Friday 15 June 2012

Day Boat on Loch Lomond

AnElephantCant possibly do justice
He doesn’t have the gift of the gab
But he’ll show you some pics
And a few rhyming tricks
To describe his adventure on the Day Boat BigRab

Another magical trip on Loch Lomond
The most beautiful place on this earth
Amidst towering Bens
And glaciated Glens
This Elephant sightsaw for all he was worth

We set out early morning from Balloch
A wee town at the southernmost end
The Maid of the Loch is berthed there
Awaiting tender loving care
A bonnie boat that we highly commend

The water was just a tad choppy
As we headed into the teeth of a breeze
We are really quite tough
And it wasn’t so rough
We’ve caused bigger waves with AnElephant’s sneeze

The boat floated serene through The Narrows
An idyll of wondrous tranquillity
This place gladdens the heart
Makes you feel you are part
Of some vast cosmic invulnerability

We came ashore on the beach at Inchconnachan
Which means Island of the Colquouns
It is home to a colony
Of Australian Wallaby
But with us they refused to commune

We headed over to Luss for some breakfast
And tied our wee boat to the pier there
Rolls ‘n’ sausage and tea
And homemade tablet you see
In the shop at the pier it’s not dear there

So another great day on the water
With our captain who we need to thank
Between us and you
We are not much of a crew
But not once did he make us walk the plank

AnElephantCant say it more clearly
Some places you just feel at home in
If scenery is your thing
Then let your soul sing
On the bonnie bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond



Saturday 9 June 2012

Forest Bumps

On the recent news that orang-utans are highly skilled engineers:

AnElephantCant find a rhyme for orang-utan
Or even Old Man of the Jungle
There is nothing worse
When writing a verse
To discover you have begun with a bungle
AnElephantCant deny that these animals
Are clearly much smarter than people
High in the tree tops
They build a cradle that rocks
These structures are quite unbelievable
Orang-utans use thick branches as scaffold
Interwoven with boughs that are springier
To ensure a good rest
Fine leaves line the nests
We have lived in hotels that were dingier
They build a new nest every evening
And sometimes one for an afternoon nap
100 feet above ground
A long way to fall down
We are sure that they do Mind the Gap
Young adults build nests just for practice
But here is one fact that we find quite funny
You may think they are cute
Although somewhat hirsute
But for eight years they stay at home with their mummy
Orang-utans are natural builders
Like Scots they are great engineers
An idea takes shape
We ask these great apes
Could they build some new houses near here?

Sunday 20 May 2012

Eurovision Song Snoozefest

AnElephantCant knock Engelbert Humperdinck
Because our mum was a bit of a fan
We don’t think he can sing
But that is not the main thing
Mum found him a handsome and quite charming man

He is going to win EuroVision
The Song Contest that nobody watches
If you tune in you find
You go out of your mind
And your ears become covered in blotches

We are not planning to be overcritical
We will not list this old crooner’s faults
But we strongly exhort
That he keeps his song short
Not like the dreary interminable mind-numbingly tedious repetitive boring Last Waltz

He made his fortune performing in Vegas
Reducing blue rinses to tears
He owes his great fame
To his quite silly name
And no hit song in the last 40 years

He has entertained old dearies for decades
So this Elephant does not want to be beastly
But old Hump should retire
In a chair by the fire
And burn the dreary interminable mind-numbingly tedious repetitive boring Release Me

Now we have been told that our rhyme is unfriendly
And that we must attach an addendum
Engie sings marvellous songs
He rights the world’s wrongs
We apologise sincerely to AnElephant’s Mum

Wednesday 16 May 2012

I spy with my little eye

AnElephantCant keep a secret
We have discovered Mrs Ellie is a spy
Not double-oh seven
She is more legs eleven
AnElephant is happy that he is her guy

She has long had a wee crush on Sean Connery
But then again what woman does not
We have to admit
We are jealous a bit
He is apparently the world’s handsomest Scot

She always says she is a Civil Servant
Although civility is not her strong suit
She comes from Glasgow
Where as all Doctors know
You learn kung fu if you plan to stay cute

As a femme fatale she is well qualified
She has those alluring good looks
We try not to rile her
Cos when she gets hostiler
She makes brave men turn whiter than Spooks

We ask if she ever gets violent
She tells us it is quite arbitrary
Disdaining strong arm
She prefers to use charm
Less Dirty and more Mata Hari

AnElephantCant claim he is courageous
But he knows Mrs E is quite bold
If he gets a fright
On a bleak wintry night
He wants her to come in from the cold

Although she really is quite easy going
Here is something you should quickly learn
That if you upset her
She will draw her Beretta
And make you wish you had never been Bourne

There are dozens of great secret agents
Our Man Flint George Smiley Jack Bauer
Get Smart and Matt Helm
But the superest of them
Is Mrs Elephant with her trunkful of Powers

She has skills that would make your eyes water
So we try very hard to ca’ canny*
She knows nine martial arts
And she is quite good at darts
And she can disguise herself as your granny

Now we ask you to please keep our secret
Because that is one thing she has often said
She gives us fair warning
We will wake up one morning
To discover we are already dead

* ca’ canny = be careful

Thursday 3 May 2012

Cardross on the Clyde

AnElephantCant hide his pure pleasure
In Scotland in springtime in sun
The bright blue the fresh green the blossom
And no one with an elephant gun

Last evening he wandered through Cardross
With his buddy Big Rab by his side
Admiring the trees in the churchyard
In that bonnie wee town on the Clyde

Thursday 26 April 2012

road less travelled

AnElephantCant say we’re great walkers
But we are a bit of a squeeze in a car
We are not built for a bike
So when we have to hike
We prefer a short stroll to going too far

A campaign by the Living Streets charity
Wants to get us all stretching our legs
We have to admit
We are not awfully fit
We don’t usually go further than Greggs

We quite like to meander or amble
We don’t often canter or trot
A leopard can lope
As can an antelope
But we assure you AnElephantCannot

When we go for a dauner or perambulation
We have to remember which roads we have crossed
We find one-way streets
Confuse some of our feet
We are embarrassed to admit we get lost

When our promenade leads to a bifurcation
We confess we can sometimes be baffled
We have a solution
To our state of confusion
We know the difference is to take the road less travelled

dauner – Scots for saunter
Greggs – a chain of retail bakers

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Queen's Park Sesquicentenary Year

AnElephantCant do poetic justice
To Glasgow’s Queen’s Park in the spring
The pond has tadpoles
And from the flagpole
We see flowers and hear the birds sing

 The park celebrates its sesquicentenary
This year with a host of events
A much loved space
This dear green place
Deserves to get millions of presents
 When it opened Abe Lincoln was president
Alice in Wonderland was being penned
Which just goes to show
It was a long time ago
The US Civil War was still far from its end

There are fewer dragons and mammoths in the trees now
Because my young leader will quite soon be seven
But laser beams and stun guns
Means we can still have fun
In the dens in the bushes in our heaven
Our sticks which once shot sabre-dino-dragons
Are re-commissioned with extraordinary functions
They have magical power
Making super baddies cower
While we blitz them without the slightest compunction

We play tennis and putting each Monday
Joints and bones are starting to creak
He climbs swings and larks
Around the play park
While this old dude feels like an antique
There are areas which are wild and unspoilt
Where we run free without any plan
We jump over logs
Sing Teddy Bear and Hound Dog
Yep my best friend is a cool Elvis fan
When I am puffed out we go to the rose gardens
Which commemorates some of Scotland’s great poets
While I try to relax
He plans more attacks
And we are off again before you know it

At the end of the day we get ice cream
That’s our reward for being good as gold
With a tub or a cone
We meander back home
Through Queen’s Park which is 150 years old

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Lochwinnoch Rocks

AnElephantCant always be poetic
He has not had much time to prepare this
But he feels it’s his duty
To display Scotland’s beauty
So sit back and relax while he shares this

The chairman* suggested a trip to Lochwinnoch
On a train from Glasgow Central Station
We may be prosaic
But we like this mosaic
A remarkably colourful tessellation

Lochwinnoch is a small country village
Twenty miles or so south-west of Glasgow
It sits on a loch
Which is not named Winnoch
The reason can be found in the past though

Castle Semple Loch is a Bird Sanctuary
Where the chairman is a Wildlife Explorer
An RSPB site
It inspires delight
And a great source of natural lore there

There are hides where you watch the birds feeding
If you’re not quick you click the perch they were on
Finch robin and tit
But just walk on a bit
And see a tall elegant patient Grey Heron

The types of birds there might number a million
Varied shapes different sizes and hues
When it all gets too much
Spotting mallards and such
AnElephant chills out and enjoys the great views

There are dipping ponds with nets provided
An illustrated chart to match what you catch
Water boatmen pond skaters
But no alligators
So AnElephant’s leg stays quite safely attached

There are fun things for elephants and their calves here
Play areas and cool woodland walks
Wildlife photographing
Treasure hunts lots of laughing
This Elephant Can tell you that Lochwinnoch rocks!

*The Elephant’s grandson, and the inspiration behind the books and so much more

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Loch Lomond

'By yon bonnie banks an' by yon bonnie braes
Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond'

(Traditional Scottish - first published 1841)

AnElephantCant possibly do justice
He lacks the descriptive ability
Loch Lomond is quite
The most wondrous sight
An ocean of beauteous tranquillity

The morning mist lies low and eerie
The Elephant records in his Captain’s Log
Then the sun breaks through
Shows a sky of clear blue
And quickly dissipates Kermit the Fog

AnElephantCant claim to be useful
When he is asked to propel a canoe
He is not to blame
Perhaps it’s a shame
He is a pachyderm not a gnu

If each picture paints a thousand words
It is best if the Elephant is quiet
A very quick message
Black pudding and sausage
And the wee stove that Rab brought to fry it

Breakfast rolls and mugs of tea
On a loch of clear calm water
There is no surprise
This is paradise
Quite perfect (like the Elephant’s dear daughter)


AnElephantCant paddle for toffee
You might say he is more of a passenger
But it did provide time
To make up this rhyme
So be kind please and don’t shoot the messenger

If you can take a brief time off this summer
Then this wee rhyme may be a good omen
Do not go abroad
But take the high road
To the bonnie bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond


Monday 26 March 2012

Budget 2012

We are all in this together
But the rich don’t have enough
The poor are just so greedy
Do they really need so much?

Rich people only work if they know they will get richer
Poor people just won’t work unless they are really poor
So it seems a whole lot fairer to take money off the old folk
Who cares? We know that they’ll be dead long before me and you are

Stop moaning all you folk out there
All this griping is unhealthy
If you want some help from George Osborne
All you need is to be wealthy

Forty plus years of PAYE
NI Vat and Council Tax
Stop your whining
There’s a silver lining
Davie Cameron knows the facts

It costs old folk 300 quid
To save Georgie 40k
You are out of luck
He doesn’t give a hoot
Because you are old and bald or grey

So you thought you’d have some comfort
A warm fire a cup of tea
You daft old cretin
You should not bet on
Any help from a rich Tory

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Blue and Yellow and black black black


AnElephantCant quite grasp the problem
That is vexing the Westminster louses
Should they tax the rich?
And if so then which
Those who make loads or the ones with big houses?

AnElephant doesn’t live in a £2 million mansion
Please forgive our sad lack of conceit
We are not being funny
But with that sort of money
You could jolly well buy our whole street

We don’t earn £150 thousand per annum
We would be up to our big ears in peanuts
If we did we’d be nice
And give up a slice
At that level we would not even see cuts

In London the story is different
Old Boris calls £250,000 chickenfeed
For a weekly column
We find this appalling
A cash-obsessed addict in need

The Government says they cannot tax the wealthy
On their income because they avoid it
We think they mean evade
We are being betrayed
If they have a conscience it is time they employed it

This Elephant is a quite simple beastie
We do not ever pretend to be clever
But we do get irate
When Cabinet millionaires state
OK chaps we are all in this together

Here is something we did suggest last year*
When Wee Dave thought Big Phil the bee’s knees
So George here’s our thought
Why not tax the whole lot
On the cash their wives ship overseas?

If our leaders won’t take cash from their rich chums
(At least not in the way of taxation)
We will ask a hard question
And make a suggestion
That may cause Dave and Nick some vexation

We detest all these bankers and traders
Their greed could cause the next revolution
We don’t want to nobble ‘em
But they are the problem
We believe they should be the solution

These folk make obscene wealth in this country
Then ship it to where their wives stay
They like a good laugh
They say don’t be daft
Tax is what little people pay

So this Elephant suggests independence
For the City of London’s rich gents
We are not being funny
Let them keep their money
And we charge a gazillion pounds rent


Monday 12 March 2012

While Rome burns

On the news that theRoyal Bank of Scotland, 84% owned by the UK government/tax-payer, is to relocate hundreds of call centre jobs to India.

AnElephantCant grasp Royal Bank logic
They are giving more workers the sack
You and I are the donors
Of their gigantic bonus
Still they won’t lend us our own money back

They have 350 who earn quite good wages
Over £1 million every year
They send good jobs abroad
This logic is flawed
250 more are out on their ear

They take 785 million pounds for their bonus
While the rest of us struggle for cash
It’s what we deserve
They announce with great verve
And they just keep on building their stash

They say that they must pay out our money
Or all the good people will leave
From our point of view
That’s just what they should do
And don’t treat us as though we’re naive

The taxpayer owns 84% of this bank
But they make 250 people redundant
More folk on the dole
They keep digging the hole
Can you climb out? AnElephantCant

We suggest to all Royal Band customers
Why not deposit your cash somewhere else
This is not a threat
Just have a nice debt
And tell Stephen Hester his business plan smells

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Frogs and grandsons

I spent yesterday afternoon with my grandson, who is 6 years old.

When I picked him up from school at 3pm he asked me if I knew anything about science or about projects.

By the time we met his mum at 6pm we had been to the pond, collected frog spawn, taken pictures of pond and spawn, and designed a project plan!

I suggested that we diarise the development of the tadpoles.

He said 'We can use the computer, I'll just do it in Word'!

When I was his age I dipped a slightly squinty nib into an inkwell!

Monday 5 March 2012

Windmills and Windbags

AnElephantCant say that he’s certain
Whether wind farms are good things or not
From what he has read
There is much to be said
On both sides so he gives it some thought

Clean energy is clearly a benefit
As Scotland strives to keep our planet green
But these structures might be
Considered unsightly
Can we build turbines that generate unseen?

AnElephantCant pretend he’s a big fan
Of the US tycoon Donald Trump
It is fair to say
He likes his own way
If he can’t get it he pure takes the hump

The last chap who tilted at windmills
Was in a book that our Don might have read
This affable clown
Was abruptly knocked down
He did not listen to what anyone said

So oor Donald is building a golf course
And would like the horizon protected
He thinks he can tower
Over our future power
He does not want to see wind farms erected

He thinks that he can tell our Government
What can be built off our scenic east coast
They have a mandate
From Scotland’s electorate
I don’t remember him getting our votes

Could he possibly have ulterior motives
For trying to get this project binned?
We could make whoopee
Poking fun at his, em, hair
But perhaps he just doesn’t like a strong wind

He claims he is trying to save Scotland
He holds our scenery in the highest esteem
Are we being unfair
To say he didn’t care
Until it affected his money-making scheme?

We have a wee message for Donnie
We are a friendly and peace-loving race
Please listen carefully
We don’t like a bully
So gi’e us peace and don’t get in our face

Monday 27 February 2012

A duck-billed platitude

AnElephantCant always avoid clichés
The artist has mentioned this a million times
He gets sick as a parrot
All stick and no carrot
But the rhymer sometimes needs one for a rhyme

We know the doodler has oodles of talent
He takes to drawing like a duck takes to water
Your scribe’s in the dog house
As poor as a church mouse
With prospects like a lamb to the slaughter

This pachyderm grows old and confuseder
Is there some animal who never forgets?
Does every dog have his day?
Where there’s a will there’s a way?
Over the hill or just hedging his bets?

Why is the horse such a source of sad clichés?
About water but not about drink
Get on when he’s high
Close the door wave goodbye
And a nod is as good as a wink

Perhaps the writer just isn’t the brightest
He can’t find his way even to Rome
His goose is well cooked
He has leapt but not looked
The lights are on but there’s nobody home

Let’s put an end to this shaggy dog story
Let’s pretend the fat lady has sung
This dodo is dead
Let’s put it to bed
And wish the cat had got more than his tongue

The rhymer knows that his work is quite hackneyed
Does he lack skill or just have a bad attitude?
But time is the thief
He’s sick to his back teeth
So he signs off with a new duck-billed platitude