Editor’s Comment        This blogger has failed to submit a new post in time for publication. According to his sick note he has retired to bed with a chronic attack of indecision in the face of too many possibilities. He claims to have begun several drafts but none of them are anywhere near completion. I have allowed him to publish the following poem on the strict understanding that his next post will be all his own work. Thank you.


The Old Sailor  by  AA Milne

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn’t because of the state he was in.

He was shipwrecked, and lived on an island for weeks,
And he wanted a hat, and he wanted some breeks;
And he wanted some nets, or a line and some hooks
For the turtles and things which you read of in books.

And, thinking of this, he remembered a thing
Which he wanted (for water) and that was a spring;
And he thought that to talk to he’d look for, and keep
(If he found it) a goat, or some chickens and sheep.

Then, because of the weather, he wanted a hut
With a door (to come in by) which opened and shut
(With a jerk, which was useful if snakes were about),
And a very strong lock to keep savages out.

So he thought of his hut … and he thought of his boat,
And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,
And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst) …
But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,
But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.
And I think it was dreadful the way he behaved –
He did nothing but basking until he was saved.



42 thoughts on “Procrastination

  1. Don’t feel bad about it. Procrastination can be a useful tool for creativity. In fact, the only time i ever get anything done is when procrastinating on something else . Avoidance is my creative process . I need to feel as though i’m NOT supposed to be doing something in order to actually do it. In this way, eventually, almost all the things (apart from some, which i’ll get to later) get done. 🙂

    1. Wise words, cheers! There’s a great description of this process in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ where Alice finds that walking towards something doesn’t get her there.

      ‘I think I’ll go and meet her,’ said Alice, for, though the flowers were interesting enough, she felt that it would be far grander to have a talk with a real Queen. ‘You can’t possibly do that,’ said the Rose: ‘ I should advise you to walk the other way.’ This sounded nonsense to Alice, so she said nothing, but set off at once towards the Red Queen. To her surprise, she lost sight of her in a moment, and found herself walking in at the front-door again. A little provoked, she drew back, and after looking everywhere for the queen (whom she spied out at last, a long way off), she thought she would try the plan, this time, of walking in the opposite direction. It succeeded beautifully. She had not been walking a minute before she found herself face to face with the Red Queen, and full in sight of the hill she had been so long aiming at.

      1. One simply cannot pass by an Alicism without walking in the other direction and depositing a nonsense reply….a fine extract Dave and most on topic

          1. Indeed the Cat did…thing I find though is there are so many marvellous quotes from it some like that get lost…one I wanted to use but didn’t was
            I’m not crazy, my reality is just different than yours ….. Agreed though when you draw in the context it does sounds like it comes from something deeper!

          2. Carroll was trying to pack in so much wisdom for children he loved. Odd though he might have been, I believe he was sincere – and hasn’t humankind benefited? Same with Shakespeare …

          3. I certainly have benefited in terms of inspiration. Mind you Edgar Allan Poe is another one of mine so not quite sure what that means !! Shakespeare is also a massive influence. I’ve just started a second online course talking about his works.

          4. They’re all very inclusive writers – creating a whole world or several. Poe is a hero because he began so many genres and was also a hoaxer, trying to blur the line between fact and fiction!

          5. That’s the appeal to me….creating worlds within worlds…or in the case of the book I’m about finished….minds within minds…. I agree wrt Poe but what I like is the way his mind looked at things and turned view points into the macabre. I think politicians are similar….blurring fact and fiction and erring on the latter….and Lemmings walk ever onwards…… Hmm almost a political post…must avoid that !!

          6. Everything is political, at the end of the day … writers – you, me, Poe, all of us – are trying to sharpen awareness of the blurring you talk about, to improve our ability to govern ourselves. (See what I did there, putting us in the same phrase as Poe, bit cheeky!) But I like the way you free associate, I try and do the same, every sentence an adventure without a prearranged point – the opposite, in fact, of the soundbite ‘culture’ … we’re all sleepwalking over a precipice, lulled by hypnotic sloganeering … scary writers like Poe are shouting Wake Up!

          7. I think everything has the potential to be political in the current climate…you disagree with something and the opposite side takes issue not necessarily because they know why but because they are programmed to de facto oppose it. I like to think of myself as apolitical…good on both side in parts but scrap ‘politics’ of yiu versus them and sit down with long term objectives that benefit your own country and the wider world…bit eutopic but the current systems are going to leave a trail of smoke once the juggernaut drops of the cliff. Nicely put too re soundbite culture….can’t be doing with being a Lemming…write and journey onwards…bit like arriving at an unknown wilderness with a backpack and making those first strides into new territory…never quite know what to expect….it’s why I can’t write to a storyboard…just wouldn’t stick to it as the characters come alive…too much bickering telling me I’m doing it all wrong and no, they wouldn’t do this or that…. Maybe we have to be more like Poe and write the wake up words?

          8. Both here and in the US there’s too much Ya-Boo politics, Punch & Judy someone called it, I call it dumbing down. The backroom stuff is more important – select committees, etc, where MPs/Congressmen find out what’s going on from experts – and we need a culture change to foreground it. Same in courts, junk these pumped-up lawyers and have the French system where the judge leads questioning … yeah, but what do I know? I’ll keep on preaching and writing satires …

          9. That is extraordinary Dave….I am so on the wavelength…PMQ’s is embarrassing to watch but select committees are where I see the real deal…it’s where I look first these days. I think you’ll find if this argument was drawn out then people might vent anti politics into hey….things can be done better…we can but try though yes…

          10. Should be programmes on radio and TV looking at the work of select committees, bet they could go into the background and really bring it to life … hmm, might email the BBC suggesting it!

          11. Or…we set up a blog dedicated to it and share the hell out of it on all platforms…then see how long it takes the men in black to come calling 🤔

          12. Are you sure? Could they not be in disguise and whilst engage in idle go away banter have deployed nanotech across your unbarred threshold in order to monitor your every move….

          13. I think it might be an AI black ops thing….even the witness visit might have been automatons….but yes…imagine having that job…camera screen watcher….that would indeed be a very short horror story….

    1. I loved AA Milne as a kid – his poems more than Winnie the Pooh, as it happens. This poem was written as a parody of Robinson Crusoe, which I also liked for his self-sufficiency, though my favourite was Swiss Family Robinson – the Disney version of that was a real disappointment.

  2. Just to encourage him, and all other bloggers too, how about this one from the great Milne

    “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

    Perhaps that will encourage him. (Although even when he doesn’t write it himself it still generates massive interest – keep it up. )

      1. The actual quote from The House at Pooh Corner is
        “No Give and Take,” Eeyore went on. “No Exchange of Thought. ‘Hallo–What’– I mean, it gets you nowhere, particularly if the other person’s tail is only just in sight for the second half of the conversation.”
        “It’s your fault, Eeyore. You’ve never been to see any of us. You just stay here in this one corner of the Forest waiting for the others to come to you. Why don’t you go to them sometimes?”

        The one I sent shows my laziness!! It’s from Pooh’s Little Instruction Book by Joan Powers – inspired by AAMilne. Same sentiment but different words :-). It is so easy to get quotes wrong – there is at least one webpage devoted to misattributed quotations. Thank goodness for the hardcopy versions, dog-eared and held together with will power.

        Very pleased to hear that the miracle recovery has occurred – no pressure now but I know that dozens of eager blog followers are waiting, breath bated!

        Relax and enjoy the word-smithing, bw Mike

        1. You’re too kind, Mike, but flattery always cheers me up! Ah, Eeyore, of course! One of literature’s great glass-half-empty characters – he reminds me of Neil in The Young Ones! So good to have the internet now, isn’t it, being able to look up everything? Reassuring, though, to have the books too – I know where to find things in them. The next one’s on the way, couple of days at most, another bit of nonsense from Bafflesby…

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