So people do stuff for money.

So, then, devious and deep duplicity takes over

from ability.

And the rest,

as they say,

is history…….

Chris Hemmings

October 23/2016

Lexicon and translation:

“the president was accused of duplicity in his dealings with Congress”

sharp practice,

dirty tricks,
monkey business,
funny business,


“his conscience would not allow him to enter into duplicity”.

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Croc n scorp

On line composition. First came:

A scorpion came out of the desert to the banks of the Nile, whereupon he accosted a crocodile. “My dear chap,” he said to the crocodile, “could we form an alliance to get to the other side of the Nile?”
The crocodile answered, “Do you think I am stupid? I would be at your complete mercy. You could sting me and kill me at any time during the crossing.”
“Of course not,” said the scorpion. “I promise not to sting you, because if I did sting you, I would drown.”
The crocodile thought for a second and then agreed this made sense and took the scorpion on his back. About midstream, the scorpion became agitated and stung the crocodile.
As the two were about to go under, the crocodile turned to the scorpion and said, “Now we will both die. What possible explanation or logic is there for such an act?”
“There is none,” said the scorpion, “this is the Middle East.


OK, this was not wholly pleasing. So:

“This is both funny and, I suspect, inherently patronising.

“Probably better if, on an island in the middle, they decide to rest a while. Walking round the island, as the crocodile sleeps, the scorpion meets a shady character:
“Hey, Scorpio, I hear you and Crocked over there own the land 50:50. How’d you like to own it all? The oil rights are worth a fortune and you could use the money to set up a totally Scorpy state. Your life will be so much better.
” All you need to do is use this mega-powerful Sting-Boostr ©® on unbelieving Crocked when you get back in the water. Then, as he sinks, we’ll rescue you and help you set up your independent Scorparadise.
“Just sign here”………..

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I follow you

A follower not a leader?

There are many such rooms in the Buildings. Offices, yes, but steeped in time and the anonymity of history. Many, many such chats and small gatherings had taken place between these four walls and nothing, today, suggested that this would be anything other than simply routine.

Oh come on, not me – there must be someone else. Look, I’ve been where I am since time began, or so it seems. I am forever out on a limb and, well, I have no following. Hell, I DO the following – it’s just most of those I follow are no longer with us. I so miss Tony – he’d have been your man for this.”

He had his chance and, now, it’s your turn, your time in the spotlight, if you like. We’ve got to keep our ideas out there, get them discussed, even if we all know you’ll be wiped out in the first round.”

Yes, well, I’m sure that’s true but, alright, let’s give it our best shot. And you are right – I don’t want to leave this place without nailing my colours firmly to the mast and saying how I fundamentally believe that the last thirty years have been a betrayal of all our predecessors ever stood for and has been letting down of all those generations yet to come”.

It’s funny, you know, there’s even guys on the right who’ve told me they’ll second your running. They say “Sure I’ll propose him – we need to have a show of competition”. And they go away smirking. Still, it’ll get you on the ballot, and that’s what’s most important”.

And he didn’t act away from his usual self – he changed nothing and simply followed the ideas he was so steeped in. I saw him that same summer. Rank no-hope-er but bringing the discussion out to the country, just as his predecessors would have done but which, now, had come to be regarded as “old hat” and ineffective. Decisions had to be made behind closed doors, taken by people who understood the issues and so could make an informed choice. The four other contestants, relaxed in their own personal merits, attended committees of important supporters and talked to the national media.

So, yes, a few weeks into this campaign, I spotted a two line notice in the local free newspaper, saying he’d speak at a meeting in a seaside hotel six miles away. “Half past five, Wednesday evening, early August”. I decided at once to go – I liked his politics and felt he could do with some support. “I’ll get there fifteen minutes early so’s to get a good seat at the front of the room – not that many will turn up at that time of day and in the summer holidays, too”.

I couldn’t get into the room – four hundred people had beaten me to it. Several friends were there but how come so many others?

The man came into the room and I soon realised exactly why – he was saying, in cool, calm, clear and collected manner that which we were all thinking. As he spoke, he had no difficulty in being heard, there were no hecklers, no disrespect. We all knew, all of a sudden, we had a movement, we had strength. From this could come the changes that we all yearned for.

An hour later he was off, smiling and cheered – en route for more similar gatherings that same evening and many more in the days that followed. And he hadn’t changed at all. Quiet, convicted, unassuming. He followed his instincts, his ideals and his own heroes.

A few weeks later Jeremy won the leadership contest convincingly, moving on, over the next two years to first re-iterate his victory within the party, despite insane backroom backbiting from the reactionary elements and then, in 2017, finally becoming prime minister in the second of the two general elections held that year by the calamitous Conservative Party.

After Cruella’s dismal performance in the first how could they have imagined Boris winning the second! Both were dismal followers, led by their unseen owners, unable to decide any questions as they lacked the internal mechanisms to do so.

Unlike Jeremy who, through a vast accumulation of humility, humanity and reason then led from the broadest foundation – powered by empathic connection. It felt as if we all were the leader and we led him as much as he us.

Perhaps we had, at last, achieved true democracy……..



The above was written to topic of “I’m a follower, not a leader” set by Colwyn Writers’ Circle, for Saturday June 24th, 2017.

Chris Hemmings


June 22nd, 2017.

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Deliverance Day

June 8th, 2017 – Deliverance Day


Our Corbyn which art in Islington
Jeremy be thy name.
Thy red flag come,
Thy will be done in Liverpool
As it is in Edinburgh.
Give us this day our welfare state
And forgive us our student debt,
As the Tories forgive those bankers that trespass against us.
Lead us not into privatisation,
But deliver us from MayHem,
For thine is the Republic, the People and the Justice,
Forever and ever.

Original Posted by Mick Grieve

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Awakening the Written Word

Awakening the written word

 A one day workshop set up to discuss and develop skill sets suitable for writers to compose material such that they are confident it will work not only as individually read work but also be suitable to be read aloud to a group of listeners or, further, used in live performance without reference to the physical written words.



A writers’ circle in Colwyn Bay has been meeting weekly to exchange ideas, inspirations and individual responses to an agreed topic. We have all been impressed by the diverse range and the high quality of responses and have, further, seen the group grow significantly over the two years of its existence. In reading aloud our works, we find, also, a range of approaches, some more polished than others.

When requested to engage with the Lit Wales Itinerant Scribes programme, it was felt that, initially, we should attempt to address this issue and so enhance the performance quality of our compositions. Bangor Performance Poet Mr Martin Daws accepted my request to run such a day of skill development.


We wanted to involve the Conwy County Council in the event and so based the first of the two workshops in Colwyn Bay Library, where Martin led a two hour helter skelter through the interactions of words, people and life situations. Commonplace run through the filters of imagination but funnelled back together through teamwork and integration.
After lunch in the NWAMI building on Greenfield Road, also in Colwyn Bay, we remained in NWAMI for an afternoon session taking our earlier writing as well as additional scribing and running through exercises in microphone and other performance technique. Individuals in the group discovered a lot about themselves that, hours earlier, they might not have imagined was possible!

Three hours very well spent.


Performance Session

For two hours that same evening we took over the upstairs floor of The Station Pub, in central Colwyn, and ran through our newly developed skills. Led by half an hour’s inspiration from our tutor who worked through a number of his more recent poems and tonal structures in a spellbinding style. Thereafter a number of the members of the group performed works from their individual folders, showing a clear boost resultant from the day’s well structured studies.


Above was my report back to event part funders Literature Wales.

Hopefully we will run a series of such events, under the series’ title “The Write Way”…………….


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This lady’s not for liking

No,  “I do not like Theresa May”

That faceless cloud of mists so grey

That one cannot see her deeds so black

Her decisions made – “no turning back”.

That soulless shroud that covers all

The cuts she makes which bring the fall

Through poverty to great despondency

Of so many outside her prim complacency

Of such honest folks like you and me.

She takes us to be the very fools,

Who stay defeated as she divides and rules.

No, I do not like Theresa May,

I do not like the way she plays

I can’t abide the way she stays

in power

For the twenty one percent of our

Adult population, gaining adulation,

For forcing capitulation and starvation of the soul

Of our once caring nation.


This lady is not for liking



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Composed of:

2-3 Napa cabbages, say 1000g

100g sea salt or similar

Several litres of pure water

Teaspoon or so of grated fresh root ginger

6-10 cloves fresh garlic

Wee teaspoon of sugar

Gochugaru, spicy chillis, oriental, up to five tablespoonsful

Optional maritime flavouring

Small bunch of scallions

250g daikon, Korean radish

The assembling:

Marty tells me Koreans eat Kimchi at every meal and have the world’s greatest longevity of life. These two facts are clearly linked but, as he described it to me, I was thinking “Is it worth it?”, for it seemed to be simply pickled cabbage.

Somehow I was persuaded to try it. Well I like home made produce – as a philosophy. You know, I’ve been a cook since I was a wee kid. My curries were legend, and I also cooked risottos, soups, cakes, bread and more. My granny used to make wonderful fudge, so I learned that and progressed to other sweetmeats and jams from home grown fruits like blackcurrants and raspberries. I even made mango chutney once or twice.

Never, though, had I pickled a cabbage. Yeah, I had got over school cabbage, where the vegetable had all life or resemblance to food, removed from it by the devil’s own cooks, who would shred it small then boil it for hours until it resembled some kind of a paste, maybe to hang wallpaper with. Tasted like that, too, the one time I dared to try it.

But I learned to minimally cook cabbages of many types then anoint them with butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper as a very decent addition to any meal. But the idea of pickling the cabbage carried with it a dread, firmly rooted in that early taste of the institutional treatment of this noble vegetable.

OK, but I like and respect Marty, and love home made, so a few weeks ago I thought “What the heck, I’ll give it a go”.

As an omen, maybe, my local supermarket said “What a brilliant idea” and sold me four of the required napa cabbage super cheap, at nine pence each. The recipe I’d printed said “Napa” cabbage – my Wiki translated it to the Chinese cabbages I knew and usually disregarded as being a specialist, prone to wilt and/or rot variety, without much flavour or other zing. Yeah, I’d used it once or twice in “stir-fries” but have no real affinity for the plant.

But I got them, as specified. Also much of the other ingredients although I found no daikon, Korean radish, and goshugaru remained a mystery. I was actually struggling with this one. “Well, I could go to Carmen’s” I thought, thinking of the whimsical Chinese and all foods East mini-supermarket a few miles away. Thing is, I had in mind yoghurts and kombothcha and other fermented foods – they all require a starter to introduce the culture to your brew.

Except elderflower champagne, I thought. This fantastic summertime drink I’d stumbled upon quite early on, as well. “You take maybe ten heads of elderflower and soak them in previously sterilised by boiling water with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then, after a day or two, you bottle it and leave it for two weeks. As you unscrew the cap take care – there may well be an energetic spurt of the pop out of said bottle. Enjoy what you can get into the glass!” I’d once used cheap plastic, former spring water containers which simply bulged and, yes, one exploded very loudly.

Careful reading indicated that gochugaru was flavouring not ferment. In fact it sounded interesting and potentially spicy – Korean red pepper flakes. Added by the tablespoonful. Up to five per cabbage. I had a brainwave to use a jarful of an extreme, chunky, Chinese chilli sauce.

First task was to dismember the cabbages. I used three and did as I was told, cutting them into five centimetre strips and throwing out the “cores”. The leaf so filled a circular, ten litre bowl. Still being very obedient, albeit totally disbelieving, I MASSAGED about fifty grams of Himalayan pink salt into the shredded leaves “until it starts to soften a bit” and then filled the bowl with [cheap] bottled water, to cover the leaf. Bottled as “chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation”. If no bottled available then you could boil it to release the chlorine and allow the liquid to cool, then use that. I should tell you about potent stone age beer at this point, which used a similar technique, but I’ll resist the temptation! It’s an extension of the elderflower champagne story, anyways….

Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy”. OK, cool, and I left it for four or five hours rather than the “one or two” suggested, before rinsing and draining the leaves thoroughly – “three times” and also in bottled/chlorine free water.

To my jar of chilli paste I added grated fresh ginger and chopped garlic and a teaspoon of sugar. The recipe adds “seafood flavour” – the taste of “umani”, being shrimp, oyster or even, for vegetarians, kelp. But, hey, I had no expectation of success and so was happy to omit this. I also gave up looking for the radish but did add a dozen “scallions” – spring onions – chopped into one centimetre pieces.

A bit like making bread, this paste was then kneaded into the salted and rinsed leaf but only after “gently” squeezing the “remaining water”/life out of said brassica. “Come on now” thought I “I said I’d do this, so I must stick to the program”. Frankly, this was the low point in the operation. “Well, at least I’ve not lost much except an afternoon. And its all experience” I ended, philosophical, as ever!

Good luck came here, maybe. There was a fair amount of the mixture produced and I found it nearly filled a large sandwich box, about three or four liters capacity, leaving a couple of centimetres “headspace” above it when I clipped the lid on to seal it in.

Then simply “Leave the jar to stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days”. I now had a new “faith thing” to stay with. Each day I stirred it with a wooden spoon, pressed it flat again, wondered at how little free liquid there was, resealed the lid and put it back on the top shelf in the cupboard.

The final line of the recipe read:

“When the Kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but its best after another week or so”.

In truth, I was scared. Was it toxic? Could I even make myself taste it? What should it be like, anyway? Would it, like, go off or what might happen?

Well, I tried a bit. It was rather nice. Savoury, smooth but with a pleasing chilliness and a hint of ginger. Together with a softly nutty and mildly moreish back taste.

Next day I had a bit more and put some in an omelette. Both were good and the pot now lives in the fridge, getting tastier every day. Yesterday I bought two fresh napa and two fresh jars of Chopped Chinese and Very Spicy Marinaded Chillis. That’s right. I’m hooked!

Chris Hemmings

April 1st, 2017 – but guaranteed not a joke!

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