It’s like Marmite? ‘The Ashes’ Yeast Extract Battle for Breakfast

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The two contenders going head to head – but how different are they?

Well, I love Marmite… but I prefer Vegemite just that teeny bit more! Sorry.

For years my only love was Marmite, in the yeast extract stakes, at any rate.

And then one day, not too long ago, I decided to get some – horror of horrors – Vegemite! Naturally I’d heard the name before, even heard it in some 1980s Australian rock song, but being a bit of a traditionalist and a stick-in-the-mud, I’d never taken the plunge into that particular version of yeast extract.

What’s more, to be fittingly topical, it’s The Ashes (England versus Australia at cricket) again this summer, that battle between leather and willow, weather permitting; a tense battle of minds, of whether to sledge, or not to sledge. So what about comparing dear old Blighty’s version with the Antipodean?

Well, to settle an argument with myself, I decided to compare the two makes side by side, in one sitting, if you will. And my findings were surprising.

I’m not an expert on taste, I just know what I like. Sticking to tradition to start with, I plumped for Marmite first. Fine, lovely, just how I like it. Then came the Vegemite and… wait a minute! You know, it wasn’t the same. Did I detect, I mean was there just a little trace of a taste of… chocolate? Dark chocolate at that. OK, it was somehow different, a bit.

Either way, I sat down with a cup of tea to wash it all down and collect my thoughts. And whether I could taste chocolate or not, I came away with the startling, unpatriotic conclusion that I preferred the Australian! Yes, Vegemite won by a nose, the tip of a tongue.

I just hope that England can do better this summer.

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Let’s Celebrate Lincolnshire Churches – Scothern

Every May the West Lindsey region of northern Lincolnshire opens the doors of its churches to visitors for two weekends – the West Lindsey Churches Festival.

Church of St. Germain, Scothern.

Pictured above is Scothern church, quite small but beautiful, the whole churchyard raised a few feet above the surrounding area of the village.

Once inside we had the usual very warm welcome, with residents sharing information about the church, the village, their lives in general. And of course we had to partake in the coffee and cake on offer.

What made Scothern a little unusual was the organ and piano recitals going on over the weekend.

Another interesting feature was the exhibition of childhood toys.

Childhood toy exhibition – takes you back
All this and music too?

And perhaps the greatest feature of the church is the wonderful 16th century Dutch panel painting called ‘The Adoration of the Magi’.

16th century Dutch panel painting, ‘The Adoration of the Magi’.

 

Poem ‘A Tale of Love’

I first fell in love with you in a map,
a sort of pentagon, sacré, teased out
a touch like a stretched piece of dough. Then
it was the names, the easy non-phonetics
conjuring visions and colour through
Fontainebleau and Versailles. But then,
of course, it’s the history that defines me
and you, those first tragic lines etched
large, bold and bloody by le Bâtard, a family
dispute of a single culture cleaved
by hatred and greed, melded by chivalry.
For so long la Manche was not a divide
(and never la différence), more a conduit
of ideas flowing north, longbows sailing
south. Oh, we have divided since; your gift
for re-invention, dispensing with kings, that’s
something I cannot conceive, even though
we did have a go. But I only have to
look at Claude and Edouard, Paul
and Vincent, to get it, to understand— there’s
a love neither can openly express, though
look more closely, you will find it in our eyes

© copyright David F. Barker 2012

Poem ‘Floss’

Floss

And I followed you,
holding desperately your trailing hand.
From dodgem screams in head-on collision,
to long kisses on carousels,
sitting the wrong way—
facing you,
holding you—
Yes, I was daring you!
That smile behind your eyes like a loving sun
which I met devouring candy floss,
sugar highs spinning lips together,
meeting and melting our cares;
suspended in ghost trains,
scaring you, opportune for me.
And later, strolling slick sands,
the far bass thuds
tripping our hearts,
setting off our lives:
Still in motion

poem © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Charity Shop’

Litter in Paramaribo.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charity Shop

That scream connected
with the deepest level of guilt.
I’d been breezing by the charity shop,
litter and leaves scuttling ahead in a chill wind.

I saw him strapped into a chair
on the chewing gum pavement,
pulling taught in a fury
of condensation and sputum.

I stopped a safe distance away,
mingling-in with the bus queue,
all eyes askance and tutting as one,
wondering if (and how) to intervene.

Best not to get involved.
It’s nothing to do with us,
it would cause more trouble
than it was worth.

So I left to get some food,
relieved to find him gone on my return.
A clear misunderstanding:
mum had been in the shop all the time,

had emerged to the relief of all,
smiles and hugs and kisses all round.
But no. There he was ahead of me,
blighting my eye, my mind,

outside the chip shop
surrounded by shell suits and smoke,
the swearing and the sputum –
on the chewing gum pavement.

poem © copyright df barker 2012

*poem first published in 2011 in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.

Poem ‘Birmingham’

A38 Rubery by-Pass from Whettybridge Road brid...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birmingham

In the morning we cooked eggs,
wrapped the blanket around ourselves,
tucking in and staring like zombies
at a dead TV. There was little reason to speak,
to say that food seldom tasted so good.
Birmingham, that first time,
seemed like the bleakest place;
November had fallen cold and hard
and Rubery, the name you couldn’t say,
was depressed and downbeat,
so many shops boarded up
it was like a battle zone.
But there was enough to be grateful for
in that nest of warmth,
watching Saturday’s light rise
and bleach your bedsit walls

poem © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Odd Couple’

Odd Couple

Brothers they may be,
an odd couple
more like

As cats
they own everything
and nothing
and I am a function
in their lives—
something to coax
to cajole to feeding bowls
and ever higher levels
of acceptance
and comfort

And don’t they know too
that all is forgiven?

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012