Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

Seasons Greetings to both our readers (and their mums)

AnElephantCant stay calm when its Xmas
All those presents on a sleigh with reindeer
He keeps asking his mum
Will Santa get down the lum?

Close your eyes, dream sweet dreams, never fear
He loves Xmas trees decorated with tinsel
Mince pies, jelly, and seasonal cheer
Cards, toys from Santa
From AnElephantCant a
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Pandas in Edinburgh Zoo

AnElephantCant pretend he’s enamoured
By the pandas in Edinburgh Zoo
They may look quite cute
In their black and white suits
But they just sit around munching bamboo

They must wish they were back home in China
What with winter and hurricanes and sleet
Can they keep themselves warm
In the eye of our storm
Do they need gloves for their wee hands and feet?

AnElephant believes that they’ve been told to mate here
Not that easy in conditions so Spartan
They will go to great pains
To produce cultural weans
Monochrome with a wee hint of tartan

They are called Tian Tian and Yang Guang
The names translate as Sweetie and Sunshine
If they get it together
In spite of the weather
Then these big bears will really have done fine

They must emulate Angel Shark Annie
Who has just produced nineteen shark babies
Over the forth in Fife
With no sign of strife
So tell Tian Tian no perhapses or maybes

AnElephant just loves being in Scotland
We treat a hurricane just like a breeze here
We are knee deep in snow
But whadya know
We have more pandas than Tory MP’s here!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ice cream

My grandson brightens up my life
A source of fun and joy
We go dragon-hunting in the park
He is a wild creative boy

We track mammoth footsteps through the mud
He spies their nests high in the trees
He tells me - quick behind this bush
With no thought for creaky knees

But of all the things he teaches me
One thing I did not dream
After all these years I’m tasting
Different flavours of ice cream

I always ate vanilla
That was pretty much a rule
Sometimes I stuck a flake in
I thought that was really cool

But now my little droogie
Makes me think again because
He has chocolate ice cream with a flake
All drenched in raspberry sauce

He eats pooh bear crunch with sprinkles
Chocolate or multi-coloured
He heaps them onto toffee meringue
I feel like quite the dullard

So I’m eating creamy caramel
I’m becoming quite the raver
I try most things he offers me
But I can’t take peanut flavour

A carton a bowl a wafer a cone
No probs I always dug it
An oyster or a snowball
Or my favourite double nougat

But my ice cream was always white
Never green or brown or yellow
Not blue or pink
I used to think
I ain’t that kind of fellow

But now I’m more adventurous
He has taught me quite a lot
Flavours new
And bizarre hues
He just laughs and says so what!

The Queen’s Café in Vicky Road
Is our emporium of choice
They treat us well
The ice cream is swell
We are happy smiling boys

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Elephants in Space

AnElephantCant stay earthbound for ever
He has dreams of one day travelling through space
Just like an astronaut
Whether he can go fast or not
The thought leaves a smile on this elephant’s face

There is an expedition to land on the Red Planet
AnElephant isn’t sure if he’d go so far or not
But he’ll give it a try
He will fly through the sky
With the prospect of becoming a Marsonaut

He has ambitions of being a spaceman
He wants to cruise down the great Milky Way
Chocolate bar in his pocket
To munch in his rocket
Because a Mars helps you work rest and play

He’ll see millions of things of great interest
Like black holes and meteor storms
He’ll spot Jedi and Klingons
Bypass-building Vogons
And he might even meet Major Tom

He’ll go out and claim planets for Scotland
With a giant Lion Rampant as plain as
The nose on his face
He’ll explore outer space
And plant it on Saturn or Uranus

But his Sputnik must be totally reliable
Because on Jupiter you can’t jump a train
You can’t find a taxi
To go south of the galaxy
And it’s a long cold walk home in the rain

On his return he will have lots of stories
Where he has been and what he has seen then
A couple of lite beers
To pass the light years
With his friends the Marsvellous wee green men

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Fishy tales and fishy toes

AnElephantCant say that he fancies
His feet being nibbled by fish
He isn’t too sure
But this pedicure
Is perhaps just a little bit kitsch

It’s the latest in beauty craze treatments
Garra Rufa fish munch on your toes
Please don’t be misled
They only chomp what is dead
This Elephant frets they might chew on his nose

So you dip your big plates into water
And these tiny dudes think it’s their tea
They immediately begin
To eat the dead skin
But they won’t go as far as your knee

Some folk worry that this spreads diseases
When you have grazes or cuts on your feet
But if the water is clean
And you know where you’ve been
These Doctor fish could be right up your street

We are somewhat concerned what comes after
We’ve been spruced up by these little fellas
We’re not too enthused
If our appendage is used
As a place for folk to keep their umbrellas

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Golden Years

On the approval of plans for gold mining at Tyndrum in the Scottish Highlands:

Up at Tyndrum there’s a syndrome
Get rich quick we’ll all be fine
Like 49ers
That’s where you’ll find us
Up to our oxters in a mine

Just hang a left at Crianlarich
A few miles up the A-8-2
That’s where you’ll find us
Like 49ers
Doing what prospectors do

We’re not vandals we’ll pan handle
Sift for gold with our wee pan
Like 49ers
That’s how you’ll find us
Get rich quick is our big plan

It’s not the Yukon not the Klondyke
It’s a bonnie Highland glen
Like 49ers
That’s where you’ll find us
Searching for gold till who knows when

In California they built cities
San Francisco flowered that way
Like 49ers
We wish you’d find us
In that city by the bay

We don’t like lemons grapefruit or oranges
No citrus fruit of any kind
We’re Scottish miners
Not 49ers
We have no taste for clementines

In a tavern with our companion
Perhaps we sip a glass of wine
Like 49ers
That’s where you’ll find us
Not too rich but doing fine

So we wonder is this the answer
To so much of Scotland’s ills
Like 49ers
That’s where you’ll find us
After gold in them thar hills

Thursday, 27 October 2011


AnElephantCant contain his excitement
As the end of October draws near
His wee brain fair itches
As he thinks about witches
It is the scariest night of the year

Aye Hallowe’en is a night of fun
As long as you ca’ canny
You might see a de’il
Or a bogle for real
If you keek in each dark nook and cranny

Some traditions have lasted forever
Some changes we find quite surprising
In the US it’s neat
To say trick or treat
But in Scotland we still call it guising

There’s aye laughter and games for the children
With treacle scones hung on a string
Just mind your thrapple
When dookin’ for apples
In case a wean wi’ a fork takes a swing

And everyone carves out a lantern
We use turnips but some folk use pumpkins
We may be old fashioned
But please show compassion
AnElephant should not be confused with a bumpkin

Now though it’s all commercialised
We a’ do things we’re no’ supposed tae
It’s still the night
That causes fright
When we walk wi’ ghouls and ghosties

Hallowe’en is the night of the bogeyman
He frightens the bairns out of their heads
He has never been seen
But does that just mean
He is hiding under AnElephant’s bed?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011

AnElephantCant be expert at all sports
He’s not one to beat his own drum
Where rugby is concerned
He hasn’t yet learned
The difference between drop-goal and scrum

But this World Cup has got him excited
He has followed it through thick and through thin
The only down side
Is national pride
It’s one more trophy that Scotland can’t win

Our brave lads didn’t get to the knock-outs
Their defeat gave our heart-strings a wrench
The Irish were plucky
The Welsh quite unlucky
And England were battu by the French

The All Blacks march into the final
The Aussies left crushed in their wake
The Boks are out too
That just leaves Les Bleus
To give New Zealand a touch of heartache

We have always been quite Francophilic
But we can’t see them winning this prize
When Richie McCaw
Gets his mitts on the ba’
The AB’s just keep scoring more tries

We have some ideas for the next time
To give our team a chance of success
AnElephant or two
In Scotland’s dark blue
Would let us scrummage and ruck with the best!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Who wants to live forever

AnElephantCant get too excited
About what happens to him after he’s dead
He hopes he’s not lost
At sea or squashed
He’d like to pop off his clogs in his bed

Though he is not too fussed about after
It will be nice if a few friends come round
A story or three
And a nice cup of tea
When he’s been neatly tucked into the ground

Or maybe he’ll just get cremated
Not really a cause for concern
A wee puff of smoke
A laugh and a joke
And he’ll be sitting there in a big urn

Now it turns out there are other options
A whole new array of attractions
Such as Resomation*
For your information
It’s a method of body liquefaction

In Florida this is a boom thing
Because it is more eco-friendly
In fact it is no less
Than a chemical process
You could say it’s a bit sticky-endy

The other idea is Promession*
Where the body is carefully freeze-dried
It ends up all brittle
You tap it a little
And get a pile of dust about knee high

Now AnElephant isn’t sure that he likes this
Though no doubt it is all very clever
With typical candour
Like the mythical Highlander
He thinks it’s better to just live forever

AnElephant has one more suggestion
Which boosts the economy of our wee nation
Relax in your vault
With a bottle of malt
And drink till you reach distillification

*For more info:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Faster than a speeding bull frog

AnElephantCant quite grasp this concept
Which is causing all scientists big fright
Stunned looks all around
Have they really found
A wee sub-atomic doodah that goes faster than light?

They’ve got this Large Hadron Collider
(We thought that he’d built a big wall)
It’s a serious article
To find the God particle
To us it makes absolutely no sense at all

But why does it cause consternation?
It suggests Albert Einstein was wrong
We have always heard
E=mc squared
Can it be that he spoke with forked tongue?

It’s the basis of all modern physics
That nothing can go faster than light
If this is not true
What can stop us and you
From restarting our holiday fortnight?

Yes if these ghostly neutrino particles
Are doing what CERN says then this means
With a minimum of fuss
Ditch the car and the bus
We can all have our own time machines

On our first trip we’d head back to Aintree
With all our spare cash and then some
We don’t like to gamble
But with no more preamble
We would stick the whole lot on Red Rum

There’s still one thing that causes confusion
This Elephant spots a significant flaw
If travel to the past
Will soon happen at last
Why has nobody come back to let us know?

Friday, 7 October 2011

good day sunshine

AnElephantCant stay here all summer
He occasionally takes a wee holiday
When flying over France
He had a quick glance
And saw the doodling one going the other way!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Nut Case

On the recent news that 2 adults sued their mother for being a bad parent

AnElephantCant really stop scratching
His head at our American chums
These kids sue their mum
You just know this is dumb
And it is certain that they are onto plums*

They take her to court for big payback
They say she has been bad to them
She didn’t send cash
She wasn’t that rash
We think that this lady should sue them

She told them to put on their seat belts
Do you think that infringes their rights?
No cash in a card
Oh gosh that is hard
We wonder how she sleeps at night

Now you may well feel sorry for children
Whose mummy does not give them plenty
Of loving and care
But this whinging pair
Are both of them aged over twenty

We have some advice for these people
Raised in a $1.5 million home
If you think life is tough
Then you don’t know snuff
So grow up and make a life of your own

In this country we call it brung-uppedness*
We don’t know if that’s a real word or not
But one way or another
You look after of your mother
If you’re American a Martian or a Scot

* to be onto plums – to have no chance of success
*brung-uppedness – upbringing, how you were raised

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Letter from Old Edinburgh

AnElephantCant help ourself fretting
About the problems that Edinburgh faces
They’re in all sorts of jams
With their plans for their trams
But they aren’t getting to any good places

Now it seems that the reason for all this
Is the lack of accountability
City councillors agree
It’s no’ you and me
Do we just put it down to senility?

So does Edinburgh need a new heid yin?
A serious and responsible player
Not some comedian
Like Boris or Ken
But an elected and respected Mayor

Now AnElephantCant suggest who this could be
We don’t really know anyone famous
Let each voter say
I’m on my way
We could do worse than elect The Proclaimers

We know there are details to work on
At this point things are still a bit vague
But if we sack the council
To cut back the town’s bill
We can just afford Charlie and Craig

One thing is so certain with this plan
Although the rhymes will probably get badder
When they are away
In touch they will stay
Whether they are in Miami or Canada

Now their campaign will surely be great fun
They’ll bring laughter and a bundle of smiles
And they’ll be consistent
No matter how distant
These boys will walk 500 miles

Now we know you’re all bored by this subject
We guess that you’re sick to the teeth
But with these guys on board
We can all rest assured
Those trams will bring Sunshine to Leith

If no trams then an anthem for Embru
The good burghers can sing round the clock
A lively wee ditty
To cheer up the city
With the chorus of course I could walk

All together now:
Ta ra da ta ta ra da ta
Ta ra da ta ta ra da ta
Ta ra la da la la da la la da la la da la la

Monday, 29 August 2011

Pure Dead Walking

AnElephantCant understand Zombies
He’s not sure just what makes them tick
But one thing’s for sure
All that blood and gore
Leaves this Elephant feeling quite sick

He knows that this is a movie
The star is that wee hunk Brad Pitt
He’s not dishing out kisses
Cos he’s brought the missus
Local girls think that’s a right piece of bad luck

All Glasgow is acting its socks off
And George Square has become Philadelphia
The director has said
This city’s pure dead
And the locals all say gaun yersel’ there

AnElephantCant say what the plot is
He knows it is called World War Z
It’s stuck in his head
That it’s pronounced zed
But our friends from the States don’t agree

We have some advice for commuters
Be careful on your way to work
And keep your eyes open
Or you could be groping
A Zombie if he’s having a lurk

All too soon the excitement is over
Nothing left but the scars and the stains
It’s goodbye to Brad
But don’t feel too sad
Instead of Mars Bars we’ll munch deep-fried brains

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Tongue Tied

AnElephantCant praise this too highly
He hopes you don’t find it too boring
He thinks it is cool
That at primary school
They will teach our kids two kinds of foreign

AnElephantCant speak very good German
When he greets you it sounds like a sneeze
When he’s in Deutschland
With phrase book in hand
He says Ich spreche nur Schottisch

AnElephantCant converse in Italian
He just doesn’t find it so easy
He feels quite at home
In Milan or Rome
But says Parlo solo Scozzese

AnElephantCant pronounce Chinese Mandarin
He can’t get his tongue to do tricks
Confucius say Why
Not give it a try?
But he can’t even eat with chopsticks

AnElephantCant be charming in Spanish
There’s no way he is smelling like roses
In Madrid or Tenerife
He just grits his teeth
Saying lo siento hablo solamente escocés

AnElephantCant parle the old Francais
Though he has been there more often than Rothesay
He has mastered one phrase
This Elephant says
Ooh la la Je ne parle qu’Ecossais

AnElephantCant grasp Hindi or Urdu
Is he too old to learn a new tongue?
He may not be bright
But he knows it is right
To teach our children while they are still young

So AnElephantCant claim he’s a linguist
He can’t even claim that he’s clever
But please rest assured
Whene’er he’s abroad
He can trumpet Bonnie Scotland For Ever!

On the news that the Scottish Government has announced ambitious plans to teach all primary pupils at least two modern languages:

Sunday, 14 August 2011


AnElephantCant climb up high mountains
He is not built like a svelte Mountain Goat
He does have strange views
On hearing the news
Beinn a’Chlaidheimh is now two feet short

It was always considered a Munro
Which you a’ ken must be 3,000 feet
Now technology says
It is 30 inches less
That’s enough to make a poor wee Ben greet

AnElephantCant help but feel sorry
For a mountain that’s been treated this way
Aw jings and oh no
I’m no’ a Munro
I am just a wee Corbett they say

But there are still 282 Munros
If you fancy going out Munro bagging
Each 900 plus meters
They quickly deplete us
Leaving all of our saggy bits sagging

But is there a story behind Beinn a’Chlaidheimh?
Is there something that gave it the chop?
Did some UFO plummet
And slice off the summit
To leave it a tad short on top?

Is it really the tallest of mountains
With its peak somewhere off in the stars?
Did a little green chap
Give its apex a zap
To build his own Munro on Mars?

Thursday, 11 August 2011


AnElephantCant hide his admiration
For Pastafarians -  they make us look sane
They are fairly benign
But Intelligent Design
Makes them laugh till their sides have a pain

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Is a protest against misleading their youth
A small revolution
In support of evolution
They think that schools should be teaching the truth

AnElephantCant make up this great stuff
It all comes from the US of A
What makes us most glad
And proves they aren't mad
They celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

The  Flying Spaghetti Monster is brilliant
A real challenge for one of Phil's doodles
This remarkable deity
Causes laughter and gaiety
He looks a lot like a meatball with noodles

AnElephantCant just accept what they tell us
But here's a message we would like to keep brief
While we may or may not
Doubt the Celestial Teapot
We defend everyone's right to their own cosmic belief

Now religion is a sensitive area
In Scotland it can cause serious trouble
We may be a bit daft
We prefer a good laugh
To make all of our wobbly bits wobble


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Titan Clydebank Crane

So we decided to pay a visit to the recently renovated Titan Clydebank Crane.
Easily accessible by car or public transport, this is a fun way to enjoy a glimpse into the history of ship-building on the Clyde.
From the ticket booth a courtesy bus takes us along the river to the foot of the crane.
A recorded voice, which a fellow visitor identifies as actor Bill Paterson, describes our surroundings.
At the crane there is a smart little gift shop with souvenirs and coffee.
A lift takes us to the top, from where the views are spectacular.
If you are of a slightly queasy disposition it is best not to look down at your feet, as the floor is of a lattice or open grid construction which allows you to see the ground far below!

There is a guide up here – Mary, on the day we visited - who is available to talk about the history and construction of the crane, and to point out the landmarks in the surrounding countryside, but equally happy to leave you to explore alone.
This leaves her free to watch the police launch check the river banks for whatever police launches check river banks for.

Inside the wheel-house you can inspect the machinery close-up, and view the photographic exhibition detailing the history of John Brown’s shipyard.

The Titan Clydebank Crane is a 150 foot high marvel of Scottish engineering.
It sits on the north bank of the River Clyde, in the town of Clydebank (hence the name!) and lies about half-way between Glasgow city centre and Dumbarton.
The crane was built by Arrols of Dalmarnock, Glasgow, in 1907 for John Brown & Company Ltd, Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Works.
It is the oldest crane of its type in the world.

Technical Stuff
The cantilever is 240 feet in length, the long arm being 150 feet and the shorter one 90 feet.
It sits on a tower of four columns pitched 40 feet apart at the base and tapering to 35 feet at the top, and revolves on a live-ring and steel rollers 124 feet from the ground.
The Titan was equipped with two hoists.
The main hoist could lift loads up to 150 tons, and operated at very slow speeds – maximum 5 feet per minute.
The auxiliary hoist handled loads up to 30 tons, at much increased speeds.
In the 1950’s a high speed 5 ton ‘jigger’ hoist was added.
The Titan was electrically powered throughout, although at that time steam-powered cranes were still being built.
Electricity meant that the crane was entirely controlled by one man, the driver, although a ‘greaser’ also worked on it, keeping the machinery fully lubricated.
The foundations consist of 4 steel cylinders each 10 feet in diameter, but belled out to 13 feet at their base.
They were sunk to a depth of 75 feet.

Only 60 Giant cantilever cranes were built world-wide, and as of 2007 14 remained.
Five of these are on the Clyde and one at Rosyth. The others are in England (3), USA (2), Japan (2) and Australia.

The Views
The crane provides a fascinating insight to the historical significance of ship-building on the River Clyde, as well as panoramic views to Dumbuck Quarry in the west, the Kilpatrick Hills to the north and Glasgow, the Airport and the River Cart to the east and south.

The Ships

In the intervening years, many great ships were built here.
A few examples:
1968 QE2, the Queen Elizabeth 2, flagship of the Cunard line from 1969 to 2004
1967 Intrepid, took part in the Falklands campaign
1953 HMY Britannia, the Royal Yacht of Queen Elizabeth II
1949 Destroyer Diamond, John Brown’s first all welded ship (not riveted), served in Suez
1942 HMS Indefatigable, aircraft carrier, present at formal surrender of Japanese in Tokyo Bay, September 1945
1936 RMS Queen Elizabeth, luxury liner, served as troop carrier in WWII
1934 RMS Queen Mary, luxury liner, Cunard flagship and Blue Riband holder
1931 RMS Empress of Britain, largest passenger ship built in UK, owned by Canadian Pacific Steamship Company, the largest ship sunk by a U-boat (1940)
1918 HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser to be built for RN, sunk by German battleship Bismarck in 1941
1916 HMS Repulse, battlecruiser, sunk by Japanese in 1941 off Malaya

RMS Queen Mary from Wikimedia Commons
Photograph by David Jones from Isle of Wight, United Kingdom


As a point of interest, immediately prior to the acquisition of the Titan, John Brown in 1906 launched RMS Lusitania.
This record-breaking ship was en route from New York to Liverpool when it was sunk by German torpedoes in 1915 with the loss of 1,198 lives.
Public outrage on both sides of the Atlantic meant that this was a major influence on the USA’s decision to enter WW1.

The Blitz

In 1941 the shipyard was targeted by the German Luftwaffe.
The blitz of 13 and 14 March largely destroyed the town of Clydebank, causing the worst destruction and civilian loss of life in all of Scotland.
Records show that 528 people died, 617 people were seriously injured, and hundreds more were injured by blast debris.
The shipyard escaped any serious damage.
4,000 houses were completely destroyed and 4,500 severely damaged, leaving over 35,000 people homeless.
Out of a total of 12,000 houses, only seven remained undamaged.
Attached is a map showing the damage caused on those dreadful nights.

Scottish Engineering

Well, it is time for a wee plug.
Scotland is famous for its engineers, e.g.:
John Logie Baird (1888-1946) – inventor of television, from Helensburgh
Henry Bell (1767–1830) – pioneer of steamship development, notably The Comet
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) – inventor of telephone and much more
James Watt (1736-1819) – developed the steam engine and the concept of horsepower
John Dunlop (1840-1921) – developed first inflatable tyre
Kirkpatrick MacMillan (1812-1878) – the bicycle
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) – electro-magnetism
Robert Watson-Watt (1892-1973) – radar
John Loudon Macadam (1756-1836) – roads
Thomas Telford (1757-1834) – roads, bridges, canals
Steve Conway (1959-) – Channel Tunnel
Robert Stevenson (1772-1850), and his sons and grandsons - lighthouses
And, of course,
Montgomery Scott (2222-) – Chief Engineer, Starship Enterprise

Note: This is in no way an exhaustive list, just some personal favourites. Apologies in advance for any omissions.

The End

In 1972 the shipbuilding era came to an end.
The regeneration of this area is now, at long last, underway.
This visit was inspiring and saddening, but most of all thought-provoking.
A unique insight to Scotland, past and present.
Well worth a look when you have a couple of free hours.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

A-hunting we will go

AnElephantCant take this too seriously
A chap who offers himself to be hunted
We just do not feel
That he is for real
And our thoughts are perhaps better left unsaid

He is an American of course no surprise there
A kinda hill-billy fella called Mork
He says if you pay him
You can then try to slay him
He reckons this could become a new sport

Now elephants were once used in hunting
A mahout on our back in a howdah
A prat with a gun
Shooting tigers for fun
His laughter growing louder and louder

But Mork says he is not just a target
He won't be at your beck and call
He most certainly will not
Give you a clear shot
It won't be easy to put his head on your wall

He plans to create some diversions
So be sure that your focus won't lapse
We're not scared a bit
Of a trench or a pit
But we look out for an Elephant Trap!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Haircut Horrors

AnElephantCant pretend that we are au fait
With the practices of old Istanbul
Now you may be right
We are not too bright
But please don't think we are anyone's fool

In our home town of Helton-upon-Sea
There is a new barber shop in the offing
We hope that this Turk
Doesn't smoke when he works
So his hand will not shake with the coughing

We hear Turkish barbers clean by burning
All the hairs in your facial orifices
We are not afraid
But it has to be said
The idea brings large lumps to our oesophaguses

You know AnElephant has rather large flappers
Like wee Noddy's old buddy Big Ears
The thought of some mug
With a match near our lug
Somehow darkens our darkest dark fears

And if he comes near our proboscis
We would surely be in a blue funk
We're not scared to lose
Maybe one or two toes
But we're sunk if we damage our trunk

So we will take double care with our good bits
And if this new barber decides
That we look a mess
We will say oh yes
Please give us a short back and sides

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Chairman

AnElephantCant run a global media empire
He is too unambitious by miles
He can doodle and rhyme
He can noisily mime
And occasionally maybe raise a few smiles

This is not a great big corporation
Getting up to some dubious tricks
Believe if you will
That it's just me and Phil
And the chairman who just last month turned six!

Our chairman isn't what you call hands-on
He prefers to hunt dragons in the park
But he doesn't fret
That we'll corrupt the Met
He trusts AnElephant not to be like a shark

AnElephantCant get involved in controversy
About newspapers politicians and cops
We have to confess
It is anyone's guess
Where this corruption is going to stop

We have our own very clear set of ethics
We don't mock human frailty like some
We don't hack we don't harass
We could never embarass
The chairman or the chairman's dear mum

Now perhaps when he grows up to be eighty
He will have more interest in what is going on
Incompetent unaware
Guilty but don't care
Who do you think is running their business wrong?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Tour de France

AnElephantCant cycle quickly for three weeks
He is not aerodynamically designed
But on this year's Tour
There's one thing for sure
He's determined not to be left behind

There have been crashes galore in the first week
Some chaps got knocked down by a car
From French Television
We react with derision
AnElephant is too big by far

AnElephantCant be the best ‘grimpeur’*
He is just a bit heavy to climb
But going downhill
(an incredible thrill)
He can make up a mountain of time

He is dedicated to helping his team mates
A water carrier - in French 'domestique'
They give him three cheers
When he spreads out his ears
Giving shelter from the rain and the heat

AnElephantCant cycle up mountains
But as a sprinter he’s out on his own
He’s got sensational thighs
So in spite of his size
His aim is Paris in the Maillot Jaune

*grimpeur = climber

Friday, 8 July 2011


AnElephantCant claim he's a sailor
He doesn't handle deep water too bravely
He is not keen on boats
Or anything that floats
But he loves a trip with his chums on The Waverley

He is not built for most modes of transport
Not being what you'd call streamlined
He does prefer paddles
To bicycle saddles
Which cannot cope with his wobbly behind

An evening with friends on The Waverley
Meandering round isle and up loch
Seeing bens clad in heather
Ignoring the weather
Is like life in a magic pibroch

We retire inside for refreshments
After two hours we all feel a bit drouthy
We sit for a while there
With no sign of Smiler
He always flees when Rab gets out his moothie

Now it's true there have sometimes been hiccups
Though the engines run smoothly as clocks
With no yellow marking
It is tricky parking
Or you end up with Scotch on the Rocks

The passengers are locals and tourists
So interesting to study behaviourally
We are calling it time
We have no more rhyme
Just our thanks for the Paddle Steamer Waverley

The Waverley is the world's only ocean-going paddle steamer, sailing on this occasion from Helensburgh, Argyll & Bute, up Loch Long and Loch Goil.
drouthy - dry, thirsty
moothie - harmonica, mouth organ

Sunday, 3 July 2011

iNnoying iDiots

AnElephantCant stand extraneous noises
Perhaps it's the size of his lug-holes
iPad and iPod
iPhone oh dear God
He wants to flush the whole lot down the plug-hole

When this elephant is on public transport
He is assaulted by other folks music
The noise rattles inside us
Causing constant tinnitus
Is it just us or does it also make you sick?

At one time everybody wore headphones
So only their own brains got scrambled
Now this is no lie
They sit down nearby
And blow your head off without any preamble

They don't worry if they give you headaches
They don't care if you react with shock
We are not malicious
But we'd find it delicious
If the whole bunch were infected with iPox

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

5 Minute Theatre

AnelephantCant - Phil and I - had the honour to be invited back to Greenburn School, East Kilbride to help the children and staff prepare a short piece of Live Theatre to celebrate the 5th birthday of The National Theatre of Scotland.

This is what Scottish Television had to say prior to the event:

The chosen work was based on a book called The Adventures of Jack the little Giant and the Clock Tower, written by me and brilliantly illustrated by Phil.
We are delighted to report that it is a favourite read at the school.

 On a previous visit we were amazed and hugely flattered to discover that the children had built a 10-foot tall giant specially for our workshop - we do readings and 'magic' art - and it totally dominated the proceedings!

This time it was much more interactive with the children providing the sounds and faces of the characters from the story. Even the audience entered into the spirit of the event by wearing masks to represent the animals in the story.

The performance was filmed LIVE by the National Theatre of Scotland and streamed LIVE to both their own and STV's websites:

Here it is!
Please take a few moments to watch and enjoy:

We thought that the children were wonderful, but please feel free to add your own comments to the video.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Florence Nightingale Syndrome

AnElephantCant always be serious
As we create exquisite Burnsian verses
We think you will find
We have focussed our mind
When some bloke has a pop at our nurses

This numpty who sits up on high
Says their uniforms must not be revealing
In their starchy white
They make us feel all right
No matter what’s broke or how bad we’re feeling

Every schoolboy has affection for nurses
They’re efficient and gentle and kind
Though it’s far in the past
These memories last
Some things you just can’t leave behind

These good ladies take care of our problems
When we are lying all bandaged in bed
AnElephant’s plea
Is just leave them be
Although we may be quite old we’re not dead

Monday, 20 June 2011

Boris in deep water

AnElephantCant dislike Boris Johnson
Although he may be as mad as a hatter
But we think this time
He has crossed a line
He decides that he wants Scottish water

The Mayor of London has very high standards
To source a product as important as this
We might have guessed
He would chose the best
To let us know he’s not just full of, erm, hot air

Now BoJo is an honourable chappie
Who pays a fair price for what he has bought
To warrant this fee
We’ll do thorough QC
To guarantee his water has been passed by a Scot

Monday, 13 June 2011

A Sheep called Shrek

AnElephantCant help shed a tear
For Shrek that most outrageous of sheep
He was one of a kind
Independent of mind
Who decided his wool he would keep

He just went to a cave up a mountain
The shearers all thought he was dead
But he hid like mad
In his wee secret pad
With his wool he had no need of a bed

When he decided to pop down for a haircut
They took off 30 kilos of fluff
In a couple of toots
You’d make 20 big suits
No way you can make up this stuff

Now the Kiwis are mourning our hero
Who kept half of the country quite cosy
This elephant is sad
Although also quite glad
At least this Merino wasn’t called Jose