The Adventures of George by Blair Gowrie

The Adventures of George

The Adventures of George

The Adventures of George (First three chapters)

Not many people read poems these days, and even fewer read narrative tales told entirely in verse. But do such tales exist?

Yes, they do, believe it or not, and one of them is The Adventures of George by Blair Gowrie.

On looking at the title and the cover the casual reader might feel that this is a book for children. But, no, this is a book for adults, a rollicking, humorous and satirical look at national leaders, politicians and celebrities, although children might enjoy reading it and teachers might use it in their literature classes, for, on the surface, the story seems simple enough. But it has an underlying meaning.


For example, the chef is called George, but who does he remind you of? George Washington, King George III or George  . . . . ? I’ll let you guess, but there’s a hint on the cover where it says that “The President’s a chef”.


And George has under him five cooks – how about this one?


“Tall he was with a face so narrow

his nose projected like an arrow,

and of his country he was so proud

that never a person was allowed

to make the slightest disparagement

without receiving an icy glance.

Disliked he was by all his fellows,

his manner haughty, hard, not mellow,

which caused all kinds of minor friction

with his colleagues in the kitchen”.


Doesn’t he remind you of a certain Charles – the saviour of France?


Anyway, I’ll let you into a secret – the plot is based on the president of a certain country and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and, in the story, these six people become a chef and five cooks at an exclusive New York club.

That means there are six different nationalities to play with and the alert reader should be able to spot several national leaders from the descriptions given. Other characters have names that give them away, The Maximum Leader and Mustafa bin Maden, for example. See how many people you can identify in the following three chapters – knowing who the story is about makes it much more entertaining and enjoyable.




“The President’s a chef and the fun never ends,

Kidnaps, magicians and Borrock Sobama,

bin Maden, Onassos, enemies and friends,

All playing a part in this satirical drama.”


Blair Gowrie



                               1 – George and his five cooks

Let’s say there was this place in town,

where people came to talk and down

food in great quantities of all description,

brought to their tables from George’s kitchen.

This George was the chef, a worthy man,

whose career, it is well-known, began

in a giant state in the southern region,

with cattle, cowboys and oil-wells legion.

And thus it was considered a major pity

that he made a move to the capital city,

and thence to New York, a monstrous growth

of steel and concrete, with people loath

to travel on trains beneath the ground

as crime was everywhere to be found.

Always packed with patrons many

intent on spending their countries’ money,

George’s club was the social centre

which men of power desired to enter,

and everyone knew that there could be

no better place to talk and see

power and influence at close hand

with leaders abundant from every land.

George, amiable and affable was he,

as relaxed and friendly as could be,

attired in white he looked, well, good,

a proper leader concocting food,

with ever a grace and persuasive smile

that all who saw him did beguile.

And his hat was white, his apron too,

kept spotless regardless of the stew,

and pans and pots upon the fire,

some simmering, boiling, frying stuff,

in order that there be enough

for customers in every shape and size

desirous of sampling his expertise.

George had under him five cooks

of various characters and looks

with great experience of many a year

in numerous countries both far and near,

all culinary experts of great art,

who were always ready to provide

any dish the customer might decide

to order from the menu cards.


And among these fellows there was one

who in preparing fancy dishes some

might say this man a genius is,

as skills as precious and pure as his

in creating flavours of such power

are hard to find in this world of ours.

Tall he was with a face so narrow

his nose projected like an arrow,

and of his country he was so proud

that never a person was allowed

to make the slightest disparagement

without receiving an icy glance.

Disliked he was by all his fellows,

his manner haughty, hard, not mellow,

which caused all kinds of minor friction

with his colleagues in the kitchen.


Another was tall, silver hair a-gleam,

his face all ruddy, complexion clean,

and when people whom he might well deem

unfit to question his position,

or remark about his noble mission

to work to promote his country’s food,

insinuated that his various moods

were caused from drinking many a draught

of vodka kept in a silver flask

concealed within his smock so white

lest it should fall into someone’s sight

and that none should know his appetite

for drink so strong it was a wonder

his cooking skills showed ne’er a blunder,

he would only smile and say,

“A measure each day keeps the doctor away.”


Another with a bombastic air,

talking and haranguing being his flair,

and coming from a Latin land

with hair all black and every strand

held firmly in place by shiny oil

that none should fall out while he did toil

at his labour of love, a manly plate

of pork and beans which would always sate

the hunger of the lower classes

who made up most of the teeming masses

trying to escape from slums and strife

that they should find a more prosperous life.

This oil on his hair drew much attention

from all his fellows in the kitchen

who wondered where he got this grease

to keep his hair so nice and neat.

“My friends, it’s Orinoco Gold,

without my friendship, it can’t be sold.”

George wanted some and prepared to ask,

but it proved to be a difficult task,

for it was beneath him to request

a favour from a junior, and lest

prestige he might lose he said, well, nothing,

and pretended to prepare some turkey stuffing.

But the Latin man could not deny

his chief, his leader and defy

sound reason – any further strain

would worsen relations already pained,

so he said to George, to much applause,

“This bottle of oil is now all yours.”


One of these cooks a woman was,

direct and forthright, and because

her eyes of brown and auburn hair,

lips of red and complexion fair

and steely nerve and smile so tight

and giving orders left and right

made all who worked there live in fright.

No-nonsense style, and assertive too,

while delegating work to do,

should any cook show tardiness

and fail to prove his real finesse,

she would at once her work forsake

and scold him for his laziness.

Yes, brash and bossy she was at times,

wanting to install some discipline

in all her comrades in the kitchen,

and to give to them some sense of pride

in their work and occupation.

Her cooking was plain, no elaboration,

no garlic for her or similar spices,

salt, pepper and mustard were her devices.


Another was short, so short in size,

like a dwarf he looked, with slanting eyes

and people could see that with such a face

he must be a member of an eastern race.

His stature small and features square

and many a-times he would declare

that flesh from animals black or white

would taste the same with every bite,

and that his country’s cooking could be found

both near and far the world around.

But he was not conservative,

he wanted to have experience with

popular cuisines from other lands,

from Peru, from Poland, from Pakistan,

and to exhort his culinary countrymen

to learn and make good use of them.



2 – Some troublesome customers

One day there came into the club

a stranger causing a great hubbub

with his soldierly, swaggering, uniformed figure,

and short black hair and moustache a-quiver,

and with him aides and associates ten,

all muscular, military, mustachioed men,

and looking around with disdain he decried

not a table there was which was not occupied,

and noticing a nearby noisy group

of diners spooning up their soup

at a longish table seating twenty

and laden with food and drink a-plenty,

he called the captain with this demand,

“Give me that table, it’s my command.”

The captain said, “Sir, this I can’t do,

these are my customers, all good and true,

please wait for them just a little more time,

and then it will be your turn to dine.”

Everyone went silent and looked on aghast

at this difficult dilemma building so fast,

between a man and a boy, or so it would seem,

and hoped in the end honest reason would win.

But Salan, angry, pulled out his gun,

startled, the diners began to run

hither and thither among all the tables,

turning and twisting until they were able

to find the door which would enable

escape from a situation so very unstable.

Sitting down at the table, his minions too,

Salan roared for his food like a lion in a zoo,

his manner menacing, murderous and mean,

could any man on earth be born so obscene?

The captain both shaken and pale of face

into the kitchen did hurriedly race,

to inform George of the club’s invasion

by fearsome fellows from a foreign nation.

George was cool and calm as could be,

like a sturdy rock in a stormy sea,

and called his cooks, all five of them,

to talk and plan some stratagem

to clear the club of these vile men

so regular customers could return again.

Up spoke the Latin cook ever ready with tongue,

“Dangerous are these people, all having guns,

why don’t we leave them alone for a spell,

for what they’ll do next there’s no one can tell.”

“Yes, I agree,” said the cook who was tall,

“At this stage we shouldn’t provoke them at all,

but try to engage them in sweet conversation

that soon they may leave of their own volition.”

Opining next, the eastern cook spoke,

“Stirring up a hornets’ nest will be no joke.

Let’s offer the hand of friendship to them

so they won’t be inclined to trouble us again.”

Then the silver-haired cook who drank from a flask

said that he would very much like to ask,

“Why should we treat with rogues and rascals,

sharp knives we have at our disposal,

and cleavers, choppers, let’s use them all

to show our strength and to install

the fear of death in these arrogant curs,

and cause all of them to flee our shores.”

Up spoke the lady “We cannot agree

to this base affront to our dignity,

we’ll ply them with drink and this will enable

an assault on these villains while still at the table.

I’ll lead the way, as long as I’m able,

and I’ll break all their heads with my trusty ladle.”

“No, no,” said George, “a better way than this

can surely be found, so let us dismiss

offers of friendship and risky schemes

and formulate a good plan which will seem

to give us a chance of winning this fight

and returning the club to sweetness and light.

In the ceiling above there are nozzles, I know,

sprinklers to douse any fire down below.

Hot it is now so we’ll turn them right on,

we’ll bomb them with water and watch them all run.”

Down came the water, drenching them all,

shouting and swearing and shooting two shots

they ran for the exit until they had got

away from that place and into the hall,

and then to the outside and into their cars

wanting to look back on that place from afar!

And later there came to the club that day

a tallish man with hairs of grey,

a distinguished air and smart of dress,

strong and moving with no distress,

who talked and walked and looked around

at the table the captain had found

which was right in the middle of the floor,

but he said that he would much more rather

sit closer by the kitchen door

because he was the chef’s own father!

Out came George to welcome him,

with hugs, handshakes and hearty grin,

“Dad, do you know what we’ve just done?

“We’ve run Salan right out of town!”


A message came that there would be

a customer to arrive at half past three

for lunch, and that he would prefer

the club to be closed to all outsiders,

and that the staff should well consider

that they should take some safety measures

to stop any untoward attention

from writers who would like to mention

about him in journals far and wide

his name to discredit and deride.

“All right,” said George, “let’s shut the door,

let no one in, we can be sure

this man of great importance is,

so let’s find out what he wants to eat,

what kind of drink, what kind of meat,

and prepare a lunch of quality

with flavours of great subtlety

to enhance our name and reputation

and gain from him his approbation.”

What did he want? Well, champagne, of course,

brandy, the best liqueurs, and because

he favoured food like suckling pig,

and shark fin soup, in quantities big,

and also a wealth of western dishes,

from France, from Spain, both meat and fishes.

And another very important thing

the best ivory chopsticks they must bring.

But one more food he really wanted,

a certain spinach George had planted,

a spinach containing so much strength

that people would go to any length

to obtain this legume by any means,

both fair or foul or wholly extreme.

But George knew the taste was so exotic

close friends only were allowed to eat it.

In a quandary was George, what should he decide,

to disappoint a customer would not do,

he would have to give him a plate or two,

but no seeds at all would he provide

for him to grow in his own countryside.

At last the sinister stranger arrived,

in a large limousine with windows dark

that no one should see who was inside,

and a small flag in front and a shiny sheen,

every part polished and perfectly clean,

diplomatic plates both front and behind

impressive it was this four-wheeled machine.

Out stepped the stranger and black of hair,

his glasses glinting in the glare

of sunlight shining down on him,

strutting slowly unsmiling towards

the club with all his bodyguards,

short of stature, fat not thin,

tunic of grey and stern of mien,

the arrogant autocrat himself in person

had arrived to visit George’s kitchen.


George welcomed him with his usual grace,

soothing words and smiling face,

but response there was none, no reaction at all,

no high-flown speech, no honeyed words,

but merely a touch of the outstretched hand

as if George were some lackey of the land

come to pay homage to his lord.

George withdrew to the kitchen perplexed,

wondering what this man would do next.

But to keep people waiting would be incorrect,

so he ordered his staff to start making the food

and to pay close attention to all their requests

that they all should be kept in a very good mood.

Dish followed dish, drink followed drink,

all to be gone in what seemed like a blink,

until finally it was the spinach’s turn

two plates of which were laid out on the table

to the great acclaim of those still able

to consume any more, but they were soon gone,

causing the leader to stand up and declare,

this lordly legume may be very rare

but it was necessary for his country’s welfare.

A summons was sent for George to appear

and the leader soon made it abundantly clear

that he must have the seeds without a delay,

for leaders of countries have no time to wait,

and if he didn’t get them that very same day

then drastic action he would be forced to take.

But George, unflinching, refused this command,

he definitely wouldn’t accept a demand

from a tin-pot dictator with devious aims.

Only his close friends were able to gain

access to his stock of powerful seeds,

only if and when his terms they agreed,

and they had to accept his conditions of sale

or else face charges that might land them in jail.

The leader stood up and snarled, “To say no

makes me determined my power to show,

and when I do you’d better beware,

so strong I’ll become you’ll be in despair.”

The group stormed away, their eyes showing hate,

and the club became quiet, no customers to see,

no clinking of glasses, no clashing of plates,

just silent and empty and tension free.


3 – The lady cook’s tale

George called his cooks and said, “Let’s go,

relax a little, both of our foes,

Salan and The Leader have tasted defeat.

Why is it that we are so fated to meet

egomaniacs like these I really don’t know.”

Outside the club a garden there was,

with smooth green lawns and beds of flowers,

and reclining chairs so soft and plush,

and in the corners inviting bowers,

after the storm a nice calm harbour.

Perhaps they could have a drink or two

or share some jokes amongst the crew.

The white-haired cook pulled out a bottle

and offered George a measure of rum,

but George declined, he was teetotal,

but said the others might like some.

When settled down and relaxing well

George asked had anyone a good story to tell.

“I do,” said the lady, “and I do too,”

said the tall cook with the projecting nose,

“And because I am senior I must suppose

that I may recount first, a story true

from the annals of my country Gaul,

which should be enjoyable to all.”

“No,” said the lady, “it isn’t fair,

I’m a woman, so first I should go,

and my story is good, as you shall soon know.”

“Well,” said George, “this matter we’ll settle

by tossing a two-sided round piece of metal,

a coin of the realm with a head on one side,

and tails on the other, what will you decide?”

The tall cook did not hesitate,

“tails I’m confident it will be,

so toss the coin up and let’s see what fate

has with its blessing bestowed on me.”

With a little flick of George’s thumb,

and spinning silently the coin was born

up into the air towards the sun,

before landing gently on the lawn.

heads came up – the lady had won!


“Once upon a time long ago,” said she,

“there was a man who said that he

into the future he could see,

and could predict and well forecast

what would occur and come to pass

in the days and years ahead,

would you be alive – or would you be dead?

Well, he could tell you for a fee.

When the news spread out that he

had such unerring accuracy,

people would journey from town and country,

however far, all seeking solace

for every sickness and shibboleth,

and also to know what destiny

would bring for them and their families.

One day a well-dressed customer came in,

about fifty years old, tall and thin,

with a long narrow face and a giant nose,

toothbrush moustache and a haughty pose,

wanting to have his fortune told,

and asking the soothsayer to unfold

all details of his future life,

his work, his children and his wife.

“I must have,” the seer said to him,

“some details which will help me in

my forecast, such as first your name,

your age, the town from which you came,

your time of birth and all of these

are important, so I request you please

be truthful when you talk to me.

Do not lie because I shall see

that if it’s deception you intend

our conversation will surely end.”

The tall man declared he was born not far

from the border with Germany and the Saar,

in a village near Metz in eastern France,

on a Friday night, and just by chance,

at the fortuitous time of twelve o’clock

midnight, which meant that he could opt

to be older or younger by one full day

according to what he wanted to say.

The tall cook listened very intently,

to this tale from his own country,

and muttered to himself that it

was strange how the details seemed to fit,

the birthday, and the place the same,

the only difference was the name.

The lady continued in this way,

“His cards the soothsayer began to lay

on a round table made of wood,

scrutinising them as he knew they could

tell him the background of this man

and what would happen, so he began.

“I see a bustling place with pans and pots,

men clothed in white and fires so hot,

it must be a kitchen, quite large it seems,

because the building with people teems,

perhaps a restaurant, hotel, or the like,

please tell me if I am not right.”

“Yes, yes,” said the man, “you are correct,

please tell me more, your skill I respect.”

“You are a cook,” the soothsayer said,

“and you’ve worked hard to get ahead

to this position, but your colleagues all

dislike you because you come from Gaul.

Proud, and haughty and unfriendly too,

causing them to wish that you

would leave your job and go elsewhere,

or return to France and find work there.

As to the future the cards foretell

big changes, so it would be as well

to prepare yourself for these quite soon,

because after your birthday in the month of June,

work you will find with a traveling troupe.

I see artists, acrobats, animals in groups,

moving in columns from place to place,

performing shows for the populace.

Yes, it must be that you’ll join this team,

and, generally speaking, it would seem

that to cook for these people will be your decision,

a circus cook – yes, that’s your profession!

But wait – the picture’s coming clearer,

a great grey shape – it’s getting nearer,

ah! I have it now – I see the trunk,

it is an enormous elephant!

And you are sitting on its back,

it’s clear that daring you don’t lack,

risking your life in this hard way

takes real courage I’m bound to say.

Yes, now your career is of a different sort,

empathy with animals has become your forte.

Instead of working with sieves and strainers,

you have now turned into an elephant trainer.”


This story was received with much applause

from the audience who laughed and roared

at the thought of their surly, sober comrade

astride an elephant and in a parade

of bearded ladies and red-nosed clowns

in colourful procession through the town

to the shouts and cries of urchins many

enchanted by the pageantry,

and sprightly horses side by side –

but the man himself was mortified!

This woman has made great fun of me,

he thought, and has done it deliberately,

I may smile, but amused I’m not,

and certainly I now know what

I must do if I’m to take revenge,

as it is my intention to avenge

this mockery and to demonstrate

that ridiculing me will instigate

a riposte from me which won’t be slow.

She shall suffer from my verbal blows.

Read on by  purchasing  HERE





Posted in Writers and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *