Celebrating pancake day

This week in Derbyshire hospitals, we’ve been making and eating pancakes, and thinking about Shrove Tuesday traditions around the world. From our own tradition of using up all the rich foods in the house by making pancakes and eating as many as we can, to the exotic celebrations of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio. The three hospitals I visit, in Chesterfield, Buxton and Bakewell, had very different pancake preferences, and we’ve written three very different poems together.


Pancakes with classic lemon and sugar

Pancake Day

A thick pancake with a ladleful of stew
That’s me done, I don’t know about you!
Or mop it up with a dollop of gravy
Or meatballs to make it really savoury

I don’t like pancakes – bad for my tummy
Even though most people find them yummy!
But Yorkshire puddings with sugar and jam
Suit me just fine with a slice of ham.

People queue up to eat them through my garden gate
We used to bake, but now some just cook and shake.
We take pride and make ours from scratch
Oh, what a lovely big beautiful batch!

Sprinkle on sugar and squeeze on lemon juice
Or blackcurrent jam, or chocolate mousse
Nutella and ice cream, rolled up hot
Golden syrup spooned all over the top!

Yum, yum yum!


It’s pancake day – use up all your rich food
Lent should be a time to do things that are good.
For forty days and forty nights, we fight our greed
We think of others who are in need
(and try to give up drinking mead!)

Visit a lonely neighbour to cheer them up
Keep her company and tea to sup
Volunteer at a charity shop,
Helping out with a brush and mop

Some give up chocolate, some cake
Some might give up sausage and steak
Some give up Facebook, some give up the phone
Try to be positive – stop having a moan!

Give up chips and lose off your hips!
Because soon it’s Easter – and chocolate will be passing our lips!


Ooh! Tastes lovely!
It was alright.
She knows how to mix the batter –
I’ll eat at least half a dozen
Very nice –
Delicious with lemon and sugar
Sweet and tart
Sharp smell
Yummy and scrummy
Excellent and lovely.
Eggs for creation,
Flour – the staff of life,
Milk for purity.
A pinch of salt for wholesomeness
And maple syrup.
We’re not mardy,
But full of gras,
Because we’ll always have a “Ha Ha!”

Time for Tea!

This week, in Cavendish Hospital in Buxton, and at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell, we’ve been talking about tea. From elevenses to afternoon tea, we passed around different kinds of teabag, discussed facts and questions about tea, and even drank some!

We wrote two very different kinds of poems. At Cavendish Hospital, we imagined ourselves in Hargreaves Edwardian tearoom in Buxton, enjoying a posh afternoon tea.

A posh afternoon tea

A posh afternoon tea

Posh Tea Time

No need for mugs and beakers
Only the finest bone china for us
We’ll go to Hargreaves Edwardian tearooms
Enjoying ourselves just like the Queen does.

We’ll make our choice of the finest tea
Peppermint, assam, ginger or Earl Grey
Cucumber sandwiches without the crust
Scones with jam and cream – we could eat all day!

Victorian sponge and lemon drizzle
Buttered teacakes are a must
Fondant fancies and chocolate fudge
Feel so full, you think you’d bust.

Tablecloths and lacy doilies
Waitresses’ frilly aprons and hats
Silver spoons tinkle in china cups
We feel we’ve got the cream, like the fat cats!

At Newholme Hospital, we wrote a more free-form poem, based on our discussions about tea, and our tea-related memories.

The Art of tea making

In the old days, they warmed the pot
People don’t bother these days.
Grandma has a huge brown teapot,
Warmed next to the range.
she would make cups of tea for anyone
The bin men filled their billy cans
And warmed the cockles of the Italians –
POWs, clearing the snow, in that harsh winter of ’47,
Even though the tea was on ration.
2 oz per person – PG Tips, Typhoo, Brooke Bond
Later, chimps drank tea on adverts. TV was black and white
And ITV had just begun.
We stuck pictures from tea cards into scrap books.
Sugar lumps came in packets of two.
There was no artificial sweeteners or sickly saccharine.
Now you can get all sorts of tea everywhere,
And the choice is rather overwhelming.

The archetypal "Brown Betty" teapot.

The archetypal “Brown Betty” teapot.