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 John Barclay

Welcome to my website!

I wish you the condiments of the seasoning.







Who says, “Things can’t get worse?” Theresa May has today appointed yet another Brexit Secretary, Noel (deal or no deal) Edmonds.

These days, I am weighed down back by existential tiredness. I eat my breakfast listening to “The Today Programme”, then fall asleep, waking up during “In Our Time”, which I turn off in order to flop onto my bed, for a further zizz, at last summoning the energy to take a shower, starting with the water cold to shake me out of my lethargy so that I can get dressed by coffee time, during which I plan how to make the best use of what’s left of the day. Occasionally, I manage to get out of the house before midday, ahead of the short afternoon we have to expect at this time of year. I think of myself as a night-bird, but I’m probably just a S A D case.




I am not a badge of honour.

I am not a racist smear.

I am not a fashion statement

to be worn but once a year.


I am not glorification

of conflict or of war.

I am not a paper ornament,

a token – I am more.


I am a loving memory

of a father, daughter or son,

a permanent reminder

of each and every one.


I’m paper or enamel.

I’m old or shining new.

I’m a way of saying, ‘Thank you’

to everyone of you.


I am a simple poppy,

a reminder to you all

that courage, faith and honour

will stand where heroes fall.


Nicky Cook


WW1 poet Siegfried Sassoon’s poem written on learning of the end to hostilities




Everyone suddenly burst out singing;

and I was filled with such delight

as prisoned birds must find in freedom

winging wildly across the white

orchards and dark-green fields; on; on; and

out of sight.


Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted,

and beauty came like the setting sun.

My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

drifted away . . . O but every one

was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing

will never be done.


I am working on material for a Christmas entertainment. Meanwhile, I have sent a collection of poems “for all ages” to my editor for her comments and suggestions. Then I shall be looking for a Dorset artist to provide line drawings for the book I hope they will make.




Dennis Tennis explains how artificial stretch marks are allowing infertile women to undress without shame.

Do cats have a sense of humour? Roger Trouser investigates.

How inflation affects the balloon industry. Puffy Matthews meets the young helium magnates.

National Treasure, Alan Bennett, tells Mary Glertoqychw why he can’t be arsed to perfect his plays.

Women can do everything except make other women pregnant – Ovary Robinson looks at the latest trends in virgin birth.

Finally, don’t miss our pull-out-and-throw-away supplement on Island Life, in which James Salamander asks, “What is the Point of ‘Love Island’?”, while Patsy Bosom visits an island trying to ban the electron.


In May, my one-hour satirical revue, “What Seems to be the Trouble?”, was given a splendid rehearsed reading by some talented and experienced players at a private function in the Midlands, well ahead of the current epidemic of TV and radio programmes marking the 70th Anniversary of the NHS. It went down well with an invited audience including some medical practitioners, who said it hit the spot. I’m hoping that at least some of the material will get another outing.

I am now building a mini-float for the Rex Players’ contribution to the Wareham Carnival Procession on July 22nd. I say “mini-float” because, instead of the traditional open lorry, I’m building up my box-shaped Renault Kangoo and decorating it in line with the Procession theme “Brollies and Parasols”.


The above was a great success. The mini-float bearing Queen and Duke look-alikes  induced much laughter. The day brought in several possible new members.



5   Train Journeys

Train is the most civilised way to travel. Less cramped than flying, you can enjoy a steady speed and look out of the window. You can move about. If you’re lucky you can sit at a table, which allows you easily to eat a snack or read a newspaper. You can talk to other passengers or secretly watch them, wondering what sort of lives they lead. And someone else is doing the driving.


4   Fresh Peas

The pea is a delightful vegetable which, like the banana, comes with its own packaging. Shelling the little fellows, so uniform and round, lined up for harvesting, is a most agreeable activity, which can be shared with all ages. I find I can shell with one hand while holding the phone to my ear with the other hand. The smell of a pod just opened is subtle but delightful. Easy to cook, peas go well with anything except cabbage and broad beans. Excuse me, I’m just going to have a pea.


3  Sitting outside in the shade on a hot day

Sunbathing is too much like work – or roasting and basting a chicken. Sitting in the shade is relaxing and agreeable. It induces a sense of wellbeing, without any down side. And the light is good for reading or fine work such as sewing or tackling a crossword. Best of all butterflies entertain you and birds keep you company.


2  Hanging out the Washing

It’s usually the day’s first visit to the back garden.The fresh air and the singing of the birds always makes me feel better. The other day I washed a pair of new pyjamas by hand on their own (“Wash before Wearing”) and hung them out on the line. The weather turned to rain, which grew heavy, and I forgot about my washing. The next day, I looked out to see the jacket dangling wet from a single clothes peg and the trousers escaped from the line and stuck on the hedge. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?


1 Gazing at the Moon

Whenever I’m out in the dark, I look for the moon to see what phase it has reached. I myself hjave reached the phase in my life of taking pleasure from the full moon, something I was too busy for when I was younger. Now, I work out whether the moon is waxing or waning. Waxing and waning is something I do a lot myself these days, but not on a regular basis, unlike the moon. If the moon is waxing, I keep an eye on it to catch its night of maximum fullness. I look out early evening, when it seems larger than usual because then it appears close to terrestrial objects such as trees and building; later it seems smaller, lost in the middle of the vast dome of the night sky.

I think of the human explorers who fifty years ago landed on the moon. and I call to mind the millions of people who gazed at the moon long before Armstrong and Aldrin,and I try to imagine what they made of it. I must be a “luna”tic!



I now offer a special service to my visitors – free comedy material. I realised that I had written a number of sketches, mini-dramas, song lyrics and so on, and liked the idea of sharing them with people with similar interests to my own. I felt it would be too much work to sell the stuff, so I am giving it away. Nearly all of it has been tried and tested by me or people close to me. Please see my new Comedy Material page.