.  I’m guessing here that you still paint only wearing your sandals and that old bath robe you dirty old bugger you…you haven’t have you?”

“Not yet Jonny but I’m working on it mate…you know once a womanizer always a womanizer. I’ve done loads of Eva recently…I calls her my little goldfish…best muse to date in my book.”

“Done give me that old flannel Gustavio you’ve been saying that about every new model you had ever since I’ve known you.”

“If you want to hang on for a while Eva will be round to sit for another painting a bit later when she finishes her shift at the Spar Shop. I’m sure she won’t mind you being here…it’s not as if I have any plans to chat her up today – mainly because I’m seeing that Adele Bloch-Bauer later on – so you won’t be in the way or anything and she’s just as relaxed with her kit on as off.”

“Adele Bloch-Bauer?  She’s that posh bird you painted starkers a while back if I’m not mistaken……her old man Fritz is a bit of a big wig in the art collecting game I hear.”

“Certainly is…it was him what commissioned me to paint her…that’s when it all started if you must know…the shagging each other that is…Fritz is nearly twenty years older than her and has trouble getting it up…enter yours truly so to speak!  I’m a bit worried Fritz will get wind of me and Adele though so I’m thinking of knocking our little affair on the head soon…better safe than sorry.”

“There’s no holding you back is there mate. Anyhow back to the main issue…I’m thinking here that if I pop over to Gainsborough – his stop cock’s playing up and by Christ he’s a fucking bore – I can be back here in a jiffy and cop a look at young Eva in the raw.  This day keeps getting better and better…see you a bit later mate.”

“See you then Jonny…you’re a living legend.”

Believe it or not I did a bit of research for this one and was taken aback at Gustav Klimt’s sexual appetite that seems to have known no bounds!