Poems and Anecdotes by Frances Gregory
If my garden had some soil
Alas, I have no soil
Silently resting on a leaf
I am not really a person who enjoys clothes shopping. I get really hot and tired when a store is packed, as I am sure most people do. I hate having to stand in a long queue that seems to go on forever. But most of all I really don't like being approached by a well-meaning shop-assistant, who asks, "Can I help you?" I just like to try and browse, but shop assistants put me off and I leave the store. I know they are doing their job to the best of their ability. In a word, I find shopping stressful.
However, when I visit a friend of mine, now living in Derbyshire (but used to live in Nottingham) it is a whole different picture. You see, we both used to go out in the afternoon on a Saturday for the peak period of shopping. A contradiction, you might think. but we did have other motives.
The Nottingham lace centre was our first port of call. My friend is a lace maker, so this naturally is of interest to her. I like it too, but I also like the atmosphere of the lace centre. We have a cup of coffee here, then head for the main shopping arcade, to the hat shop there.
Hats can look really good on some people, but I'm not one of them! The aim is to find the most expensive and hysterical-looking hat. It's fun with the two of us!
One of the times we visited, we were both wearing casual clothes. I was going to be attending a wedding a fortnight later. I thought I would use this excuse for "choosing my hat", although I had no intention of wearing one.
I found a very tall top hat. It was made from deep red velvet, and lined with a satin-like material. It had two very bright coloured flowers lying either side on the brim. These flowers were shocking pink, and a deep yellow. We both spoke loudly, "Jane, what do you think to this. I think it would make a good impression, but does it suit me?" I asked her. "No Fran", she said, "Try this. If suits you much better". She picked up a yellow sou'wester made from PVC, and looking just like a fisherman would wear. "Let me try it" I replied.
Other people passing by looked interested. We could tell obviously that they thought we looked ridiculous, but they weren't saying anything, just thinking it. We KNEW we looked ridiculous, but then that was the aim. In fact, their reactions were much funnier than the hats!
We tried on a few more hats, and then decided we would leave and return to my friend's house, and "The Mad Hatter's Day Out" made good conversation over dinner that evening.
I do think about this when passing hat shops or displays, or watching the ladies at Ascot on television. This type of thing is therapeutic, especially if one has had a stressful day or week, one just has to take care not to damage the goods.
Wigs can have the same effect. It is amusing and I recommend it! In fact I do like caps and berets, especially if the fabric has a light good patterned fabric, but I don't own either.
Editor's Note: I have been informed of another hat incident perpetrated by Frances. When chosen to play the "Tin Man" in an amateur production of "The Wizard of Oz", Frances went to a hardware shop to obtain a suitable funnel for the Tin Man's hat. When shown various sizes of funnel, she asked to try them on before choosing one. Unfortunately, she forgot to explain what it was for! I suppose the shop assistant was just glad to sell one, although it must have been unnerving, especially when the customer left the shop wearing the funnel!
God in his creative wisdom
Previously published by Forward Press
The river was silent that afternoon. We sailed gracefully downstream. Nearing some reeds and rushes, a family of mallards caught my eye: a mother, closely followed by her young swimming all around her, their little quacks fully expressing their fun.
Then I saw them dip their downy heads below the water. I don't know what they looked for. All I could see were fans of feathers bobbing about. When once again the ducks resurfaced, I threw them some bread, which of course they gratefully accepted.
For a short while, this little group followed us in our boat, almost as if our guests. But when it was time to want their own space again, mother gathered together her children.
Keeping themselves to themselves, they went their own way. In the peace of the afternoon, in the tranquillity of the flowing river, we sailed on to our destination.
The following poem was written from an inspiration whilst walking the dog one fine spring night in April 1999. I walked form Beverley Minster on a circular walk, returning to Beverley Minster, duration about two hours.
The evening as described was really pleasant and the walk relaxing. I was able to take in my surroundings and thought to myself just what a lovely scene this was.
Nothing is so beautiful as Nature herself. In this busy world of moving time and hectic living, peace and tranquillity can still be found.
For those people of a religious nature, whether deep or not, nothing can be so near to God as His own creation.
I hope the reader enjoys this poem as much as I enjoyed the walk!
Five of us together
The silver moon high up there
The sun sank slowly and
We parted company, but with the moon remaining with us until we reached our home, gently reassuring us we would never be alone.
The dog and I then went indoors
Five of us are close friends still
Fathoms below the ocean
In that gallery of colour
Shades, shapes and colours
What are you saying?
I see clouds of salt filling the air
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