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Jim


With the roar of the Twenties high and dry
The jet engine twinkled in Whittle’s eye
Our ninth planet took its place in the sky
And for Reg and Irene
A new voice did cry


A slumbering doodlebug and a country smock
As Hitler’s War Machine ran amok
Sappers and uniform and lessons drilled
Puffing Billies with dreams fulfilled


Fresh from the army and versed in dance
With peacock feathers he began to prance
Ventured to the Pavilion on Felixstowe Pier
Found a partner
And future dear


Corkers crowned them king and queen
In Box Brownie country scenes
And on
To the Big Bands of the day
East Anglian adventures on the BSA


As 1957 bade farewell
Trimley St Mary rang its bells
With vows given and received
Bands of gold and tapestry weaved


Out in the Temple Mills’ marshalling yards
Fleeting glimpses of Wyatt Earp on guard
Helping Joe Brown swap locos for the stage
As steam gave way to the diesel age


A candlelit team unsurpassed
‘Til exams for the Institute were passed
A clap of thunder on a midsummer’s day
And a baby boy came to stay


***


Co-pilot on his handlebars
Flying through windrush gales
Balsa planes and boxkites
Up on the Yorkshire Dales


Wide-eyed at fireworks
Standard box delights
Sparklers by the bonfire
Launching glowing sprites


Tangled lights and tinsel
Sherry and mince pies
A carrot for the reindeer
Bed after Morecambe and Wise


Sunny days paddling
In cool gurgling streams
Winter warmed by stories
And rich Marmite dreams


We’d angle for tight lines
Keep nets to the brim
On the banks of a muddy river
Then I’d fall in


***


One minute roses, trees and shed
The next his marketing wings were spread
Time for the family
Career on track
Any faster
Meet himself coming back


Nomads ’cross the Sceptre’d Isle
As rung by rung to rank from file
His new port vision by most was knocked
But lit the blue touchpaper for Felixstowe Docks


Visited Preservation Hall
Cross-legged in Crescent City
To hear Sweet Emma’s Jazz band
Play their trad’ ditties
Then up in a whirlybird
For a private view
Of Liberty’s halo crown
High above the queue


***


Helped freight and the tunnel a few more years
Then swapped his briefcase for a pair of shears
A decade in Tuddenham
Then Rushmere the same
Two new gardens expertly tamed
While her many paintings he would acclaim
Then retire to the shed to lovingly frame


Pickfords once more engaged
To ferry their worldly goods
To sunny Worthing’s new build
New friends
New neighbourhood


Saw Petworth, Parham and Anne Bolyne’s abode
Birthday reacquainted with a Sussex Railroad
To Sheffield Park and back in time
Full circle riding the Bluebell line


***


There’s music in the air tonight
And iron horses on the moon
Breeze fluttering the laurels
As the roses hold firm in full bloom
In the sun-kissed playground
Of his eternal outside room

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