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  • Writer's pictureTony Frobisher

Summer Inspirations - Part 4

The Bees n Trees Tree days, and dappled shade A light that plays in happy shadows Across bee-filled meadows, The air heavy with summer-scent So thick you could scoop it, And bottle it to sustain you Through the winter cold.

Eyes closed, listen to the buzz Of excited bees, flittering between Coloured scenes - petal parades, An army of black and yellow Humming in euphoric unison. Collecting stamen statements, Proud pollen coated pollinators. The elderflower sways in the Merest suggestion of a breeze Welcoming the bees' caress and The moment when that heady scent will Be pressed and squeezed and bottled And we'll be cordially invited to sample This year's cordial aux fleurs de sureau All those years ago we eschewed The simple pleasures of the fair British Isles For the exotic and quixotic ideal of a holiday. Rhododendron and Bird-of-Paradise Sunkissed beaches and orchid nights But now at peace under the tree, A homeland scene of bucolic tranquility, is all I need. That, and the bees.

Inspired by Zoe Fisher

Beachcombing Through the Decades From Bude to Cromer From Newquay to Winterton The Atlantic to the Wash Ice Cream to sun cream Sandy sandwiches to sandy toes Has summer changed or have we? Our recollections of youth, Buckets and spades, burying Dad in The sand, crabbing in rock pools Battling the breeze and hammering The wind break with a large pebble, Who forgot to pack the mallet this time? Newsprint smeared black as quartz on Salt n vinegar fingers and the grease trickling From yesterday's Daily Express, a cod, Or haddock, battered mess, but that was Summer at the beach. And now? Cardboard cartons, tiny wooden forks, Styrofoam boxes for your fish n chip supper That blow away at the slightest breath of wind, To be scattered among and scrapped over By the battalions

of seagulls, ever watching Readying to swoop and seize an errant chip Smothered in mushy esca-peas. We still patrol the beach, combing the sands For mini treasures, family at leisure, but the Catch of the day is no longer a curio, an Objet du jour, object d'importance, objet du valeur - A polished jewel of jade sea glass, A piece of salt-worn driftwood, A shard of mottled pottery, A long-ago message in a bottle. No - today we stumble over Plastic bottles and discarded face masks, Takeaway boxes and burger wrappers Fishing rope, lures and lines, Straws and crisp packets and Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda Non biodegradable bags for 10 lifetimes. A flotsam of convenient consumerism and Out of sight, out of mind-ism. And now you'll more likely find the Beach combed by a flotilla of good hearted Citizens, an army of goodness armed With black bin liners and grabber sticks, A two hour haul of litter to be ashamed of. While we tread carefully, on the lookout for Beach treasures, rare finds they may be and Dreading the children calling out, 'Look what I've found...'. Imagining any number of embarrassing, Disgusting, unpleasant objets d'horreur. Yet some things have not changed. The zest and exuberance, the anticipation and excitement of the children - willing that first distant sight of the silvery horizon; 'I can see the sea!', That first lung full of reviving sea air, A briny pick-me-up. The first sound of cascading waves Breaking in welcome at the  visitor's return. Watching sunrise from Winterton-on-Sea or The sunset from Bude, Knowing that change is inevitable, The Norfolk coast eroding rapidly in winter storms. But nothing can erode the joy for all ages, of a return to the sea, Where beachcombing for happiness Always leads to treasured memories. Inspired by Nikki Dennis Ladybirds and Marbles We chased butterflies and bees We followed scudding clouds for hours We ignored the calls of home And listened to the calls of nature Not for us Multi-coloured Swapshop or Saturday Superstore We had a palette of colours on the footsteps A kaleidoscope of smells and sounds and places To venture and explore, a world beyond the sofa, the TV, the front room, the front door. We twisted arms and hands as ladybirds skimmed over our fingers Black and red spots.... careful they're poisonous, someone said, No they're not, well not to humans I read it in my nature book! Evening crept in, a slow blanket of fading light Imperceptible, gradual. The afternoon heat cooled now and the threat of An impending thunderstorm passed, just a few Flashes of sheet lightning, a low distant rumble. The thunderbugs packed up and gone home, wherever that may be, disappointed and grumbling. Sundays and the road filled with ball games And British Bulldog and tag and marbles and Hopscotch and Kick the Can And the neighbours fence perched gossiping With neighbours about neighbours and rushing Back inside to check the roast and lay the table And spend a few minutes in solitude, a quiet gratitude for all we had. Life, love, family, health, no need for wealth, for Richness comes from the heart and warmth comes From the hearth, and family and friends carry that Happy fire within them, inextinguishable. What more did we need? Picking the ripe crop of strawberries from the garden, Smelling the earthy compost in the greenhouse, Sat in the garden, with a glass of squash And a bowl full of those strawberries and cream. The doors don't open so often now And the streets are busier with passing traffic. Neighbours greet each other with smiles and a hello, but don't know each other's names. The children have no need for Bulldog and Hopscotch, has society lost its marbles? When every child is summer-glued to a screen. Kicking a football with their thumbs, rather than their feet. Summer is not the same As when we were children When ladybirds danced on our fingers And we relied on a friend or an encyclopedia To tells us they weren't poisonous. Alexa, OK Google, are ladybirds poisonous... According to Wikipedia, ladybirds are not poisonous to humans... Alexa, OK Google, can we go back to summer 1985? I'm sorry, I don't have any information about that. Inspired by Janette Peek Sunday Rides to the Tower Cycling Haiku Cotswold Hills rising On happy saddle Sundays Off to the Tower Gradient steepening Legs spin ten to the dozen Going nowhere fast 15% slopes You're enjoying this aren't you? Puff-pant-gasp-wheeze-cough Can you beat your best? Time and years won't slow you down! Mind over matter! Lowest gear engaged Speed is not of the essence The Tower's still small So please please please let Me get what I want this time, Pots of tea and cake Waits the arrival Of the e'er happy cyclist Sweat-drip-red of face Broadway lies below Worcestershire beyond stretching To the Malvern Hills Tea imbibed revives Sweetening the lactic tastes of Another Sunday climb Up the Cotswolds to The Tower, an edifice Beckoning beacon Your legs will forgive You when they realise that Back home is downhill Allez! All the way Le Tour de Broadway Tower Victory once more Until next Sunday And that personal best will Be beaten, oh yes You're sure of it. Inspired by Andy Ingram Wave Crests and Empty Nests It's blowing a gale The rocks and headlands Are taking a beating from the Atlantic steam rollers, Thor-hammering waves, Thunderous rumbles and roars That vibrate the chest With incessant, pulsing rhythms. There'll be no sleep tonight. The tent rattles and shakes And the wind whistles a Malevolent tune through the guy ropes. 'Blooming June' it's called, A song for all weathers. But as the night ends near Lands End The storm is chased away by the First light, then a welcome sun And all is forgotten and forgiven. A freshly brewed cup of Camping coffee, a pot of porridge A map spread across the ground sheet A day pack stuffed with hat and gloves And waterproofs and spare clothes, It is June after all. Boots on, laced up And the coastal path awaits, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Shags and Razorbills Shriek and greet the early hikers. A pause by Lands End, Watching the first tourist buses pour Their bemused and bleary eyed, Colourful anorak and cardigan army For a whistle stop tour of souvenir and gift shops A Cornish pasty and an obligatory photo by 'The Sign' of the times - The commercialisation of nature, the profiteering From crashing waves, rocks and rocketing prices. Walk on, the Kittiwakes will keep us company, As will the ever-gale that whips the sea into A frenzy of galloping white horses. 'Can we go for a swims?' the children used to beg Every. Single. Time. No matter the weather, Or the sea-state or the wind or the rain. Hardy, doughty and determined. Wet suits on, a favourite cove, And they would disappear into the accepting wave crests - Resurfacing with huges smiles and happy waves. But now, like the seabirds that spend their lives adrift, Bobbing on the happy-seas, returning only for A brief period of nesting on high, perilous cliffs, They have flown, to follow their own paths, Accompanied by their dreams and ambitions. We walk on alone, in quiet partnership, Savouring our time, watching the waves and Waiting to see the seabirds make for land, A welcome return. Inspired by Jacqui and Paul Ferrett

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