Captain’s Log

Sir Francis Drake had what it takes

To sail around the world

And followed in Magellan’s wake

With England’s flag unfurled.

Along his route he plundered loot

Until the hold was packed

With millions from Brazilians

And the Spaniards he attacked.

On his return, the English yearned

To learn of far off places

Of queens and perils unforeseen

And men with painted faces.

Bess knighted Francis on his ship

While desperately hoping

He’d share his tips for crispy chips

And how to blow a smoke ring.

Soon after he was off again

And set sail heading west

But Fortune soon abandoned him

In this, his final quest.

Sir Francis survived cannon balls

And arrows tipped with poison

But in the end, when Nature called

It ravaged then destroyed him

For dysentery killed our man

Then almost caused a shipwreck

That’s why they sealed him in a can

And christened it the poop deck

Heir Heads

British Royal Family Tree - Guide to Queen Elizabeth II Windsor Family Tree

The last of the dishes put away and with both dogs farting up a storm after polishing off the unwanted sprouts, everyone gathered in front of the TV for Her Majesty’s Christmas message to the nation. At 95, The Queen appeared staid and resolute, a safe pair of hands to see us through the next 12 months.

She’s actually doing just fine, it’s the rest of the family that’s the problem.

Her Madge described the last few years as “quite bumpy” but that’s just how Philip drives after he’s had a few. Not only does he ram cars off the road, Philip’s a ticking time bomb who will say anything to anyone, especially if they’re foreign. Quite rich considering his father was Prince Andrew of Greece & Denmark, his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, Granny was a Russian and he was born in Greece but educated in France, Germany and England. Between them, they cover more countries than EasyJet.

Harry put the boot into his brother, the future king, admitting they hate each other’s guts, so good luck with the British media when they follow up on that juicy tidbit. Wills then hit back saying he’s “worried Harry might be bonkers,” which Harry then proved by announcing he’s making a documentary on mental health with Oprah. Then rumours that Kate and Meghan can no longer stand living in the same kingdom became evident when the Sussexes vacated Kensington Palace for an enchanted cottage guarded by poisonous frogs in the grounds of Westeros Castle. Then after spending millions to make it look exactly the same, the Sussexes let it go and fled to the icy Kingdom of Canadia. Bored after two days by the solitude and sheer beauty of their surroundings, and running low on Manuka Elbow Moisturiser, the pair then fled to California to… erm… escape the royals (which they’d already done), Britain (which they’d also already done) and the media (whom they’d asked to film their honeymoon).

It’s gonna be epic.

To cross over to the Dark Side completely, however, requires an examination of Princess Anne. And yes, she’s hard working but so are fire ants. For her Duke of Edinburgh Award, it’s rumoured a young Anne commissioned a wind-up Prince Philip doll capable of killing lesser royals. Often mistaken for an Amish horse hand by members of the Household Cavalry, an awkward Anne clung on to the fact that she remained the only princess in a stable of princes.

And then in walked Diana.

[the sound of a toy chest opening followed by some sort of wind-up mechanism]

Crossing her off their list, father and daughter then turned their sights on the next interloper. Rumour has it that during her initial stay at Kensington Palace, Prince Philip presented Kate Middleton with a Diana doll sans tête. While examining it thoughtfully, if not warily, their guest made a mental note of her nearest exit.

“She was pretty like you,” Princess Anne remarked. “She’s not pretty now, though… I’m the pretty princess now.”

“Isn’t she missing something?” Kate asked, pointedly.

“My bad,” Anne apologised, crushing her can of Pilsner and flicking it at her. “There’s the car.”

Hello World

Image result for Earth

I’m Mr Ormsby and thank you very much for dropping by.

Each of us has our own guilty pleasures: Chocolate Blackout Cake, slot machines, staying in our pajamas all day, seeing a stranger walk into a lamp post, etc.

Mine is words. Whether I’m at work or walking the dog, words are constantly ricocheting around my brain. For example, whilst writing this I’ve been wondering what the word is for that little piece of plastic on the end of shoelaces.

[for what it’s worth, we call it an aglet]

Sometimes I like to chew words and blow bubbles with them just to see where they land. At other times, I’ll painstakingly place them in regimented rows where they’re not allowed to move until given the order. Most days, however, I rely on words as ammunition in a world where I’m increasingly expected to explain my actions to others. And I must admit that it’s during these encounters when, for me, the fun begins. This is especially true when the occasion calls for returning swimwear without the receipt or spicing up one’s court testimony.

And so, this blog.

However before we continue any further, some context…

I recently started teaching in a new school so I haven’t had time to get to know everyone. On top of that, it has been pointed out to me more than once that I have replaced a very popular member of staff who left “before he was ready to go” (I don’t even want to know). This, now I’m only guessing here, might explain the slights I received in the form of gifts from my Secret Santa: a Yankee candle (they’re fully aware I’m Canadian), a voucher for 10 free tanning sessions (I’m ginger) and Maltesers (choking hazard). It’s the anonymity, of course, which is the appeal of Secret Santa but if I had to wager money on it I’d ascribe these unpleasant undertones to Jerry, our racist librarian.

Needless to say, I now keep the small talk to a minimum when checking out books.

In my blog you’ll find humorous poetry, vignettes, characters and outrageous word play along with the odd sober moment. And you can join me in my quest for the perfect rhyme because to me, and you purists are going to hate this, poetry needs to rhyme. Well, mine does anyway. I mean, could it be worse reading free verse?

See what I just did there?

(they hate that)

In any case, Dear Reader, I hope I make you laugh ’til you fart.

Mr Ormsby

P.S. Here’s an online interview with yours truly, if you’d like to know more:

March 19th, 2021

Bio:

I grew up in Toronto where upon graduating university I landed a job as a copy editor for a legal publisher. The work was poorly paid and mind-numbingly forensic with no room whatsoever for any creativity; we were basically word accountants. Upping sticks, I moved to the UK where I’ve ended up teaching high school. It can be a tough gig some days but the kids are insanely creative and there are always lots of opportunities for laughs with them. Often what I hear during the day inspires my writing.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

My greatest accomplishment to date would be starting my blog and sticking at it. I wrote loads when I was a kid, edited the newspaper at university and almost went into journalism so writing’s definitely in the DNA. And then finally, I got off the pot and started my blog. To date, I’ve posted a collection one publisher has called ‘eclectic’- it’s a mixture of humour, horror, poetry, prose, essays and opinions – which has attracted an equally eclectic readership. I’m proud of my efforts and honoured that others consider it worth reading.

Why do you write?

I guess I’ve got lots to say. Sadly, few of us are gifted orators and writing offers me the chance to get my points across without being interrupted. I’m not a very brave sort but when I write I become a superhero who’s unafraid to pull out the creative big guns and tackle anything. I use different styles and voices I wouldn’t normally get away with at home or at work; it’s very liberating being a homicidal demon one moment, then a camp Martian in hot pants the next.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? etc.)

I’m writing this on a laptop with my dog snoring next to me on the sofa. Years ago I used to rise early at weekends and write until noon, after which I spent the rest of the day making revisions. These days, however, I can write day or night. I’ll often write and then take the dog for a walk so I can mull it over without seeing it. Usually by the time we’ve returned home I’ve ‘pictured’ what I need to do and make the necessary changes. And I revise constantly, often searching days for the right word until I find it. It sounds tedious but not for me because I love hunting them down, day and night. For me, constant editing is essential because I rarely do anything right the first time.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

As more friends read my blog they’re becoming braver with their criticisms which is invaluable when it comes from those you trust. They’re catching everything from typos to non sequiturs which is surprising because a lot of them were raised outdoors.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

My blog contains the prologue of The Abomination which revolves around the First Nation peoples of Canada, the Church and a lot of cultural rituals we perform without knowing it. It’s a thriller and I’ve written about half of it so far. Right now I need to kill a character to further the plot and I can’t bring myself to do it. I would have made a terrible vet.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I would like every one of my students to have to read my work and then sit a three-hour exam on it. That would be poetic justice after having had to read all of their stuff over the years. Other than that, like most authors I simply wish to become widely-read because I’m not writing a diary. That’s it, really.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Write about what you know and research what you don’t know before writing about that. And don’t be intimidated because someone’s already covered what you were going to write about – what you have to say may spin the whole thing on its head. In this life, we have few opportunities to break rules without ending up before a judge; writing has no rules except those you impose upon yourself, so impose as few as possible and go for it.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Honesty: draw ideas from all around but don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.

A decent vocabulary (or a thesaurus): make every word count because the readers deserve it.