Tuesday 21 December 2021

Omicron, Jeyff Chaucer and Subterranean Passages

Apologies once again for tardiness regarding chucking up guff but it’s been a funny five weeks, undertaken in a fug and a haze. 

Which was a little bit of a surprise as I have been able to experience what was once deemed everyday normal behaviour before the pando took hold. 

I’ve been attending to fallen trees, often with Lord Ludg and The English in attendance. 

I’ve dug out the chainsaw mill and am currently planking away at some pine. I’ve hauled wood from the wood and have enough stacked up seasoning away for next winter, and the river is falling fast. 

I travelled down to Cornwall in the name of aimlessly firing shot at fast flying partridge. 

An overnight stay at somewhere with many memories. We visited this part of Cornall many times when the children were small. It’s a little more “chi chi” now, but the bones of the place remain the same.

The tide was well in on the beach that we used to visit whenever the temperature on the car read greater than eighteen degrees and it had not changed a bit, other than the over zealous implementation of exorbitant charges in the car park behind.

A week later I was in Newmarket for the day. 

I’ve popped in and out briefly, mostly in the name of all things greyhound and expensive vets, but had not been out and about on the gallops that surround the town. It’s an interesting place with a racehorse heart beat that echoes throughout the streets. Some of the stable complexes on the outskirts of town are incredible, the Godolphin pile of bricks is the stuff of James Bond. 

A week on we had our boosters. 

Following our first two vaccinations Madam and myself skipped down the road seeking a patch of grass on which to sit cross legged and lace daisies in to one another’s hair. Post booster we hurried back to the car in driving wind and rain to drive home pausing briefly in masks to stock up on essentials (mostly wine and cheese based). 

I’ll own I’ve been trying to chuck up some guff for a while but an impending feeling of doom and glom has prevented me doing so. Normally I’d put this down to the weather, football/cricket results, moving the Mark Rothko from the downstairs loo to pride of place in the parlour or the ineptitude and arrogance of “Our Great Leader”,

but there was something else. 

A looming presence, creeping creeping. 

Omicron, Omicron, Omicron. 

To quote Tom Rush “errr, the voice sounds familiar, and the name it rings a bell"


But what was Omicron? 

Alpha, Beta and Gamma get all the heat when it comes to all things Greek alphabet but wasn’t there a second cousin many times removed called Omicron? 

In no little turmoil I repaired to my chambers, put on my sleeping/thinking cap and reached for a book I occasionally consult to pour oil on mental cogs that are beginning to graunch. 

100 poems on the underground is a slender tome. 

It comprises a wide range of poems posted on walls around TFL’s subterranean passages in order to stimulate and inspire your everyday Joe/Jo on their daily commute. 

I have a fairly short commute which doesn't involve subterranean passages, but the following passage from Beowulf jumped out all the same.

The Coming of Grendel 

Now from the marshlands (Chinese market) under the mist mountains 
Came Grendel (Pando) prowling; branded with God’s ire. 
This murderess monster was minded to entrap 
Some hapless human (non mask wearer/anti vaxxer) in that high hall (night club, large restaurant, swingers party, although I understand they do sometimes wear masks at such events)  
On he came under the clouds (ventilation is key), until clearly
He could see the great golden feasting place (large Mc’Donalds on a wet Saturday morning) 
Glimmering wine-hall of men (Spoons at Sunday lunch time) Not his first raid (Spanish Flu, bit of a bug in the 1970s) was this on the homeplace of Hrothegar (Planet earth) 
Never before though and never afterward 
Did he encounter hardier defenders (vaccines: jab 1, jab 2 and the bleep and booster one) of a hall.

It is a well known fact (I think) that Grendel’s mother, whose ire was the equal of her son and sought vengeance for his death, was assigned the middle name “Omicron” 

Case closed. 

There is still a river and I do still work in and out of it, but for the moment, if you haven’t had the necessary jabs and are medically able to do so, please get it done,

We need to move on from this. 

Happy Christmas everyone and thanks as ever for reading the rubbish that I write,

 Oh yes, the “100 Poems on the Underground” features many other fine poems including one about teeth by Spike Milligan, an ode to thrips on his roses by William Blake and an illegible piece of nonsense regarding a parliament of fowls by the much overrated Jeyff Chaucer.

If you are stuck for a last minute present give it a go.