Radical Pub Crawl: Loomsday

A pub-crawl is something I associate
With my youth – indeed, I have never ever
Typed ‘pub crawl’, before, but I am surprised
To find a green line advising me to
Hyphenate and create a compound noun.

The word was never hyphenated
When I used to go on a pub crawl:
There was a noun and there was a verb,
The noun was a sort of synecdoche,
Whilst the verb ‘crawl’ said it all:
The evening started vertical
And ended with a slow, meandering
Horizontal, hands and feet slowly,
Gradually, inching along pavement.

And that was a pub crawl, sampling lots of
Different pints, and different pubs,
Different prices, and atmospheres,
Collecting and clocking the pub names,
The different tastes, strengths and breweries,
In a sort of localised and active
Sociological nuanced survey:
It made you observant through the smoke.

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Save The Sub-Rooms!

‘In short, sir, you have it in a nutshell.
Where would Stroud be without it?’

We live in such divided times that anything that unites us is to be admired,
And just as a nation can be divided, so a town can be divided in so many ways:
Hefts can build up based on social class, or ethnicity, or politics, or education,
Or for so many whatever varied reasons,
As people find and accentuate commonality,
And whilst Stroud and the Five Valleys is not exactly ‘Town and Gown’,
It can feel a bit like Disraeli’s Two Nations at times:

‘Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets.’

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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,

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Nailsworth Shoddy

I often walk the cycle track at the bottom of Rodborough Hill,
The old Midland Railway spur from Dudbridge into Stroud,
And I often cycle the track on to Nailsworth through Woodchester,
Musing on the springs and watercourses, the ancient holloways,
The Roman villa, medieval ridge and furrow, the woollen mills,
The occasional mill chimney, still rising high into the Stroudwater sky,
And I have often walked the surrounds of Avening, Minch and Amberley,
Recreating the 1916 tragedy of Dorothy Beard and Archibald Knee,
A young woman and a young new recruit,
Drowning together in a millpond.

In short, my head is usually lost in the clouds of the past,
Where I am entranced rather than perturbed by novelty –
Unlike Scrooge, I see few phantoms that repel –
Until last night, when just before our show
Trenchcoats for Goalposts,
At the Comrades’ Club,
In Nailsworth,
Jon Seagrave mentioned a local radio history programme
About that local branch line and the First World War,
Did I know that? …

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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,

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Commemorative Walk Saturday 26th

The team at Stroud Brewery were thrilled to have another excuse to brew something special, this time to commemorate the great efforts of the chartists. We have produced a small batch of smoked porter aged in oak barrels. Come along and see if this beer gets your vote…

Saturday November 26th 1pm Stroud Brewery: A Chartist Walk with a Porter

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Echo Chambers – Archibald and Dorothy

Echo Chamber: Voices of Conscience – a sound and photography exhibition marking 100 years of conscientious objection – owes its inspirational existence to Fiona Meadley, Dom Thomas and Ruth Davey. The exhibition includes information submitted by living relatives of Conscientious Objectors from WW1: it was a privilege to contribute to this history, with our performance of the story of Dorothy and Archibald.
The link: takes you to a recording made of Dorothy and Archibald , featuring the voices of Rachel Simpson and Stuart Butler, as they read the words of Alice Butler and Stuart, during the Stroud Book Festival in November 2016.

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