Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron News

Last date for submissions

31st October 2022

Date of publication

1st December 2022


When I retired at the end of November away back in 1987 I discovered daytime television. The programme which appealed to me was “Countdown”. It struck me as the ideal way to keep my mind active and alert in my advancing years and I became hooked. In those days the host was Richard Whiteley with Carol Vorderman as the numbers expert. On one famous day I managed to solve the numbers round within the 30 seconds whereas Carol came up wth the solution after the interval. I was so chuffed that I composed the following verses and despatched them to Richard.


I love those winter afternoons
When it’s dark at half-past four
And I sneak in from the garden
And gently close the door.
If you should wonder why
I’ll endeavour to explain.
I like to rest my muscles
And exercise my brain
‘Cos life would be unbearable
Without my daily fix
Of that game of words and numbers
And those awful puns of Dick’s.
In summer it is different
I seldom see it live
As I’m working in the garden
Until tea is served at five.
It is on such occasions
The video comes in to play
To record my favourite programme
For later on that day
Which is often after midnight
When my brain is going numb
And I’m pushed to make a decent word
Or solve a simple sum
So welcome back to winter.
Today I was in heaven
When within the thirty seconds
I got the nine seven seven!
So why the sudden urge
To burst out into rhyme
As Carol also solved it

At last the big day came, Richard was about to read my poem on national T.V. Fame at last! But then, half  way through  he suddenly decided that’s enough. Perhaps he wanted to spare Carol’s blushes at being beaten to the numbers game by a humble viewer. “And who was that from?” Enquired Carol. “Someone from Perthshire” Richard replied. So that was it, the nation denied knowing the identity of this budding poet. My pride was hurt. This slight deserves a response. Out came the pen and the following lines were despatched to Richard.


I composed an ode to Countdown
In a burst of inspiration
In the hope that Richard Whiteley
Might read it to the nation.
I thought it was quite witty and
Would make the viewers laugh
But when at last my big day came
He only read out half!
As it wasn’t quite enough
To mar my day of fame
He then said where I came from
But didn’t give my name.
How could you do it Richard?
It really makes me sick
In fact to put it mildly
You cut me to the quick
For had the Queen been watching
I’d be prepared to bet
She would have me on the short leet
For the next Poet Laureate.

Bob Macdonald     February 2001

Although I received a letter of acknowledgement the poem was never read on air, but hopefully I made my point.

Bob Macdonald