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Many years ago, on Alleppey Express,
Unable to sleep, I stood at the door,
Looking at the stars, humming INXS,
And spied on the top berth, a lovely F24.

Last week I saw Dasvidaniya, the ten-things-to-do-before-I-die movie. At the end of the movie the cast talks about their bucket lists, and amongst the usual see-a-new-place, be-a-better-dad stuff Suchithra Pillai stood out, and I quote, “get together with all of my friends…whom I’ve been in touch with ever since I was a child…one big get-together before I go”. I couldn’t sleep, what an idea, a big bang before I conk, that would be something…I started calling, texting, mailing, scrapping, poking ‘all the girls I knew when I was single’

Do you remember an inn, (deleted),
Beside the sluggish Ouse,
The wide grey sky, and the pigeon-pie,
Two very old canoes
In a corrugated shed
Behind bamboos?
Do you remember the kisses,
The novels left unread,
The moorhens’ cry and the clouds piled high,
The home-made ginger bread?
And the abundant blisses
Of that brass bed?

Most of the replies were on the lines of…

Not the inn, nor the place,
Nor the dance, nor your face,
Nor the fleas. Will you please
Understand that I’m ageing, bourgeois, and am waging
A war to keep up
(On income diminished, I’m socially finished and lonely as hell);
That girl who went prancing and glancing and dancing
Through your fields of wild oats
Was not I.
I’m lined and refined and my husband is kind
But quite cold
A wife who has bedded on straw in the raw he’d abhor.
’Tis a lie, ’twasn’t I;
Ask no more.

The stuff in blue above is not mine (of course!). The verses are from one of my fav books, Peacocks & Commas, Spectator competition’s greatest hits collection, choke full of wit and verbal dexterity. Example: Hamlet summarised in three limericks, Kafka rewritten Wodehouse-style, poems in praise of the lavatory.

Peacocks & Commas was edited by Joanna Lumley. She was big in Britian in the ‘50s – model, actress, TV star, Bond babe. (Recently she was in the news again, celebrating some Gorkha immigration case verdict).

Thanks Joanna.

Credits: Do you remember an inn – Ginger Jeleneck, Not the inn, nor the place – Mrs. MG Lloyd.

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