ATHENA

Poseidon&Athena-WHB

POSEIDON & ATHENA:  WHB … Pen & Ink, 2019

ATHENA

 

She
Born of male
Warrior Goddess
Meant not to fail

Faced fear
Lord of the Sea
Her major prize
Attica’s key

Poseidon’s trident
Challenged by
Athena’s spear
The stakes so high

But olive tree
Of course
Beat salt spring
And horse

The prize
The city
The winner
No pity

Athens the realm 
Athena’s gain
Poseidon’s loss
To him the pain

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Athena and Poseidon vied for control of Athens and its surrounding territory, Attica. … Poseidon struck the rock with his trident and produced a salt spring or a horse.  

Athena brought forth an olive tree from the ground by the touch of her spear and she was proclaimed the victor.

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The Wheel Bed

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Tyring Platform or Wheel Bed

The Wheel Bed

The wood-burn tang remains,
purpose chosen
elm, oak and ash,
a pungent memory
burnt into my history;
childhood re-visited.

Metal rim fired,
it’s molten circle
beaten into flaky orange ring,
before,
from the flaming furnace, 
tongs at arms’ length, 
cast iron wrought and shaped, 
the new cart wheel
boldly borne
to the fitting-bed, 
its iron collar
to be burnt into place.

 
Then, 
ice cold water on fiery iron
sizzles, 
splash and spurt, 
heat relayed and remembered, 
felt and smelt, 
rooted in my molten memories.

Cold contracted, 
cooled into the tightest of fits, 
road ready, 
task worthy, 
winter prepared
and good to go. 

Another hole in the farmer’s pocket;
Another meal for the smith’s family;
Another tick of my life’s clock.

The vital wheels of forever – 
wood, iron, fire, water,
turning, as cogs
dependent each on each,
as carter, wheelwright, smith, farmer, 
primitive, elemental, 
part of my story
… and of me.

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Those who are familiar with my previous writing may recall my upbringing as the son of the village blacksmith. As such, I often watched my father, with hammer on anvil, create both large and small tyres of heated iron. I would look on in awe as, on a huge shaped ring of thick iron, the wheel-bed or platform, the iron tyre would be burned on to the wooden rim of a cartwheel, allowing the contraction of the iron on cooling to bind the wheel to the wood of the wheelwright’s frame.  Few such iron-wheeled carts remain in use.

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Ralph Roister Doister

 

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Ralph Roister Doister was a bit of a wenching lad
Lived in Tudor London with his dear old dad
Braggart soldier, doomed to fail, upstart braggart and a cad.

His story, our first comedy,
Nick Udall gave it birth;
Joyfully pleasing London folk
With merry quips and mirth.

Mumblecrust and Talkapace
Featured in this play
Raucous, Fun and fluffy –
‘Twas the sixteenth century way.

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See the Wikipedia entry for more on  Ralph Roister Doister 

Ralph Roister Doister is a sixteenth-century play by Nicholas Udall, which was once regarded as the first comedy to be written in the English language.

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Ed-ingo #2

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Statue of ‘Edward The Peacemaker’ … Tiverton, Devon, England

 

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The Royal Head held proudly high
Atop his sculpted pose;
Reminder of the man of peace
Slumbering on in sweet repose.

But now atop that regal head,
Displayed in pinkest glory,
A wayward bird has just alighted
And I am here to tell the story.

It started as a student prank,
Designed to seek attention
For term end rag week escapades,
Somewhat beyond my comprehension.

How to equate a royal crown
With a vivid pink flamingo,
Defeats my sense of decency,
I cannot grasp such student lingo.

Above the River Lowman here
It cries out to the town,
‘Just look at me, now can’t you see
My new pneumatic crown?’

Perhaps this king who loved a joke,
Despite this loss of pride,
Would now say to the passers by,
“Do not those larkish students chide,

For I was once a student too,
I laughed and loved a joke,
So I’ll be pleased if my new crown
Diverts the canny local folk.”

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Note:   This is a follow-up poem to ‘Ed-ingo #1’ published a few days ago . . . see:  ‘Ed-ingo #1’


 

Edward VII (1841 – 1910) was the great grandfather of our present Queen, Elizabeth II. There are a number of statues of Edward VII around the British isles and Commonwealth Realms. This particular one can be found on a bridge over the River Lowman in Tiverton, East Devon.  Edward was married to Alexandra of Denmark, but had many mistresses.  He was acknowledged as ‘The Peacemaker’ for the considerable efforts he made to maintain world stability at a time when War seemed to be looming.  The peace he had worked so hard to keep was eventually broken with the declaration of the First World War (1914-1918).

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Scotland: The Fife Coast 3

 

[ Photo Gallery # 98 ]

The Fife Coast: 3

Kellie Castle, Cambo Gardens and Hew Lorimer

Kellie Castle is situated near Arncroach, about 5 kilometres north of Pittenweem in Fife on the Scottish East coast.

The castle is one of fairytale stone towers and stepped gables.  The oldest parts are 14th century, but much of the rest of was refurbished and added to in the late 19th century by the Lorimers, a famous artistic family.  Indoors can be found elaborate plaster ceilings and painted panelling, together with fine furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who spent much of his childhood at Kellie.

Not far away, near to St.Andrews, is the Cambo Walled Gardens.  This Victorian walled garden has been brought up to date with the introduction of lovely woodland walks leading beside a sparkling burn down to the nearby sea.

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Kellie Castle, Fife

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The Hew Lorimer Studio

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Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture by Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture by Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture in the castle grounds by Hew Lorimer

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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Majorca – Palma and Valldemossa

 [ Photo Gallery # 94 ]

Palma is capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca (Majorca), in the western Mediterranean. The massive Santa María cathedral, a Gothic landmark begun in the 13th century, overlooks the Bay of Palma.  West of the city, hilltop Bellver Castle is a medieval fortress with a distinctive circular shape.

Valldemossa , directly north of Palma, is a favourite stop for fans touring the island.  The area is famous for one landmark in particular.  That is the Royal Charterhouse, built at the beginning of the 14th century.   Since the 19th century Valldemossa has been promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty.  In the 1830s the Spanish government confiscated monasteries and the historic estate has since that time hosted some prominent guests. These have included the Polish composer Frederick Chopin and his lover, the pioneering French writer known by her pseudonym, George Sand.  Every summer the monastery stages an acclaimed Chopin Festival, and visitors can tour the cells where the outrageous couple resided.

Despite problems encountered during their visit, their time there proved a famously creative period. While Sand’s book on Majorca has proved to be an enjoyable portrait of the island,  Chopin meanwhile, although he realised whilst on the island that his sickness was incurable, wrote or completed some of his most loved works, including his Prelude in D flat major, appropriately known as the “Raindrop”.
Saint Catherine of Palma (1533–1574) was a Spanish nun canonised in 1930.   She was born 1 May 1533 into a peasant family. She worked as a servant in a household in Palma where she learned to read and embroider, before joining the Canonnesses of St Augustine at the convent of St Mary Magdalene in Palma.  She was visited by devils and angels, and went into ecstasy for the last years of her life. She died 5 April 1574 at Palma, Mallorca.   The house in Valldemossa where she was born has become a shrine, and many houses in the village bear a plaque in her honour.

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The photographs below were taken during my visit to the island in 2006 . . .

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The sea approach to Palma – early morning
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 Santa María Cathedral  in Palma
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Palma with the hilltop Bellver Castle
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View of Palma from the nearby heights
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Santa María Cathedral – from my coach window
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The hills around Valldemossa
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View of Valldemossa village
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La Vila De Valldemossina – Entrance
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View from Valldemossa
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Room in the Charterhoue, Valldemossa
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Bust of Chopin at the Charterhouse
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During a Chopin piano recital at the Charterhouse
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Ceramic plaque telling the story of Saint Catherine in Valldemossa
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Ceramic telling the story of Saint Catherine in Valldemossa
 

North Yorkshire Moors National Park

[ Photo Gallery # 92 ]

It is the area where I spent my youth and which will for ever be close to my (now southern) heart.  I have shown my photographs, taken over the many times I have revisited, in previous blogs.  The ones below were taken on a motoring tour of this delightful high moorland area in 2005.

The North York Moors is a national park in North Yorkshire, England, containing one of the largest expanses of  heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It covers an area of 554 sq miles (1,430 km2).  The area became a national park in 1952.

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Ralph Cross on Westerdale Moor

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The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century establishment located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park.  It stands at an elevation of 1,325 feet and offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.

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The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge

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Long before ‘Heartbeat’ and TV fame, the tumbling waterfall of Mallyan Spout helped put Goathland on the map as a tourist village in the nineteenth century. 

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The waters of West Beck into which Mallyan Spout tumbles.

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Grosmont Station is home to the operating and engineering world of the NYM Railway. Here you will find the engine sheds where the steam and diesel locomotives are maintained and restored.

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Yes, steam trains – in all their glory!

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This bracing moorland village has attracted visitors since the 19th century, but numbers soared following its appearance (as ‘Aidensfield’) in the television series ‘Heartbeat’ and its role in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.

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Trains passing at Goathland (‘Aidensfield’) Station

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A view from the NYM Railway, of the pyramid shape of the Fylingdales Royal Air Force station on Snod Hill in the North York Moors. It is a radar base and is also part of the National  Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

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The Rydale Open-air Folk museum can be found in the beautiful village of Hutton-le-Hole, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park.  The museum offers a unique glimpse of the past, with collections housed in 20 historic buildings depicting rural local life from Iron Age to 1950s.

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Some of the cottages at the Rydale Folk Open-air museum

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Maldon & the Thames Sailing Barge

[ Photo Gallery # 91 ]

Thames Sailing Barges

Maldon is a town on the Blackwater estuary in Essex, England.   Cruises can now be undertaken from here on the traditional Thames Sailing Barges.  During the 17th and 18th centuries Thames Sailing Barges played an important role in ferrying cargo to and from ships to the London wharves. The very first barges were different from those we see today and lacked the distinctive sails which were introduced over time. Such craft  came in a variety of sizes that could carry from 100 tonnes, (river barges) to 300 tonnes (large coasters) to suit a range of needs.

The flat-bottomed barges with a shallow draught were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow tributary rivers. The larger barges were seaworthy vessels, and were the largest sailing vessel that could be handled by just two men.

The cargoes carried by these boats varied enormously – bricks, cement, rubbish, hay, coal, sand, grain and gunpowder. Timber, bricks and hay were stacked on the deck, while cement and grain was carried loose in the hold. They could sail low in the water, even with their gunwales beneath the surface.

They sailed the Medway and Thames in a ponderous way for two-hundred years; then in the 1860s a series of barge races were started, and the barges’ design improved as vessels were built with better lines in order to win. The Thames barge races are the world’s second oldest sailing competition, second to the America’s Cup.  At the time of World War 2 these Thames Sailing Barges played a vital part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk, their shallow-bottoms proving excellent for this purpose.

 

 

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust, which owns such boats, operates some of their boats from Maldon and offers the opportunity to sail to various locations around the Thames Estuary,  and also to take part in competition with other barges in the various barge matches arranged throughout the sailing season.

The photographs below, except the first and the last, were taken by me on a visit to Maldon in 2005.

[  My notes above are based on information from a variety of sources ]

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Map of the Thames estuary and the Essex coastline

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Thames Sailing Barge in full sail

 

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RYE, East Sussex, England

[ Photo Gallery # 90 ]

RYE is an English town near the coast in East Sussex.  It was one of the original Cinque Ports and parts of the original walls and town gates, once built to guard against invasions from the French, still remain.  Over the centuries, however, the sea has receded leaving Rye Harbour and the coast of the English Channel about 2 miles (3.2 km) downriver from the town.  In the town centre, cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street still exist lined with medieval, half-timbered houses. The redbrick Lamb House was once owned by writer Henry James. Nearby, the tower of the Norman St. Mary’s Church overlooks the town. 

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Low tide on the River Rother at Rye

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Ancient Rye Mill, reconstructed in 1932 after a fire destroyed much of the superstructure

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Fascinating weather-worn textures in part of the ancient town walls

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Looking uphill along the cobbled Mermaid Street to Lamb House at the top right

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View across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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Another view across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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View towards the River Rother from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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A Burne-Jones stained-glass window in St.Mary’s Church

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A lovely corner window in the town

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House front near St.Mary’s Church

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One of the ancient town entry gates

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The green plaque is inscribed ‘Radclyffe Hall (1880 – 1943), Novelist, lived here.’

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