It would have been Peggy’s birthday tomorrow – 88 if she had been with us.
Flicking through an anthology of Irish writing at the weekend, I spotted lines that were familiar, a William Allingham poem, learned in her school days in the 1920s, that Peggy would have recited. I had never listened closely to the words and only when reading it on Saturday, did it appear as something more sinister than the classroom rhyme I took it to be.
If children at rural primary schools were taught poems telling them …
“When I retire”, I said at teatime, “I want to visit all 180 Somerset stations”.
“Oh, joy”, muttered the good lady of the house, “I suppose you’ll want a flask of tea”.
“Yes”, I said, “and a rug for having picnics.”
Being honest, there aren’t 180 stations in Somerset; there are only thirty and eleven of those are on a railway preservation trust’s line, but there once were. The three Somerset counties – Somerset, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset – had180 stations on a web of different …
Sermon at Saint Matthias’ Church on Sunday, 30th March 2008
“Thomas said to him ‘My Lord and my God’.” John 20:28
There is a Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times”. Growing up in rural England I certainly didn’t live in interesting times, I felt we lived in the most boring place on Earth. In fact, I was quite certain of it until challenged by someone who was adamant that rural Ireland in the 1960s was significantly more boring. I suppose it is a daft argument, how do you …
Miss Todd was headmistress of the three teacher primary school I attended from September 1965 until February 1967
There are so many truths expressed in the caption to the coronation photograph from a book celebrating the history of a small Somerset village: the local and the universal; the power of the personal story; maybe even the equality of humanity.
I think what I like best is its illustration of the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory.
The Queen of England was crowned by my school teacher’s uncle.
India’s Rahul Dravid today became only the sixth cricketer in history to score 10,000 Test runs. The highest scorer in history is West Indies’ Brian Lara on 11,953.
Such records are there to be broken. The cricket team from the little town of Langport in my home area in Somerset achieved a record that might have been equalled, but can never be broken.
Gerald Gosling and Frank Huddy’s 1993 book Somerton, Ilchester and Langport has the scorecard of a match between Langport and Glastonbury on Whit Monday 1913.
It is …
Controversy has arisen over the conduct in Nepal of an Irish writer whose poetry appears on Irish schools’ reading lists. There is no controversy surrounding his work. Does his conduct invalidate the acceptability of what he has written?
If writers were judged by their conduct, there would be many question marks in the past, even sweetly domestic William Wordsworth seems to have had a very odd sort of relationship with his sister. How many writers have had irregular relationships, or were distinctly unconventional in their behaviour?
There has always been …