Workshop, 22nd May 2018

I am sure I do not have to remind my incisively intelligent readership that one of the several impending global catastrophes which will surely engulf us all, whether or not we appreciate poetry, is known by the insipid term climate change.  Now, I do not pretend to know much about this subject area, but I am confident I know a little more about it that the average Republican Congressman.  Ever since my doctor advised me to take a keener interest in Global Politics in order to address low blood pressure, I have found that getting inside the heads of a small cohort of deeply doolally elected public servants is a highly effective way to really get the blood on the boil.  A few days ago, my Man had the dubious pleasure of walking in on me mid-rant as I was catching up with coverage of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee In Washington DC.  A gentleman by the name of Mo Brooks, Congressman for Alabama was insisting that that rising sea levels were likely caused by the White Cliffs of Dover falling into the English Channel.  One presumes that he drastically over-estimates the absorbent properties of chalk.  Such was the intensity of my fulmination that I fear my treatment may be a little too effective and now dare not get too close to anything sharp without an Emergency Oil-Well Blowout team on hand, just in case I accidentally prick a finger.

This experience got me wondering how any British Climate Scientists ever became convinced that global temperatures were on the rise, given that the phrase ‘climate change’ so succinctly describes our weather even when things are behaving themselves.  The answer to my conundrum, the rain-soaked elephant in the room, is of course May.  May has now become the long hot English summer, and because it follows on from a typically Baltic April we have skipped Spring altogether.  Summer will be a fond memory; in June it will start raining and Autumn can get going in earnest.

That being said, none of our poets this week chose to take inspiration from the month of May.  Perhaps next week when winter has set in, the spirit of remorse with take over and we will see a few poets expressing nostalgia for that long hot summer of 2018.  Peter Francis gave us a highly original, Robert The Bruce-eyed view of a beetle determinedly climbing a wall.  Pat Francis was next up to the metaphorical pulpit to paint a picture of pre-Roman fortifications in nearby Brentford.  John Hurley brought another entertaining rant, this week concerning Brexit, a subject which has not been covered sufficiently in the opinion of this correspondent.  Doig Simmons produced a wry review of the slightly fire-and-brimstone nature of the sermon at that wedding.  Ann Furneaux continued her fascinating exploration of two comparative experiences of the same bombing raid during WWII.  Michael Harris is a master of the short form, able to encapsulate a single thought, and this week was no exception, with a view of the possibilities of an empty space.  Alan Chambers surprised us again with a couple of Galician Rites, remade for today.  Owen Gallagher brought back a note-perfect picture of loss to a family.  Finally, Fred Burt brought a remarkably accomplished and entertaining piece which he asserts is his first poem.  We wish him well with his next poem and hope he brings it back to The Pitshanger Poets when it is ready for an outing.

Ever the eco-warrior, I am determined to do my bit to combat climate change and the roving eye has naturally fallen on the glistening flanks of the old two-seater.  The Summer is always a high-mileage time for the old girl and myself, with invitations to festivals and readings as far afield as Chiswick and Harrow being shoved into my inbox.  I decided that while converting the car to electric power sounds very laudable I cannot do without the straight-six’s cacophonic purr.  Instead, I have opted for a conversion to natural gas, which thanks to my discovery of a World War Two Town Gas plant small enough to be mounted on a trailer, I now have a plentiful supply of.  After all, what could be more natural a gas than Coal Gas?  Unfortunately, the two-seater is not virile enough to haul the gas-production equipment itself, so my man has taken it upon himself to tow the trailer using the Thames Van, running in convoy with a flexible hose supplying the needful to my car via a gas tank fashioned from an inflatable mattress strapped to the roof.   On our first run I am proud to say we were able to get as far as the Coal Merchants in Greenford before needing to restock with another hundredweight of the black stuff, and we got back to Ealing with hardly a hitch just before Midnight.  So, apart from a few tons of coal a week, we are carbon-neutral.  Beat that, Prince Charles and your high falutin’ electric E-Type Jaguar.

If you have been, thank you for reading.



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