Sunday, 17 June 2018

Betrayal

                           The Battle of Sedgemoor           Residents laundry hanging outside of a shop
                                                                                                              in Colyton

 Dear Reader,

I so enjoyed the story this week about Claire Mountjoy from the Devon village of Colyton, the single mother who hung her washing out to dry over her front door.  But local traders instructed her not to hang her washing out to dry because it would lower the tone of the neighbourhood.  In response to this instruction hundreds of residents have taken to displaying bras, nighties, pants and other item of laundry outside their  homes as a show of solidarity with Ms. Mountjoy.  The person who sent the letter claimed that the sight of her underwear was likely to offend passing tourists. The tourists must be easily offended and I think Ms. Mountjoy deserves a medal for showing initiative and brightening her front door up with her laundry.

Colyton first appeared as an ancient village around 700 AD and features in the Domesday Book as 'Culitone'.  It was called the most 'rebellious town in Devon' due to the number of its inhabitants who joined the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.  The Monmouth Rebellion was also known as 'The Revolt of the West' and was an attempt to overthrown James II, The Duke of York.  Monmouth forces were unable to compete with the regular army and the rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth's army at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6th July, 1685.   Monmouth was executed for treason on 15th July, 1685.

                                                                            *

Betrayal

You were always there
for me, as I for you.
You read to me
you laughed with me
you told me stories
of magic and imagination.

We travelled north and south
to Scotland and the Western Isles
enjoyed Dorset, Devon, Cornwall.
Went to see the Lakes
peeped into Beatrix Potter's house
felt cold in Dove Cottage where
you put my hand in your pocket.

we were one heart beat

But you have gone.
Now I have to try to live
another life
with you not there,
with someone else perhaps
someone to fill the empty gap
you left me with

Please forgive me darling.

                                                                           *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Small Moments of Warmth

Dear Reader,
                                                                                  Lake Wanaka

This beautiful lake lies at the heart of the Otago Lakes in the lower South Island of New Zealand.  The township is situated in a glacier carved basin on the shores of the lake and is the gateway to the Aspiring National Park.  At its greatest extent the lake is 42 kilometres long.  Its widest point, at the southern end, is 10 kilometres.  The lakes western shore is lined with high peaks rising to over 2000 metres above sea level.

For Maori the Wanaka area was a natural crossroads. Until the nineteenth century Wanaka was visited by Ngai Tahu, the principal Maori tribe of the Southern Region of New Zealand.  They hunted eels and birds over summer returning to the east coast in reed boats.  Ngai Tahu use of the land was ended by attacks by North Island tribes.  In 1836, the Ngati Tama chief led a 100-person war party, armed with muskets, down the west coast and over the Haast Pass: they fell on the Ngai tahu encampment between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, capturing ten people and killing and eating two children.  Maori seasonal visits, no surprise, ceased after this.

                                                                               *

Small Moments of Warmth

I remember a little warmth
Joey trotting the family through Norfolk lanes,
the small yellow trap swaying in the sunshine.

I remember picnics on Yarmouth beach
with enough blue sky "to make a sailor's trouser".
We ate sucumber sandwiches.  Penguin biscuits.

I remember dark evenings,
the small warm flame from a Tilly lamp
lighting the kitchen, and sometimes for supper
we had chicken, chocolate mousse.

I remember a warm holiday in France
squeezed into the back of the car,
singing old thirties love songs.

But will these small moments of warmth,
at the end, be enough to heat and spilt
the heavy stones that circle the human heart,
allow salt tears to trickle through the cracks?

                                                                                *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Spring Fair

Dear Reader,

                                                                              Fairgrounds

Travelling fairs are 'the unwritten portion of the story of the people, bound to the life of a nation by the ties of religion, trade and pleasure'.  The tradition is living and dynamic and reflects the influence of popular culture in which it operates and, in many cases, it predates the history of the town or settlement in which it appears.

The majority of fairs held in the United Kingdom trace their ancestry back to charters and privileges granted in the Medieval period.  In the thirteenth century, the creation of fairs by royal charter was widespread, with the Crown making every attempt to create new fairs and to bring existing ones under their jurisdiction.  By the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the majority of English fairs had been granted charters and were re-organised to fall in line with their European counterparts.

Currently, over two hundred fairs take place every weekend in the United Kingdom with the Goose Fair in Nottingham and Hull Fair growing in size and popularity every year.

The poem I am publishing today is the story of one of my daughters who, when we went to a fair years ago, just disappeared.  She returned in the morning seemingly no worse for wear.  I never did find out where she went.

                                                                          *

Spring Fair

The young girl
and her mother, holding hands,
hurry down the hill
where the bright lights beckon,
see the big dippers hurtling,
painted horses swirling, yellow
swing boats diving, swooping,
smell the grease and diesel
hear the loud beat of music,
the children's screms.

Young men of the fair,
long-haired, dark, a little wild,
eye the girls with bright,
knowing looks.
The air is full of restlessness, of quickening,
the urgency to act
before the end of the night,
when morning light will move them on.

Dusk falls, the young firl drops her mother's hand,
stirred by the primal desire of early spring.
Running silently she disappears into the night, eager
to share what ancient fires of life can bring.

                                                                             *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Holding Hands

                             The Road Less Travelled                                             



Dear Reader,

From Gilbert White's diary, 1786, Hampshire

'Much gossamer.  The air is full of floating cotton from the willows'.


From Richard Jefferies, 1881, Surrey

'Do not like cloudless skies so much as the clouds tramping on one behind the other.  The cloudless sky does not look so large.  The sparkles on the water- like butterflies flapping their wings'.


I spent last week in beautiful Cornwall.  Shopped in Falmouth, walked on glorious beaches, visited a fantastic a garden, Trebah, which led right down to the sea, and ate some delicious fish at home and in restaurants.  Our cottage was in Flushing opposite Falmouth which we reached by way of a small ferry.  In fact I was a bit worried about falling down the slippery steps to get into it and was helped by daughter Tiffany and the Ferry Man.  We were so lucky with the weather, blue skies and warm sunshine.

Gossamer is a fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, seen especially in autumn.   Or it could be a light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate material or substance.
   
                                                                         *

Holding Hands


The rock pools were difficult
to climb through
but she held my hand, tightly,
encouraged me to walk on.
"Come on Mum" she would say
and we would wend our way
 back home, hand in hand.

Fast forward a few years
and I have a hospital visit.
She holds my hand tightly
encourages me to walk on.
"Come on Mum" she says
and we find the Radiology Dept.

Later holding hands tightly,
we find the car park
wend our way home.
                                                                            *
 
Very best wishes, Patricia

Photographs by Kaye Leggett





Sunday, 20 May 2018

Love unlocked




Dear Reader,

The theme this week has got to be love.  What an amazing wedding Prince Harry and Meghan had, beautiful is every way.  Bishop Michael Curry the head of the Episcopalian Church in America, who has been active in issues of social justice, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality, was magnificent and his message of Love was emotional and heart warming.  The Beatles song: "All you need is Love" was always my favourite and one I considered to be the real truth.  With loving friends and family, and if you are lucky a partner, most things can be resolved and even if this is not the case just being loved and loving is great support for getting through.   At least that is what I think.  Do write to me if you don't agree : patricia.huthellis@googlemail.com.


A line or two of:
 Sonnet 116   William Shakespeare

Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom
If this be error and upon me prove'd
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

                                                                               *

Love Unlocked

What can I say about love
that has not been said?
I have little to add except
my sweetheart proffered
a unique key
to the door of possibilites
through loving me.

                                                                              *

Very best wishes and love perhaps, Patricia

Friday, 11 May 2018

Rooks



Dear Reader,




                                                                            Cornish Country Gardens





I am going to Cornwall this week so no time for research into something interesting, or at least, what I think is interesting! and I hope you do too.  So I will just up-date you on the seagull story.

Apparently junk food may not only be bad for humans - it could also make seagulls more aggressive,
according to a researcher looking at their behaviour.  This researcher, one Rebecca Lakin, is studying the impact of urban environment on young gulls across the city, and whether feasting on stolen fish and chips makes them increasingly angry. This study compares the chips and ice cream diet of urban gulls with the traditional menu of fish and clams of their island cousins.  In her research she explores how food digested by gulls will affect them later in life.


                                                                             *

Rooks

I was fourteen
when I first heard
the call of the rooks
caw-cawing
their eerie cries.

From a Cornish cottage garden
I walked down through
dark woods to the beach,
a remote place,
just dunes, sand, the sea
and me, a confused, angry teenager,
with the rooks caw-cawing in my ears
disturbing my thoughts.

Even now, in later years,
whenever I hear whispers from the wind,
or sea lapping over large grey stones
ever forward, ever backward,
glimpse a faraway horizon
and see twilight descending
darkening the sky,
the rooks in large black groups
flying high towards
their eveniong bed,
cawing, cawing, cawing,
my heart misses a beat
and an unexplained sadness
overcomes me.
                                                                           *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Universal Truth

Dear Reader,
                                                                             Foundling Hospital

             Foundlings

                                                                               Foundling Hospital today

I heard on Radio 4 this morning the story of a man who was a 'foundling' having been left on a street during World War 11.  Not knowing much about foundlings I researched and found the following information.   Foundling is an historic term applied to children, usually babies, that have been abandoned by parents and discovered and cared for by others.   Abandoned children were not unusual in the eighteenth century when the Foundling Hospital was established.  In Europe where Catholic-run institutions had been caring for orphans and foundlings from as early as the thirteenth century, the UK relied on the Poor Law to cater for needy families at a parish level.

By the Early 1700s the situation for struggling parents was particularly acute in London.   Mothers unable to care for their children as a result of poverty had few options, leading some to abandon their babies on doorsteps or outside churches or even on rubbish heaps.  This was the situation that confronted Thomas Coran on his return form America in 1704.  It took him seventeen years of dogged campaigning before he finally received a Royal Charter enabling him to establish a Foundling Hospital ' for the care and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children'.

Today, access to contraception, State support for families on low income and changed attitudes to illegitimacy mean that child abandonment is very unusual in the UK.  But in China it had been estimated that 10,000 children are abandoned every year.

                                                                            *

Universal Truth


Everyone knows
that Philip Larkin wrote:

"They fuck you up
your mum and dad,
they may not mean to
but they do".

And what Philip Larkin knew,
I know to be true.

                                                                              *

Very best wishes, Patricia