Friday, 31 March 2017

Poetry Friday 39. A Wales Special

Poetry Friday 39.  A Wales Special
After last week’s ode to Vietnam, two poems this week from closer to home, inspired by a drive along the A470 in Wales between Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil.
For audio click here

The A470 – The highway to Heaven?
Roads scattered with snack vans
golden vistas with the scent of bacon baps,
flashes of yellow remind us this is Wales.
murky mountains with misty moustaches
curled dragons asleep, their skin rusty green
Roadside chapels remind us this is Wales.
Secret viaducts rise from nowhere,
vast reservoirs shimmer in the sun
lambs bleat to remind us this is Wales.
For a moment I wonder, is this heaven?
then the road drops
and Merthyr Tydfil remind us this is Wales.

Cusp of the Storm
Walking on the cusp of the storm
 the tightrope between blue sky
and black.
rain spots one cheek
whilst sun bakes the other
a delicate balancing act
as I tiptoe along the rainbow.

Thank you for tuning in. Poetry Friday next week will come from Croatia.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Grave Robbers

For audio click here 
Do not read this if you are of a fragile disposition. 

“Hey Dar, I knows how we can make some money.” 
Darren looked at Gwyn with his mouth open. 
“My dad tells me they buried Mrs. Evans last week. And she had more jewellery on her than Ratners.”
It took a moment for the penny to drop. “You wanna dig up Mrs. Evans?” Darren said. 
“Dig her up like, nick the rings, sell ‘em down Cardiff, innit?.” 
“You’re sick,” Darren said, pulling up his keks, the elastic had gone in his blue Adidas tracksuit bottoms.  
“Think of the fags we could buy. Better than nicking them from your mum.”
“I dunno though. She was ugly enough when she was alive, Christ knows what she’ll look like now.”
“Don't be such a wuss. I’m doing it, you in?” Gwyn said.  
Darren nodded his mouth open. “Yeah, why not “I fucking hated the old bag.”

Black clouds hung over the cemetery as the two boys chucked their tool bags over the wall and clambered down after them.
“It’s over there,” said Gwyn, striding towards the grave. “My dad said they don't bury them too deep; we’ll hit the jackpot in an hour. Here we are, let’s dig.” Gwyn kicked the flowers off the grave and put his shovel in the ground.  
Sweat ran down Darren's back as he dug. He could hear Gwyn panting beside him.
“You ever seen a dead body?” Darren said.
“Yeah, loads.” Darren wasn’t sure whether to believe his mate or not.
 They’d only gone about two foot down when the hit something wooden. 
“Now what?” Darren asked. 
Gwyn smiled took out an axe from his bag. 
“We smashes the fucking doors in.” 
Splinters flew everywhere as Gwyn swung the axe.
“Shines the torch on it, like,” Gwyn said.
Darren directed the light onto the coffin and saw the bloated greeny-black face of his former primary school teacher, just as the smell hit his nostrils. What remained of the burger, beans and chips he’d had for his tea flew through the air and landed on Mrs. Evans’s face. 
“Fuck Dar, what you doing? That nearly hit me. Quick get in and help me get the stuff. Dar! Dar!” 
Darren was standing zombie-like on the edge of the grave. 
Gwyn dropped the axe and started digging around for jewels. He stuffed what he could find into his pockets and jumped out of the hole and wiped his hands on Darren’s coat.
“Come on, soft lad,” he said to Darren and dragged his stunned friend away. 

“Five quid? They’ve got to be worth more than that.” 
“Sorry boys, I’m sure your gran loved them, but they’re tat.” 
“No way, thatsa diamond, that is,” Gwyn said. Darren stood with his mouth open next to him. He was still as white as a sheet.
“All that glitters isn’t gold, as they say. It’s a piece of glass,” the jeweller replied. “Now five quid, take it or leave it.”
“Come on Dar, let’s get the fuck out of here.” 

“Fuck, a fiver? A poxy fiver. I’ve been having nightmares for two pounds fifty?” Darren said. “You’re a fucking idiot you are.”

But Gwyn wasn’t listening, he was watching the two policemen coming towards them as they waited for their bus home.
“Run,” he said.
“What?” But Gwyn was already gone, and by the time Darren realised what he mate had meant, he was being handcuffed by one of the coppers and watching the other one tackling Gwyn to the floor.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Thieves and the Bell

This is my retelling of an old story from Chinese folklore. 

For audio click here

“You seen this?” Kenny passed the local newspaper over to his friend Eddie who looked at it and then smiled. 
“You’re thinking what, I’m thinking aren’t you?” Eddie said. 
Kenny nodded.
The headline read – Restored Bells Ready to be Re-hung –and there was a picture of eight metal bells in a row in the church car park. 
“That’s a grand right there,” Eddie said, rubbing his hands together. 
“And the rest,” Kenny got out a pen and started making notes on the side of the newspaper. He showed Eddie his calculations. 
“Not bad for a night’s work.” Eddie rubbed his hands together again. They both nodded. 
“We’ll meet at the churchyard at midnight, I’ll bring the van,”  Kenny said, and they finished their pints in silence.

It was a cloudless night, the stars piercing a bluey-black sky. Eddie blew on his hands and stamped his feet while he waited for Kenny to show up. He checked the time and watched a cat prowl across the graveyard, it stopped, meowed at him and then continued its journey. Eddie shivered at the thought of all the dead eyes watching him from beneath the tombstones; meeting in a cemetery at midnight had all the hallmarks of a horror film written all over it. He looked around to check there weren’t any late-night dog walkers anywhere and then, he was relieved to see the dipped headlights of Kenny’s van coming around the bend.
“Let’s get on with it,” he horse-whispered as soon as Kenny got out. 
They walked over to the bells. The first two they managed to pick up with ease and waddle over to the van. But by the time they got to the third one they didn’t have the muscles to deal with its weight.
“What shall we do?” Eddie said. Kenny thought for a moment. 
I’ve got it,” he said. “What if we smash them up. I’ve got some hammers in the van. We could smash them into little pieces and then carry the fragments.” 
“Brilliant,” Eddie said, and they ran to get the tools. 
Eddie swung his mallet and clattered into the bell. Donnnnnggggg, it rang out. 
“Shit,” Kenny said. 
“Shit,” Eddie echoed. 
They looked around, no lights had come on in the houses that they could see, but they knew they couldn’t risk whacking the bell again. 
“What are we going to do?” Eddie said, and Kenny started thinking again. Eddie stamped his feet trying to get some blood flowing. 
“I’ve got it,” Kenny said. “I’ve got my ear protectors in the van, if we put them on, then it will drown out the ringing sound.”
“Brilliant,” Eddie said, and they ran to the van to get the ear muffs and then set about their task with renewed relish. They smashed the bell into a million pieces and neither of them heard a sound. But before they could start on the next one, they both felt a hand on their shoulder. They looked around to see a group of people crowding them and two police officers mouthing something. They removed the ear protectors at the same time to hear the words, under arrest.
Kenny and Eddie sat in the back of the police car scratching their heads. 
“I don’t understand it,” said Eddie. “I couldn’t hear a thing.”
“Me neither,” said Kenny. “Perhaps somebody saw us.”
“Yeah that’ll be it.” said one of the laughing police officers from the front seat.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dear Mr EU

For audio click here
Dear Mr. EU, 
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on the way you are dealing with your recent divorce. To be honest, I never liked that Britain that much anyway, she was always a bit of a floozy, (you know, I think she was seeing the Commonwealth behind your back and god knows what that special relationship with the US is all about.) She was always so stroppy too, always wanting to change you and not listening to your points of view. You’ll be better off without her. I hear Serbia’s single and Turkey. Get yourself on Tinder, you never know. 
Anyway, I am writing to you about the start of Summer Time that occurred this weekend. 
Despite making the evenings longer, this clock change always proves to be unpopular as the spring forward deprives us hard-working families of a crucial hour’s sleep. Often this leads to a week of grouchiness as our bodies struggle to deal with the time change, Farage has been an absolute nightmare this last few days and look what the lack of sleep has done to the Daily Mail. So, I’ve had an idea that I think will make the change a much more popular one. (Let’s be honest you need all the good PR you can get at the moment.)
Why not do this time change change at 2pm on a Friday afternoon rather than at 2am on a Sunday morning? This way people will be happy to see the hour disappear as it will hasten the stat of the weekend and will not affect our sleep in any way. Similarly, the fall back in autumn could be made at 2pm on a Sunday, allowing us all an extra hour to relax after our Sunday roasts, or an hour to do the little odd jobs we need to do, like cutting our toenails, before the start of the working week. It will also give our washing an extra hour to dry, always a pain in October before the heating comes on. 
I am sure you will agree that these are excellent ideas and I look forward to you implementing them very soon, preferably before we leave so we get the benefit over on the naughty step too. 
Yours loyally 
Gareth Davies 
P.S. Please don’t leave us. Please don't leave us with these nasty people.  Take us with you. Fight for us. Okay, at least promise you’ll come to visit and take us on nice day trips. Please. Please.