Stroud Goods Shed, January 10th 2015

It’s an atmospheric railway station
At Stroud, at night, slipping into gas light time,
And it’s a great venue, Stroud’s good shed,
Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
Built back in broad gauge 1845
(Where was the stone quarried?
If time could run backwards,
Where would the goods shed go?),
Inter-war legend still proudly proclaiming
To passengers to Paddington:
‘GWR STROUD STATION
EXPRESS GOODS TRAIN SERVICES
ONE DAY TRANSITS BETWEEN IMPORTANT TOWNS’;
But inside, you can still scent the ash and steam
And still hear the clangour of the wheels and points,
While outside, the tail lamp of an express
Disappears into the Stroud valleys’ darkness,
With only the signal lamps or weavers’ candles
To stipple the damp winter gloom of the past;
But tonight, Jack Wimperis has rekindled the shed,
With a 3-D scintillant refulgence,
A dazzle of artful light that sends railway
Timetables spinning into a vortex
Of illumination and bright colour.

And I swore I saw, over there in the corner,
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, himself,
Top hat, fingers in his waistcoat,
Smouldering cigar,
Smiling a gentle smile of approbation.

John Clare: 150th anniversary of his death, Tuesday May 20th

Centenaries abound where ere the sun doth his successive journeys run: Dylan Thomas, Laurie Lee, World War One, my dad … but Tuesday May 20th marks the 150th year since the death of John Clare. ‘JD’ pointed out in the Guardian on Saturday that there is only one national read more

Thomas Duncombe and ‘No Pasaran!’ 10 km stroll, mid-May

Thomas Duncombe. and ‘No Pasaran!’ 10 km stroll, mid-May

‘No Pasaran!’ walk in Wotton Under Edge on Saturday 17th May to celebrate the life of Thomas Duncombe of the International Brigade and Wotton; killed in action at Gandesa. Meet at the parish church at mid-day.

Let me know if you want to attend.

There will be readings from A Gloucestershire Declamation when we reach the Spanish mountain oaks that we planted at the tail end of the last century.

This piece of research records the names and contributions of supporters of the anti-fascist cause in our area.

It is a unique piece of research that we lost and then re-discovered in a dusty old box, just before the box was thrown out.

Thank goodness Trish suggested one last search and a proper search inside the capacious and paper-filled box.