Ward Musician – Visit no. 1

Its been light years since I put up a post, but following nudges from Janus and Christopher HERE GOES.

 I have just embarked on a new venture – as a Volunteer at University College London Hospital in the capacity as Ward Musician.   I had been interviewed and assessed over the last few months,  with workshops and induction courses and found to be of sound stock and yet, until Tuesday this week,  not one of my interviewers and assessors had actually heard me play the piano. Isn’t that just amazing?  Perhaps they were so desperate that they simply recognised my interactive charms and that was considered good enough, after all the main thing is to ENGAGE WITH THE PATIENTS. Continue reading “Ward Musician – Visit no. 1”

Thin and Crispy

Dear Charioteers, I thought you’d like to see a picture of the Christmas dinner my wife so lovingly made for me. N0, it is not a Scottish delicacy, but a type of crisp bread. It is known in Italy as a pizza. In my house I called it a pizza hardboard. (I thought all of you north of the border might be amused.)  Actually this was a pizza I had put in the oven for my son and I thought it merited a photo shoot.) Can anyone here recall  a Christmas cooking disaster? Anyways, wishing you all good health and continued good living  for 2016. DSC_0123

Results December 2014 Poetry competition

mouse choirWell here we go, one day late with the results. The invitation was to write a poem with a Christmas scene, traditional or otherwise and/or to use a voice of a Christmas object e.g. mince pie, robin, ice-skate etc. It all sounded so exciting to begin with, but only four entries came in. Nonetheless I feel it was worth it for there were some gem images in and among the entries.  Continue reading “Results December 2014 Poetry competition”

Christmas Carol Quiz for Christina

  1. NBrueghelame three carols where the word “winter” is sung in the verses.
  2. Identify the carol in which the word “snow” appears five times in the same verse.
  3. In which carol do the words “wondering” and “wondrous” appear?
  4. Which two words rhyme with “chime” in Ding Dong Merrily on High?
  5. In which Christmas Carol, does one “strike the harp”?
  6. In the twelve days of Christmas, what was sent by “my true love” on the 9th day of Christmas.
  7. Identify the carol from which this metre is taken from the 1st and 3rd lines of each verse.                       “pom pom  –  pompom  pom  pom  pom  pom”.
  8. In which carol are the cows depicted as “twitching the sweet hay”?
  9. Name the two composers who scored separate musical setting of “In the Bleak mid-winter”.
  10. In which 15th century verse/carol is the birth of the baby Jesus described “as dew in April”. (Leonard Berkeley was commissioned to set this to music in the 1960’s)
  11. Name this macaronic 15th century carol which celebrates the sacrifice of a wild animal. (No Janus, this has nothing to do with macaroni.)

So there you go; encouraged by Boadicea for posting a Quiz and admonished by Christina for failing to acknowledge her musical talents.  Continue reading “Christmas Carol Quiz for Christina”

Carol Singing? Nah, don’t fink so.

Carols at ChristmasWearing your  pullover with the V neck at the back might well set a new trend in fashion. Wearing the said pullover walking up and down the aisle of the church as a sidesman would have been good practice for an elderly guy’s future cat-walking exhibitionism. This is what happened to a mate of mine this December. I would think the congregation neither knew if he was coming or going. Its a wonder no one in the congregation tugged his sleeve and commented on it.  Perhaps they were all too polite, perhaps many were confused. Perhaps many were asleep.

Anyway, this leads me into a rant about Carol Singing – the Downside.  Continue reading “Carol Singing? Nah, don’t fink so.”

Christmas Poetry Competition

Christmas CompetitionWell as we enter into December (and a real cold snap in London) I invite each and every one of you to put pen to paper and write a short verse or verses on any Christmas scene.  The verses could be long and stringy like tinsel,  short and stumpy like a yule log or even haphazard as in the branches of a Christmas tree.  The use of a “Robin” may score a bonus point.  To whet your appetite I have the following suggestions: 1) you may choose a “voice” or inanimate object in which to convey your poem, e.g. angel, Xmas tree, Snowflake, mince pie, cracker etc. 2) you can set your ‘scene’ anywhere, not just a traditional scene; it could be set in a busy underground railway station, on an empty park bench, in a pub, though I have to say traditional scenes are welcome e.g choir stalls.

As Feeg has earlier said, please be encouraged to have a go. In addition to a winning prize, all entries will be put into a bran tub and a draw will be made, the lucky winner of the bran tub draw will also receive a prize! Clever use of words is fine, but so too is clever use of images (not accompanying photos but images conjured by the words themselves). Janus, you are restricted to no more than ten entries ha ha. Aramanita and Bilby I direct you forthwith to put pen to paper! And for the rest of you cheerful Charioteers, have a drink on me and get those juices flowing. JW get your skates on. Oz go eat lamb.

Parallel to the Poetry/Verse competition I challenge anyone to write a short Carol and for any one Carol that ticks my boxes I shall compose a tune and put a link to in on the Chariot. Now be off with you.


Giving thanks

Giving thanks?

It’s what they do in church innit!
Our Father in the larder
Give us our daily bread.
But  thanks for what? For what we got?
For shredded wheat, for shoes on feet?

For rain or sun I understand
For life itself –  the master plan;
For making babies, yeah that’s fun
So thank you God – a job well done Continue reading “Giving thanks”

Results of a “Musical Turn” Poetry Competition August 2014

Well folks,  this competition seemed to draw a very quick response –  a total of five formed a queue to the back door of the theatre … making it to the auditions stage before Simon Cowell and the judging panel. If there was an X Factor factor then it was produced by the sound of the bagpipes,  courtesy of an out-of-tune bleat from Feeg. (Sorry Feeg, but I like a lone piper!)

Soutie was first to the stage reminding us of a challenge put to him by his girlfriend – that he sing ‘Unchained Melody’ in a karaoke club/pub. Supplementing his courage with  3 (or more) tequilas he won over the song AND the girl. Nice one Soutie – you score points for musicality and romance!

The curtains swished back and forth and then appeared Janus giving homage to Slacky Bottom to the Lonnie Donegan tune  ‘My Old Man’s  a Dustman.’ – a song I had sung as a teenager in a grimy church hall concert with three other pimply drainpipe trousered boys and  wearing my old dad’s overalls. Once again Janus caught the mood of the time and he included a nice reference in the song to his sister, who at the time was going out with an Elvis look-alike who’d “got more grease than a flock o’ geese.”  Nice one Janus.

Then came the unexpected reference  to the bagpipes – a verse penned by Feeg and addressed to Mr Mackie. I am convinced the syntax of the verse was an attempt by Feeg to replicate the sound of the bagpipes being played  upside down.

Indeed there was  a plaintive retort delivered by Mr Mackie from the wings of the stage – a stirring reference to the role of the piper in time of battle with appropriate video footage.

Last to the stage was the Royalist in fine cavalier garment and flashing belt and buckle. He chose a Billy Joel song “We didn’t start the blogging” – a kind of rap anthem to all respected bloggers  who ride the Chariot as well as a few on the Dark Side. Here was a brilliant portrayal of each one of us, either pin-pointing us on the global blogging map or highlighting our  particular hobbies or characteristics. His wit was as Zorro’s sword and such was the flourish of his delivery that he brought a  standing ovation from the packed theatre.

And so, in second place, Mr Mackie, for reminding us all what is good and true of Scotland, soldiers and lone bagpipe players, but completely and unashamedly swayed by the audience  reaction, the  winner is The Royalist for such sparkling entertainment. A truly great and triumphant “Musical Turn.”

NB All entries can (I think) be seen in the Competition tag somewhere on the top right of the screen.

Poetry Competition – ‘A Musical Turn’


Cherished colleagues I invite you to submit entries for the August poetry competition on the subject heading “A Musical Turn”.  This may relate to a dance, a musical instrument,  a phrase in a song, even an unusual musical chord (go on Jason you can make one up).  You can even write a song which I may put to music.

I realise that this subject may fall on deaf ears but anything on “sound” or ” noise” will be accepted. Please use your imagination but I have to say that musicality will win bonus points. Closing date 31 August – midnight GMT.