L3 (Day 47): In the clouds

Above the city

in sleepy-headed Spring morn’

birdsong, air force jets


n.b. You would have thought the North Sea was room enough to play in. Why don’t you fly off out there and look for Russian naval ships?

And now the car park curator with the leaf blower. Merde! I can barely hear the jets I was moaning about. What is wrong with using a yard brush with its regular, human rhythm, the sound of birch twigs sweeping a granular surface, jointly calming and healthy exercise?

n.n.b. I miscounted the days. This is Day 47. Thanks for your understanding y’all x


CLP 22/02/2021

On Playing xix

Game of Truth or Dare!

Which is the most frightening?

Dare to be honest


CLP 30/01/2021

On Playing xviii

If I put it all

on the hope of winning you

when would the wheel stop?


n.b. There is much sensible advice to hand for gamblers. For example: when the fun stops, stop; only bet what you can afford to lose.

What if you never take a chance? What do you win then? Do you stick, play safe, stay home and make the best of what you have got?

Life is a journey where “the highway is for gamblers.” *

There is neither wrong nor right in this. It’s your choice how to play.

*from Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now,Baby Blue’


CLP 29/01/2021

On Playing xvi

Doctors and nurses?

Imagine who you might be!

Adults can play too.


CLP 28/01/2021

On Playing ix

She asked him who he played as

Knowing every boy pretends

To be someone else when playing

They dream they can be better

He wanted to be Best


n.b. As a boy playing football I clearly had a failure of ambition. I pretended to be a Welsh international centre forward, not George Best. Who would dare to dream that big?

“The Fifth Beatle” certainly lived up to his name on the pitch, as in best in the world, for a time at least. Her dad went on to play football professionally and he scored a ghost goal that was allowed. He was clearly very good at applying his mind over matter from an early age.


CLP 22/01/2021

On Playing viii

As children we played

It, British Bulldog and Kiss Chase

until told not to.


n.b. See the power of words?


CLP 22/01/2021

On Playing iii

Disregard of fears

leads you to discovery

of hidden talents


p.s. Play safe, or try stuff out for fun? What have you got to lose by trying? It’s only a game after all. It will be your turn to start next. ‘Mugs away’ as the saying goes.


CLP 16/01/2021

On Playing ii

Saturday at three

is when the fun really starts

Oh, yes! And the pain


n.b. A lifetime of training my body to endure watching Pompey all over England means my adrenalin and endorphins peak around 3pm on winter Saturday afternoons…what happens from there is a game.

I used to play a bit too, not at that level though.

Realising the ambiguity of the last sentence, I clarify, that I played far below the Pompey level, (although my grandma could have scored some goals that Pompey players sometimes fail to score, obviously).


CLP 16/01/2021

On Playing

First rule of playing

Learn the rules (in cricket “laws”)

Then let play commence


n.b. The first in a series inspired by the laughter of friends, family and strangers.


CLP 16/01/2021

Cards or Dice (Lyon IV)

Cut, shuffle

Rattle, roll

Which is better?

I don’t know.

When asking for a sign

Throw the jacks


n.b. Fate does not lay out our fortune, but the interpreter of fortunes does. We hear what we want to hear, believe what we choose and act out our lives accordingly.

King James VI of Scotland, James I of England, assessed the character of men by the way they played cards. This is quite an interesting way to assess someone’s character. Since I read this in Antonia Fraser’s book about the Gun Powder Plot, I have considered how I play cards and how that is reflected in the life I have lived. Is this what I have lived, or a romanticised perspective brought on by the idea of character played out at the table?


I would describe my card playing as optimistic to the point of reckless. However, I would say that one can tell a person’s character better by the way they play cricket, or football as these involve not only intellectual and emotional character, but physicality too – the whole person.


Are cards but a parlour game? The above picture is from Lyon’s exhibition of Resistance and Deportation. Even in the death camps of the Nazis the deportees found ways to pass the time before their execution in play. What would King James (a man who wrote about hunting and prosecuting witches) have said about the resourcefulness and resilience of the incarcerated in these appalling circumstances


Would different characteristics between players emerged? Probably. Yet to even subscribe to play at such a place shows the enormous depth of human spirit.


The Romans who built Lugdunum, (now Lyon), thought that how the jacks fell most accurately foretold the path of future events – not that they could do much about the projected outcomes.


CLP 24/11/2019