Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Bumper bundle: Jeanie at 80, A Christmas poem, and dark thoughts on politics after Berlin

Jeanie and the big Eight Oh!

Oh, oh
the big eight oh!
But darling don't forget
that every year
sweet Jeanie dear
the lovelier,
the sexier,
the friendlier,
the charminger.
the lovelier
the cleverer,
the lovinger
you get.

the big eight oh
could bring the best years yet!

Christmas and the oak tree

When the sun is weak and the nights are long
You hear Earth singing a different song

The mist rises white from the trees all around
And life sleeps deep in its home underground
The deep dark earth, soon to be our home,
This is the place from where visions come.

The visions rise and seem to me
As solid as the trunk of the old oak tree.
And none would believe them if they didn't know
That something like the oak from dull earth would grow.
And just as improbable and just as odd
To this dark earth came the son of God.

Thoughts after the Berlin Killings

This isn't a poem it is a plea. There are thousands of deranged young men who can be persuaded that they can serve God or some other higher cause by killing people.  Probably a few deranged young women too.  The siren voices on the far right tell us we must pull up the drawbridge and keep them out.

We have to face the nasty truth that trying to live outside the horror is not possible any more.  When I was born in the 1930's Syria was several weeks journey from England.  Three hundred years ago it was months or years. Today we can do it in an afternoon.  Often and for most of us this is wonderful.  We can fly down to the med for a few days holiday. But it means those who hate the world can reach out and kill some of us now and then.

Incidents like the Berlin killings are going to happen and are going to get more and more common.  But Berlin is still a better place to live in than Aleppo. The solutions of the far right will only maker the world a nastier place for all of us. Men of good will must first acknowledge that more mindless killings like those in Berlin are going to happen, and that, despite this, the world will be a better place if we treat refugees with compassion and strive to find a way to end the ghastly wars thaet still stalk the world.  For the first time since 1945 it is clear that we live in dangerous times.  We must speak with truth and honesty against dangerous voices.  If we do no,t it will be the horrors of Aleppo that bring horror in our streets and not just the horrors of Berlin.

Nick Mellersh Christmas Eve 2016
I regret that I cannot express myself more coherently and more eloquently.  But I hope you will join me in speaking up for kindness and compassion amidst the mess the world sxems to be in.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mummers Sat 17 December 2016 on Minstead village green and round the pubs

The Minstead Mummers of 1912. Photo taken by famous Folk photographer called King
  Minstead has a long tradition of Mumming.  This photo above was taken in Minstead in 1912.  The photo below shows the current group of Mummers in the Trusty in 2008.  In the old photo one of the characters is an Abbott.  The Abbot family are still in the village and provided the script (hidden in their attic) that we still use today.  Be sure to see us this year.

    We resurected the Minstead Mummers almost 40 years ag and have performed it every year on the village green since then.  We come as a climax to the carol singing and the visit of Father Christmas. We always need more performers so if you would like to have a go, ring Nick Mellersh at Minstead.

The current generation of the Minstead Mummers performing in the Trusty in 2008

What are Mummer’s plays?

Mummers plays are traditional Christmas plays that have been taken around the pubs a big houses for many many years.
    The text with its talk of “Turkish Knights” and St George might well go back to medieval times.  Many people think so. They believe the plot of killing and resurrection is an example of the “old year” being killed at the winter solstice and the “new year” rising again.  Others see the tradition only going back to the 19th century. What we know for sure is that Mummer’s plays were performed in almost every village in the South of England one hundred years ago.  Minstead’s troupe of mummers was photographed in 1912, see the photo above. The great grandson (or possibly the great great grandson) of St George in the picture lives and works in the village today. Mummer’s plays traditionally end with an appeal for money and one hundred years ago this could be very profitable.  You could, so they say, earn as much in one night’s mumming as in a month of farm work.  We keep up the tradition of begging for money but nowadays collect for some good cause.

What is special about Minstead Mummers?

In simple terms - we are the best.  The troupe acts with verve and humour and we have added a few modern touches.  Each year there is a new topical joke and to suit the 21st century we have a female doctor and a female blonde (or brunette) bombshell to light up the proceedings.  Unlike many troupes our performers have all lived or are still living in Minstead and we perform a Minstead script handed down from the people you see in the 1912 photograph.  We are the real thing.
    We will be out and about on Saturday 17 December on Minstead village green and in the pubs in Minstead, Cadnam, Brooke, and Fritham.  Don’t miss us.  Below is the film of our 2014 performance.

This post of the blog is a special one for the Mummers play.  I intended to get this onto the village website but haven't done it yet.  This blog is normally for my poems and you can see some by looking at the earlier post.  Jeanie runs a blog too.  Currently it is about her iPad paintings.  See it here.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2 Down - In memory of Pat and Michael Roberts

2 down
And 3 across.
Three sisters standing
Above their parents' grave. Now both gone home to earth,
Ex Pat, Ex Michael.  Two Irish buried in this English ground.

Both dead and yet we see them still. Caught in this moment.
Living in their daughters.

We raise a glass with them.
                                                               Nick Mellersh 2016 
 I love this photo.  Somehow the three daughters standing together seemed, between them and their contrasting looks and characters, to catch the essence of their parents. The smiles, the love, the passing grief and the recovery from the loss of their parents seem miraculously captured in the moment.  Photographs are sometimes wonderful.

And on another subject: I have n't  put anything up for a long while but there is big news on the ebook front.  Illustrated fluteplaying will be avaliable soon from Just Flutes.  Tell all your flute playing friends.

Also Jeanie has an exhibition of her ipad pics up in Minstead Church now (Dec 2016).  Go and have a look if you are local. It's a lovely show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The TRUE BELIEFS of left and right


Jeremy Corbyn is quite absorbed in

The new found joys of adulation.
It's wonderful fun for Jeremy
But no fun for the nation.

For though very good at talk-ery
He's very bad at do-ery
It's pretty plain he couldn't run
A piss up in a brewery.

Oh, his fans all think him saintly
And as a martyr clothe him.
While anyone who's worked with him
Has swiftly learned to loathe him.

And so the left is forced to tell
This very silly story
That anyone who disagrees
Is traitor, rat, or Tory.

And now the people on the right
Determined more to vex it.
Are branding all as traitorous
Who do not worship Brexit.

And me? I despair.
     Nick Mellersh 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The day of the Degu Flood

Now degu’s are a bit like mice
With fluffy tails. They’re rather nice,
But there is little that they do
But eat and poo and chew and chew
And chew and chew and chew and chew.
All degus are extremely small,
You’d think they’d do no harm at all,
But they don’t like to be ignored.
Degu’s are dangerous when bored!

Now Granny’s house, I’m telling you
Is really much too big for two.
And so she rents one of the ends
To people who become her friends.
This time they had a couple who
Were rather young and just come new.
The girl, was small and very neat,
And boy was bigger. Both were sweet.
They’d got together and thought “Let’s
Have lots and lots and lots of pets.”
They had a fish tank, very big,
A rabbit and an guinea pig,
Three terrapins that snapped in rage,
And three small degus in a cage.

The flat was new and bright and clean
They had a posh new wash machine.
It looked good, but it caused them trouble,
It caused them trouble on the double.
That posh machine had flooded twice
And, though the fixing man was nice,
They’d both tired of the flooding scene
And cursed that “posh” washing machine.

Back to the degus. They were bored
And feeling they had been ignored.
For they’d been stuck inside their cage
For what, to them, seemed age on age.
They’d run around, jumped on the floor.
They’d chewed the hinges on the door,
They’d ran around the little passages
They scratched and gave each other massages.
Then said “There’s nothing we can do.
It’s boring here. I’m telling you.”

But then one gave a joyous shout
“I’ve found a way of getting out!
Just push hard on this little door,
Climb out and then we can explore.”
They ran around in every space
They found in our young tenant's place
They chewed the aerial of the telly
They sniffed the shoes, got in a welly,
And then one degu shouted “Cripes!
Just look at these enormous pipes.
They smell good and they look fantastic
And taste of most delicious plastic.
Come here and join me! Yes please do.
We’ll all have a terrific chew.”
(The pipes the degus had just seen
Brought water to the wash machine
Because they bent, Gran had to settle
For plastic pipes, not pipes of metal.)

The degus chewed for hour on hour,
Then one said “Look I’ve made a shower!
There’s lots of water rushing out
I’ve made a lovely water spout.”
They bathed in it, and washed their hair
And splished and splashed it everywhere,
And hit the water with their tail
And looked round for a boat to sail.
One chewed some more. There was a call
“Look folks, I’ve made a water fall!”
That was the end of degu’s play,
The water washed them right away,
The pressure was so very strong
It pushed the degus right along,
And now they did not feel so bold.
They climbed up from the water cold,
And shivered upon little shelves
And felt most sorry for themselves.
And sadly watched the flooded scene
Damp floor and leaks round the machine.

The girl then came in through the door
And saw the water on the floor.
Then rushed to Granny, face in pain
“It’s leaking on the floor again!”
And Granny shouts to husband, Nick,
“Another flood! Please help us quick.
Bring towels and curtains, bring a sheet,
Bring wellies to put on your feet,
Bring sandbags, spades and bring a broom
To sweep it from the second room.
(The second room was lower down
So anything in there might drown!)
They mopped up water more and more
But still they saw it on the floor.
And soon it was extremely plain
That what they mopped came back again!
They turned the taps and switched the switches,
But clearly there were major glitches
For very fast and more and more
The water flooded on the floor.

The Girl who then was all alone.
Rang partner on the the telephone.
“Oh please come home, the phone man’s here.
The degu’s gone. Oh dear Oh dear,
And there is water on the floor,
And it keeps coming, more and more.
Degus are lost, there’s not a squeak,
And nobody can mend the leak.”

Then “Stop! I need you helping ME,
Tell them it’s an emergency!”

Then silence. Then her voice NOT sunny.
“Stop laughing NOW. IT is NOT funny!”

Then Nick pulled out the wash machine
And shouted “Look what I have seen!
Three degus hiding in the cracks
With water running down their backs.
The degu’s did it I will bet.”
The girl then really got upset.
“Look at their tiny paws and feet
Degus are far too, much too sweet.”

The phone man who had come that day
Had tried to look the other way.
He kept on working on his own
And fiddled with the telephone.
Then Granny shouted to him “Hey you
Look tall enough to reach that degu!
Come over here, stand on this seat
And Nick will hang on to your feet,”
And so he came, and reached, and got ‘em.
Two by the neck, one by the bottom..
He put them through the cage’s door.

They ran straight out, just like before,
And then we chased them round the floor
And got them in the cage at last,
And tied the door up very fast.

By now the answer was quite plain.
Nick turned the tap off at the main.
And people mopped, and by and by
The kitchen floor was almost dry.
And luckily, since it was summer,
They fairly quickly found a plumber.
He fixed a new pipe that would fit.

We kept the one the degu’s bit,
And up on top and down beneath,
There’s six inch marks of degu’s teeth.

The degu’s cage has a new door
They’re back inside – same as before.
But now they never get ignored.
Degus are dangerous when bored.

Nick Mellersh. November 2006

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poem of the week back again for autumn: What are poems for?

You ask me “What's are poems for?”
I say, “To open up a door,
And show things never seen before.
Show words that sing and dance and run
And make us laugh and give us fun.
And light our life like some new sun.
And calm us on the way to sleep
And show us life runs rich and deep
And bring us comfort when we weep.
And play with words like they were toys
And light up love for girls and boys.
And guard the hopes time would destroy
And fill our lives with depth and joy.”

                                                                                          Nick Mellersh
I found this looking through my old poems and liked it. Now summer is almost over I'm starting up "(Almost) a Poem a Week"  again and it seemed a good way to start.  I hope you like it.  Please tell me if you do, writing a blog is a lonely business!

PS: Daughter Lucy is having a sculpture exhibition this weekend see

Our big news is that Illustrated Fluteplaying e-book edition is taking off.  More news later.  There's a good movie of Jeanie Mellersh and Robin Soldan talking about the history of the book and future plans that you can watch here: 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The bent banana song

Give two cheers, for our Brexiteers,
I stand up and applaud 'em
Soon we'll have our bent bananas
With less money to afford'em.

The banning of bent bananas was one of my favourite Euromyths (see  When we've left the EU, doubtless we can gorge on them.

I'm still bemused by the Brexit vote. Don't know if it is tragedy or comedy or what.  It would be nice to think of people rejoicing by eating heavily curved or misshapen bananas weighed in pounds and ounces and paid for at half a crown a dozen.  But I don't think it will happen.

More likely after the euphoria and shock we are likely to get slowly poorer, both in the pocket and the spirit as our money and horizons shrink. What is clear is that what people hoped for when they voted for Leave is not what they will get. Geography and economics have not changed. When Brexit fails to lead to paradise (or much change at all in all probability) politics could become really nasty.    

We need think hard and deep about this.  
Incidentally the centenary of the Battle of the Somme came up just after the Brexit vote.  The Somme where a million men, mostly British German and French, got killed in  3 months is a horrible reminder of what can happen when Europe is divided.  Let's work to see it never happens again.

My father was wounded on the Somme and wrote about it.  I have put the complete chapter on the Njeanius website.  Just click on the link at

Or go to my facebook page 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

First poem for ages: Another comic one

The day Granddad thought someone was gassing him

Well Granddad was alone one day,
The kids and mum were out to play.
Hed eaten lunch that Grannyd cooked
And settled down to read a book.
He said hed do the washing up,
(Just of the plate and knife and cup)
But Granddad, just like many a man
Thought “Ill do nothing while I can,
In time Ill follow Grannys wishes,
Theres lots of time to do the dishes.”

So Granddad found a comfy chair,
And wriggled his bum, and settled there.
He stretched and thought “Aah! This is bliss!”
But then he heard a funny hiss,
But still he read a page or two,
Thinking theres nothing I need do.

But there was something else as well,
He thought he smelt a funny smell.
“I’ve left the gas on. Damn and blast!
Must switch it off! Must do it fast!”
So Granddad jumped out of his chair
And turned the gas taps everywhere
But when to every tap hed gone,
There was nt one that hed left on.
He thought “That was a strange sensation,
It must be my imagination.”
Im going silly, going potty
Having those kids has driven me dotty!”

So Granddad settled down once more
And started reading as before.
The book was interesting ... but then
He thought he heard a hiss again
And then he heard it very plain,
It was the hissing sound again!
And then he sniffed and knew full well,
There really was a gassy smell.
He jumped up, quickly looked around
And couldn’t hear the hissing sound.
He walked around, looked through the door,
But the hissing sound was there no more.
So Granddad sat down in his chair
And, yes, the hissing sound was there.
And yes he heard it very plain
The hissing sound was there again!
And then he sniffed and really knew,
“Someone is gassing me, it’s true!”
So he jumped up, scared and offended,
And as he stood - the hissing ended.

Some silly ass is playing tricks,
He turns the gas on when I sits.
Come out, come out, where I can see
Just who is playing tricks on me.”
But all was quiet, quiet as a mouse,
Nothing to hear inside the house.
So Granddad looked behind the doors,
Opened the cupboard, pulled out drawers,
Under the stairs, behind the curtain.
Someone was hiding he was certain.

He looked, and nobody was there,
He shouted and pulled out his hair.
He listened hoping for a sound
But there was nobody around.

So Granddad felt extremely bad,
He thought “I must be going mad!
Theres no one here that I can see
And no one could be gassing me.
Ill go and make a cup of tea.”
And so he turned the kettle on
And when it boiled the smell had gone.

“It’s in my mind I really think.
Ill settle down and have my drink.”
And so he sat down in his chair.
And you can guess what happened there.
Oh yes, he heard that hissing sound
And gassy smells were all around.
“There’s someone underneath my chair!”
Granddad jumped up. Guess what was there.

No one was there, Im pleased to say,
Instead there was a can of spray
Now everything was clear as day.
(It was a spray for Granny’s hair
An aerosol that she’d left there.)
His bottom pressed down on the cap
And turned the spray on like a tap,
And that had made the hissing sound
And spread the smell of gas around.
His sitting had pressed down the top
And when he stood, the spray would stop.

Then Granddad felt extremely silly
And said “I am a Silly Billy!”
Then he picked up the can of spray
And moved it carefully away,
And sat down with his cup of tea
And said “At last some time for me!”

Later, in spite of Grannys wishes,
He still forgot to do the dishes.

Nick Mellersh Nov 2006

Hope you like this and hope I have n't put it up before.  

News is that Jeanie's pics are up in an exhibition in Lyndhurst community centre so if you are around Lyndhurst go and see them.  There's card and framed drawings as well as the ones on the walls.  Other people's are there as well.

Also plans for the Illustrated Fluteplaying ebook proceed apace.  See more about Jeanie's pics at her blog


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Two poems for spring

Taraxicum officianale (the common dandelion) in the Alexey Tolstoy crater on Mars. Widely considered to be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life. Photo courtesy NASA 2026. When astronaut Bud Blowhard tried to discover the time from a Martian dandelion clock he had to stop at 2,500,603 o'clock.  The low pressure atmosphere on the planet makes seed removal by blowing extremely problematical

 The Dandelion Fields of Mars​

The fields of dandelions on Mars

Have yet to be discovered.

But I won't be at all surprised

The day that they're uncovered.

Those yellow things get everywhere

It makes me quite forlorn

They can't be killed or driven out

Especially from my lawn.

I'm absolutely certain

They do it to annoy

For growing where unwanted

Is their single, simple joy.

When men land on the planet

And upon its surface burst.

The red planet will be yellow

'Cos the dandelions were first.

Nick Mellersh 2016

The rites of passage of the Liver Flukes

The rites of passage of the liver flukes

Don't feature is the lists of world's great books,

Where human rites of passage,

Had you wondered

Are in all but seven of the first eight hundred

And this is very odd because you see,

The flukes have eight, while we have only three.

Note: Liver flukes have the most amazing life cycle, first as eggs, then a swimming thing, then a parasite of a particular sort of snail, then as more swimming things then as parasites in (mostly) sheep and cattle livers and people's livers if they are unlucky!. For more see this

What's all this to do with spring?

You may reasonably wonder what these have to do with spring. The answer is that they are about the fecundity of life here on earth and the surprising fact that we can't find it anywhere else. All the more reason to cherish it, and ourselves, right here.

I personally think that God produced liver flukes to win a bet. There doesn't seem any rational reason to believe that anything as complicated as them could possibly survive, let alone thrive which they do.

Talking of the wonders of nature, one of the world's great books is Pilgrim on Tinker Creek by AnnieDillard. It doesn't actually talk of liver flukes but covers many equally strange and wonderful things. Read it if you are interested in the complexities and beauties of life.

Ebook news 

Jeanie's flute book Illustrated Fluteplaying written by her and Robin Soldan will be published as an ebook this summer.  To find the latest news go to

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Poems for Holy Week

Holy Week: A peek into Christ's Diary

It's going to be an awful week. Look at my diary
Sunday: Ride on donkey while crowds shout at me to fight and defeat the world's biggest army.
Monday: Kick out the cheats from the temple and get cursed for doing it.
Tuesday: Try to teach but get interrupted by tiresome know-all fanatics asking me trick questions.
Wednesday: Same as Tuesday. Then, at night, sweat blood praying we might find another way
Thursday: Supper with supporters. Nice, but most don't understand me and one plots to betray me. Arrested on my midnight walk.
Friday: Whipped, hauled in front of the Roman governor, crucified.
Saturday: Wrestle with the devil in hell, or so the myth-makers say.
Sunday: Come back alive. I hope. They'll be talking about it in two thousand years if I'm right. But sometimes I think maybe I'm not.

It's going to be an unholy awful week.

About Holy Week

Well Easter has come round again.  And  I thought I should put this poem up on the blog again.  What struck me when I was preparing an art exhibition for the church was how short a time these events took.  All in seven days.  Whether you are a believer or not (and to my mind this doesn't really matter) the world was changed by these seven days.  

It is interesting to think what Christ might have prayed on that Wednesday night.  A thought I had was that maybe the alternative to him going ahead with the crucifixion was quite simply ending the world just at that moment. "Enough of this failed experiment Father.  Let's cut our loses and start again."

Anyway since this poem has been on the blog before, here is another one religious one.  About how twisted and imperfect people are.

Pink Hyacinth


Pink Hyacinth I hate you,
Look, you should be blue.
Your colour is a sort of muted pink
Your growth is small and stunted.
Your scent bred out of you.
Pink Hyacinth I hate you.

And yet …. and yet …and yet
Pink Hyacinth I love you.
I love you for two things.
First the good intentions of the men
Who turned you pink.
But most, because, in spite of all,
You still remain a Hyacinth.

Men are the same,
Twisted away from our true beauty
Into shapes and colours that are wrong for us.
Perhaps God loves men (and me) the way I love pink hyacinths.
Nick Mellersh Jan 2015

And a last thought while I am looking through old poems.  I often have long talks with my counselor (a very impressive woman click here to read more) about ambition in life.  While religions urge us to try to be perfect and to be discontent when we fail, counselors seem to urge us just to try and be more or less OK and make the best of it.  The religious view seems too hard, the counselor's view too depressing.  Both are speaking to one or other side of the truth I suppose. Anyway here are my thoughts on this tangled matter.


When life is “all-right” well, that's sort of all-right
Well it's nearly all-right, well it's almost all-right.
Yes being all right, is sort of all-right
But it don't seem a target to aim for.
Maybe being all right is really all wrong
For “all-right's” not the life that we came for.

But being all wrong, to continue the song
Is the place where the most of us wallow,
And above the all-right, well we'll fall from that height,
There's a truth that we all have to swallow.

Nick Mellersh 2015

Anyway, life goes on as usual.  Jeanie is putting up some iPad paintings on her blog.  We have found a way to show them being built up stroke by stroke and hope to put up a serious video on painting on the iPad pretty soon.  Meanwhile you can see a few pics being created stroke for stroke on her blog.  and there is my daughter's blog to look at too.  Interesting stuff about bronzes, finally try looking at my nephew's latest film.  It's a bit of fun.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Valentine's poem for Jeanie

I thought this was rather neat and it gave Jeanie and me a lot of fun. She;s great!  Hope you enjoy it too.

PS: a new drawing coming up on Jeanie's life drawing blog

PPS:  We;re working on the ebook version of Illustrated Fluteplaying.  Hope it will be available this summer.  More soon.

PPPS  Our daughter Lucy has recently created a couple of amazing bronze women nudes. A picture is below.  You can see more and learn about the process of creating a bronze from her blog.
Bronze by daughter Lucy Mellersh.  Learn more at her blog  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is it true our pretty Christmas story?

And is it true

Our pretty Christmas story?

No never true, for it is more than true
The heart leaps at it.
It is a doorway into joy that each of us can enter.

The angels singing. Surely we hear that whisper when a baby's born.

The ox and ass bowing their heads.
It's right, for every child knows that in some ways,
The beasts see more than we do.

Then come the curious, shepherds and wise men,
The peasants and the sages both knowing
That something very new is here.

And last those two who haunted the doorways of the synagogues.
Anna and Simeon
Suddenly their doubt has ended
It's come what they'd been waiting for.

And was it like the pictures in our minds
An English landscape, snow, Mary a pure bred Anglo Saxon,
The baby blue eyed?

No it was not. But that's no matter.
No matter how we see it, it can be our way
to see that God is in this fearful world and cares for it.
For this is more than truth. It is a doorway into joy.
This Christmas let us go through the doorway.
Nick Mellersh 2016

Today (Sunday Jan 31) is Candlemass  the last act in the nativity story. When two strange prophets Simeon and Anna tell Mary that her son is something very amazing.  Heaven knows what Mary thought.  Weren't the angels enough without having two eccentric old pensioners disrupt the Christening?  Anyway here's a holy poem to mark the end of this Christmas.  I hope it makes you think.

The work on the ebooks continues and we are making good progress on Illustrated Fluteplaying as an ebook.

As ever there is a new set of drawings on the sister blog currently showing "A nude a week", well almost every week anyway.  See