The Spring and Summer of 1825? Nothing here about the weather, I’m afraid, Instead, anonymous letters portending Murder, mayhem and machine-breaking, With arson and mill destruction Thrown into the pot for good measure; Silent shuttles, strikes, mute looms, Bosses’ me read more
Before I give details about the next walk, I do recommend a visit to ‘Water – The Miniature Museum of Memories’ at Stroud Museum (throughout May) and also ‘Walking the Land: River’, discussion 10-noon at Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, Saturday 18th May. RADICAL STROUD WA read more
I can’t recommend this enough. Have a look at the pictures that will eventually appear on www.radicalstroud.org.uk in the Landscape section, but here is a recommended route from Stroud. This ride obviously involves quite a few climbs, but get off and push along the quie read more
I have been fruitlessly trying to get hold of a copy of Edward Thomas’ ‘In Pursuit of Spring’ for some while, but that failure didn’t matter in the least today, at the end of April, when I walked around Ashleworth, following in the footsteps of Ivor Gurney. The sky, th read more
This is, at this very moment of writing these words, a virtual exploration of the source of the River Frome. It will eventually become real, booted and begrimed, but until I get my head around Cotswold Green’s rickety-rackety ‘bus timetables, this riverine s read more
worked out according to my rough mathematical arboreal abacus at about 160 years per adult. We had also looked at the 12th century frescoes at Kempley, near Dymock, the day before. 5 adults did the trick there. It seems as though we may have a ready reckoner similar to the hedgerow calibrator – I’m sure you know about the old adage of 100 years for each species of tree or shrub in a 30 metre stretch of country hedgerow.
For My Brother
When we were young and full of fun
And all our days were carefree,
Do you remember that September
We climbed the old pear tree?
The finest crop grows at the top,
That bramble jam we ate,
Our mother made and carefully laid
On shelves with name and date.
We took a stick and went to pick
The biggest blackest berries,
Pulling down to near the ground
Clusters hung like cherries.
Remember the gate where we used to wait
For the early morning light,
To show in the field the wonderful yield
Of mushrooms, gleaming white.
The nuts we found so full and round,
And filberts too, so rare,
That lovely autumn on Sapperton Common,
What joy we used to share.
Wild harvest brings a host of things,
Mushrooms, nuts and fruit,
But best of all, with every fall,
Comes memory, absolute.
I was out on the allotment about 6 o’clock in late March, thinking about our walk the evening before. We had wandered out, in the gloaming, to a 17th century secluded Quaker burial ground and returned in a gathering owl-light. It was easy to imagine Quaker candles flick read more
Walking through the 17th Century around Painswick – Meet 5.30, the car park on Thursday 28th March These are the points we shall note and discuss: In March 1644, St. Mary’s Church in Painswick “became both a prison and a redoubt.” Colonel Massey established a garr read more
Do you know Gainey’s Well? I know you’ve probably heard of it, You can obviously google it, But that’s not knowing it, is it? It’s only knowing of it. It lies at the end of a street with a rec, Through a seeming suburban garden, (That is in fact a secret pathway) read more
Who Needs Google Earth?
I know that debate rages, dear readers, within you and without you, as to the respective merits of Flann O’Brien’s “The Third Policeman” and his wonderful “At Swim Two Birds”. Personally, I probably enjoy re-reading the latter even more than the former; be that as it may, it is the Policeman that we need to guide us on our next walk: Mothering Sunday, March 10th. Meet outside the Prince Albert at 11.15 or outside the Crown and Sceptre at 12.30 for a walk around the Heavens and the Edgelands of Stroud – three hours at the most, then into Number 23 in Nelson Street for a chinwag in the bistro.
But here is your preparatory reading:
Chapter 3 in Flann O’Brien’s “The Third Policeman” has a diverting section on walking, emanating from the pen of the imaginary mad-savant, de Selby. O’Brien’s eccentric, but, alas, fictional genius, saw roads as “the most ancient of human monuments, surpassing by many tens of centuries” the most ancient of stone edifices created by humanity. De Selby talked of “the tread of time” and how “a good road will have character and a certain air of destiny, an indefinable intimation that it is going somewhere, be it east or west, and not coming back from there.” The unconstrained thoughts of de Selby led him to the conclusion that “If you go with such a road…it will give you pleasant travelling, fine sights at every corner and a gentle ease of peregrination that will persuade you that you are walking forever on falling ground.” I am sure you can see the converse: “…if you go east on a road that is on its way west, you will marvel at the unfailing bleakness of every prospect and the great number of sore-footed inclines…”
De Selby also wrote of urban walking, of “a complicated city with nets of crooked streets and five hundred other roads leaving it for unknown destinations.” Needless to say, “a friendly road” “will always be discernible for its own self and will lead you safely out of the tangled town.” Thus, I think we can say that we do not need Google Earth or even an OS map to guide us both into Stroud and out towards the Heavens or Rodborough Fields or the Slad Valley. Instead, we might carry a copy of Colin Ward’s “Talking Green”, stopping to look at paragraph two on age 44: “Cherished corners of the landscape can be changed beyond recognition in a few hours. Trees, streams, footpaths, buildings, symbols of permanence which transcend ownership, may suddenly disappear.”
Just as the price of liberty might be eternal vigilance, so might be the price of the right road.