Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Shed


                                                                                   Wooden wheels



Dear Reader,

The Wheelwrights craft is amongst the oldest known to man, with the origins of the wheel dating back to prehistoric times.  It was probably Stone Age man who first realized that a rolling stone or a round log of wood moved more easily than an object which needed pulling or pushing.  The first wheels were simply solid discs, carved out of one lump of wood, with solid wheels made from three shaped planks dating from 5000 BC.  By the Roman period many wheels were very much as the Victorians were making them and wheelwrights have been making wheels in the same way since the early seventeenth century.  The only significant change today is the development of the 'dished wheel' which is shaped like a saucer and has the hollow side facing inwards.

                                                                                *



The Shed

The spider let himself down
from a crack in the rafters.
Time to spin another web,
catch flies, feed his children.
This old shed he loved
had housed his ancestors,
its essence was in his blood.
He knew well the aged wooden bench
laden with hand-worn tools,
the swallows yearly nesting place,
the bees hum and buzz.
He knew of the warmth from the earth floor,
from the hurricane lamp, lit on dark evenings,
of the dusty windows facing north,
and he knew he could swing on the ask spokes
sliced to the wheel hung on the hook.
He knew too that the moonlight
cast quiet shadow on the pile of logs,
home to small scuttling creatures.
He knew that nearby in a bed of shavings,
an old dog slept.
This restful shed scented with lavender and tar,
was a timeless place.

Clearing, cleaning, scraping, peeling,
the old shed becomes new.
Much buzzing and humming
as computers move in, reference books,
filing cabinets, printers, blaring telephones,
glaring lights, and stress.

No quiet shadows now
in the bright new shed
no cracks, no silence, and the spider.....dead.

                                                                          *

Very best wishes, Patricia                                                                           

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The House


                                                                                Traditional Rocking Horse

                                                                                      Rocking Horse


Dear Reader,


The history of the rocking horse can be traced back to the Middle Ages when a popular children's toy was the hobby horse - a fake horse's head attached to a long stick. The rocking horse in its current form is widely believed to have first appeared n the early 17th century.  It was around this time that bow rockers were invented, introducing rocking to the world of horses.  There were, however, improvements to be made to the first rocking horses.  Being made of solid wood they were heavy and their centre of gravity was high so they could easily topple over.  It was in the Victorian age that the 'safety stand' was introduced and the idea of making the horse hollow was conceived.  This made the horses lighter and more stable and gave birth to the idea of a secret compartment being fitted to the horses under belly.  The family heirloom horse could store photographs, mint coins, locks of baby hair and other such trinkets for future generations to find.   During this era the style of choice was the dappled grey rocking horse which was a favourite of Queen Victoria.

                                                                            *

Amazing Seagull story this week:   A seaside resort in Belgium is drugging seagulls with contraceptive pills to stop them being a nuisance.    Birth control will be hidden in feed left out for the seagulls, as part of a strategy that includes the use of fake eggs to fool maternal birds, and drones to detect their nests.   Apparently this move could be copied in Britain.  What next I wonder?

                                                                             *


The House

Was it the sound of Chopin
filling the street air,
escaping from a large keyhole
in the weathered front door,
or the first glimpse of pale
stone flooring and a rocking horse
in the hall corner, or was it the
Easter lilies rising tall out of
white namel jugs, and books
everywhere, everywhere?

Was it the ancient dog
in front of a small log fire,
protected by a staunch Victorian fireguard,
or the scrubbed table and gentian-blue
hyacinths peeking out of a copper bowl,
Rockingham pottery plates
each one different,
or the sculpture of an unknown woman
young, rounded smooth,
placed lovingly on a window shelf
catching a flicker of the January sun?

Or was it the smell of beef stew,
a nursery smell dredged from childhood,
or the sight of home-grown pears
floating in sugared juice?
O was it the feeling ;of safety
warmth and love
everywhere, everywhere
that overwhelmed me?

                                                                                *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 7 April 2018

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare




                                                                              Jumping hare

                                                                                Tortoise

Dear Reader

I wrote today's poem when I was in a Poetry Workshop for three days.  It was all very intense and the last poem we were supposed to write had to do with myths, legends or fables.  I thought a small sense of humour would not go amiss and wrote today's poem: A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare.

This is what I found out about tortoises.   The tortoise starts digging the ground to form its hybernaculum at the first sign of autumn.  It digs with its fore feet in a very slow motion and prefers swampy grounds where it could bury itself in mud.   It starts losing its appetite for food as the temperature drops until it stops eating altogether.  During hibernation it stops breathing as well.   The tortoise wakes up from hibernation in the spring but doesn't start eating immediately.  Gradually it gains its appetite and energy as the temperature warms up.  During hot summer days tortoises eat voraciously and spend many hours sleeping.   They start sleeping in late afternoon until late next morning.  Although tortoises love warm weather they avoid hot sun, hiding under green leaves or between vegetation.  Pet tortoises feed on grasses, leafy greens, flowers and some fruit.  Certain species consume worms, or insects and carrion in their normal habitat.

I have always thought hibernating in the winter months was a wonderful idea for myself.  Staying in a warm cosy bedroom under the blankets and sleeping until the spring came seems such a good idea,
especially this year with its gloomy, wet and damp weather going on and on and on........


                                                                           *

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare

The tortoise, shell-encased,
shy and timid, was fond of quiet places.
He ate lettuce sandwiches,
drank bottled water
and did deep breathing exercises.
He was slow alright,
but kept on "keeping one", getting there,
although a little fearful
of what life can bring.

Then, he discovered anxiety pills
and grew bolder,
he opinionated more,
rejected lettuce,
ate avocado and prawn cocktails,
drank vodka,
and tried his hand at salsa dancing.
Confidence changed him.
He became the hare.

Ah ha the hare.

This hare spoke his mind.
He jumped and danced
texted and mobiled friends,
arranged outings,
and had a ball.
But the Gods were watching him,
the sent a "don't forget card"
to remind him of his tortoise life,
his quiet life,
the life that was right and good
for a tortoise.

He threw the anxiety pills away
and slowly his shell grew back,
he started reading again,
he talked less,
thought more,
enjoyed lettuce sandwiches
and drank bottled water.
He became the tortoise
that he was meant to be.

                                                                              *

Very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Realization

Dear Reader,




Easter is the most important date in the Christian calender, and we have just gone through Holy Week.  I have various emotions, but mostly sadness, during Good Friday when Christ was crucified,  and Easter Sunday when He rose again.  I always find the Saturday when he was buried in a cave, the most difficult to get through.  Where was He then, and who moved the stone so He could walk out the next morning?  I have an explanation from my daughter Tiffany who helped me yesterday with Bible references, showing that He was just asleep.  Well whatever the explanation I am always very glad when Easter Sunday dawns and He is resurrected. Alleluia.

                                                                         *

This is a piece from Gilbert White's journal (1771) in Hampshire.

"The face of the earth naked to a surprising degree.  Wheat hardly to be seen, and no signs of any grass: turnips all gone, and sheep in a starving way.  All provisions rising in price.  Farmers cannot sow for want of rain'.


Not quite like here then, when it seems to me that it has rained for about a month without stopping.

                                                                        *

Realization

I am
part of the whole.

I am
in the first light,
the bird's first song,
the sun's first dart
through the curtain crack,
in the music of the trees.

I am
part of the alpha,
the birth,
the awakening,
the growing and spreading,
the throbbing of life.

I am part of all suffering
hands blood-stained.
Part of love
humanity shares and
of all good things.

I am
part of the omega,
the closing, the last light,
the call back from the dark
to the bright, eternal night.


                                                                    *

Happy Easter and Very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 25 March 2018

England Dear to Me

 Dear Reader,

                                                                             Scones and strawberry jam
                                                                                        Foxgloves
                                                                                        Foxgloves

 I have tried very hard over the years to grow foxgloves but sadly it has not been a very successful venture,  I have had very little luck with growing them. But the sight of foxgloves growing in a wood make my heart leap up, spring has sprung and there are signs of new beginnings everywhere.  The foxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea is a common garden plant that contains, digitoxin, digoxin and other cardiac glycosides.  These are chemicals that affect the heart.  Foxgloves are poisonous and can be fatal even in small doses.  Digoxin is derived from the leaves of a digistalis plant. It makes the heart beat faster and with a more regular rhythm.  It is also used to treat atrial fibrillation and heart rhythm disorder of the atria (the upper chambers of the heart that allow blood flow into the heart).

Foxglove flowers are clusters of tubular shaped blooms in colours of white,lavender, yellow, pink, red and purple.  They are biennial which means that plants establish and grow leaves in the first year then flower and produce seeds in the second.


                                                                            *

England Dear to Me

It is the robins, blackbirds, blue tits,
hopping and grubbing in the garden
that lurch my heart
make England dear to me.
It is the velvet of green moss,
oak trees, old with history,
the first cowslips,
hedgerows filled with dog rose, foxgloves
and shy sweetpeas in china bowls.
It is finding tea rooms in small market towns,
enticing with homemade scones and strawberry jam,
or suddenly glimpsing church spires
inching their way to heaven,
It is finding a Norman church,
full with a thousand years of prayer,
and a quiet churchyard mothering its dead.
It is small country lanes, high hedged,
views of mauve hills stretching skywards,
sheep and lambs dotting the green,
and bleached Norfolk beaches,
silence only broken with a seagull's cry.
It is the people,
their sense of humour,
their way of saying "sorry" when you bump into them,
their fairness, and once or twice a year
their "letting go",
singing "Jerusalem" with tears and passion,

It is these things
that lurch my heart
make England dear to me.

                                                                                 *

With very best wishes, Patricia











Saturday, 17 March 2018

Quickening

                                                                                     The Thrush
Dear Reader,



I thought this week I would let you into the way my mind works when writing a poem.  Thinking about what William Wordsworth said about poetry:  'that it was emotion recollected in tranquility', I have always tried to find ways of remembering my emotions about whatever, and then writing a
short poem from my research.  Someone once said my poems were like "watercolours" just small stories giving a glimpse of something that we can all recognise.  So I have always tried to paint a picture of something I know about.  But, and I apologise for it,  I am sorry to say that last week's poem was certainly not up to my own standards.  This was because I was leaving my comfort zone and trying something different.  I had been reading a book about a man, a barrister, whose wife had left him.  He seemed to be a dual personality both generous and kind, and mean and vicious.  Obviously we are all made up of different parts and what I was trying to do in that poem was to show the two sides of this man.  But I don't think it worked from some of the correspondence I have had, and my new resolution is to stay in my comfort zone and take the advice from knowledgeable people to :  'write what you know', and paint my own pictures from self knowledge.

                                                                                 *

Seagull news:  Apparently a giant owl has been hired to stop seagulls threatening alfresco diners in a Welsh shopping street. Elsa the eagle owl which has a six foot wingspan, has been employed by fed-up business owners to patrol the streets of Caernafon for the next six weeks in a bid to deter the gulls,
which they say have become a "menace".  John Islwyn, who handles Elsa, said the owl ensured a "humane way to deal with the seagulls".

                                                                                 *


Quickening

I want the pulse of life that has been asleep
to wake, embrace me, put on the light.
To hear the thrush, song-repeat, to keep
my trust in God to hurry icy winter's flight.
I want to glimpse, under sodden leaves, green shoots
to announce life's circle, its beginnings, have begun
I want to run barefoot, abandon boots,
to walk through primrose paths, savour the sun.
I want to take off winter's dress, change its season,
to see the coloured petticoats of spring, bloom
and show us mortals nature's reason
to start afresh, admire the peacock's plume.
Cellar the coal, brush ashes from the fire,
I want to intertwine, my love, quicken, feel desire.

                                                                                  *

Very best wishes, Patricia


Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Ragbag of a Human Heart

Dear Reader,



                                                                                       Young women



An entry from Francis Kilvert's diary : Saturday, 8th March, 1872.

At eleven o'clock the dog-cart came for me with the chestnut old Rocket, and I returned to Clyro.
Amelia Meredith tells me that at Llanhollantine people used to to to the church door at midnight to hear the saints within call over the names of those who were to die within the year.  Also they heard the sound of the pew doors opening and shutting though no one was in the church.

                                                                          *

I used to live in a very haunted manor house near Beaulieu in Hampshire.  The house was supposed to have been visited by Judge Jeffreys, 1645-1689, The Hanging Judge, known for his cruelty and corruption.   He was one of the judges at the Bloody Assizes which were a series of trials started at Winchester on August 25th, in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor which ended the Monmouth Rebellion in England.  At these trials a woman called Elizabeth Gaunt had the gruesome distinction of being the last woman burnt alive in England for political crimes.  After the Glorious Revolution Jeffreys was incarcerated in the Tower of London where he died in 1689.

In the panelled room where he would have slept my Alsatian dog always growled when he went in there, and I always hated the room and felt very cold in it.

                                                                             *

The Ragbag of a Human Heart


He saw the girl
young, beautiful, innocent,
inflamed her with clever words,
caught her
seduced her
smiled, walked away.


At the bus stop
he saw an old lady
waiting in the rain,
offered her a lift,
drove her back to her house,
made her a cup of tea,
hugged her,
smiled, walked away.

                                                                             *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sea-Fever

Dear Reader,

                                                                                Sandymouth Bay, Cornwall


'Everyone loves Cornwall" I heard someone say on Radio 4 this morning.  As I am going there on holiday in May, and know very little about it, I decided to do a little research.  It seems the history of Cornwall begins with the pre-Roman inhabitants, including speakers of a Celtic language, Common Brittonic, that developed into Southwestern language and then the Cornish language.  By the middle of the ninth century, Cornwall had fallen under the control of Wessex, but kept its own culture.

To the north of Cornwall is the Celtic Sea and to the south the English channel.  It is Great Britain's most southerly point, with The Lizard and the southern mainland's most westerly point,  Land'sEnd.   In 1337, the title, The Duke of Cornwall, was created by the English monarchy, to be held by the king's eldest son and heir.

Cornwall, along with the neighbouring county of Devon, maintained Stannery institutions that granted some local control over its most important product: tin.  By the time of Henry VIII most vestiges of Cornish autonomy had been removed as England became an increasingly  centralized state under the Tudor dynasty.  In the 18th century the decline in mining saw mass emigration overseas and the Cornish diaspora, as well as the start of the Civic Revival and Cornish revival, which resulted in the beginnings of Cornish nationalism in the late 20th century.

Cornwall today is famous for its pasties, saffron buns, Cornish Heavy (Hevva) cake, Cornish fairings (biscuits), Cornish fudge and Cornish ice cream.  And, of course, for its cream teas, scones and Cornish Clotted cream.

                                                                               *

Not one of my poems this week, but one of my favourites.



Sea- Fever           by John Masefield, 1878-1967

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's
shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call than may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and blown spume, and the sea-gulls
crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and whale's way where the wind's like
a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's
over.
                                                                                  

                                                                                 *

Very best wishes, Patricia

Photographed by Kaye Leggett (www.bertiethebus.wordpress.com)

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Inheritance

Dear Reader,




 Gloucester Old Spot Pigs



Gloucester Old Spot pigs originated around the Berkeley vale on the southern shores of the river Severn in south West England.  They were usually kept in cider and perry pear orchards of the area, and on dairy farms.  Windfall fruit and waste from the dairies supplemented their grazing habits.  Local folklore says that the spots on their backs are bruises from the fallen fruit. Besides its correct title are variations such as Gloster Spot or just Old Spot, the breed is also known as : The Orchard Pig and the Cottager's Pig.  In a book by the Victorian writer, H.D. Richardson, he  concludes that the Gloucester Old Spot Pig was derived from crossing the original Gloucerstershire pig, - a large, off white variety with wattles hanging from its neck, with the unimproved Berkshire, a coloured prick-eared pig with spots. 
                                                                            *

Seagull news:  In Scarborough birds of prey are going to be hired to tackle the growing menace of swooping seagulls.  These birds of prey are 'specifically trained not to kill' the gulls 'but solely to deter them'.   Well its worth  try, I suppose.

                                                                             *

Inheritance

What was it that made me
think of you, who
are bone-dust now,
with no statue or monument
to bear your witness?
Was it the apple-bruised spots
on the Gloucester Old Spot pigs,
their legacy from apple orchards, long ago,
to mark them out?

In the afternoon sunlight
as I bent to touch their skin
I saw that my hands, brown-spotted,
were you hands, identical.
Was this your legacy to me
something to say you were here?

More precious than possessions,
you passed to our inheritance
from some ancient eastern shore.
Your brownness, your hands, brown spotted,
which marked you.

                                                                            *

With very best wishes, Patricia

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,