Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Multitude of things.

First of all, I must say how heartening it has been to read your sympathetic comments - I find that support is all one needs to get through a crisis - and believe me when  I say that compared with the crises some folk have to deal with, this is a minor one.

Now to the problem of public transport.   Yes, we do have local transport.   The bus company runs from our market town into Richmond with connections on to Northallerton and beyond.   It also runs into Hawes, which is the next market town along the route through Wensleydale and also to Ripon with connections to York.
There are, of course, drawbacks.   First of all, every journey takes a long time as the buses go round all the villages; secondly, there are waits for connections; but most difficult for me is that we do live in a remote farm and it is three quarters of a mile to the top of our lane - and the bus doesn't stop there.   By the time the farmer has driven me to the bus stop in our nearest village he could have driven me into the market town.   So really the bus is not an option - more important is altering the mindset to accept that driving is no longer an option and planning one's life accordingly.   And that I am doing - I have done it before so I know the ropes.

So, what does today hold?   First of all, it is an enjoyable morning for the farmer as our first crop peas in the garden are ready for picking.   The rain at the week-end (over two inches) filled them up beautifully.   In about an hour he will come into the Utility Room with a couple of buckets of peas and he will spend the rest of the morning podding them.  (I find this such a boring job but he enjoys it).   Lunch will be fish with new potatoes and our first peas.   The rest I shall blanch and flash-freeze.

This afternoon is our Poetry afternoon at friend W's.   I spent some time yesterday evening deciding what to read.   We all take three or four poems that we like to read aloud.   It is a lovely afternoon - one of my favourites in the whole month.  I thought you might like to hear my choices - if you don't know them try finding them to read, they are all worth the effort.

First of all I am reading a poem by Nancy M Hayes.   I have no idea who she is, and when I have written this I shall go on line and see if I can find out anything about her.   The poem is in a book called 'The Book of a Thousand Poems' and was given to me recently by friend G.   I am reading it because G tells me that her teacher read it to her when she was small and she loved it so much that she learnt it off by heart.   When she recited it to her father he was so impressed that he found out the name of the book from her teacher and bought it for her.   The poem' s called 'At Night in the Wood'.   As a retired teacher I am always pleased to hear of anything which a child found inspiring (an inspiration which has lasted over seventy years in this case as G is a wildlife fanatic).

Then I am reading a few verses from Basil Bunting's 'Briggflatts.'
The more I read the poem the more I find in it - but then that, surely, is the essence of good poetry.

The other one I have chosen is a pretty gruelling poem by Ted Hughes called 'Struggle'.   I came late to farming - only marrying the farmer after I had retired and become a widow.   But, before we had Foot and Mouth and went out of farming cattle, I did witness quite a lot of calvings, some good, some bad, some disastrous.   This poem describes a hard calving and a sad outcome (well it would, wouldn't it - after all it is Ted Hughes) and is really quite harrowing to read.   There is certainly nothing jolly about it!

So to cheer things up a bit, if there is time, my fourth poem will be Robert Louis Stevenson's 'From a Railway Carriage' which I remember learning as a child.

Isn't it odd how poems one learned as a child stay with us.   Do you remember learning 'Old Meg she was a Gypsy' - or any other poem?
(In my father's day it was 'The Battle of Blenheim').

 

15 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

I'm with the Framer - I enjoy shelling peas, it reminds me of childhood. When you say you came late to farming, did he buy you at market, Weave?

Tom Stephenson said...

'Farmer', not 'Framer' of course. There are too many framers in my part of the country already.

Heather said...

Lovely post Pat - good that you have such a positive attitude to life's spanners in the works.
Peas fresh from the garden - bliss for the palate.
Enjoy your poetry afternoon - group meetings are a joy, aren't they? I remember learning Young Lochinvar as a young child and once knew all the verses to The Raggle Taggle Gypsies!

Arija said...

So sorry to hear of your troubles, I too have been laid up with my ticker refusing to co-operate and going on strike more than usual. I am also sorry that you will no longer be able to drive. Being well out in the country, I am very aware of the difficulties that presents.
Two poems harking back to my central school days when I first learned, or taught myself English still ring in my mind and can be recalled although no loner word perfectly. Percy Bysshe Shelley's 'Ode to a Skylark' and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner'. Later when I had children, A.A.Milne embedded not only many out of When We Were Very Young' and "Now We Are Six' but also almost all of 'Winnie-the-Pooh' into my brain. The Cautionary Verses of Hilaire Belloc had gems like "There was a boy, his name was Jim . ." which I recently had cause to recite. From high school days it is mainly the speeches from Hamlet, Merchant of Venice and Julius Cesar spring instantly to mind as well a a number of Australian Bush Ballads. That is without the numerous German and Latvian poems . . .

Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoy shelling peas, especially sitting on the back steps with a few chooks at my feet who enjoy the occasional wormy one.

Elizabeth Wix said...

Gosh, so sorry I missed reading about your 'blip'. Do hope things have resolved themselves a bit. How wretched.

I'm with the farmer about the peas one of my favorite occupations. In Morocco we had 'real peas' all year round , therefore lots of podding as you can imagine

Happy poetry afternoon.

Ben Battle was a soldier bold and used to war's alarms
A cannon ball took off his legs so he laid don his arms....

I used to think that was hilarious.

Pam said...

Have just read your post about the driving (non-driving!) situation Pat. So sorry to hear that and hope you will adjust with the help of the Farmer and wonderful friends.
As a classroom of crowded Australian baby-boomers around 10 years old we were forced to recite together...
"Drought...by Flexmore Hudson...
Midsummer noon:and the timbered walls
start in the heat,
and the children sag listlessly
over desks,
with their bloodless faces
oozing sweat,
sipped by the stinging flies"

It went on to become quite a long poem but I think we were only required to pack All of our expression into that short piece ie. stretching out" oooozing," and "sipped" was clipped - with a sharp t at the end and a long pause before .".by the stinging flies".
Our old (to us) big-bosomed teacher rested her cup of tea on her chest, dabbing daintily at perspiration on her upper lip, with endless demands to repeat it until we had it to her exacting standards!
It's stayed in my mind to this day.

MorningAJ said...

Oh young Lochinvar is come out of the West......

I remember Adlestrop....

Poetry sticks with you, doesn't it?

Shame about the buses. We have a local service that you can ring up and ask to stop at the end of your lane (if it goes past your lane, that is) which people find very helpful. It's not the cheapest, and it only runs once or twice a week, but it can get you around.

Irene said...

I envy you your poetry group and would very much like to be part of one, or even a book club. The only problem with the latter is that I don't enjoy reading novels anymore and that is why I think poetry would be perfect. I have the attention span for it.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I love the Stephenson poem. There's something magical about it, like Masefield's Cargoes. I was still in a generation which learned to recite poetry. I hope that will return. It was really looked down on in my children's generation. I remember my class reciting Felicia Hemans' The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England at some school event, long ago. Not very good poetry, but I thought it rather thrilling when I was nine.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Sorry to read of your health problems. I'm a great believer in public transport, but I know that most rural areas don't have adequate services.

I remember bits of a lot of poetry i learned when i was young. Good rhymning schemes help memorisation a lot I think,

Pondside said...

I'd love to have a crop of peas to shell - I'll have to go to the Farmers' market on Saturday and buy some!

Pondside said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrsnesbitt said...

Old Meg was a classroom poem of my Dad Pat. He could recite it -and often did. When he died I composed a poem for him...the first lines were "Old Jack he was a woolly back and lived upon the moors" I was too upset to read it, but it was him through and through. xxx Hope to see you soon.

Loren said...

Unfortunately it took me nearly 10 years to overcome my distaste at having to learn Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith" in the 4th or 5th grade.

The first poem I ever memorized for myself was Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush" and that one has, indeed, stayed with me the rest of my life.

Glad to hear that you have friends and the farmer to help you get where you want to go.

Hildred said...

You seem to be adjusting so admirably, Pat, and accepting the no-driving business with grace.

Enjoy your poetry afternoon, - Shelley's Ozymandias springs to mind from my younger days - I met a traveler from an antique land.... and of course, The Highwayman, which we all found very romantic.