There Was An Old Sailor My Grandfather Knew

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on a island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he'd look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

He began on the fish-hooks, and when he'd begun
He decided he couldn't because of the sun.
So he knew what he ought to begin with, and that
Was to find, or to make, a large sun-stopping hat.

He was making the hat with some leaves from a tree,
When he thought, "I'm as hot as a body can be,
And I've nothing to take for my terrible thirst;
So I'll look for a spring, and I'll look for it first."

Then he thought as he started, "Oh, dear and oh, dear!
I'll be lonely tomorrow with nobody here!"
So he made in his note-book a couple of notes:
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats."

He had just seen a goat (which he knew by the shape)
When he thought, "But I must have boat for escape.
But a boat means a sail, which means needles and thread;
So I'd better sit down and make needles instead."

He began on a needle, but thought as he worked,
That, if this was an island where savages lurked,
Sitting safe in his hut he'd have nothing to fear,
Whereas now they might suddenly breathe in his ear!

So he thought of his hut ... and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) ...
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved -
He did nothing but bask until he was saved!

-A. A.Milne 

I feel JUST like this old sailor! I'm writing this in a hurry: My gran is having friends to visit, and I must attend. My mum is here, YAY, and she is staying for a nice long six weeks! 

I am going to start my writing course next week. I will wrap up the NCT Newsletter this week, and my sister Ailis will come to stay for the weekend to help polish it up. Her husband, the amazing Uncle Dan, will entertain the kids and they will watch TV till their eyes go square. Uncle Dan is a major TV-encourager! They will watch formula one and rugby and football, and Dan will instruct them on which teams they are supposed to cheer on! 

By the way, the BBC Young Musicians competition finals blew us away. I wish I could find something on YouTube, but watching young Lara on Piano and Callum on Violin (on our new big-screen TV!), the boys sat as still as mice and no longer think they are the awesomest musicians ever. Did them good! 

WAIT! I FOUND IT! Here is the whole two-hour program! Plug your computer into your big TV, and get all your speakers connected properly before you start. Amazing.


Audubon Ron said…
The video thingie says I can't watch it unless I'm in the UK.
Anonymous said…
Okay, I thought I was exhausted until I read your post. Now I wish I lived nearby so I could take your boys for an afternoon and send them home with a casserole. GOOD LUCK!
Nan Sheppard said…
Thanks, Green Girl! I accept your virtual casserole with relief!

Ron, are you serious? Those snooty BBC types!
Unknown said…
Paint!!! You are such a fine artist - what I REALLY wish is that would be a way for you to go back to ceramics.
Anonymous said…
Isn't it brutal how that ethereal artistic muse gets run over constantly by that good for nothing to-do-list monster!

Tristi Pinkston said…
That's a great poem - thanks for posting it!
aclare said…
Hobbycraft sell paints silly!! Perhaps Mum could look after a couple of the boys and we could go there this weekend! Looking forward to seeing you. xxx
Great Blog!
Chin up, Chickenfoot.
Stiff upper lip, and all that, what?
Welcome to the Lonesome Polecat Club.
Kath McGurl said…
Busy busy busy! When you repair a puncture, run your fingers round the inside of the tyre, to find that pesky little stone which has poked through the tyre, and which will just cause another puncture immediately if you don't extract it. Is my advice for the day!
Stu said…
Congrats to Chas - bully for him on getting in.

I loved this post. :¬)
Miranda said…
I think that sailor was probably shipwrecked with two young kids as I feel like that all the time.