I’ve been treffing

I like to tref… There, at last, I’ve said it. Truth is, I’m a bit of a trefologist, and I follow trefology because I am interested in learning about life.

If you haven’t yet treffed then I wholeheartedly recommend you do. To find out more about the wonderful world of trefology, get yourself over to fellow WP blog site trefology and follow the fun. You won’t regret it.

An ant story

I.

I wanted to capture ants

Not just any ants, but special ants who wear velvet slippers

So I sprinkled sugar over my terrace to act as bait

And soon a colony of ants in velvet slippers arrived to feast

But then came anteaters in moccasins, who gobbled up the ants

Followed by coyotes in ballet shoes, who ate the anteaters

Followed then by mountain lions in hiking boots, who ate the coyotes

Followed by pandas in clogs from Amsterdam, who ate the mountain lions

By evening my terrace resembled some apocalyptic wasteland of bones and shoes, and I was forced to call the police on the surviving pandas, who were staring at me hungrily

When the police finally came, they ate the pandas, plus their clogs, plus all the other shoes left on my terrace, and then they promptly left, complaining of indigestion

Which is a rookie detective mistake to make – eating such a tough meal as all that while responding to an incident…

So, I dedicate my new book to those hungry police officers: Eats pandas, shoes, and leaves.


II.

If the Very Hungry Caterpillar had been gobbled up by a tree snake at the beginning of its quest to eat, then thousands upon thousands of books might have been spared from the indignity of being sold with holes in their pages.


III.

The following print adverts may become more relevant when you start learning trefology. Only you can discover!


Thank you for wearing shoes and dining with us 😍🍕🥨🍰🍭🍺🍷🍴🥄🥢


With thanks to Lynne Truss, Eric Carle, and trefology.

Words by the editor. Images from the collection of TVTA. ‘learn life learn trefology’ flyer by trefology.

The Prize of the Cat: Wooof’s missing pony from 1979!


A TVTA Short Story Mystery Special !! 


WHSmith Pony competition Look-In N°15 1979 UK


Our intrepid office cat Wooof reckons that in 1979 he won a pony in a W.H. Smith ‘outdoors’ competition, and that W.H. Smith cheated him out of his prize by deliberately misplacing ‘Bess’ at the Bull Ring Shopping Centre in Birmingham, England (Wooof told me he had already named the pony ‘Bess’ even before the ink had dried on his entry form, such was his confidence in winning!).

“I vote we crank up the TVTA time machine and go back to 1979 Birmingham to find out what happened,” said Wooof.

“Right now?” I replied. “I haven’t finished scanning those vintage egg-cosy knitwear patterns Mrs Coldkettle the tea lady donated.”

“Forget fashion accessories for boiled eggs,” said the cat. “We need to find Bess!”

CUT TO:


** TEN MINUTES LATER ** DIAL SET TO 1979, BIRMINGHAM BULL RING SHOPPING CENTRE ** SOUNDS OF TVTA TIME MACHINE WARP-WHOOSHING!! **


1979!!!

Crivens! Wooof and I arrived in 1979 Birmingham to absolute mayhem… flipping dinosaurs everywhere!! Funny, I don’t remember dinosaurs being around in 1979 in the West Midlands… Gah! Worse was that one of the vicious beasts, a T-Rex no less, had captured our missing nag and was about to make a pony sandwich out of her! Poor Bess!

“NOOOOOOooooooo!!!!” cried Wooof.

“It’s okay Wooof,” I said. “I don’t think that’s actually Bess in the jaws of that mad dinosaur… look closely… the poor creature is a fully-grown horse… whereas Bess is a mere pony and has WHSmith gift tags attached her!”

“Thank goodness for that!” said Wooof. “So, tell me, if the dinosaur doesn’t have Bess, who does?”

“A simple process of elimination will have us arriving at a satisfactory answer in no time at all,” I replied.

“I’m all ears,” said Wooof. “Who’s the culprit?”

Elvis Costello!”

Wooof frowned. “No way. Elvis Costello would never stoop so low as to rustle a pony!”

“Alright, fine, if not Elvis, how about the TV versions of Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and the Incredible Hulk?”

“That’s just sick!” said the cat. “Superheroes are sworn to protect all ponies!”

“Even the TV superhero ones?”

“TV ones especially! There was no one else to look up to back in their day.”

“Maybe TV Hulk accidently stepped on Bess?”

“Are you serious?”

“Sometimes.”

“Next you’ll be accusing Captain Kirk!”

“Don’t be daft,” I said. “But maybe, just maybe… Spock has Bess!”

“Spock doesn’t have Bess,” sighed Wooof.

“Monkey?”

“Gahhhh! No,” said Wooof.

“Wonder Woman then?” said I.

“!!#!@!!! No!!!” cried the cat. This process of elimination is going to take ages!”


** SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS LATER **


Finally… I came up with a good solution to our dilemma…

“How about I call Spaceline?” I said.

“What in the name of holy cat biscuits is Spaceline?”

“It’s a recorded information line in 1984 that sometimes deals with time travel issues. All we have to do to access it is travel to 1984.”

“Well what are we waiting for!” said the cat, “Let’s hit 1984!”

CUT TO:


** DIAL SET FOR 1984 ** SEATBELTS FASTENED ** POWER FROCK SHOULDER PADS IN POSITION ** DURAN DURAN CASSETTES INSERTED INTO SONY WALKMANS ** SOUNDS OF TVTA TIME MACHINE WARP-WHOOSHING!! **


Wooof and I arrived in 1984 quicker than you can say ‘Big Brother is washing your Mullet.’ After several attempts we managed to locate a working red telephone box, and Wooof dropped a 10 Pence coin into the slot while I dialled the number on my print advert. We waited. Beep. Beep. Beep. ‘The time sponsored by Accurist is…’

Oops, wrong number. Try again…

We were eventually connected to a well-spoken female robot, and she said to us: “Welcome to Spaceline. You are speaking to Trinity9. How may I be of assistance?”

“We’re looking for my prize pony,” said Wooof. “Her name’s Bess…”  and he went on to explain the whole sorry story down the phoneline to Trinity9.

“I see,” said Trinity9. “So… you believe you were cheated out of a 1979 first prize pony by the competition organiser, and you suspect that this pony, who you named ‘Bess’, is currently located somewhere in a shopping centre in 1979 Birmingham, England?”

“Absotiffily!” said Wooof.”

“Liar!” said Trinity9, making Wooof jump. “There is no way you could have entered that competition in 1979… you weren’t even born!”

“I resent that undeniable fact!” said Wooof.

“He’s actually sixty-one in cat years,” I said.

“Your office cat is a big cheater!” said Trinity9.

“How dare you call me a cheetah!” exclaimed Wooof. ‘I’m a mixed breed Domestic Panther Tabby Green Nikto, if you must know!”

“He’s cross,” I said.

“I’m fuming!” said Wooof.

“We don’t appreciate these slurs,” I said.

“Too right,” agreed Wooof. “And I’ve been working hard on being appreciated!”

“Whatever,” replied Trinity9. “It doesn’t change the fact you manipulated your way into the past with the sole aim of winning a pony. This cat is a law breaker!”

“Operator, you’re crossing the line with these accusations,” I said.

“Mm.. actually, can you hold the line a moment…”

  • Please hold while you are connected to the next available agent.
  • For English press 1. Para Español presione el número 2.
  • Would you like to upgrade to our Elite Gold Viscount Emperor plan?
  • Your premium-rate call is important to us. Please continue to hold.
  • We’re sorry. All of our agents are busy. Please hang up and try again.

“Hello, Spaceline operator,” I said. “Trinity9, are you still there?”

“I’m still here.”

“What happened?”

“Nothing. I just put you on hold while I called the police.”

“Seriously? You called the police on us?”

“No. Not this time,” said Trinity9. “But think on… your cat cheated by secretly time-travelling to 1979 in order to win a pony. Just this very morning, he picked up an entry form from W.H. Smith… filled it in… posted it… then dashed back to the present time before you even had time to finish your breakfast! Cock-a-doodle-cornflakes!”

I turned to the cat. “Wooof, is this true?”

“I cannot lie,” replied Wooof. “I entered the competition this morning. I travelled back in time. I cheated. And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky Spaceline operator!”

“Wooof!” I cried. “Why? Why?!? You know our New Year’s Resolution this year was to stop cheating. Pfft. Failed once again… and we made it as far as October this year!!”

“Actually,” said the cat, “didn’t we, like, fail in February when you ‘accidently’ scanned 180 euros which you tried to pay the electricity bill with, and then we ended up…”

“Shhhhh! Not now, Wooof!” I hissed. “That was just an April Fool prank.”

“In February?”

“Ahem, ahem,” coughed Trinty9.

“Yes?”

“Talking of euros… it is my duty to inform you that your call so far has cost 50 euros in charges.”

“50 flippin euros!?!!”

“It’s a premium phone line, sir!”

“Well, for 50 euros you can at least tell us if Wooof won that perishing competition or not.”

“No, I’m afraid your cat didn’t win.”

“Not even the sailing holiday prize?” Wooof asked hopefully.

“No.”

“A Binatone TV?

“Nope.”

“The runner up prize of a camera?”

“No,” said Trinity9. “You won absolutely nothing. And good… serves you right for cheating!”

“Well that sucks massively,” said Wooof. “So how do you explain disappearing ponies called ‘Bess’ in the middle of Birmingham, shopping centres, dinosaurs on the loose, and all the other crazy things we haven’t even had time to mention yet?”

“I’m afraid your time-travelling shenanigans caused multiple time paradoxes,” said Trinty9. “Your competition cheating has damaged the very fabric of time.”

“Like the Butterfly Effect?” I said.

“More like the Bull-in-a-china-shop Effect,” replied Trinity9.

“Yes,” said Wooof. “We wondered why we saw dinosaurs in 1979 Birmingham. That really was stretching credibility to its absolute limits.”

“Yes,” I said, adding, “About as likely as finding King Kong in the Bullring Shopping Centre in 1972!”

“Ha, ha,” laughed Wooof. “Imagine that!”

“Ahem, ahem,” coughed Trinity9. “Sir, may I inform you that your call charge to Spaceline is about to exceed the 100 euro mark? This call is costing you and your cat a small fortune.”

“Wooof,” I said to the cat, handing him a shiny 50 Pence coin. “Nip to the nearest newsagent for two 10p mix-ups and a couple of comics, while I chat to the nice Spaceline operator.”

“Yippee!” cheered Wooof, leaving me alone in the phone box while he made for the nearest John Menzies.

John Menzies. Look In N°15. 1979. UK.

“So, what do you suggest I do?” I said to Trinity9. “I can’t possibly take Wooof back to the present time without some kind of pony prize… the poor cat will retreat into weeks of solitude and dark reflection, like how he did when he found out SpongeBob SquarePants wasn’t real.”

“I myself was equally shattered when I discovered Bob was only a cartoon,” replied Trinity9. “Didn’t sleep properly for days… and normally I’m a out-like-a-light-kind-of-robot-gal the moment my head hits the pillow…”

“Listen, Trinity9,” I said. “I’m not here to talk pillow talk… I’m here to kick missing first prize ass and chew nicotine replacement gum… and right now I’m all out of both! Come on, Spaceline lady robot buddy, help an editor out here… We can’t disappoint the cat! Fix it so that Wooof wins the pony, hm?”

“If you are suggesting I try and help you cheat in some way…” sniffed Trinity9.

“Not cheating…” I said, “Think of it more as bending the integrity of truth into a funny shape kind of thing… like those Bend ‘Ems toys, or Stretch Armstrong.”

“Or Play-Doh?”

“Yes! Absolutely! Do it for Play-Doh… think of the children!”

The phone went silent for an agonisingly long time.

Then: “Okay, Mr TVTA editor,” said Trinity9. “I have just the idea…”

“You do?”

“Oh boy do I!”

CUT TO:


** ONBOARD TVTA TIME MACHINE ** 1970s SWEETS AND COMICS BEING ENJOYED ** VERY HAPPY OFFICE CAT AND RELIEVED EDITOR ** DIAL SET FOR PRESENT TIME ** TVTA TIME MACHINE WARP-WHOOSHING!! **


“How do you like your new pony then?” I asked Wooof.

“She’s adorable,” replied the cat. “And you’re right… doing things the honest way is far more rewarding than cheating.”

“Correct,” I said. “Wooof, you know… cheating is never good… cheating is like…

[INSERT 4th wall break – brief lecture on the virtues of honesty vs cheating to get ahead, followed by back-slapping congratulations and manic laughter]

“Oh man! You are so right when you say all that!” agreed Wooof.

“Absolutely so. Now, tell me, old cat, what are you going to call your new pony?”

“I’m going to call her New Bess… In honour of Old Bess.”

“Wooof, that’s so thoughtful of you. Old Bess would be pleased to know you cared about her so much.”

“I miss her terribly,” said Wooof, gazing off into space, a sadness coming over him.

“I know, old cat. It’s going to take days to get over something like this.”

“Good thing I have my replacement pony then,” said Wooof, perking up a little.

“I admire your courage to move forward so quickly. Especially as it’s only been thirty minutes. Say, where is New Bess?”

“She’s right here,” said Wooof. “I just finished tidying her stables, and we’re all done with her grooming. Time for sugar cubes I think. New Bess…” Wooof called out to his pony… “Come to Wooof-daddy. It’s chow time!”

Enter:

New Bess

LATER…


TVTA EDITOR AND OFFICE CAT RELAXING IN FRONT OF LOG FIRE AT TVTA TOWERS ** COMICS, SLIPPERS, WARM MILK, G&T, PELICAN BEER, PIPE, VEGGIE CAT BISCUITS, PIZZA **


“What are you reading there?” I asked the cat.

He looked up from his vintage comic. “Catwoman,” he replied. “She’s my hero. But hey, I was just browsing some of the ads… and I was thinking of entering this, erm, competition thingy…”

“Hmmm… And what competition would that be?” I asked suspiciously.

“Oh, nothing too crazy.” Wooof handed me the comic, the page open to an advert… a competition… 1985…

“Wooof, no!!” I said, horrified.

“Come on… it’s only a quick trip to 1985… that’s just like yesterday man! And you know how much I’ve always wanted my own collection of art dinosaurs…”

“Absolutely no Wooof! No, no, no!!!!”


FIN


Story: TVTA

Images: scanned from the collection of TVTA

Dinosaur eating a horse comic strip images: Eagle, UK.

King Kong Bull Ring photo: Birminghammail.co.uk

Disco-claimer: No ponies or dinosaurs were harmed in this short story. Birmingham is a fictitious city and any resemblance to second cities in the UK either alive or dead is pure hearsay. No competitions were entered into illegally. W. H. Smith please don’t sue us… the above short story you have just read has been deep faked into the electronic pages of TVTA without our permission and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Please help save TVTA immediately by donating cryptocurrency or sending hard cash in an envelope. We also accept diamonds, speedboats, Duran Duran tapes, pizza, cake, and cameo roles in indie or big budget films. Thanks.

Poem: Idles when idle

There I was, propped up in bed, a thousand thoughts forming
in the holiday of my head, mask off, headphones on, YouTube,
streaming, dreaming, coming to terms with a recently-deceased aunt
who had trouble breathing. Yes I loved her so, she helped me find sense
in the mess of teenage years, she gave me shelter from the helter
and the skelter of life’s tests, used to tell me: follow your dreams.
Loved her, loved her so, even though she voted Leave.
She’ll never know I’m that close to needing a visa to attend her funeral
in ruled Britannia, God save the Titanic, and all who sink with her.

On the bed was where I met them, mask off, headphones on,
finding sense in a present tense, correct, this is why, this is why
you never see your father cry. Council flats and country piles,
apartments in France – renewed my passport before it turned the blue
they want to make us feel, and act and march in their same shoes.
This is why, this is why, my heart swells with pride, not theirs but mine.
Idles your Colossus is a bridge between my republic and my septic isle,
septic minds, this is why, I point to freedom which is mine,
which is yours, which is ours, it’s called sharing, and it rhymes with caring.

Gone past caring? Don’t give up. Don’t stay down. Get back up.
There I was, propped up on the bed, time for a tea and something on bread.
And there they were, my family, watching The Voice on French TV,
Happily yabbering away in French, and me, in English, bemoaning the lack
of decent tea bags, and the way in which no matter how hard you always work
you’re still broke by the end of the month. Back and forth in two languages,
add Frenglish, Brummie accents, mais, ne t’inquiète pas, pas de problème,
je parle français, oui, avec un accent merdique, c’est pour ça,
c’est pour ça, mon clavier est AZERTY et pas QWERTY.

And this is why, this is why, I love myself and always try
to send the love and give the light, to cry when I like and fight the good fight.
Your tee-shirt, it said: Voltaire. I noticed you wearing it the other day,
got me thinking it did, that tee-shirt, and slogans in general,
Choose Life, Frankie Says, Make Love Not War, #MeToo #Remain, Idles on Tour.
Fudge-packing Crack-smoking Satan-worshipping motherfucker Nirvana,
that I wore on my back in days when my aunty wasn’t a Brexiter.
Wouldn’t mind now: Fairy Remoaning Snowflake Traitor Enemy of the People
see their faces when I tell them I don’t like barriers, and I dream in European.





Poem by the editor. Thanks to Idles.

Poem: The Broken Boat Saloon

Editor’s note: This poem is currently away on a top secret mission and will return later.

Words and art by the editor.

Thanks to a three-masted ship of inspiration:

Sophia Riley-Kobacker ** The History of Emotions Blog ** Everything2: Nick Cave’s Love Song Lecture **


 

Curiouser and curiouser… the Bburago HAT Catalogue 1976, starring:

“The Curious Case of the Random, Everyday Objects Superimposed Next to the Cars!”

… and nothing to do with hats, though it is a little mad, Alice…

… mad objects like coins, pasta, moon rocks, pencil shavings, Andorran flag bottle tops, and more! Maybe some of our Italian visitors can help out with the significance of these photographed objects placed next to drawings of cars? Or will they be as nonplussed as us? Non? What’s Italian for ‘no’? The catalogue in question is Italian, a Bburago HAT (Hobbies And Toys) 1976 N°2 edition. Perhaps catalogue N°1 had similar designs? The objects seem to be ‘hobby’ or ‘food’ related? Just how are these everyday items related to toy cars??

So many questions, I know, I know! Let’s move quickly to the scans which show some truly wonderful artwork of the models available by Bburago at the time. As was often typical with 1970s advertising, design teams didn’t photograph their product they hired artists to draw it!


The cover… already you see weird objects, but not so noticeable as the images are tiny…


Inside… it all begins in a quite orderly fashion with a very cool cross section of a die cast car…


And then… Bam! Straight down the rabbit hole… it’s random object time… 

(with bonus FREE pun-and-nonsense commentary from our editing team!!)

1.

… A serious car, serious coinage!

Coins!


2.

Please put the lid back on the toothpaste when you’ve finished brushing your teeth!

Toothpaste lid!


3.

Somebody call me a thimble!

Thimble!


4.

Excuse me, officer, I seem to have lost my marbles!

Marbles!

There are others…

Think I’ve got most of them…

(click images to go bigger)

5 – 22


23.

Bottle tops. The nearest one appears to be the Andorran flag?

Bottle tops!


24.

The pen is mightier than the police car?

Pen nibs!


25.

Back to school. Pencil shavings!

Pencil shavings!

At school, in your pencil case, you were likely to have a cheap, plastic sharpener, red, yellow or blue or something; if you were lucky, you’d have one of those sturdy, metal, technical drawing sharpeners; some had sharpeners that were moulded inside see-through containers into which the shavings could be collected and emptied later; others had novelty promotional sharpeners for cartoon, TV and film characters.

Then there was the ‘beast-of-all-sharpeners’… the one that belonged to the entire class, usually bolted onto the end of the teacher’s desk – a sinister-looking device that could grind down three different-sized pencils at a time, automatic or crank handle-operated, when in motion it sounded like a derailed steam train driven over a cliff by Godzilla, and this monster of a pencil-sharpener, make no mistake, could easily rip off your fingers, and the entire lower arm of some of the smaller pupils!


26.

Decorative beads or tongue-tingling sweets?? No fear, we’re not taste-testing them, they’ve been out of their packaging since 1976!

Decorative beads or tongue-tingling sweets??

Calls down to archives: “Wooof… got some tasty new treats for you to test out, dear cat(muhuhahaha)…”
Wooof: “But you’ve already tested them yourself, dear editor.”
Me: “I have?”
Wooof: “Yes, what do you think it was that I sprinkled on top of your cappuccino this morning?”
Me (going green about the gills): “Uuumph!”


27.

… And finally… a back pages questionnaire, for kids, in Italy, in 1976.


Thanks for identifying random objects with us :) If you know the identity of any of the mystery objects in today's post please let us know in the comments. Likewise, if you have any idea what is going on, about anything at all really, ever, we're here, and we'd like to know too! This post has been brought to you by TVTA random objects and old school schools of old school school stories.

 

19th and 20th century lithographs + angels, art and advertising

American Crescent Cycles par Winthrop Ramsdell 1899

La Tournée du Chat Noir par Thoéphile Steinlen. 1896. Tin plate.


Cats That Come Back. At a poster store in Montmartre you spent your final few euros on cards depicting the lithographic advertising styles of the late 19th and early 20th century. You took photos of the outside of the poster store, and had one taken of yourself and your youngest son, a part of you indulging in some late-afternoon fantasy that you were the proprietors of said store. What fun, surrounded by art originally intended to part one from one’s cash – and a hundred years later it’s still doing the same, only selling itself this time around. What a sale, what a fine boutique did those Parisian streets make for you. For it’s easy to get lost in the culture, art and spirit of expression when it surrounds you in all its breath-taking vibrancy. There is a deep yearning. A searching back through history to find a part of yourself you may recognise. Print advertising is consumerism’s cocky high art. A brassy exhibition of wonders. A sly yet alluring gallery that invites you inside. It’s everything you love and loathe in the same moment. You pitch these paper testimonials to commercialism with all the integrity and enthusiasm of a loving archivist. But you are also an artist. Those Paris streets and galleries and windows and walls whispered to your heart. Hell, sometimes they yelled at you, told you they remembered, recalled your angels & fey (born from the snippets and slivers of glossy ads in magazines in case you didn’t know), the exhibitions, the foreign shores, the hours spent holding brushes and conjuring colours. You sold it well, they said. You made an impression. You left a mark. People were happy. Sometimes that’s the least you have to do. From: The Artist and the Four Hats




Job par Alfons Mucha 1896

Job done?

For a bit

Too busy writing

To try and score another hit

It’s a circle you see

A merry go round

You jump on and off at certain points

feet touch the ground

Back up again

Always looking for those special connections


Palooka N° 5


Words, Angel & Fey artwork by the editor.
Colour Angels & Fey scans taken from Palooka issue 5.
Lithograph adverts scanned from commercial postcards and tin plates are shown for illustrative purposes only. No infringement of copyright is intended.
Cat count: we spotted at least 26 images of cats in this blog post. A new TVTA record!

Poem: The ever-growing, space-consuming giant Mish-mash tree

Words and illustrations by the Editor.

For Adam.

I grew from a seed in my garden one day
A giant Mish-mash tree with purple fruit and pink spray.
It began at fourteen inches and had such an appetite
That it ate all my tomatoes and grew four foot overnight.
The next day it rained on my giant Mish-mash tree
And the sun shone so brightly that by quarter-past three
It was bigger than my house and had scoffed my runner beans.
Oh how hungry you are, my giant Mish-mash tree!

The following morning as I tended to my flowers,
My shock and my horror, they had all been devoured.
The pansies and the bluebells and my pretty rose borders,
Chomped down to their stalks, this was so out of order!
At first I blamed the slugs then the dog then the cat,
Then I realised in my garden there was only one thing so fat…
Only one thing so portly, porky, podgy, plump to see…
My ever-growing space-consuming giant Mish-mash tree!

Its trunk I measured fifty feet, its height three thousand inches tall,
Each purple fruit weighed sixteen stone and looked like cannonballs.
“She’s a lively little grower,” my old neighbour remarked,
“You’ll need to sell your garden soon and buy a blimmin’ park!”
Pah and utter tish-tosh, how I scoffed at what he said,
But then three hours later the tree had eaten up my shed!
You greedy, gluttonous, gobbling, gulping giant Mish-mash tree,
Where am I to store my tools now my shed is in your tummy?

Enough was enough, there could be no truce or pardon,
At this rate by tomorrow I would no longer have a garden.
Angrily I shook my fist up at the Mish-mash tree,
But all it did was snigger and snort and grow another ten feet.
And then it rumbled and it grumbled and I had to act fast…
I could see it had intentions on my prize strawberry patch.
And worse, my greenhouse, full of little bonsai trees,
“You leave those tiny trees alone!” I warned my Mish-mash tree.

I rushed inside and quickly dialled
The emergency action garden line…
The botanical gardens and the local nursery…
The national parks and the forestry committee…
Gardens Weekly and Gardeners’ World…
What Garden, Which Garden and The Gardening Herald…
A tree surgeon, a lumberjack, a professor of trees…
But they all thought me mad and put the phone down on me!

And so I chanced upon a book at the local lending library,
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People With a Nice Cup of Tea’…
Well, if it can work for humans why not plants?
So I borrowed the book and took my chance!
And the very next day I approached the Mish-mash tree
With an honest invitation for a nice cup of tea.
Just him and me, in my conservatory,
And if he behaved I would chuck in a pack of custard creams!

The tree it shook with gladness and glee,
Said: “Oh I do so love a cup of tea! I’ll come, I’ll come, quite happily!”
“There’s just one problem,” I warned the tree,
“You’re far too big for my conservatory…
You’re far too big for Buckingham Palace,
And you won’t need a cup you’ll need a king-size chalice!
If only you could shrink to a reasonable size…
I’m certain you would have such a lovely time.”

The Mish-mash tree looked down at me and gave a gentle smile,
Said: “Earl Grey, Indian, Chinese, mint, green and camomile,
Are all my favourite types of brew, and I’m quite partial to a custard cream too,
So I’ll gladly shrink to a dinky thing and join you for a high tea for two!”
“Oh thank you!” I cheered. “Let me find you a pot,
And put you on my table in the sunniest spot.
Come join me indoors, we’ll drink gallons of tea,
My ever-shrinking, not space-consuming, tiny Mish-mash tree.
Drink tea, drink tea, drink gallons of tea,
Just you and me in my conservatory.”

The End