Author Archives: quercuscommunity

A Beautiful Morning

I picked Number Two Son up from work this morning. At 6.30 it was still dark. In fact at 7.00 it was still dark. A few weeks ago I witnessed a fine sunrise at this time and a month before that it was full daylight.

The year is clearly declining.

However, by the time he got to the car at 7.10 the sunrise was starting and after we’d driven a couple of miles it was forming a great backdrop to pictures of trees and electricity pylons as they rose from the early morning mist.

On the other side of the road a power station rose, massive and mysterious, from more mist. The mist of the Trent Valley is one of the under-rated sights of Britain.

I had my camera with me, but there was nowhere to stop.

This is a shame as I can’t share the glorious morning with you.

But it’s also a good thing, as these photographs rarely look as good as the real thing. I have, several times, cheapened my memories with photographs that don’t reflect the true beauty of the scene.


It’s very tempting to add a haiku to this and claim it as poetry. In the next post I will explain why I didn’t.

End of the Week

I have taken Number Two Son to work. I have navigated through an unexpected diversion and a set of roadworks that weren’t supposed to be there tonight.

Now, as a large, clear moon shines outside, I am am sneaking in a quick extra post. Today was a lovely sunny day, though I didn’t appreciate the fact until I stepped out of the shop at 4pm. Most of my day had consisted of parcels, computer screens and a bundle of old maps.

Apart from chatting to a couple of customers and drinking coffee, that was my day.

It’s likely that this will be as good as it gets for the next seven years, at which point I will retire and fade away. I’ve not quite worked out the best way to grow old disgracefully but it will probably include excessive facial hair, passing rude comments in a loud voice and wearing clothes that make it look like I dressed in the dark.

I’ve already made a start on all three.



Haiku Challenge – 1st Report

A thousand haiku in a hundred days.

I seemed simple enough, even after reading this article.

Buson started his original challenge on Buddha’s birthday.  Joan Zimmerman started hers on 4th July. I started mine on the day I thought of it. That was the first lesson – if I’m going to be arty I have to start looking at the details.

So, how is it going?

Well, I’m twelve days in and should, to be on target, have produced 120 haiku. That’s a lot, particularly as I find them quite tough. I actually missed a day but managed to pull it back by writing extra the next day.

I’m actually ahead of the count, but that’s not really important.

My main problem with haiku is that even though the 5-7-5 syllable count is not now considered necessary there are still several rules to follow – season words, cutting words and such – and I tend to cramp up when composing.

Making myself write haiku in quantity was hard for the first few days but I’m now more relaxed about it and they are coming more easily. I’m even writing a few decent ones. In time I hope to become both more prolific and a better writer.

So far it seems to be working.





Some Thoughts on Sandwiches

The high point of the day so far has been my lunchtime chicken sandwich. I sliced the meat from some chicken drumsticks we had in the fridge last night, added bread, mayonnaise and redcurrant jelly and ended up with sandwiches. They turned out to be rather nice. Even Julia said so, and she’s usually my sternest critic in the matter of sandwiches.

I would have liked stuffing on the sandwich too, but forgot all about cooking it until it was too late. I just checked what the Americans call stuffing, as it seemed a likely word for causing confusion. It seems that Americans call it stuffing if it’s cooked inside the bird and dressing if it’s cooked outside.

I know a local hotelier who calls it seasoning. I once asked him why.

“Well,” he said, “I have a three star hotel and provide a fine dining experience. I don’t want any of my staff asking a customer if they’d like stuffing.”

It’s back to cheese and pickle tomorrow. I like cheese and pickle.

I suppose this makes me appear both shallow and unadventurous compared to the sophisticated, cosmopolitan crowd that reads the blog so perhaps I should have pickled onions instead.


Ambushed by Haibun

The day started in an interesting fashion when, on the way to drop Julia at work, I noticed the car in front of us come to an abrupt halt.

“That,” I said to Julia, “looks like the Aygo just hit the car in front of it.”


Two cars collide

under leafless trees

red glass sparkles


At that point the reversing lights came on and it started to reverse towards us. Fortunately it stopped before hitting us, but ended up so close that we couldn’t pull out and go round.

The driver then spent what seemed like ages exchanging details with her victim. She also waved apologetically, though not usefully.

I’m hoping that tomorrow will have less to report about the journey to work.


(The three lines of crytic verse inserted into the middle of the post, in case you are wondering, might just qualify as a haiku, thus qualifying the whole post to be called a haibun. I am so cultured these days it’s almost painful.)



A Month of Months

Along with the list of days, there is a list of things that this month represents.

There’s pizza, black cats and family history, but there’s also mental illness and cancer and the chance of offending people.

So, despite the potential for some good jokes, I’m skating over it.

I will just leave you with an example of a line I can’t believe they used.

“We think you may also like… ” isn’t too bad, apart from the context, as in:

“We think you may also like… World Mental Health Day and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month.” 

The cancer one is even worse.


A Day of Days

It’s cold, it’s grey and it’s the 290th day of the year (leaving 75 days until the forced jollity of yet another New Years Day).

It is Spreadsheet Day, Hagfish Day, Global Dignity Day, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Day, Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day, Mulligan Day, Playing Card Collection Day and Forgive an Ex Day.

From our time running the Quercus group I knew there were lots of special days, but I didn’t know there were this many.

I’ll take a quick run through them.

Spreadsheet Day – don’t use them. If I’ve managed without them for 60 years I can’t see that they are a lot of use.

Hagfish Day – never seen it on a menu so I think we can safely ignore it.

Global Dignity Day – sounds like someone, somewhere got a grant and is busily building a career based on bullshit.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – each year people gather “to renew their resolve to combat poverty”. I’m sure all the poor people are suitably impressed.

Take Your Parents to Lunch Day – I can’t help thinking that this would be better on a Sunday when the kids aren’t working or at school.

Wear Something Gaudy Day – in our house, I thought, every day is Wear Something Gaudy Day.  However, when you read the information it seems the bar is set considerably higher by the enthusiasts.

Mulligan Day – American slang about second chances. We already have enough American slang thank you, so I’ll take a rain check on that one.

Playing Card Collection Day –  got to be good. Days about collecting should be encouraged. I just went looking for the correct name for a playing card collector. I didn’t find it but I did find the material for a whole new post.

Forgive an Ex Day – Why? They’re an Ex for a reason. We were discussing a new gift shop idea the other day when we got fed up with eBay – wondering if there would be a market for insulting gifts. This would be a good day to try it out – sending a bunch of dead flowers and Turkish Delight flavoured with rosewater and the bitter tears of regret.

That is probably enough now. It was meant to be a post detailing my progress in my 1,000 Haiku Challenge but it seems to have been diverted.

The next post might be about Haiku but as it’s Pizza Month I may just carry on with more random discussion of the vagaries of modern life.