Limericks for St Patrick’s Day and a Vintage Tea Party

My vintage typewriter at Walton Hospital's tea party.

My vintage typewriter at Walton Hospital’s tea party.

On Tuesday, we celebrated St Patrick’s Day, and we looked at the history of St Patrick and the culture of celebrating all things Irish! Some patients were Irish or had Irish ancestors, and we talked about the Irish sense of humour, accents, shamrocks, Guinness, Irish music, whiskey, soda bread, white pudding, the absence of snakes in Ireland, leprechauns, Daniel O’Donnell, religion and superstition.

We also made up our own limericks. I brought in my vintage typewriter, which originally belonged to my dad, to write the poems, and this led to lots of nostalgia from staff and patients about learning to type at school and work.

I also took part in a vintage tea party for patients and visitors at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield, and I wrote a limerick about each patient. Patients and visitors also ate 50s and 60s style snacks, like luncheon meat and salad cream sandwiches, and ate Tunnocks Tea Cakes (marshmallow and biscuit covered in chocolate!)

Writing the limericks was a great opportunity to chat to each patient, about where they came from and what their hobbies and interests are. We also had a good laugh! I hope you enjoy the limericks below, although my typing skills need some improvement!

Limericks written with patients at Cavendish Hospital.

Limericks written with patients at Cavendish Hospital.

Limericks written with patients at Newholme Hospital.

Limericks written with patients at Newholme Hospital.

More poems from Newholme Hospital!

More poems from Newholme Hospital!

Poems written with patients at Walton Hospital.

Poems written with patients at Walton Hospital.

More poems written with Walton Hospital patients at their vintage tea party.

More poems written with Walton Hospital patients at their vintage tea party.

Flowers for Mother’s Day

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Last week, we talked about the history of Mother’s Day, or in the UK, Mothering Sunday, which is today, the 15th March. Mothering Sunday always falls on the 4th Sunday in Lent, and it used to be when parishioners would travel to their “mother” church or cathedral, so the name Mothering Sunday actually has nothing to do with celebrating motherhood.

However, the day was often the only chance that young people working as servants or agricultural labourers would have to spend with their families. On their walk home, they would pick posies of wild flowers from the hedgerows to give to their mothers – and this is partly where the tradition of giving flowers or plants on Mothering Sunday started. In early twentieth century America, Anna Jarvis campaigned for the US government to create a National Holiday, which finally happened in 1914, and is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Afterwards, Anna Jarvis was appalled by the commercialisation of Mother’s Day, which she had intended to be a quiet affair, celebrated by families in private.

I’ve just celebrated a quiet Mothering Sunday with my own family – but I had to endure a lot of commercialisation on Saturday in a local supermarket, scrambling to buy a potted plant, present and ingredients for a special meal. I can particularly recommend the cake I made – I found the recipe on the internet! Streusel plum cake.

We also made paper flowers and vases to cheer up the gloom of early spring days, and talked about the things that mums like to be treated to on Mother’s Day. I’ve turned these into a poem.

Flowers for Mother’s Day

Daffodils, snowdrops, primroses in bloom,
Purple the crocuses shine through the gloom.
Catkins and tulips and carnations white:
Brave flowers of March bring joy and delight.

Mothers love flowers and plants in a pot
Chocolates – a treat, though we daren’t eat a lot!
Treated to lunch that we don’t have to cook
The peace and quiet of reading a good book.

Still cold outside, but the flowers you bring
Remind me of love, and start off the spring.

I like to see the hills in the distance…our favourite places.

This week, the hospital patients and staff talked about our favourite places, in Derbyshire and beyond. We also looked at some stunning views, from Kinder Scout to Dovedale.

We were inspired by Helen Mort’s poem ‘Made in Derbyshire’, which you can read here, and also ‘I wandered as lonely as a cloud’, by William Wordworth, possibly one of the most famous poems in the English language, but one which still keeps the image of those lakeside daffodils fresh in our minds.

I turned the things we talked about into rhyming couplets, and I hope you enjoy reading the poems, which celebrate Derbyshire and places a little further afield too, looking forward to seaside holidays and balmy summers.


The view of the hills from New Mills


Derbyshire Magic

Walking in the Peak District’s alp-like hills –
Mam Tor shivers – it’s never quite still.
From the market bustle of Chesterfield,
To the crooked-spired church where we kneeled.

Spring’s magical hue of the bluebell wood –
But February’s snowdrops still make me feel good.
Living in Hope in the shadow of mountains;
Visiting Castleton’s caves and canyons.

The slopes of Buxton, under the trees,
Eating a picnic with mild Derby cheese.
The Octagon where we saw Beatles and Stones –
Now it’s all craft fairs for folk with old bones!

Down in the Torrs of New Mills’ river –
Millennium Walkway – in shade where we shiver;
Hugging the cliff-face and joining the path,
A walk spent with friends – always a good laugh!

The views that stretch to Kinder Scout –
Fresh air and wild country’s what it’s all about.
A brisk walk in the hills with a lively dog
Never feels like it’s hard work or a slog.

From big country houses to tiny stone circles,
Derbyshire’s full of land that’s fertile.
Bakewell pudding’s the genuine article
Our county really is quite remarkable!

Chatsworth's Cascade on a lovely summer's day! Spot the duck!

Chatsworth’s Cascade on a lovely summer’s day! Spot the duck!

Memories of Favourite Places

I like to see the hills in the distance
But to get up them, I may need assistance!
These old knees of mine make it tricky to climb
But the mountains of Mourne are still clear in my mind.

On the front at Skegness, the wind was quite chilling
We had our photos taken – the price was two shillings!
Cockles and seaweed, the air was so bracing
Spent our pennies on rock and donkey racing.

Cycling in the countryside, safe from cars
Coming back home under the stars.
We never worried as the sun beat down.
We got sunburn, but then we’d turn brown.

Walking and fishing on Bridlington Pier
Perfect memories, free from fear.
In Whitby, Dracula gave us a fright!
But we ate fish and chips on Friday night.

Bakewell pudding filling my tummy,
In Chatsworth, ice-creams were quite yummy.
Lambs frolicking and pretending to hide,
Matlock Bath lit up like the seaside.

Beautiful sights from New Year to December –
Lovely places to walk and remember.