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The Ballad of the Plum Tree


Recently I have been inspired to write a bit of poetry, I hasten to add that it is not of the literary quality of Tennyson or Wordsworth - just a bit of humble doggerel really. Anyway for you to appreciate it fully some explanation of the background is necessary and also some enlightenment on the leading characters. The characters are called Spencer and Jean, more about them later.

In the early years of their married life our heroes were visiting Jean's mother and noticed a tender young sapling growing in the drain outside her back door. "You can take it with you if you like, I think its a plum tree." said Jean's mother. So they did and planted it in their garden behind their bungalow in St Florence. They treated this tree with great care, fed it, talked to it and patted it lovingly every now and then but it refused to yield a single plum. They had very mixed feelings about this, clearly they were disappointed but that emotion was made a bit more bearable by the amazing crops of apples that it produced!

So much for the tree, now for the characters. Spencer was in the navy and was a great friend of my father who, with my mother had retired to St Florence after being the vicar of nearby Saundersfoot for 25 years - they regularly hung around together, that is outside the village shop each morning where they bought their newspapers. I recently heard that they had a mutual early warning system for when bottles of Glen Moray malt was on special offer in the local co-op! It is relevant to the story to say that Spencer stopped feeling the need to use brylcream some time ago. It would be wrong of me to come out with his age but when I was sitting next to him at the St Florence Luncheon Club yesterday he spoke in glowing terms about his watch which boasts of having a 10 year battery which he has never had to replace even though he has now had it for 11 and a half years. The final clue is that he was given it for his 80th birthday! Jean is his second in command and acknowledges that Spencer is master of the house, second only to their little dog!

You can't be glum when you're with Spencer and Jean - they smile a lot!

Back in October, at my visit to the Luncheon Club, they asked me if I would like some apples to take home so I called at the house on my way back and that is when they gave me the history of the tree. I pondered about this on my way back to Swansea and the more I thought about it the more a skeleton of a poem grew in what I call my brain.

You just can't wait can you?

The Ballad of the Plum Tree

Spencer had a plum tree
But never a plum did it bear
Both Jean and he could only agree
‘t would be better if it wasn’t there.

Spring after spring the blossom came
The bees they had their guzzle
They pondered long but could find no wrong
It was all a bit of a puzzle.

Now Spencer was a naval man
A nautical man was he
Jean put her eye to his telescope
And peered at the top of the tree.

“Fear not, fear not” said Jean “I think
I see a fruit up there!”
“Thank goodness” said Spencer with a wink
“I was about to tear out my hair!”

Onward went Spencer with a determined frown
And with that tree he did grapple
Jean caught the fruit that he threw down
And cried “This plum is an apple!”

So there you are, my own bit of doggerel and as we have mentioned telescopes I suppose I should store that away in my own Doggerel Bank!



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