Dressed to Empress

Laughing, blue-eyed girl

Reconciled to fate

Ermine laced with pearl

Elizabeth The Great

Tudor Suitor

Royal Cradle | Photo

Old King Henry had six wives
Whose days were full of dread
For most of them led tragic lives
Then often wound up dead.
Catherine of Aragon
To whom he first proposed
Could not produce a princely son
So he said Adios!
Then Anne Boleyn, closer to home
Demanded that they wed
So Henry cut off ties with Rome
And then cut off her head.
Poor Jane Seymour was the one
Who finally played her part
When she, at last, produced a son
But died, which broke his heart.
Anne of Cleves, the next one booked
Was regal, young and wealthy
The problem was she didn’t look
Quite like her royal selfie.
Catherine Howard, it was said
No man had ever dated
But rumours spread after they’d wed
So was decapitated.
Catherine Parr, a lively sort
Who wielded her own power
Helped organise his kids and court
Once she’d escaped The Tower.

All Henry wanted was a son
A prince whom he could teach
To rule his people when he’d gone
But this was out of reach.
The irony which overwhelms
This patriarchal scene?
He gave to England and its realms
Perhaps their greatest queen
Because Young Bess, put to the test
Excelled in her employ
And showed the world it takes a girl
To do it like a boy.

Branch Locator

Scientists Attempt to Make Monkeys Smarter by Adding a Human Gene | Science  Times

Without any apology

I traced my genealogy

In hope I’d find an entry

Replete with well-heeled gentry.

Perhaps a Duke without an heir

Yet to bequeath his titled lair

Or better yet a Duchess

Who’d keep me in her clutches.

I dreamed of billionaire tycoons

Who sipped and supped from silver spoons

Whose present state of wealth

Fared better than their health.

But no! I learned my great-great-gran

Was jailed because she shot a man

Who wooed her in a heath

Then ran off with her teeth.

Another ancestor trained bears

To ride on bikes and dance on chairs

Until they grew to hate him

I guess that’s why they ate him.

Much further back, one of our crowd

Could summon rain down from a cloud

But locals weren’t that smitten

Because they lived in Britain.

If you’ve swung through my family tree

Please have the cheque made out to me

Because this brachiator

Wants paying now, not later.

Knight Shift

silhouette photography of person

Take me to that fabled time

When destiny was more sublime

When noble quests were blessed by God Himself

Where crones intoned prophetic rhymes

While wizards read the stars for signs

And deep within each hollow hid an elf.

Take me to a time before

When magic could unlock a door

And conjurers cried out Abracadabra!

Where every frog tried to convince

Young maidens he might be a prince

And sonnets were composed by candelabra.

To play a brazen game with Death

One leap beyond the dragon’s breath

Dispatching ogres twice the height of men

And then, to lay beneath a tree

While my sweet Lady sings to me

For as she does, my soul’s restored again.

Take me to that fabled time

The course now clear

No more to roam

Astraeus, chart the stars for home

Thank Queue

Savannah Bananas Mascot Split Lounging Around - April 8, 2016 ...

“I’m watching you,” the voice came down the phone.
“Where are you?” I asked, pulling into the car park.
“Drive straight on until you see a yellow Smart Car. I’m just past it on the right.”
“Did you say yellow Smart Car?”
“I know, don’t even…”
“Who in their right mind drives around in a yellow Smart Car?”
“Banana Man.”
“Who’s Banana Man?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe Big Bird’s in town.”
“Big Bird couldn’t drive a Smart Car with those huge toes. They’re the size of fire extinguishers.”
“Maybe it’s an automatic.”
“Again, with feet that size, I’d say: still too dangerous.”
“Yet it’s perfectly okay for a banana to get behind the wheel?” I queried. “I’m appalled and yet intrigued.”
“Ah, well… bananas are good for you.”
“I don’t know what’s real anymore.”
“Good because I need you to shut up anyway.”
“Why?”
“Because our little yellow friend has a bumper sticker.”
“NO!”
“Oh, yes. Would you like to know what it says?”
“More than I need toilet paper.”
“It’s contains an axiom for all of humanity,” I was baited further, “written in glitter.”
I slammed on the brakes.
“I’m ready to learn! Give me the knowledge!”
“Kittens are angels with whiskers.”

smiling kitten pictures | image courtesy of google images | Animal ...

“So are grannies,” I argued, as the vehicle in question came into view. “Jesus, they’re driving a two-door lemon!”
“Dog-hating weirdos,” Laverne muttered, watching me park. “Long time, no see. How are you?”
“Fine,” I started walking over.
“Stop right there or I’ll activate my Social Distancing Alarm!” she stretched out her arm like a traffic cop.
“Sorry, I’m still getting used to all that,” I raised my arms and backed away slowly.
“Luckily, I’ve been practising social distancing since kindergarten,” she scoffed. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

We’d arranged to meet at ASDA because our respective households were running low on essentials, plus, we wanted to catch up with each other in person. Crossing the supermarket car park, we noticed that the queue curled out of the entrance and along the entire storefront before disappearing around a corner.
“Good God!” Laverne stopped dead in her tracks. “They’re lining up the infected and shooting them!”
“More toilet paper for us then.”
“Quite right,” she pressed onward. “Every cloud and all that.”

As we were making our way past countless, evenly-spaced shoppers the Queue Coordinator spotted me. Jean usually worked the cigarette counter but had been commandeered to keep customers orderly outside. We knew one another through her daughter, Tracy, a neighbour.
“John, what are you doing in the queue?” she asked. “You’re an essential worker. You can go straight in. Who’s this?”
“I’m the help,” Laverne winked.
“Not with that ring, you’re not,” Jean laughed. “Go on then, if you’re together.”
“These two are essential workers!” she hollered to a colleague guarding the entrance and, as if pre-rehearsed, the queue burst into spontaneous applause.
“What the-”
“You’re the new Harry & Meghan,” Jean cackled. “Work that red carpet!”

“I was going to be a nurse,” Laverne whispered, before addressing the queue. “Remember, 2m apart! Social distancing means more nurses on the job and fewer ill at home.”
“Would you shut the hell up?” I whispered back.
“Not a chance,” she smiled and waved to her subjects. “Look at how happy they are. Anyway, it could have been worse: your friend could have said we were the new Donald & Melanoma.”
“You mean Melania.”
“What’s the difference?”
“You’d know if you were a nurse.”
“Hey, I’ve got a husband and three teenaged sons which means I’ve been on call since 1978,” Laverne said, blowing a well-wisher a kiss.
“Five minutes ago you were passing yourself off as my housekeeper.”
“And now look at me. John, my mere presence is filling the great void within these peoples’ lives. If there’s one thing I learned in school it’s that nature abhors a vacuum.”
True, indeed, just not as much as my housekeeper.

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.”