On being forty.

Tomorrow I shall be forty years old.

This is very scary not least because I remember my Dad being forty. I was a Scout at the time, and my Dad was one of the Scout leaders. One day after Scouts my mother came to pick me up, and she made sure he wasn’t looking before writing on a blackboard in big letters, ‘Bosun is Forty in January’.

It’s never struck me as unusual that I share the same birthday with my dad and my uncle and also my Grandfather. That’s three generations all born on the same date. In different years,of course. But 2nd January has always been ‘Birthday Day’ in our family and for me it seems somewhat weird that people have their birthdays on other days. My friend the performance poet and comedian Chris Brooks also has his birthday on this day. Which kind of just proves my point.

But forty seems very old. Especially that I feel much younger. I spent the whole of the last decade in academic work, with a-levels, undergraduate and postgraduate, which all ended in 2012, and now my time is taken up with writing comedy poems and performing them while wearing silly hats and dressing as robots. As a result of this, all of my friends are much younger than me, which in turn makes me feel younger. I’m down with the yoots. I can high five with the best of them. I know who’s at number one in the charts and I’ve seen Family Guy.

A result of this is that people are getting old all around me. The people I went to school with are mostly slap heads now. Yet my hair obstinately refuses to recede. I worked out that a lifetime of hair products, hair cuts and shampoo will cost me several thousand pounds, money which the slap heads won’t have to fork out for. It’s just not fare.

Forty years old. It’s frightening. Everyone has been very kind and saying things like, ‘it’s not that old, not really’. And the one of my yoot friends texted yesterday to say, ‘Ha ha, you are so old!’ I was so grateful to him.

So what’s my plan for next year? To get even younger? No. Just to keep plodding along. Write some poems. Wear silly hats. Make the occasional wisecrack.

Anyway. Here are some poems I’ve been working on. Best wishes for the next year, everyone. See you soon!


Today I feel very distracted.
I like greenhouses.
I wonder when my
Is that a rhododendron?


Piers are great, I love the way they elongate.
Pies are great, I love the way they taste.
Pi is great, I love the way it goes on and on
Unlike this poem.


Duck, I said.
I know, he said.
Quack quack, he said.
Knocked him on the head.

Helen’s got an X-ray goat.
It’s just like a normal goat
But with X-ray vision.
Or so Helen said.
She keeps it in a shed
To protect the modesty of the other goats
Some of whom object
To its X-ray vision.

I asked Helen
How she came about
This goat with supernatural clout.
She said she found it in a field
Looking at a horse
And later it turned out
That he horse had eaten a flip flop.

What are you going to do
What are you going to do
What are you going to do
With an X-ray goat, I asked.
And Helen beamed that famous grin
And said she was hiring it out
To Exeter Airport
In order that it search for bombs.
I asked what it would do
If it found a bomb
And she said
‘It will probably run away’.

It also shoots lasers
Out of its horns, she said.
Last Thursday it ignited a barn.
I had to remove the combine harvester
And two roosters.

That night we made sweet love
But I was put off by the X-ray goat
Glaring up at the bedroom
All night long in the yard,
Just staring up, staring up, staring up
At our bedroom.
It does that, she sighed.

In the morning, she continued,
Remind me to show you my fire-breathing donkey.


  1. Helen Cavill says:

    That made me chuckle but wish I had the same imagination a The Helen in your poem I have a love for Donkeys but the only fire breathing donkeys I’ve seen was on shrek lol!
    I will be old in April and thinking I have not lived I can’t be old just yet I’m not ready :O


  2. Neither of us are old yet. It’s like stepping through a door, only when we do we just find a load more doors!


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