Landscape

Radical Cirencester

Cirencester seems like a typical
High-Tory Cotswold sort of town,
Men in yellow and red cord trousers –
Profuse pocket kerchiefs, tweed jackets,
Highly polished shiny brown brogue shoes,
Conservative ladies who take luncheon,
Just one silent beggar in a shop doorway,
Just one busking troubadour in the streets
To remind us of medieval days of yore …
But when I sit down by the weathered cross,
Down there by the church in mid-winter,
With a cheese and onion pasty,
And a warming cardboard cup of tea,
I wander through the fourth wall to read
The 1381 Poll Tax and its hated demands:
574 Cirencester subjects over the age of fifteen,
To pay the hated iniquitous tax,
No matter how indigent they might be,
A peasantry taxed to pay for a ruling class war,

Over the sea in France;
I glimpse, too, the Feudal Lord, the Abbott,
Studying his imposingly long list of tenant duties:
Thresh corn, plough fields, scythe hay,
Mow the fields, hedge and ditch;
Tenant’s corn to be ground in the Abbot’s mill,
Pay for the privilege, ditto at market;
If you grind corn on your own mill-stones,
The bailiff will take or break your mill-stones …

Read More

Rodborough Fields For Ever

Rodborough Fields: The Curse is Lifted A piece of parchment flew through an open window of the bus today and landed on my lap. It was entitled THE CURSE IS LIFTED. I have made a transcription. As you won’t be building on this field, Springs will no longer o’er-turn...

read more

Walking and Cycling: Bike or Boots?

Edward Thomas on Walking and Cycling Richard Jefferies on Walking Reflections on Psychogeography and Cyclogeography Bike or boots? It’s horses for courses sometimes isn’t it? It’s a question of what you fancy, or a matter of where you want to travel, or how far, or...

read more

November

 I used to loath November, but now feel quite nostalgic about the long lost fogs and mists of yesteryear: ‘When vapours rolling down a valley Made a lonely scene more lonesome’ – as WW put it in The Prelude. So I am going to enjoy today’s fog with a walk...

read more

Psychogeography and Cyclogeography

I’m a great fan of psychogeographical wandering: I love the whole chronotope thing of getting lost in a landscape and drifting through timescapes; I love the whole Hazlittian and Solnitian walking and thinking at 2.5 miles an hour trope. I love walking, thinking,...

read more