It is reported that Thomas the Tank Engine is to be made more politically correct by replacing Henry and Edward with Rebecca (who is presumably female but only if she is happy with that) and Nia (African, orange and perhaps of indeterminate gender). The Liverpudlian narrator is also to disappear and Thomas will leave his home on the Isle of Man. Sodor that!

With all these changes, where to start,
And not upset the apple cart?
The Thomas, he whom we all love,
Is under pressure from above,
To reinvent some of his friends,
And in this way to make amends,
For all the sexist stories he,
Has told in the last century.

So out goes Henry, Ed as well,
To both of these we bid farewell,
And in their place comes Nia who,
Is African and orange hue.

To go with her is Becky who,
Is likely to get in a stew,
’Cos in the world of trains and steam,
Girls are not held in high esteem,
Because with Barbie, also Ken,
They just do different things than men.

But, nonetheless, we have to pay,
Lip service now from day to day,
To make sure everything you see,
It perfectly – you know – PC.

So, to this end, more changes are,
Required so Tom is not bourgeois;
And one more consequence of this,
Is everybody will now miss,
The dulcet tones of Ringo Starr,
Which I’d have thought were on a par,
With persons who’d not claim to be,
A member of the bourgeoisie.

And finally, Tom goes on tour,
To countries, some of which are poor,
To show some empathy with those,
Where a steam engine never goes.

But with all this it’s a surprise,
Especially with coal’s demise,
That Tom’s steam engine friends have not,
Been scrapped now and all left to rot.

But above all steam engines are,
Still very, very popular,
So changing things to be PC,
Is fine if not causing ennui,
But if it should sell fewer words,
Well, then, PC is for the birds!

Image – Duncan Harris / Wikimedia commons





It is reported that a study has concluded that boys are better than girls at physics because they are able to study trajectories when they visit the lavatory.

So physics starts with letter ‘P’,
And if you are a boy like me,
You’ve an advantage, some now say,
Because you have a different way,
Of peeing when you’re in the loo,
That’s different from what girls might do.

We all want our loos to be clean
And spotless after we have been,
So they will always be first-rate,
When next we want to urinate.

And to this end we need to watch,
That we do not create a splotch,
Which calls for some degree of skill,
To make sure there’s no splash or spill,
When jets of liquid hit the pot,
At angles quite oblique … or not.

If we can get the angle right,
The toilet will stay clean and bright,
But if, instead, we get it wrong,
The place will have a dreadful pong.

So let your watchword be, ‘Take care’,
When you are standing peeing there;
You must learn to control your pee,
So do watch your trajectory!

And if you do and get it right,
Then splashing will be very slight;
All the exams you’ll likely pass,
And be top of the physics class!

Image – Geek3 / Wikimedia commons



It is reported that Cambridge University is considering providing examination candidates with laptops because their handwriting is becoming increasingly illegible.

In this new electronic age,
There’s little now to people faze,
Except, perhaps, when they must write,
And struggle then to get it right.

For everything, it seems, is typed,
And even then cards can be swiped,
And so it has become the thing,
To ignore skills of handwriting.

There’s little practice to be had,
And therefore writing is so bad,
That in Cambridge, in the exams,
The hieroglyphic diagrams,
That we call handwriting by name,
Cannot be read, which is a shame.

Markers could take the easy way,
And simply to the students say,
That if their words cannot be read,
They might as well have stayed in bed,
Because this is beyond the pale,
And all such candidates will fail.

But, strangely, they’ve a different tack,
To deal with this skill people lack,
And the exam board has now said,
It will give laptops out instead.

“Aha!” you say, “There is a risk,
That anybody who has missed,
Their lectures or has failed to learn,
Instead of being taciturn,
Might cheat by loading up their notes –
They used to hide them in their coats.”

But testers say, “We’ve thought of this,
And exams under our aegis,
Will all be checked, not once but twice,
To stamp out this most dreadful vice.

And more than that, we’ve got a hack.
Which we can use behind their back,
So, all in all, with all this, we,
Have tightened up security.

It will be better from next week,
In every subject except Greek,
So candidates should be aware,
That, though they are allowed a prayer,
To get a bit of help divine,
Which most people would think is fine,
They should be careful he – that’s God –
Is only acting on His tod,
Has not been getting any pelf,
And hasn’t been a cheat Himself!”

Image – ccarlstead / Flickr


School for Scandal 2

It is reported that teachers at a number of well-known public schools have been giving pupils advance information about their examination papers and questions.

“Now listen carefully to me,
For in a few days you will see,
The questions in your maths exam,
And it’s important you don’t clam.

For if you do and maybe fail,
That would be quite beyond the pale,
And daddy might refuse to pay –
He always grumbles anyway.

So I can give you some advice –
A bit of help to be precise –
So that when you the questions read,
You will know how to best proceed.

This means you’ll get the answers right,
Will fill your parents with delight,
And, more or less, that guarantees,
Your mum and dad will pay your fees.

So here’s the first: What’s one plus one?
I know it’s tricky but it’s fun;
Your footwear should provide a clue,
Just count them for the answer’s two.

And then if things get really tough,
Don’t try to answer off the cuff;
For questions starting: What’s the square …?
You only need to be aware,
That you can do it yourself –
Just times the number by itself.

So of my advice do take heed,
It’s all the help you really need,
And when, at last, you get your grade,
Go celebrate with lemonade!



It is reported that Jeremy Corbyn denies claiming that he would cancel student debt if Labour won the 2017 general election. He just said he would ‘deal with it’.

Now Corbyn promised in campaign,
That student debt which was a pain,
Would be dealt with sine qua non,
If he had the election won.

He chose his wording though with care,
Implying to those listening there,
That they should be in little doubt,
That all their debts would be wiped out.

Election finished, he did well,
Compared to what most did foretell,
But fortunately it might seem,
He does not lead the seats of green,
And so he is not having to,
Make promises like that come true.

When challenged now by Andrew Marr,
He said that it was all just blah,
For when he promised it to you,
He really didn’t have a clue,
How much the cost would really be,
So couldn’t say it would be free.

But people say it had effect,
In causing students to expect,
That voting Labour on the day,
Would see their worries melt away.

A lesson then for voters who,
Believe the parties as some do;
If they are promising things nice,
Please check their wording is precise!

Image – Rwendland / Wikimedia commons


Cleaner cartoon

It is reported that a school in Tooting cannot afford a cleaner and so the children are helping to do the cleaning after school.

“Now welcome to ‘Time After School’,
We haven’t done this as a rule,
But now we’ve no more Mrs Jones,
About this I will make no bones,
Just like the dwarfs that dig and delve,
We’ll have to clean the place ourselves.

It isn’t hard, will soon be done,
And though it’s not exactly fun,
When you get started you will find,
It isn’t that much of a grind.

We’ll wipe the tables, mop the floor,
Shine-up the handle on the door,
Stack all the chairs quite straight and neat,
And that’s the first bit all complete.

Next there’s the playground to be swept –
Don’t dare pretend to be inept –
We’ll just do sections I will mark,
So you’re all done before it’s dark.

And finally, there is the loo,
Which smells as if it’s overdue,
Most likely ’cos of your poor aim,
But it needs cleaning just the same.

So out with cleaners, soap and bleach,
Things normally kept out of reach,
And which, I hope you’ll comprehend,
Are just for cleaning round the bend.”


Shower symbol

It is reported that girls are increasingly abandoning sport at ages as young as eight as it is seen as unfeminine and it is thought that this situation would improve if better-smelling soap were provided in the changing rooms and lavatories.

If you’re a girl and still at school,
You may find as a general rule,
That changing rooms are not so nice –
Places you wouldn’t visit twice.

They may be clean or maybe not,
The showers tepid, seldom hot,
And these privations, it’s now thought,
Discourage you from doing sport.

Now sport is good, you must agree,
It keeps you slim as one can see,
And now we’ve come up with a way,
To make sure that you’ll want to play.

The plan is simple in extreme:
Providing face and body cream,
And also soap and posh shampoo,
Plus super-soft rolls in the loo

The boys, though, will not get the same,
And they’ve only themselves to blame,
Because it seems they just don’t care,
And will get changed most anywhere.

We hope this will encourage you,
To stick at sports now – just a few,
And that is it so there you are –
Your very own sport mini spa!