Sunday, 18 February 2018

In Her Spare Room

Dear Reader,


 


                                                                               The Wind in the Willows



I have been reading yet another book about Queen Elizabeth 1's reign, I think it really was such an interesting time in history from every aspect.  The theatre, which I do so enjoy and am lucky enough to live not far from Stratford-upon-Avon, was very popular in the Elizabethan age.  The religious plays which had been very popular in the Middle Ages were banned and new plays were written. These plays were performed in theatres rather than in the wagons that, in the past, travelled from town to town. .
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, wrote plays at this time and his plays are still performed all over the world, he is probably the most famous playwright who ever lived.  in 1576, the first theatre was built in London so that actors could perform their plays on the same stage all year round.  The theatre was so successful that soon other theatres, like the Fortune, the Swan and the Globe were built.


                                                                            *


In Her Spare Room

I see these books,
draw in a breath,
as cherished memories
race into my head.

There are:

Akenfield
Portrait of an English Village 
Swallows and Amazon
The Speckledy Hen
The Little flowers of St. Francis
My Friend Flicka
The Wind in the Willows
Tales of Old Inns


The owner of this house
is unknown to me,
but her collection
of treasured books
tells me a little of her,
what makes her who she is,
what makes me who I am.


                                                                          *

With very best wishes, Patricia







Sunday, 11 February 2018

Blue Gingham Dress

Dear Reader,




                                                                        Blue Gingham Dresses


When originally imported into Europe in the 17th century gingham was a striped fabric, but today it is distinguished by its chequered pattern.  From the mid-18th century, when it was being produced in the mills of Manchester,  it started to be woven into chequered or plaid pattern, often blue and white.  "Gingham" comes from the Malayan word 'genggang' or 'striped'.  The way we identify gingham, as being a contrasting check shirt, was not the way in which the fabric was originally known.  True gingham is distinguished primarily for being "dyed in the yarn" fabric, which means that the yarn is dyed before it is woven.
                                                                          *

D.H. Lawrence, 1919 (Derbyshire) February 9th

It is marvellous weather, brilliant sunshine on the snow, clear as summer, slightly golden sun, distance lit up.  But it is immensely cold- everything frozen solid - milk, mustard, everything.  Yesterday I went out for a real walk - I have had a cold and been in bed.  I climbed with my niece to the bare top of the hills.  Wonderful it is to see the foot-marks on the snow - beautiful ropes of rabbit prints, trailing away over the brows; heavy hare marks; a fox so sharp and dainty, going over the wall:  birds with two feet that hop; very splendid straight advance of a pheasant; wood-pigeons that are clumsy and move in flocks; splendid little leaping marks of weasels coming along like a necklace chain of berries; odd little filigree of the field-mice; the trail of a mole - it is astonishing what a world of wild creatures one feels about one, on the hills in snow.
                                  
                                                                            *

Blue Gingham Dress

She was wearing
a blue gingham dress
long sleeved, with lace collar,
one summer evening in July.

A sweet smell from lilies
lavender bushes
roses and orange blossom
drifted on the air,

the sea sapphire
played its own repetitive tune
soft and enticing,
and a southerly wind blew.

Suddenly he took her hand
drew her near
kissed her urgently,
then came the call

they broke in two
ran back to the house
her heart racing
knees weak, on fire.

The gingham dress
worn and faded now
hangs at the back of the cupboard,
but the kiss is still as fresh
as it was on that one
summer evening in July.

                                                                              *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Truth Modern


Dear Reader,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                                                                                        Gannets



More bird stories.  In an attempt to attract a colony of gannets 80 fake birds were planted high up on the cliffs of Mana Island, New Zealand.  But a real gannet known as Nigel by the locals fell in love with one of the concrete replicas.  He build her a nest of sticks and showered her with attention for years.  But sadly Nigel's body has been found lying dead beside his concrete mate.   When Nigel arrived on the windswept island in the Tasman Sea in November 2015, he quickly became something of a local celebrity as the first gannet to roost there in more than forty years.  Gannets mate for life and when some real gannets were lured to the island Nigel shunned them.

                                                                            *


Truth Modern

Through a kaleidoscope's
shifting, bright colours,
set close to the eye,
the viewer's truth is reflected,
assuring the mind of its veracity,
acknowledging its fantasies
as realities,
seeing truth
not as it is, but as we would
like it to be
spinning words,
detaching truth from its moorings,
setting it loose in murky waters.
Illusions of truth
sandwiched between lies
is the authentic truth
of our times.

                                                                      
                                                                        
Very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Date Jar (after cancer operation)

Dear Reader,


    The Battle of Bosworth


Do you remember last year in one of my blogs, I wrote about the remains of Richard III being found in a car park in Leicester?  Well, this is the latest news on that story. The car park where the remains were found have been given protected status by Historic England.  He had been hastily laid to rest after his death at the Battle of Bosworth (1485) in a medieval monastic site the remains of which now lie beneath a council car park.  The 13th century Greyfriars has been listed a scheduled monument which means it is preserved for future generations, with special consent required before any changes can be made.  The Greyfriars site dates back to the 1220s when Franciscan friars arrived in Leicester, and it was at their church where Richard was buried in 1485, after the battle which saw Henry Tudor become King of England.  After the archaeological excavation at Leicester city council's car park Richard III was buried in 2015 at Leicester Cathedral.  

I hope now that the soul of Richard rests in peace, which it surely will if only busy people would leave him alone.
                    
                                                                         *
   


The Date Jar

On the breakfast table I noticed
the date jar,
hiding a little behind the cereals,
the milk, the marmalade, the sugar bowl,
and a small jug full of early daffodils.


The date jar?

My throat constricted.
It was the thought he had had,
laying things out,
that I might like a date,
that touched the chord. 

                                                                            *

With very best wishes, Patricia                                                                  

Sunday, 21 January 2018

That was Then

Dear Reader,




 Two nature stories this week, one as promised about more seagull misdemeanours, and one about  an
escaped wolf.

Apparently an aggressive seagull faced execution because it had lost its fear of humans.
 The seagull, whose name is Gulliver, had been dive-bombing people sitting on the beach, attacked animals and stole some hats and food on Jersey in the Channel Islands.  (What hats, I wonder?)  But it has been saved from execution after over 700 people signed a petition to save its life.  It has now been captured at its home of St. Ouen's Bay and will be relocated to a quieter part of the island.  All species of gull are protected which makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill the birds.  However, the law allows licences to be issued to kill gulls in order to preserve public safety.  Should I see any more news about Gulliver I will let you know.

A wolf went missing in Berkshire last week.  In his photograph he looked very amiable and obviously had a miserable time on his escape path. He roamed about eight miles from his home tracked by gunmen and helicopters.  But he was, thankfully, recaptured with no harm done.  In the 11th century a monk wrote that there were so many wolves in Northumbria that it was almost impossible for shepherds to protect their flocks.  January was known as 'wolf month' because it was the start of the wolf-hunting season for the nobility, which ended on March 25th.

Question:  why did it need gunmen and helicopters to recapture a small tame wolf?
                                                                         
                                                                        *

That was Then

We made our home
where the west wind blew
and the sun shone, sometimes,
we walked where people
we met in the street
or in the country lanes
exchanged news,
people well known to us
growing from infants to children
teenagers to married couples.

We walked by the Evenlode river
up into the fields where
butterflies gathered in the clover,
we saw horses grazing
wheat fields full
of red remembrance poppies,
the first primroses and bluebells
in the spring, foxgloves,
cow parsley dressing the hedgerows,
summer roses,
the first autumn leaves
fluttering to the ground,
and winter snow.

He walked ahead,
I followed.
We held hands, embraced,

but that was then.

                                                                              *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Garden Chair




                                                                              Foddering or Fodder


Dear Reader,


So I do hope you are all feeling well and rested after the Christmas break and that you will be starting a Happy New Year.   I must say I missed writing the blog and am glad to be back now and hope you are too.

This is a small piece from Francis Kilvert's diary, 12th January, 1875.

"William Ferris told me today his reminiscences of the first train that ever came down the Great Western Railway.  "I was foddering," he said, 'near the line.  It was a hot day in May some 34 or 35 years ago, and I heard a roaring in the air.  I looked up and thought there was a storm coming down from Christian Malford roaring in the tops of the trees, only the day was so fine and hot.  Well, the roaring came nigher and nigher, then the train shot along and the dust did flee up'.

After reading this piece I wondered what the word 'foddering" meant. Fodder, apparently, is a type of animal feed used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, rabbits, sheep, horses or chickens.  Fodder refers particularly to food given to the animals rather than that which they forage for themselves.    So William Ferris was feeding or foddering his animals, probably dried hay or straw.

                                                                         *

The Garden Chair

I bought a wicker garden chair
for Geoffrey, to trap
the late spring sunshine.
warm the bones.

He sat on it looking frail,
thick rugs around his shoulders
a tartan scarf around his neck,
'to keep out the cold' he said.

We tried a few steps
then he sat down again,
happy with his progress
giving me a small smile.

Later in that year, September,
digging in the garden
I glimpsed the whicker chair, empty,
a few ruby red leaves
gathered in the seat.

But no Geoffrey,
no rug,
no scarf.

 Just memories that pierce my heart.

                                                                               *

Very best wishes, Patricia
 PS   There is a gull story next week.






Just memories






















I bought a wicker garden chair
for Geoffrey,