More news from nursery rhymes and popular tales.

The third update on my project to revisit nursery rhymes and popular stories for our Covid times. You can find the first and second updates here and here and there are links to rhymes you may have missed.

Mary went back to school and, inevitably her little lamb followed. Teacher didn’t appreciate having a lamb in class. It was quite difficult enough to enforce social distancing as it was without the distractions of a lamb in class.

In Humpty Dumpty territory there has been a rash of people falling off walls. Officials are worried by the rising numbers but the King has an easy solution. They should stop counting. It’s such an obvious answer it’s been adopted in other countries where they have either stopped testing or are not reporting numbers that make them look bad.

Old King Cole, merry as he usually is, is missing the company of his fiddlers and wants this to be over. His pipe and his bowl are all very well but somehow they don’t console him.

Poor Bo Peep feels like she has lost her youth, the best years of her life. She can’t get out and meet friends and stands no chance of romance or fulfilling her life ambitions. Hopefully, if she ‘leaves things alone’ , doesn’t dwell on how grim it all is, her dreams will come home ‘wagging their tails behind them.’

If you want to visit gran is a riff on the nursery rhyme ‘pop goes the weasel’ it points up the irony of having a little more freedom with relaxation of UK lockdown rules as long as you don’t plan on visiting an elderly relative. ‘Pop goes the weasel’ doesn’t make much sense but neither do the rules.

Four and Twenty Londoners baked in a pie is a Covid take on Sing a Song of Sixpence. The latest Government advice is to get back to work but avoid public transport. For many Londoners that’s contradictory advice leading to inevitable scenes of crowded tubes and trains crammed in like blackbirds into a pie. The perfect Petri dish to bake a virus in.

While the Old Folks die is a take on Kipling’s poem the Smugglers with it’s refrain ‘Watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by’. It highlights the plight of Care Homes and their elderly residents while the government have been focussed on hospitals.


How wise were the Kings?

Why did the Kings bring stupid gifts

Like gold and myrrh and frankincense?

I guess us men just hate to shop.

Thy couldn’t use the internet

Or google it for baby things.

They should have left it to their wives.

Who’d leave shopping down to Kings?

Although it’s said that they were wise

What man’s wiser than his wife?

Dont overspend this Christmas


Don’t overspend this Christmas.

Don’t get yourself in debt.

Don’t overspend this Christmas.

There really is no point.

You  escalate your spending

And others spend more too.

They’re spending money

they haven’t got

and getting in debt for you.

Be nice to your friends and neighbours

Spread good cheer with a smile

But don’t go overspending

It’s really not the point.

Simple gifts from shepherds

Symbolic ones from Kings.

It’s not how much the present costs

It’s all the little things.

It’s spending time together

The kindness and the fun

Don’t overspend this Christmas

But have fun everyone.

Christmas Ghost

I am the Christmas Ghost

I haunt the end of year

I am a chill in the air

A creak on the stair

A feeling ‘something’s there’.


I’m a frisson of fright

I’m a shiver of fear

Or a face seen in the fire.

I dim your Christmas candles

I’m the spectre at your feast.

But when nights are dark

It’s cold outside

And you’re huddled round the fire

Someone will invite me in

With a call for a ghostly tale.


So why do you summon the Christmas Ghost

To blunt your Christmas cheer?

It’s hard for a spirit to know men’s minds

But I guess it’s something like this:

I’m a hint there’s more than you can know

I’m hint of a life beyond

I’m a hint of things as they were before

I’m a hint of bygone times.

I join you up with those long gone

The ones you’ve loved and lost

But most of all I’m a good excuse

For a huddle round the fire.

Christmas Child

A poem for Ben – born on Christmas Day.

You were Christmas’s child

Born not to riches

But to a life of graft

Making, mending and making do.

There were no gifts from the east for you

But craftsmanship guile, ready wit

The gift of friendship

And a fiercely independent spirit.

A time died with you

We only knew through your stories

Of big families, passed down children

Cursory schooling, schoolyard japes.

Of millionaires, big houses, gardeners,

Chauffeuring at fourteen.

Living starlit under country skies,

Courting on bicycles, bowler hatted,

Army scrapes and country pubs.

A time too we shared with you.

Days in your cosy, pokey cottage

Coal fires, pub lunches,

Stories and the things you said.

You in your chair beneath the stairs,

Snuff, boiled sweets and salad teas.

Neighbours in and out to greet you.

Shakey hands you could turn to anything.

Warm greetings and fond partings.

You won’t be there another Christmas,

Won’t be found there in your chair.

Gone the warmth of your fresh greeting.

Gone a source of Christmas cheer.

Christmas Angels

13EB9E09-8041-4BFD-8184-C66171A88180.jpegWe like to collect Christmas angels

They mostly live in our loft.

This time of the year they all come out

It’s time for them all to show off.


We don’t collect precious angels

Nothing too prissy or twee.

Our angels have to have attitude

Wear boots or maybe a scarf.


They have woolly hats

Or their hair in a plait

Hurl snowballs or skate on ice.

They come from places where we’ve been

From different parts of the world.


It gives us a lift when they come out again 

To cheer up our Christmas scene.

So here’s to the Christmas angels

Raise a glass and be of good cheer

The nights are dark and it’s cold outside

But Christmas will soon be here.