Occasional Limericks Only #36

Bare your soul, Leonora!

Here’s a somewhat belated limerick-as-eulogy for the recently departed actor Leslie Phillips. A better thespian than the smooth and rakish image his career landed him with, he was another regular fixture on film and TV during my youth (and for decades after – including a spell voicing the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter film franchise!).

A serious actor as Falstaff in the RSC’s 1996 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Here’s the limerick…

“Oh, he-llo” he’d say, “have a drink?”
A lecherous fellow, you’d think!
Ding dong, you’re not wrong,
But now the dings gone
And expired with a nod and a wink!

Puzzled by the header to this post? It’s adapted from an exchange between Phillips’ and Liz Fraser’s characters in the film Doctor in Love.

With Liz Fraser in the kind of rôle that rather typecast him (from the film Doctor in Love)

The Doctor series of films (seven in all) was a close relation of the Carry On movie franchise; quite literally in terms of their directors as the Doctor films were directed by Ralph Thomas and the Carry Ons by his younger brother Gerald. Phillips appeared in productions of each.

Anyway, back to the header. An avid fan of the genre couldn’t fail to notice a typical Carry On moment in each of the Doctor films, and one such moment is this…

Dr. Tony Burke: Tell me about yourself. Bare your soul.
Leonora: My soul? No one’s ever asked to see that before.

(FYI my favourite Carry On moment in a Doctor film comes when Dr Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) auscultates the chesty Eva (Carol Richmond) in Doctor at Large. You can look that one up yourself – answers on a postcard to…).

Occasional Limericks Only #35

🎶And zing went the strings of my…

…inguinal ligament.🎶 Or did it?

I have learnt, sadly post hoc, that when doing ‘core’ exercises as part of one’s attempts to mitigate life’s inexorable progression to decrepitude, it is best to avoid double-leg-raises whilst lying flat on your back. I’ve since discovered they actually do little or nothing for your core, but can lead to an inguinal hernia.

Unfortunately, the instructors at my local gym appear to be as unaware of this as I was, as ’twas one of them that instructed the spin-and-abs class that I attend to do just that.

Long story short, I’ve just learnt that I need a CAT scan to see whether I have to go under the knife to repair the damage those double-leg-raises did to me (a depressing tale and I’m not a happy chap!).

Interestingly (to me at least) although it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it doesn’t quack like a duck, so is it a hernia or something grander sounding like ‘athletic pubaliga’ (mea culpa, I googled my symptoms!)?

Why no quack? Well. there is none of the classic inguinal hernia ‘bulge’ associated with whatever mischief I’ve done to myself and any pain is not as low down the abdomen as would be expected (hence, I guess, the need for a CAT scan). Otherwise everything points towards non-vocal waterfowl. 

Another depressing part of the story is the waiting list for non-urgent minor surgery at NHS Grampian of around three and threequarter years. If surgery is called for then I’m going to have to fork out to have it done privately. I realise that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do so, even if it does go against the grain for me, but what does it say about the custodianship of the NHS under successive UK governments?

Anyway, here’s the limerick…

A not-yet-decrepit old man
Said “I’ll train just as hard as I can”,
But has now to restructure
An abdominal rupture.
Seems he’s learnt that he’s not Peter Pan!

Postscript: to discount a more suspicious cause of my soreness, my medical examination involved a nitrile clad digital insertion (you can guess where).

Fortunately. nothing suspicious was found, but the process did cause my mind to wander to an old blog post that queried the meaning of some RAF banter I once came across. I’ve never fully understood it, but it still makes me laugh: An insults an insult, but a chair leg up the a**e – that’s furniture!

Occasional Limericks Only #34

Ten years ago today…

…friends in London told us that they’d heard on national radio that Aberdeen’s Broomhill Road had been closed due to a house fire and wondered if it was close to us. It was. Very. In fact it was us! Our roofers had set fire to our house, ironically on Bonfire Night. So on the tenth anniversary of this…

The Evening Express 5/11/12

Here’s the limerick:

I was phoned up at work late one day
By a neighbour who’d something to say.
The news was quite dire:
“Your house is on fire!
Seems the builders left your house to sauté.”

Press & Journal 6/11/12

Occasional Limericks Only #32

You wait for a politician’s resignation…

…then three come along at once!

Ironic, isn’t it? I’d just completed an OLO that referenced Suella Braverman’s rant (as the UK’s Home Secretary) about the “coalition of chaos” that comprises, amongst others, the “Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati” of which I am a part (other than I rarely eat tofu) when she resigned and rendered it out of date – but here it is regardless…

When you’re a Guardian-reading bloke
And eat tofu, it seems that you’re woke
Said the Minister of Hate
Who wants a police state
Run by her and the right’s Herrenvolk

Anyway, both her resignation and that of Kwasi Kwarteng (the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer), have since been trumped by the resignation of Liz Truss, our erstwhile Prime Minister of 45 days, which brings me to the following question – to be answered in the form of a limerick…

What does a man with a hernia and the Tory party have in common?

There once was a man on a bus
Who made such a terrible fuss
‘Cos he’d ruptured himself,
But no end of wealth
Would make him depend on a Truss!

Occasional Limericks Only #31

…and it’s goodnight from him

With more than a nod to the newsdesk sketches from TV’s old Two Ronnies show, we have yet another ‘weird news’ article from the online Metro newspaper to inspire a limerick…

    …and here it is:

A recidivist old lag and con
Nicked the police station’s loo one fine morn.
Much to their dismay
He got clean away
And the cops said they’d nothing to go on!

Postscript: the original from Ronnie Barker…

The perfect crime was committed last night, when thieves broke into Scotland Yard and stole all the toilets. Police say they have absolutely nothing to go on.


Occasional Limericks Only #30

London calling…

So, I’ve just returned from a long weekend spent wandering the streets of London with Firstborn.

We took in a couple of shows – Mary Poppins (terrific) and Back to the Future (great effects, but no memorable songs) – and the ‘immersive’ van Gogh exhibition (interesting without ‘gripping). We dangled across the Thames on the London cable car, which was fun-but-brief…

Coming to land from the ‘Dangleway’

…and strolled around Islington and Greenwich…

Looking towards the old naval college, Canary Wharf and central London from the prime meridian at Greenwich.

…and the Spitalfields market (I can recommend the Humble Crumble stall!).


We also visited Sir Ian McKellen’s Limehouse pub, The Grapes, so that the Millennial amongst us (and lover of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) could see Gandalf’s Staff that’s exhibited behind the bar. Good pub grub and we had the best seats in the bar!

Gandalf’s Staff on display behind the bar

It is, of course, the trip to The Grapes that inspired the following…

A wizard once said with a laugh
“We sell wine by the glass or caraffe,
So why don’t you traipse
For some plonk at The Grapes
And get to play with my Staff!”

Postscript: we also went to a lot of cafés. List courtesy of Firstborn…


• Miki’s Paradise, Holloway Road, breakfast
• Minimalist cafe in islington, tea and coffee, find name
• Kipferl, Islington, lunch
• Regents Canal cafe, canal no 5? Hot drink and pastry


• Half Cup, St Barts Square, brunch
• Pangea, Spitalfields, tea
• Humble Crumble, Spitalfields, crumble
• Trade, Spitalfields, tea and pastry
• Caffe Nero off the Strand, tea
• Papa Johns, Hotel, pizza


• Dad – caffe nero St Paul’s, coffee
• The Grapes, Canning Town, lunch and sorbet
• Fratellis, across the cable car from Greenwich, tea and coffee
• Monsoon cafe, Greenwich, sandwich


• Caffe Nero, St Paul’s, tea
• Attendant Coffee, farringdon, brunch
• Black Sheep Coffee, Wembley, tea – Alice

Occasional Limericks Only #29

Rock of Ages…

As a sixth former in the mid-70s, I was lucky enough to attend a few rock concerts at Lancaster University, just 20 miles from where I lived. That was down to Barry Lucas, the university’s Ents Manager of the early 70s, who kick-started and maintained a quite astonishing 15-year-run of booking major groups for a small provincial venue; the university’s Great Hall.

The whole episode was so remarkable that a book about it – When Rock Went To College – first published in 2017, not only sold out, but has since been published in a 2nd edition. You can read about it here.

Of the acts that I saw, I recall Wishbone Ash being technically excellent, but dull as dishwater and blown off stage by their support band, Supercharge, fronted by Albie Donnelly. Supercharge was rightly credited as one of the best live bands of the era, but you’ve probably never heard of them, hence the link above. I also saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers open for a Nils Lofgren concert. You could tell then that Petty was destined for the kind of super stardom that passed Lofgren by. And then there was Lynyrd Skynyrd in the band’s most authentic line-up (ie, before the plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and Steve and Cassie Gaines). Amazing!

The original album cover for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Street Survivors’ album (and one that I still own) that was released just prior to the band’s fatal plane crash. Subsequent re-issues changed the cover art due to the tragedy and dispensed with the flames.

So why this reminiscing? Well, it’s simple really. None of the concerts that I saw back then or since – however good – bettered a small intimate gig that I went to at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree in 2019, and I’m just so looking forward to Albert Lee’s return in October. His previous performance there was perfect. Backed by a youthful-but-accomplished band, Lee’s playing, singing and storytelling that night was masterful and I’m hoping for a repeat performance!

I penned this limerick after his 2019 concert tour, but didn’t publish it for reasons lost in the mists of time…

In a show at the town’s Lemon Tree
The audience just had to agree
That the best gig in town
Was that man of renown
The gifted and great Albert Lee!

Occasional Limericks Only #27

The Carnival (Really) Is Over…

Here’s a folksy playlist from the Sixties:

I’ll Never Find Another You
Georgy Girl
Morningtown Ride
Island Of Dreams
When Will The Good Apples Fall
A World Of Our Own
The Carnival Is Over

If you’ve ever heard any of them, then you will probably have heard what Elton John referred to as “the purest voice in popular music”.

Sadly, Judith Durham, who possessed that voice, has died.

I celebrated her 75th birthday in a post four years ago with a bit of a cheeky limerick, whilst highlighting the fact that she sound-tracked my early life when I was so often ill and off school; looked after my my grandmother who was a big fan of The Seekers.

She was Australia’s Sweetheart (Judith, that is, not my grandmother!), and I guess the saddest guys around today will be Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley; the remaining members of the group. Mind you, I bet St Peter’s witnessing a cracking version of this…

The Seeker whose voice would bestride
The world of my childhood has died.
Now her tears are falling
And the harbour light’s calling;
As she makes her last Morningtown Ride.