“Be Careful What You Wish For” by Jeffrey Archer

what-you-wish-forThe fourth part of his Clifton Chronicles has been published recently, taking the story of the Barrington and Clifton families from the late 1950s into the 1960s. When you read that his character Giles Barrington was opposing Harold Wilson to be Prime Minister, you can see how much more there is to be written to bring the story up to the present day.

On a recent TV programme, Alan Titchmarsh interviewed Jeffrey Archer, who now says he will need to write another three books to complete the saga, there being so much more he wants to include.

The story is so interesting, being set against events which are known to us. This book ends on a cliffhanger as have his other ones, so there will now be another twelve months for me to save up for the next one. As usual, his writing flows from page to page. I wish the books were twice as long!

Jean

Here’s Jean’s review of the first book in this saga:
“Only Time Will Tell” by Jeffrey Archer


Sparrows

 

The stable yard crunches

under hooves that hold aloft

sleek, high toned thoroughbreds,

alert, nervy, aloof as an air

played on a harpsichord,

where fingers really do the walking.

 

On the roundabout

the daffodils have given way

to honesty and apple blossom.

The stable doors are open

head and neck height, each horse

looking on the tranquil scene.

 

The dogs spell each other,

to bark at everything and nothing,

but the only constant sound

comes from the shrubbery

where sparrows flit down to plump

feathers, dust bathe in pea gravel.

 

Philip Beverley


Hard Landscape

words are not his closest friends

his townscapes peopled with beetle brows

crows feet, snouts and crocodile smiles

nor are the commuting kind

 

your security, plump, plush cheeks

the pouting lips of passing faces

mine the lexicon of verbs and adjectives

shop sought palliatives, fair dues

we face each, as yet, unspoken day

but he

 

no friends to speak of

no familiar face, escapes town

escapes the glare, the vacant stare

road roller crowd that sees no one there

hits the road to nowhere

where the roads roll on

there’s real ale

and the downs are uplands all the way

our son

 

Philip Beverley


Rockhamstead

 

they tell me that there once was a thing called rock and roll

they try to inform me about British rock and roll

I say it was a giraffe made of Meccano

stillborn ’cause it never had a soul

 

now skiffle I could use ’cause it was post war utility blues

it was class war anthem post war utility blues

washboard, broom handled tea chest

kite mark, spare collars, don’t forget to shine your shoes

 

with the six five special coming down the line

you get your ticket at the station

go your own bail, I’ll go mine

 

and it’s a hard road dead or alive

yes, it’s a hard road when they sell you that old jive

 

so when they tell me ’bout a thing camouflaged as rock and roll

that struggled to stand on its own toes, heel and sole

I know it was a camel-leopard descended into pantomime

 

It’s Behind You

 

where?

 

Philip Beverley


Springtime in Cleck

When me an’ Albert woke up this moornin’ ther wor a fly on t’ inside o’ t’ bedroom winder.

“Ah wonder wheer yon’s beean all winter,” ah sez. “It’s sickenin’ ter think it c’d ‘a beean buzzin’ rahnd at neet spreadin’ germs while wi wor sleepin’.”

“Dooan’t fret thi sen abaht a fly,” sez Albert. “It’s ‘appen beean ‘ibernatin’ an’ then flown in thurm ahtside wi’ t’ sun risin’ a bit sooiner. Ah’ve enew on wi’ ‘evvin’ ter put all t’ clocks on terneet.”

“Thee swat t’ fly an’ ah’ll mak thi two eggs fer t’ breakfast an’ two slices o’ tooast, special,” ah sez.

Onny road, we gait dahn t’ tahn an’ wor stood lookin’ reight across t’ Spen Valley, fair speechless wi’ admiration at t’ view wi’ ‘em ‘evvin’ knocked all t’ owd mills dahn, when Irene thrum ahr chapill caught up wi us.

“Ther wor a fly inside o’ mi bedroom window when ah woke up this moornin’,” shoo sez. “Ah think it’s wi ‘em knockin’ all t’ mills dahn.”

“Ish,” sez Albert, offerin’ ‘er a chocolate drop, “talk abaht a coincidence.”

“Aye,” ah sez, “ah wunder if it’s t’ same fly ‘at’s doin’ the rahnds.”

Wilf thrum across caught up wi us. “Tha didn’t ‘appen ter ev a fly i’ thi bedroom winder?” aksed Albert, winkin’ at me.

Wilf took ner notice an’ pointed across at t’ tahn ‘all clock. “Ah see it’s still 12 o’ clock, then. Wot are wi payin’ all yon rates fer?”

“Does ta think it’ll start up bi itsen when ther put ‘em forrad terneet, Wilf lad? A drop of oil an’ a sharp tap does wunders fer cogs,” sez Albert.

“Cum on, Albert,” ah sez, “we’re bahn ter miss t’ bus, stood ‘eer yatterin’ on abaht summat an’ nowt. If this small talk gets much smaller it’s bahn ter disappear altogether.”

“Aye,” sez Albert, “ow abaht wi go i’ t’ market an’ fetch a tin o’ fly spray? It’d bi a reight change.”

“Aye,” sez Wilf, catchin’ on, “or summat exotical lahk a couple o’ plain teacakes.”

Mary Mortimer


Spreadsheet


1. Debit

a tanner for every changed nappy

a penny each night disturbed

tuppence for every nose wiped

thruppence for every ear swiped

straighten your school tie one shilling

laugh at your jokes two bob

belly filled half a crown

uniform washed just a pound

 

2. Credit

costly hobby a mother’s love

and what does she get in return

save the farthings in twinkling eyes

halfpennies piled high smile on smile

kind words cost nothing

and warm as they are

what price young arms sawing logs

carrying coal from the co-op

 

3. Balance

love can’t be sold

only given away

and how do I know

ask Mum

 

Philip Beverley


The Poet’s Friend

 

The very best pet for a poet

As the ancients surely taught us

Is that reliable companion

Testudines (or the tortoise)

 

Now I know that one killed Aeschylus

As it plunged down from the skies

An eagle mistook his head for a rock

And boy, was he surprised !

 

But as I’ve still got all my hair

That doesn’t worry me dear

I’ve bought myself two loyal friends

And now my path is clear

 

A tortoise is the poet’s friend

They’ve brought me wealth and fame

And if you’re wondering how this is

The clue is in their name

 

They serve as inspiration

Though they make my house quite smelly

One’s called Percy, one’s called Bysshe

And that’s because they’re shelly

 

Lynn Myland


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