Our Residents

Angela Lanyon

Angela is an author and (retired) theatre director. She has been a resident of the Britannia Square neighbourhood since the 1970s, when it was, she recalls, ‘quite a lively place!’ Angela is well known for readings of her wonderfully entertaining comic verses and poetry at neighbourhood events.

“I have worked everywhere, from the Woman's Land Army to professional theatre. Now retired, I continue to write articles and murder mystery plays, many of which I have directed at the Swan Theatre, Worcester. I wrote IMAGES OF ELSEWHERE to please myself after having been made redundant and then found it seemed to chime with other people. THE SWORDSMAN'S REEL is the first book, THE ROPEMAKER'S WALK is the second (both self published) and the last is THE WEAVER'S CLEW, which appropriately ties everything up.”

Below is a selection of Angela's work. A collection of her 'Verse of the Day', written during the Coronavirus pandemic, can be found here.

Up at a Villa – Down in the City
by Robert Browning (with nod-ins from Angela Lanyon)

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city Square.
O, such a life, such a life as one leads at the windows there!

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least,
Although there, all day long, one’s life is a perfect feast,
While out in the country, one lives, I maintain it, no more than beast.

But the city, oh, the city, the Square with the houses! Why
They’re stone-faced, white as curd - there is something to catch the eye.
Houses in four straight lines. Not a single front awry!
You watch who crosses and gossips, who saunters, who hurries by
.Green blinds as a matter of course to draw when the sun gets high,
And doors with their elegant knockers where windows reflect the sky.

Ere you open your eyes in the morning the racing is sure to begin,
Hot air balloons and loudspeakers, and a circus to add to the din.
By and by there’s the sound of the bin men - is it paper or landfill today?
And watch out for diversions and potholes that are carefully put in the way.

It’s a horror to think of the country, so it’s life in the city for me,
With plenty of comings and goings and always some drama to see,
There’s always some sort of excitement, some incident going on there,
For two hundred years it’s been standing -

So three cheers for Britannia Square!

You'd Never Think To See Her

You’d never think to see her
That the Vicar’s dowdy wife
Is really quite a go-er
And lives a double life.

You’d never think to see her
When she’s on her knees at prayer
That she’s throwing rowdy parties
When the Vicar isn’t there.

When he’s going round the parish
She’s letting down her curls
For she runs a busy strip club
With some other local girls.

She passes to the parish
The profits from her hire
And boosts the restoration fund
To reconstruct the spire.

You’d never think to look at
The Vicar, as he goes
Walking round the parish,
That he’s got a business nose.
You’d never think to see him
In church absolving sin,
That he runs a small consortium
Distilling bathtub gin.

When Evensong is over
He stays alone in prayer,
Recycling the empties
Parishioners leave there.

The undertaker takes them
And the bottles are tucked by
The side of stiffened loved ones
As there in state they lie.

You’d never think to look at
The mourners as they weep
That they’re secretly rejoicing
At spirits on the cheap.

A thriving church, Saint Polycarp’s
The surfaces all glow
They’re polished free of fingerprints
By choirboys in the know.

The parable of talents
Is the one they’ve got on board,
To make the most of varied gifts
And blessings from the Lord.

Diversify, diversity,
Reach people where they are!
Among the black economy,
The strip club and the bar.

You’d never think to look at
The Vicar and his wife
Those higher-minded simple souls
Lead such a worldly life.

15th February 2002

Oh, I’ll never forget what’s his name
And that nice little cottage in Wales,
Where Chris and Elaine
Got locked out in the rain
And the letters were eaten by snails.

And I’ll never forget Mrs Thing -y
You remember, she came in to do,
And left cigarette ash
In the Cadbury Smash
And lost her false teeth in the stew.

And don’t you remember the feller
Who dragged that huge dog on a lead?
How he brought down the cream
Then fell in the stream
And was pulled out all smothered with weed?

Oh, I’m sure you remember that day in September
When Granny fell out of the tree?
She’d climbed up in her vest
To sort out a wasp’s nest
And was stung on the bum by a bee.

Oh I’ll never forget what excitement we had
When the power lines came down in the night
And Chrissie and Fred
Were discovered in bed
And Elaine threw a wobbly with fright.

Oh I’ll never forget wherever it was,
It’s so sad that the cottage burnt down.
If you stay in the sticks
You put up with the pricks
Which is why we all now stay in Town.

Doing the Teas

Don’t muddle the spoons, Mrs Perkins,
Those tea towels belong to Miss Jones,
And watch  where you putting the gherkins
I don’t want them spilt on the scones.

Now just keep an eye out for Billy
He’s promised to stay by the stall
But he gets that excited and silly
His mother’s gone right up the wall.

I don’t know, this urn should be boiling
What? It’s time for the Brownie’s display,
But all the ice creams will be spoiling
If we can’t get them served right away.

Refreshments, they’re already queuing
I tell you, we’re rushed off our feet.
The first lot of clearing needs doing,
Oh Vicar, you’re here. Take a seat.

The tea urn is always Fay Belper,
Her Mum died and she took it on,
She’ll fair have a fit if some helper
Fills all the pots while she’s gone.

God may have a perfect hierarchy
That’s come down from years long ago
But the parish’s own matriarchy Is in charge,
here on earth, down below.

Fitness Training

The noise was appalling, The dim was obscene,
I doubt if you’d hear an elephant scream,
They were jumping around in sweat shirts and shorts
While the person in charge besides them, exhorts –
`Go faster – push harder, you’ll never lose weight
If you lean on that bar like a cow on a gate.’
The music gets louder, the faces grow grim,
Is it worth all this effort just to get slim?
With dumb bells and treadmills the dumb-belles proceed
To rub of those inches that accrue from their greed.
A clinic for fitness? Or fetish for pain?
What urge keeps them trying to lose what they  gain?
Keep going, don’t slacken, their bodies drip sweat
If they keep to the programme there’s hope for them yet.

The Terrible Tale of Lisa whose Successful Work Ethic Led to Her Redundancy!

Lisa excelled man made machines
As tester out of trampolines,

She craved for food, out grew her home,
Then rivaled the Millennium Dome.

But unrestricted exercise
Rapidly reduced her size.

Disaster struck! Calamity!
She lost her job. Redundancy!

Poor girl, she's now compelled to sit
At home - alone - on benefit.

MY Mother Told Me…

My mother often told me
Quite frequently, she said,
`You must be very careful
And not leave crumbs in bed.’
She never ever mentioned
That mattresses with springs
Are not the ideal venue
When doing naughty things.

I never heard her whisper
Of problems that befall
When entertaining strangers
If they come round to call,
With tea cups on the terrace
And the murmuring of bees,
What happens when a fellow
Pulls you down upon his knees?

My mother often warned me
About the local park
Where paedophiles and psychopaths
Go hunting after dark,
She never thought to tell me
The perils of the choir
When four and twenty lusty men
Are panting with desire.

She warned me about spending,
And how to write a cheque
But not the way to cure a bruise
When bitten on the neck.
With all these early warnings
I take a pinch of salt –
And if you find I’ve gone astray
It’s all her bleeding fault!

© Copyright: Angela Lanyon 2019

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