Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Teigh and its church

Another in my occasional series of interesting churches.

This one is near Oakham, and a church I've intended to visit since walking the Rutland Round in 2012.
From the outside it doesn't look special, but its interior is light and welcoming, and today was filled with the scent of fresh daffodils.

The base of the tower is all that remains of the original 12th or 13th century building. The present church was built in 1782 by the rector, Robert Sherard, Earl of Harborough. The style is "Strawberry Hill Gothic", and the pews face inwards.
Looking toward the pulpit, with the trompe l'oeil window.
toward the altar at the other end of the church.

The two fonts - the smaller one was originally attached to the altar rail. The stone one was carved by a former rector, Anthony Singleton Atcheson.

Teigh is one of the "thankful villages", where all those who served in World War I returned home.

Notable rectors of Teigh

1321 Richard de Folville joined outlawed relations in robbery and murder. He was overpowered by the under-sheriff and his men in Teigh church in 1341, and beheaded in the village street.

1604 Zacharias Jenkinson, a Puritan, refused to bow at the name of Jesus, or stand at the Gospel.

1782 Robert Sherard, later Earl of Harborough, rebuilt the church at his own expense.

1830 Anthony Singleton Atcheson, water colourist and stone carver - he carved the stone font.

1940 Henry Stanley Tibbs was interned on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathiser, but later released as harmless.

Quite a selection for such a small place!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Painting the Modern Garden

The blushing pink on petals close to white
of climbing roses entwined among the trees
the play of light and shade and form
I think I sense the faint smell of decay
from leaves heaped up and rotting on the soil
I lift my head and swear I taste the breeze
and hear the distant notes of a piano

Such is the power of paintings
of gardens full of vast flowerbeds
rioting colour and subtle change of tone
the shapes of leaves and petals
the fruits of long physical labour
with spade and soil or brush and pigment

canvas fixed on walls like windows
where we spy the artists’ friends, lovers,
children and dogs among the plants
or sometimes absent, as the place speaks
its own language, draws us in a while
to a world which feels more real than ours

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Grey cat at Tickencote

oh grey cat of Tickencote
are you the guardian of the church
or a volunteer guide?

You watch us as we park the car
and as we lift the latch 
below the lych gate roof

We walk among the gravestones
looking at the carved window arches
and the inscriptions to the dead

the moss-covered ancient mound,
the solid stone statement tombs
and there you are, rubbing against my leg.

A bench for contemplation
faces the old hall's lake
and you leap up, then lightly to a table tomb
the sunlight catching the way your fur
outlines your frame.

When we open the heavy oak door
to admire the chancel arch
and grotesques in ceiling corners
you follow and show us the old cast bell
replaced some eighty years ago.

You stroll along the tiny nave
into the chancel - we'll not miss much.
As we leave we make sure you are outside

our farewell photograph sees you seated on the wall
blinking in the cooling sun.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Are we at the seaside yet?

I wake after a night of troubled dreams
chasing teenagers from a building site
through a fairground

to find that rain has been falling all night
on saturated ground
not gentle pattering, but hammering steadily

rain lies in deep pools in gardens
on roads, on fields
refreshing the mud I hoped was drying

if this continues it'll be a case of 'man the lifeboats!'
and make vast vats of porridge and cocoa

so far inland
sea level's rising - 
has the shore reached our valley overnight?
That'll save my friend a birthday trip to Hunstanton.

the roads are flooded
facebook warnings flash up
take care, even the top road
worse than we've seen

I'm pleased the house is on a hill
I haven't been outside to check
are we at the seaside yet

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A poem for the times - WB Yeats

     William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


The Second Coming was written in 1919 in the aftermath
of the first World War. The above version of the poem is
as it was published in the edition of Michael Robartes and
the Dancer
 dated 1920 (there are numerous other
versions of the poem). The preface and notes in the book
contain some philosphy attributed to Robartes. 

This printing of the poem has a page break between lines
17 and 18 making the stanza division unclear. Following
the two most similar drafts given in the Parkinson and
Brannen edited edition of the manuscripts, I have put a
stanza break there. (Interestingly, both of those drafts
have thirty centuries instead of twenty.) The earlier drafts
also have references to the French and Irish Revolutions
as well as to Germany and Russia.

  • Monday, November 16, 2015

    Poems after Paris 13/11/2015

    Early reactions to the attacks in Paris, 13 November 2015
    Shaken again
    from complacency
    into confusion.

    Asking why? 
    How can they?
    Is life not tough enough?

    Like the hydra
    violent groups grow more heads
    each time we chop one off.

    if we despair
    darkness has the upper hand

    I believe
    most people are decent
    not deluded.

    I believe humans
    can progress
    towards peace
    and cooperation.

    But after such "incidents"
    I want to hide,
    pretend they have not happened.

    I marvel
    I marvel
    at human persistence
    in destruction

    I marvel
    at how some justify

    I marvel
    at those who demand
    faith unto death

    I marvel most
    at the resilience
    of survivors

    and the compassion
    of millions.

    Le lendemain - next morning

    next morning
    life slowly pulls on
    everyday clothes
    but some people
    never will

    or maybe I need to make it more obvious

    next morning
    Paris slowly puts on
    everyday clothes
    for some people 
    this makes no sense


    le lendemain
    on s'habille
    comme d'habitude
    - pours certains
    cela n'a plus de sens


    The next day
    Paris gets dressed
    as usual
    for some
    there is no usual

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015

    More Leicester oddments

    Very literal old sign
    The Leicestershire Butchers Hide Skin & Fat Company building on Queen Street is now a car park. The sign still remains above the entrance. The company appears to have been formed in 1867 and transferred business operations to Somerset and is now dissolved. Info from empedia
    Leicester going continental

    I imagine this is a self-confident Victorian building

    One of the ground floor windows
    Some info on Faire Brothers and CO.  It seems they still manufacture paper.
    The magnificent entrance to what is now residential flats

    Leicester covered market - always worth a visit

    Autumn colours hanging in there

    Verdigris on the turret

    Modern reflections