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,