Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

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Arrival of the Brits in Dalyan

Arrival of the Brits in Dalyan

Morning came with steady rain

They were the first to complain

No sunshine only cloud I heard them moan

If we’d known then we would have stayed at home

A quick shower and then a visit to the breakfast bar

They’ve already forgotten where they parked the rental car

They looked in vain for sausage bacon black pudding and baked beans

Looked out the window in dismay at the rain which still streams

Forgetting the hotel in raincoats they head out to the street

Until they see the sign they longer for and a notice to greet

Full English Breakfast Come Inside Now faces break into a smile

Like Heaven is beckoning and in they file

Just as they wished and there’s even Instant Coffee too

To wash down the bacon sarnies that they chew

Gosh There’s even Sky News on the telly

Father burps out loud He’s filled his belly

Tracy’s happy now she’s connected to Snapchat

You just can’t wish for more than that

Now all agree there’s really no need to groan

This is so much better than being at home.

Copyright: David Hopcroft April 2023


The Influencer

The Influencer

She built up her following with the greatest of ease

Pictures she posed for soon attracted her first million likes

Selling a broken promise that was claimed to please

Carefully selecting a profile that for her audience excites

An opportunity to rise in importance from the tease

In front of a green screen creating make-believe nights

Open your wallet and see more

Open your purse to see what’s in store

Swipe the card don’t be a bore

Follow the fashion ignore the flaw

She became an expert on everything she knew nothing about

Seeking out those items that others wished her to endorse

A smile brimming with confidence to dispel any doubt

That mint-flavoured toothpaste was essential for your horse

Pickled walnuts and strawberry ice cream were a cure for gout

Everyone believed pink plastic saunas were used by the Norse

Hurry along or the sale might end

You have make-believe money to spend

If you run out somebody will lend

Add to your basket then hit send

She had success with the silent car horn that caught drivers unaware

Which she claimed would help in reduction of accidents from road rage

To be fair this was true and the silent door bell had a hint of care

Deterring all those with whom you had no wish to engage

The non-reflective mirror at which you could stare

An image of pre-printed beauty where you were centre stage

Forget the invoices just celebrate

Don’t pass by and don’t be late

All was meant to be yours That is fate

Live out life in a crypto-currency state

All went well until she promoted the silent dog whistle

And was sued by a Labrador for patent infringement

The court ruling went against her in a massive epistle

Replaced by a robot she felt a sense of estrangement

When all her backers were unanimous in her dismissal

But the shopping continued with renewed bewitchment

Digital wallets were replenished each day

To buy everything you just threw away

Don’t wait for tomorrow you must buy today

Forget about saving you must not disobey

Copyright: David Hopcroft February 2023

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How George discovered internet dating

How George discovered internet dating !

by David Hopcroft on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:49pm

Astride his trusting steed, the great war-horse England, the much celebrated knight pondered, thinking of the great victories at Dorylaeum and Jerusalem, wondering what life would now bring upon his return home. He had signed on as anon.crusader, persuaded by his good friend Sir Gawain (he who sought the holy grail, anon.Indiana), the rescuer of damsels, the answer to fair maiden’s dreams, the man who’d clasped a thousand bosoms, 6′ 6″ and athletic too. His polished lance, cut from sturdy oak in Sherwood, held aloft, adorned with the colours of a hundred ladies who had paid homage to his nights , tributes to his success. George, the knight bachelor, lifted his visor, the red plume on his helmet streaming out in the wind, the slain dragon an emblem on his jupon.

The small Saxon bootshine boy polished the shining armour nervously, aware that towering above him was the legend of It was April 23rd, he had planned to end his membership, things had seemed quiet recently, dragons were fewer and those that were left were largely visitors from Japan their cameras held between their claws, the Christians seemed more intent upon fighting amongst themselves, and the modem had been strangely silent.

He dialled upon his Saxonphone, there was a message ! Could this be the call he was waiting upon, a last adventure to end in happiness ? He gazed at the runes scratched out on the screen, and the words spelled out a message……

To: anon.crusader (
From: anon.indistress

Knight in shining armour needed to rescue me and satisfy my dreams. Held captive by the dragon Harriet. No smokers. Brain to match basinet. I am slender and curvy, blue-eyed and blonde. Activity partner needed urgently.

George yanked sharply upon the reins, dug his spurs deep into England’s side (who muttered something about writing to an Animal Welfare group if he did that again). His shield, decorated with a baton sinister and a gift from the Burger King (it came with a Western Whopper), held close to his side, he pointed the destrier to the west.

He rode purposefully across the countryside, slaying beasts where’er he found them (lions, unicorns, double-headed eagles, and even topping the odd fleur-de-lys), and being chased furiously by wardens from the National Parks. He stopped but once, at Taco Bell, when hunger briefly overtook him.

All day he rode, intent upon his mission, across hill and dale, and through the great forests of redwood, until at last he came to the spot where destiny awaited.

The castle stood atop a small hill, its bleak grey walls and battlements a landmark upon the countryside. Hanging from the window near the summit of a tower was a sheet, upon which were scrawled the words “England, I have need of thee !”. A small white face peered from the window, the hair shining gold in the evening sunlight, the lips red and inviting. Desire, for that was her chosen name, waited anxiously and hopefully, knowing that one day the knight of her dreams would come.

Sitting on a rocking chair beneath the gatehouse, guarding the rusting portcullis and old drawbridge, sat the dragon Harriet (anon.scales).

An old Harley-Davidson, well-kept and polished carefully over the years by the long tail, stood nearby, still ready to roar into action at one strong kick.

Spying her knight in shining armour breaking from the woods Desire let out the immortal cry……. “My God Harry, here’s England ! And Saint George !”

Unsheathing his sword, St. George addressed the dragon thus, “What wicked deeds I do hear of thee. With this trusty sword I must slay thee and release the fair maiden from her tower.”

The dragon, Harriet, raised a weary eye. She had been ill in recent weeks, her temperature had fallen to below ignition point. She was breathing deeply, but the smoke barely left the blue nostrils. She sneezed, and England bucked beneath a hail of sparks.

“You wish to save a maiden fair ? But what of me, kind sir ? For since my husband ran off in search of the maid of Orleans (anon.jofarc) I have raised this wench alone. What has she done for me ? Suitors, I have seen many, though none have stayed beyond the night. How can “huggable” compare with petite or cute, or forty-plus-something with young and vibrant ?.

Each visitor has sat and talked, exchanged the memories, then climbed the stairs with her. I have been kicked from rock to well, as the villagers have mocked my form come each rogation day. “

St. George paused, and gazed upon the lonely form. Her big brown eyes were really quite appealing, and she did flutter her wings in a most unusual way.

He raised his sword, then returned it to its sheath, reaching slowly for his silver hip flask (engraved “a gift from for filling in every survey form we have sent you”). He unscrewed the cap gently and carefully poured a potion of petrol (unleaded, for was she not really a green dragon ?).

He gazed at Harriet, then raised his eyes to the tower to look upon Desire, the maiden he had ridden hard and far to rescue.

Desire fluttered her eyes, pouted her lips, and leaned forward from the window, her form becoming ever more evident to George’s vision.

“Oh George ! You must rescue me ! Only you can answer my hopes and make my dreams come true. The others were but naught, I have only eyes for thee.”

George slowly raised his visor, had not Sir Lanceolot told him of similar words (?), his gaze drifted back again to Harriet. Harriet sipped slowly at her drink, the colour came back to her cheeks, her scales regained their glow, and the smoke from her nostrils slowly turned to the flickering flames, reminding George of quiet firesides and warmer evenings.

Dismounting the horse that had served through many battles, he walked slowly over to Harriet and placed his arms around her, lifting her gently to the Harley. He mounted this new metallic horse, kicked it into life, its roar more fierce than any dragon.

He looked at Desire.

“England may well hath need of you”, he cried, “but I have found my Lady !”

And together they rode off into the sunset, leaving Desire, with her horse, still waiting for her dream to come true.

Copyright: David Hopcroft 1997

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Who’s afraid of the big bad beast?

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast ?

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

Who eats up all the sheep

There used to be some animals

Who pretended they were really fierce

They laughed and mocked the big bad beast

Who did not give three figs

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

Who eats up all the sheep

The the big bad beast he ate a sheep

So the eagle went to hide

He flew away and crowed from high

I’m not really afraid

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

Who eats up all the sheep

So the big bad beast ate another sheep

And the bulldog tried to bark

But the beast threw the doggy a little bone

And the bulldog went away

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

Who eats up all the sheep

Then the big bad beast ate another sheep

And a lion began to roar

He he put his tail between his legs

And slowly slunk away

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

Who eats up all the sheep

But when the big beast ate another sheep

A little mouse spoke up

Saying I’m not going to stand for this

And he faced up to the beast

Who’s afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

I’m not afraid of the big bad beast

Said the mouse as he beat his chest

The mouse was joined by lots of other mice

And the beast began to tremor

For the mice were living in the bad beast’s lair

And they rose up against the beast

We’re not afraid of the big bad beast

The big bad beast The big bad beast

We’re going to beat the big bad beast

He’s not going to get his way

The beast he turned his tail and ran away

But history tells it differently

Claiming it was the fierce animals

That really won the day

But they were afraid of the big bad beast

The eagle bulldog and lion

It was the mice that really won the day

To save eagle bulldog and lion

David Hopcroft March 2022

(with thanks to Henry Hall and Frank Churchill who wrote the original)


Flying Welsh Dragons

Flying Welsh Dragons

They were flying around this morning breathing fire

Red-bodied with green-tipped wings going to and fro

Seeking out a wizard sleeping soundly upon a bed

On waking sought instruction what did he require

A spell that had been made now seemed to grow

Yet the wizard knew not by whom the spell was led

So the dragons flew a little further to chance upon a seer

What sayest thou seer By whom was such a spell cast

A wave of his hand appeared the purple swirling mist

The seer looked on confused, no forms to be seen here

‘Tis a stronger spell that e’er I saw so surely it will last

This is no pagan binding that is tied upon the wrist

Dragons flew onward searching the deepest cave

Where bubbling cauldrons squealed a sound

Ask the witch they said she’s testing her new broom

The witch listened to the dragons then gave a mighty wave

I know not of such a spell she said and then frowned

Try earth spirits to see if the One escaped the tomb

Through the woods dragons flew landing in a glade

Where earth spirits had embarked upon secret chants

Wood nymphs naked flew to dance on mushroom tops

Their tale told earth spirits wondered if a spell had strayed

Whilst wood nymphs gazed with awe as they made a dance

Leaping from mushrooms to toadstools sliding down dew drops

Just then an old man in a ragged coat passed by the scene

Seeing the puzzled dragons asked what might be ailing them

They told of this spell of love that no evil seemed to break

The old man smiled and said Surely you know what this must mean

Only One had the power to bless and prevent all forms of mayhem

Faith in One had cast the spell that they did make

Copyright: David Hopcroft July 2019 (revised 2022)

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Life In The Care Home

Life in the Care Home

Wallace and Wendy proclaimed they had known each other for years

Though Matron assured me they had only met last week

Childhood sweethearts Wendy said as she held back some tears

Wallace remembered meeting her in a canoe on the creek

They had paddled their way through life

Living as man and wife

Wendy had met him on a large ocean liner

That had docked somewhere in South Carolina

Of course she’d been married several times before

Mostly to men but she couldn’t be sure

Wallace had a memory that led him astray

He remembered tomorrow as clear as yesterday

Horace sat everyday in the same wicker chair

He read the same paper over and over again

Saving him money but the pages had wear and tear

Never aware the stories were always the same

Once I brought him a copy of the Washington Post

He coloured in the crossword squares in record time

Always looked forward to the Sunday roast

Which his sister brought in a crock pot with added wine

Hilary loved the weekends when the visitors came

She hijacked as many as she could she had no family of her own

Recounting stories of make-believe children who found fame

You have to be creative when you’ve been left all alone

Once she kept the postman as hostage for several hours

She only released him when he paid a ransom with flowers

Molly could never remember her large family by name

She gave her children different names every week

Was it Wilf or Ronnie or Fred they never seemed to complain

Not that they had time once she started to speak

For in seven days the gossip she had overheard

Could fill several cauldrons with the spoon she stirred

Miranda had been an electrical engineer

Before her grandchildren had dumped her in here

Like a no-name baby left on a doorstep from fear

She had organized wheelchair rallies in the local park

They did donuts around the bandstand after dark

Until the police put an end to their fun and play

When Miranda was caught speeding on the motorway

Social services said they needed more outside activity

So each was given a garden plot to cultivate

Fifty ageing hippies freed from captivity employing creativity

Soon ten acres of weed was harvested and the cake

Made in the kitchen gained in affection

Until discovered by a Health and Safety inspection

Had the law been different then the reporting

Would have described the home as being self-supporting

But they still knew where the magic mushrooms grew

And on Fridays Flo in the kitchen would make happiness stew

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

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Robina Hood

Robina Hood

In which our heroine makes merry her men ….

She sat beneath the old green oak, clad in tights and shortest cloak
A picture of beauty to greet the morn
Robina hood of lasting fame, unto Sherwood finally came
A light that sparkled with the dawn.

They looked and glanced, they sat entranced
A bedraggled band of men
For each had groped and each had hoped
But she’d spurned the lot of them.

What ? merry Men ? They look so pale ! Why recount a doleful tale ?
So gathered from the forest floor,
In cooking pot that bubbles, to vanish all their troubles ..
Magic mushrooms by the score !

They each sat down to drink a fill, old Wat himself and Scarlet Will,
Their eyes lit up ! They were elated !
Jumping from the ground they danced around
In manner unco-ordinated.

With arms upraised, their eyes were glazed
She led them from their hidden den
With a little mocking, showed them some black stocking …
Followed on her merry men !

Where our heroine has an encounter upon a bridge …..

Coming soon to clearing green, separated by a stream
Robina found moss covered log to cross
Forth with footstep that was fleet, felt the clout of heavy feet
Look-ed up, gave a cry ! Set her foot upon the moss

Crossing from the further shore, a giant from those days of yore
She gazed again and with a sigh ..
Fluttering her eyes, to his surprise
Cried out aloud “A man, oh my !”

Took an arrow from her quiver, felt her body give a shiver
“Give way my friend and let me pass”
As thoughts are dreams, or so it seems,
“We could make hay within yon grass”

His laugh became a great guffaw, voice let out a mighty roar,
“You judge me wrong, my pretty chick”
For in his imagination, no room for discrimination,
“To have me you must pass my stick”

“Lets see your stave, you churlish knave”
She cried with much excitement
And with a laugh, took out his staff
And saw her disappointment.

He turned his cap, and raised his bat
And called for her to pitch
Though he was frightening, she struck like lightening,
And dumped him in the ditch

So maidens fair in seeking men, have hopes excited by the pen,
Yet such imagination cannot be a sin
Just as Yuletide every year, often brings forth a little tear
When packaging flatters much the gift within.

In which our heroine finds her wishes unfulfilled …..

Love in waiting hath pre-empted, she would surely soon be tempted,
So to curb instinct’s desire
Journeyed in this month of May, to Fountains Abbey for to pray,
Confess herself to Tuck the Friar.

Yearning of her body felt, knew that heart soon would melt
Behind the curtain’s velvet screen
A voice so deep, she could not sleep
Woken from her dreams, was missing, imagination for the kissing

Coming soon to Abbey’s gate, hoped that she could plot a fate,
Cast eyes upon sweet mouth that spoke,
Share a smile, then dwell awhile,
Determine should he become her bloke.

This Saxon maid was not afraid,
Pressed her lips close on the curtain,
Pushing hard against the thread, felt the form of merry head,
Pecked his cheek, she was certain.

His vows forgotten, heart that had been downtrodden,
Drove the Friar to try his luck,
Abandoned he her confession, time to give another lesson !
Cried, “I am your man, just call me Tuck !”

Reputation to be made, cri-ed out our fair maid,
“My Friar, I hear that you are merry !”
Throwing up her pretty head, pouting forth lips so red
“Give me your love, I’ll be your cherry !”

Now Tuck was of the very few, who could make the wonder brew,
“Ah, but your cheeks, they seem so pale”
In its time yeast had fermented, barley, hops; so she consented
To sup upon his finest ale !

She sipped from finest crystal glass, he gulped upon his mug of brass,
She sips again, whilst he refills,
Drips of ale from the barrel, fall upon Holy apparel,
As Tuck turneth pale at the gills.

Tho’ he were large and quite a brute, she was small, even cute,
The brew it weaved its strangest spell,
Her emotions stronger, could wait no longer,
Into his arms she gently fell.

Hoped upon her annointment, with a gush of Holy ointment,
Felt his warmth, wished for more
To unify this appointment. Suddenly, more disappointment ….
She could hear familiar snore !

In which the desires of age are partly to be met …..

Slumber alone beneath the oak, snuggled in that small green cloak,
A winter that became a mockery,
The letter that she wanted most, shot from an arrow in the post,
To say that she had won her man in lottery !

Alas, the prize it did not come, Spring followed now with winter done
Still there was no real hunk
Body it became quite frail, lacking sustenance from male,
Withering of cur-ved trunk

But April with its showers nourished, and her body duly flourished
Hopes and wishes were soon sighs
Blossoming of trees in May, felt that she could have her day
Girded up those green clad thighs

Merry men were not beaten, having of more fungus eaten
Packed their bags with more supplies
Journeyed forth to some village, not to rape or indulge in pillage
Trading magic potions in disguise

Emerging from the darkened wood, led by their Robina Hood
Unto a hamlet ‘neath a hill
Dancing in a twirling dress, a girl with face that was so fresh
A form that beckoned with a will

Robina’s heart with sorrow filled, had age her beauty finally killed ?
Such were her feelings, and she grieved
Then the maiden gaily skipping, became a victim of her tripping
Wait … eyes were mistaken, the mind deceived.

Underneath that petticoat, sight she saw put lump in throat,
Wishing she’d not been uncouth
For legs once clothed were now exposed
Revealing fairest flower of youth.

For where the world yields not man, you must take what you can
Heart cries out so full of joy,
“Summer’s come, Spring has passed, and now, oh now, at long last
I’ve found my very own toy boy.”

A moment then of some suspicion, could such a union yield fruition ?
Asked she for reason of his clothing.
“‘Tis my penance from a Squire, I dipped iron in daughter’s fire,
And he made me Marion for my roving !”

So the lad kept his disguise, revealed he only to her eyes
And then only in some shady glade
The mushroom men this secret kept, and often while they had slept
Marion his reputation made.

In which our heroine makes her choice ……….

As this story still is told, my memory does not grow cold
Stole from the rich, thieved from the poor
Robbed the barons of their riches, merry men she had in stitches
When even taxmen lost their britches

So it was in her annoyance, Robina announced with much flamboyance
No longer would she a maiden tarry,
Ready riches soon were given, jewellery and fine linen,
It was the Sheriff she would marry !

Down the aisle, walked with a smile,
Soldiers side by side with archers.
Sheriff dressed in finest white; legs in green were quite a sight
Folks they came from all the marches.

In those early days of flower power, the act which is the finest hour
He fastened a ring within her nose
Belly bulging, somewhat indulging,
Sank he down to kiss her toes

Hearken now ! The great crusader, better surely now than later
Back from all those business trips abroad ….
Saving Jerusalem for glory ….. nobody believes that story !
‘Twas maidens who had known his silvered sword !

Riding high upon great steed, soon to fill his last deed
Coming fast to castle gate
Its Great King Dick, but wait a tick …
The hero has arrived too late !!

© David Hopcroft 1995

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Under The Kissing Ball

Under the Kissing Ball

Haste to the arch my fellows the season is in full swing

Saturnalia has arrived bringing merriment for queen and king

Seek out the mistletoe like the calling bird on the wing

Meet those with whom you quarrelled see what peace will bring

Don’t give this season’s opportunity a miss

There’s a lass who’s waiting there for her first kiss

Don’t hesitate or you might lose such bliss

Prepare to gather all you need for the Holy bough

Old Olwen in her cottage will tell you how

The holly with red berry is ready now

Let mistletoe and evergreen your work endow

Joseph Mary and Jesus will form your centrepiece

One kiss beneath and such love will never cease

Is that the curate I see with the parson’s niece?

Now comes the Puritan to dampen our celebration

Christmas spirit is to be banished throughout the nation

Whitewashed church walls signal purification

Time stands still to await a Victorian aberration

Lads and lassies to the Druid’s grove will sneak away

Where mistletoe from oak will give pleasure to their play

Climbing back through windows before the break of day

All hail then and thanks to Albert the enlightened Victorian

Whose festive Germanic imagination leaves no comparison

The kissing ball makes a comeback bringing bundles of fun

Smooching in the servants hall so says the historian

A saucy little footman sneaks up on the kitchen maid

Cook holds firm to the butler until his debt is paid

A washerwoman grabs the gardener she knows how this game is played

Upstairs in the ballroom such joy was embraced with elaboration

Apple cores with berries and greenery were the expectation

Then lavender and rosemary added to the imagination

Messages of loyalty and devotion the signs of adoration

Farewell the Puritan who declared this was wrong

Those waiting for the kiss must join the merry throng

Claim your position in the line before the berries are gone

Now Christmas has changed and so much has been lost

The kissing ball is plastic and comes from China at a cost

Life seems artificial and we even spray on Jack Frost

Television and booze reign now tradition has been tossed

But I still make a Holy bough to add a little bliss

Tell me my my dear would something be amiss

If I snuck up behind you and tried to steal a kiss?

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

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The Big Match

The Big Match

We sat beside them on at bus and played together at the school

Met up at weekends to go fishing by the pool

But on this one afternoon they were the opposition

For ninety minutes they would be the enemy

The subject of our village rivalry

The elders had laid out the battlefield

With fencing stakes to mark the goals

Bamboo poles with mother’s rags

Served to mark four corner flags

An enthusiastic father had marked out the boundary lines

Jim’s dad say we could use his garden shed as the changing room

Some had shirts and shorts and even proper socks

We all had leather boots and were ready for the fray

Taking the field to cheers from mums and dads the warrior way

Who would be the victors and emerge triumphant on the day

Whilst the vanquished would be left to plan for another year

The whistle blows ‘Onward lads’ we’ll show no fear

Boots hacked around and the ball flew everywhere

Bouncing off molehills and bodies in the afternoon sun

Did we even keep the score or was it just for fun

Dribbling past the odd stray dog

Parents and others looking on all agog

Half time came with a real orange slice

Rolled-up newspapers to protect our shins

We’d practised taking penalties between dustbins

Almost time and scores still level

Nobody here is playing for a draw

A mass of bodies moves from end to end

Somewhere in the midst of flailing boots there is a ball

Suddenly the ball emerges

Looping high towards the sky

The crowd of players follows its descent

Too late

Kelly’s Doberman is on the loose and really fast

Sinks his teeth into the leather

Punctured bladder the ball deflates

So a draw it is and honour satisfied for another year.

In back streets and on waste land such matches are still played

Where skills are honed and sometimes a player makes the grade

A legend whose name will be held in awe through the years

And many in the snug after a few English bitter beers

Will boast they played with him on that day

And scored a hat trick before the dog got in the way

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2021