Not Bad for a Village Team

Tranmere –
The name suggests a crossing of the waters,
A ferry across the Mersey,
A crossing of the River Rubicon,
Or for us, the River Thames –
On the 9.55 Football Poets Special,
Speeding through the Golden Valley,
Past Swindon’s railway works,
The Vale of the White Horse,
Then on through Sonning Cutting,
Sequestered Berkshire,
Suburban Middlesex,
Old Oak Common,
To Paddington.

Tranmere –
The name suggests a crossing of the waters,
A ferry across the Mersey,
A crossing of the River Rubicon,
Or for us, the River Thames –
On the 9.55 Football Poets Special,
Speeding through the Golden Valley,
Past Swindon’s railway works,
The Vale of the White Horse,
Then on through Sonning Cutting,
Sequestered Berkshire,
Suburban Middlesex,
Old Oak Common,
To Paddington.

read more

Painswick Beacon and Botany Bay

The solstice is a time for wonder and the imagination,
But sometimes you need facts, figures and measurements:
Lines of latitude and longitude – maritime chronometers too,
Were needed for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land,
For those weavers, cloth-workers, hatters, labourers and servants,
Transported as convicts, far distant from their Painswick homes,
On ships such as the Emma Eugenia, Florentia, Lady Ridley,
Duncan, Gilmore, Persian, Lord Hungerford, Bengal Merchant;
People such as Ann Alder, Henry Beard and Samuel Beard,
John Birt, Isaac Estcourt, James Green, William Haines, Charles Cook;
And at winter solstice-tide, we gathered at Painswick Beacon,

The solstice is a time for wonder and the imagination,
But sometimes you need facts, figures and measurements:
Lines of latitude and longitude - maritime chronometers too,
Were needed for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land,
For those weavers, cloth-workers, hatters, labourers and servants,
Transported as convicts, far distant from their Painswick homes,
On ships such as the Emma Eugenia, Florentia, Lady Ridley,
Duncan, Gilmore, Persian, Lord Hungerford, Bengal Merchant;
People such as Ann Alder, Henry Beard and Samuel Beard,
John Birt, Isaac Estcourt, James Green, William Haines, Charles Cook;
And at winter solstice-tide, we gathered at Painswick Beacon, read more

Sixty People Gathering

Sixty people gathering
In the welcoming woodland of Stroud Brewery,
Watching the preview of Day of Hope,
Listening to tales of weavers’ riots
And Chartist dreams;
Quaffing Chartist porter
While Paul Southcott sang us songs
Of the world we have lost …
Resting by a sun warm red brick bridge,

Sixty people gathering
In the welcoming woodland of Stroud Brewery,
Watching the preview of Day of Hope,
Listening to tales of weavers' riots
And Chartist dreams;
Quaffing Chartist porter
While Paul Southcott sang us songs
Of the world we have lost …
Resting by a sun warm red brick bridge, read more

My Memories of July 30th, 1966

Summer holidays were long then:
Eight weeks,
And by the end of July,
We’d run out of money and run out of fags,
And that was the big talking point:
We had no fags for the match,
No fags,
No Embassy, no Number Six, no Gold Leaf.

I told my mates of my dad’s jungle Chindit trick
(I’d read it in Safer than A Known Way,
About a soldier escaping back to British lines in Burma),
Smoking fags made out of tea leaves and bog roll,
And things were that desperate,
What with nerves and all,
That my mates thought it a good idea;
We gave it a go,

The fags were a fiasco,
But you look on the bright side when you singe your eye brows,
And even though we burnt our noses in the flames,
Mickey Hamm said that at least it got rid
Of the smell of my old Mice and Men dog, Chum.

We stared forlorn at the burnt Typhoo – Hornimans mix,
And the charred fragments of Delsey and Sellotape,
We had one last hope:
Extra time.
Dad took a last fag from his packet of Senior Service –
We hoped he might give us a drag,
Especially if we stared at him all the way through the tab;
He smoked slowly and obliviously and he smoked the lot,
And then stubbed the dog-end out in the ash tray.
We thought it was all over,
It was now.