December 25, 2014

Ray's Christmas Message From Down Under


What no snow? Well it is midsummer down under. Ray is second left.

 
That looks like a party worth joining. How far is it? 7000 what?

 
Ray's previous white midsummer Christmas at Halley Station, Antarctica
 
 
I asked Mrs Ray, back in wintry Heacham, whether she had a Christmas message of her own for Ray and the world. Here it is!
 

"Merry Christmas! No matter how far you run you can't hide from the sprouts!"

For more Rays of Hope-

 http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/yes_25.html  and

http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/heacham-electrician-has-south-georgia.html


What's Ray Been Up To In The South Atlantic?- December 2014


This is Grytviken, the old Whaling station just around the bay. This place was finally abandoned in 1964 and, despite its past trade which, when judged by today’s standards is nothing short of revolting, is an extremely fascinating place.

The settlement is currently being turned into a heritage centre and has a good museum, post office and a gift shop for the tourists, it is a popular stopping-off place for Antarctic cruise ships.
The site is littered with old bits of machinery that would have delighted the late Fred Dibner. This is real heavy engineering with forges and casting shops for repairing Whaling boats and all the associated equipment. Men would sign up for a year at a time, and, it is said, that after a year they could return home with enough money to put down a deposit for a house, small holding, or to start their own business. This was a ‘Gold-Rush’ town. Men, and a very few women (mainly managers’ wives) from countries such as Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Poland etc. worked here. I remember that my father commented recently that he had considered this line of work when Mum and Dad were trying to buy their first house.

Much of the processing equipment remains in situ; steam powered saws, winches, cookers and boilers for extracting the valuable oil. This, apparently, was used for Margarine manufacture amongst other things. I think I need to pause a moment and let my stomach settle! It was, I suppose, a carbon-neutral source of oil, but that does nothing to quell the nausea. How our tastes change!
For social history, this place is enthralling and is a place that has a link with many folk whose fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers worked here, and as such, it is probably worth preserving. As a means of income for South Georgia, it is a lucrative tourist attraction (this income is well spent on environmental conservation).
These are good arguments for the preservation of Grytviken. It may be well worth conserving but I cannot help balancing this, in my mind, with the trade that caused all these magnificent animals to be slaughtered in a horrid horrid horrid manner. The remains of explosive harpoon heads litter the old flensing yard, each one would have made a kill.
Skeletal remains of whales litter the area.

I can’t help questioning whether such a symbol of revulsion should be preserved? Others may find it different though. On a similar line of thought, there are strong and valid arguments for the conservation of World War atrocity sites, and, after all whaling still goes on.

If it was my choice, should the site be preserved? From the heart I say No….
I would bulldoze it all to the ground, remove it from the Island and from memory.


Yes. .It did put its slimy whiskers on the camera lens when it came up to say hello and bite me.


Ha, evidence!





The rugged mountainous terrain, and the fact that there are no roads, means that the best way to travel to different parts of the island is by boat. Everyone on base is expected to help crew these and most people end up being trained up to the level of Skipper. We have two Boating Officers who manage these operations and they provide ‘on the job’ training. This is on top of the pre-deployment training that we all received at Poole in the UK before we left. One of the Boating Officers crews a life boat when he is back home, so we are in safe hands. We have Two powerful jet boats that are also used for Fishery Patrol and two RIBs, one of these, named Alert, is seen in the photo. These are also very fast and capable of 30 Knots!

This particular trip was to ferry a Government Officer and a Botanist across the bay, where they are to carry out a survey on invasive plants. Some plants such as dandelions, were deliberately introduced during the days of the Whaling colonies, others however, such as Bitter Cress, have been recently and accidentally introduced. The seeds, have been brought in, attached to the clothing, rucksacks and boots of visitors to the island and have been dispersed at an alarming rate. There is great concern that they will out-compete the rare native flora.

Very Stringent bio-security measures have now been put in place. Every visitor, including all of us, have to use a foot dip every time we board and leave a ship. All clothing and baggage is thoroughly checked in a purpose built facility. All bags are emptied out and the contents checked for seeds and insects. All boots have to be scrubbed and all Velcro fasteners cleaned, they pick up all manner of seeds and plant material.

We have been trained to identify all these problem plants and if we find any, we have to mark the spot with a pink ribbon and inform the Government officers giving GPS coordinates. There are also areas that are ‘out of bounds’ to prevent us spreading the invasive weeds and further.

On a fine sunny day such as this, boating is a popular job but only too often, the weather and South Atlantic sea is not as benign. The scenery is always stunning though. A glacier can be seen in the photo, calving into the sea in the background.

Shackleton's Grave



Didn’t see the significance of this at first…..look at the orientation of Earnest Shack’s grave, all the rest are the traditional East West, He said he wanted to be buried facing the South Pole, and, at least, the alignment of the grave marker would suggest that his wishes were fulfilled…but…..there are conspiracy theories!! xx





Hello. A change from Seals I suppose. This is the Hydo-Turbine that, when it is working, provides our electricity for free! It had just jammed up, I think from stones washed in through the inlet, and I am testing it before putting it back online. Don’t mind working today as the weather is horrid, snow showers in summer! I suppose it is Antarctica after all!

Love to all,
Ray

For more Rays of Hope-

http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/ray-of-hope-3-your-edp-sir.html

http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/rays-christmas-message-from-down-under.html

http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/heacham-electrician-has-south-georgia.html



December 11, 2014

The Christmas Single The Only Gift b/w A Sparkly Sedgeford Christmas Card

My heart is still made of 7 inch vinyl so here's an A side and a B side.

The Only Gift - A Carol For King's Lynn (Calway/Conway) performed by Tom Conway.

 
"The only gift left on the shelf
That nothing else can rise above,
Includes all treasures, lasts forever
And grows when shared with others: love."


A Sparkly Sedgeford Christmas Card (Calway/Wood-Davies) performed by Lovehearts+Redwine

 
 
 "The elements of Christmas:
Fire and ice..."
 
 
Both pix (by rock photographer Al Pulford) of these musical pieces performed live in Lynn on St Nicholas's Day at 'A Hanse Christ Mess' in the Hamburg Suite of Hanse House. 
 
 
And for still more about Christmas traditions, there's this radio broadcast...
 
 
 

December 10, 2014

I Feel Fine

Yes, I still do. 50 years ago today (on Thursday 10 Dec) 'I Feel Fine' replaced the Stones' one-week number one 'Little Red Rooster' at the top of the Christmas charts and stayed there for five weeks. It was like the party would never stop.

Another significant date is December 12 1965, the night the Beatles played their last ever live concert gig in mainland Britain- at the Capital Cinema Cardiff.

Hear Brian Matthews of Radio 2's Sounds of the Sixties trail the celebration show created by guitarist John William and I , 'It Was 50 Years Ago Today':

https://soundcloud.com/gaz29-1/brian-matthews-trails-it-was-50-years-ago-today-on-r2

And if that whets your appetite, hear John and I performing the whole show live and on air at http://www.folkspot.co.uk/, -  here


The show and the novel imagines Factory Girl Cindy meeting her Beatle Prince backstage at this final concert, escaping a blind alley with her real-life boyfriend. It's magical mystery realism.

Here's the Christmas 1964 section of Beat music, the novel, narrated by Cindy's little brother James Spectre:

"Dad is home. A Labour Party report on a proposed Open University of the Air, designed to extend Higher Education to lower income groups, a three pipe problem solved in full by Harold Wilson on the back of some election posters between church and lunch on Easter Sunday 1963, and done up in crimson ribbon, is trailing in the silver jet-stream behind Santa’s sleigh. Stepmother magicks back into Mother Mary and brings all her gift-wrapped summer of loving down from the always winter loft. Both parents are as wide-eyed and excited as their children, and everything is lying before us like an unopened gift. And, away from ‘Wanger’ Wheeler’s football field, where I’m always at the back, in goal, I’m John at Christmas Number 1, miming electric razor feedback on Pop of the Tops, airing George n John lead guitar on Fairy godmother Mary’s laundry-slat wand and being Ringo. I FEEL FINE."

December 08, 2014

a prayer for john lennon (d. dec 8 1980)




i am not
sure that god
speaks
more in the silence
or the age's
talentless violence
but in earshot
of atlantic fury
you fell
silent,
new york exploding
unholy smoke
in your heart
and for a bad moment
dear john
i am lost again.


dec 8 1980

November 23, 2014

Heacham Electrician Has South Georgia On His Mind (EDP Front Page Pic and Feature 23/11/14)

My Lynn News review of Ray's November 2014 lecture to the King's Lynn Society of Arts and Science on his previous A4 months on Halley Station, Antartica, is here

Link to this EDP cover pic and story here



 
“I’m just popping out for a career break. I may be some time…”
 
Kids gone, mortgage paid, pension looming, many of us dream of throwing up the day job and all our routine securities to do what we always dreamed of, while we still can. Some of us ‘of a certain age’ even do it.
 
Not many of us leap as far as the South Atlantic!
 
But that’s exactly what Heacham electrician Ray Thirkettle has just done. (Last Sunday) he joined the British Atlantic Survey (BAS) on remote South Georgia, the best part of a thousand miles east of the Falklands, for a 13 month stint as an electrical technician. On a pinprick island in a vast cold ocean, with long hours of darkness coming next ‘summer,’ Ray will certainly be needed.

Ray Thirkettle ANL-141121-145716001 
 
This is in fact Ray’s second ‘leap in the dark’. In 2012, he was granted a 4 month career break by the NHS to join the BAS’s flagship Halley station on the Antarctic continent itself. This included a midsummer White Christmas. Clearly it wasn’t enough! And this time, it’s not so much a break as the end of an NHS career.
 
Does he have any regrets?
 
“Yes, I’ve just bought a sports car!” he jokes.
 
More seriously, he adds. “I had a secure position as NHS electrician at the QEH in Lynn, where I’ve been for 7 years. While there are definite rewards in joining BAS, money definitely isn’t one of them.
 
“But most of all, of course, I regret a 13 month parting from my wife of 32 years, Pauline.”
 
I ask the 7,697 mile question. And how does his wife feel about being a BAS widow on the other side of the world, starting with another solitary Christmas?
 
 
 
I’m not the first to ask. During Ray’s recent King’s Lynn Arts and Science SocietyLecture about his Antarctic expedition at which Pauline provided technical support – she answered herself with a pair of jazz hands and a big grin. The audience of 65 was suitably amused, if not entirely reassured.
 
Today, however, we get the real answer. “This is something Ray has always wanted to do. Of course I want to support him in fulfilling his lifelong dream.”
 
Ray’s sheepish smile of gratitude says it all.
 
He justifies further, “In this digital age, it’s not that we won’t hear from each other. During my Antarctic trip, we were in email contact every morning and evening and there was a telephone link every week – by satellite to Cambridge and then up the land line to Heacham. All of this will apply equally to South Georgia, where there may even be the luxury of Skype.
 
“In some ways we’ll see and hear more of each other when I’m on the other side of the world than when we’re living in the same house!”
 
 
I stare fascinated at Ray’s map of the bottom of our planet.
It’s easy to forget Antarctica is a continent. The South Pole is on a plateau but elsewhere there are huge snow-and-ice-buried mountain ranges. Halley station was on the frozen coast. South Georgia is a mountain range and a coast in a lot of deep water. It’s not got many similarities to Heacham. Did he learn anything last time to make the long trip south any easier?
 
“Yes, we’d got to South Africa before I realised I hadn’t packed any underpants!”
 
Ray moved to Sedgeford with his wife and young family as an employee of Eastern Electricity in 1986 and their youngest daughter grew up there. He got interested in science via the Sedgeford Archaelogical Research Project. (SHARP). “I had an Iron Age horse skeleton in the garage for six months.” I mention that this must have intrigued visitors even more than the sports car and he laughs.
 
Ray’s involvement with SHARP continues and his distinctive hat and regulation archaeological beard adorned Open Day last year. “I was going to be SHARP’s animal bones expert for the 2015 season. Obviously, since the BAS phone call at the end of September informed me I’ll be in South Georgia that’s all now on hold. But I’ll always be grateful to SHARP for the original inspiration and they are cool about my having a year away.”
 
Ray’s experience with SHARP led on to an OU Degree in Natural Sciences. The degree involved a lot of detail collected by BAS and the more he found out, the more he wanted to see a station for himself. Lamenting one day in the field to Melanie Van Twest, a young Australian member of SHARP, that he was too old to apply to join one of BAS’s projects, the youngster urged, “Go for it, Ray. They’d snap you up.” And they did. “My OU degree in Natural Sciences was crucial in getting me this job.”
 
Does he feel smug at escaping the Norfolk winter before it sets in?
 
“I’m more likely to see a White Christmas than you will in winter Norfolk – South Georgia is mountainous and snow is possible all year. But the main snow will come during May-October.”
 
Temperatures across the South Atlantic vary enormously. A quick glance at the BAS website (at the time of writing) reveals it is currently minus 11 degrees at the Halley station in Antarctica, +9.4 at King Edward Point on Georgia, where it is more than sheltered than the otherwise equivalent Bird Island (+3.1) - and a chilling minus 38 degrees at the South Pole.
 
The temperatures Ray can look forward to in his upside down year will typically range from minus 15 C to a sweltering high of 20 C. Luckily, he will be living in a sheltered valley on a long peninsula called King Edward Point. The high surrounding mountains will protect the small team from the worst excesses. He has been preparing for this and other eventualities with training courses since October.
 
“We had better weather in the Antarctic in Spring 2013 than Norfolk did. And I came back to a colder welcome – from the weather – than I’d left in the frozen South.”
 
“But by June 2015 it’ll be dark and chilly and may even plummet to 20 degrees below.”
 
Is he worried?
 
“No. I am equipped with 22 kg of state-of-the-art Antarctic kit to keep me safe and warm.
 
 
“BAS don’t own the station. It belongs to the South Georgia government. As you might expect, it uses cutting edge sustainable fuels – in 2008, a new  Hydro Electric Power station (designed and built in Kendal, Great Britain by Gilkes Ltd) was installed, using the mountainous terrain and a lake, and – reassuringly – there is a stand by generator.  I’ll be a snug as a Norfolk bug in a rug.”
 
His new penguin-populated Georgia base does have some reminders of home. King Edward Point includes a church; a whaling station converted to heritage and protection; Shackleton’s grave and a harbour for tourist cruise ships. It even has seals. A corner of the world forever England?
 
The scientific research, as you might expect from its location, is primarily fishing based. The BAS-contracted laboratory re-opened after a 20 year impasse caused by the Falklands conflict –Argentinian forces briefly occupied this island and still claim it - and is aimed at providing scientific advice to assist in the sustainable management of valuable and commercial fisheries around the island. What is Ray’s part in it all?
 
“Twofold: 1. to keep the base’s electrical equipment running and also to assist the scientists. The latter includes crewing the power boats as they conduct fishing surveys.
 
2. To generally help run the station, keep it tidy and clean, and take my turn to cook– making use of a recent crash course from Pauline. Unlike the Halley team’s happy arrangement where international chefs in search of adventure and a CV embellishment are typically employed, the Georgia team is too small to justify dedicated chefs. But I’ll do my best!”
 
Ray is keenly aware of the role of science in rescuing the planet. “The station is important to the world as it is collecting data about sustainable fishing and the viability of fish stock.
 
“And also how many whales have been pinched by unauthorised whalers!” adds Pauline.
 
There are penguin and seal colonies to monitor and reindeers to control. Rats were accidentally introduced to the island via whaling boats and the damage to bird species is clear by comparing the birds’ relative thriving on nearby Bird Island, which is rat-free. The station has overseen an enthusiastic rat-eradication programme, still not quite successful.
 
Ray hates talk of ‘decimating’ rats though –because it’s a sloppy and unscientific use of the word. “We need to get rid of them all, not just one in ten!”
 
It is this precision that helped get him the job. He was the only person on the Halley station trusted with polishing the glass frontage of the spiral staircase.
 
This scrupulousness also typifies Ray’s concern with the wider environment and the sustainable survival and prospering of the world to which BAS is so committed. Ray’s recent lecture for the KLSAS ended with his passionate advice to British youngsters. “Don’t follow popstars and footballers– the really exciting place to be in the modern world is Science.”
 
Looking at Ray’s example, there might be a few more ‘of a certain age’ who feel the same!  

Original EDP Feature by Gareth Calway here

The Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey is one of the world's leading environmental research centres and is responsible for the UK's national scientific activities in Antarctica.  ‘Digging Sedgeford’ the full story of the SHARP project’s first 18 years is published by Poppyland Publishing www.poppyland.co.uk  Gareth’s Norfolk Notables features for the EDP are available online at www.garethcalway.co.uk His Christmas show with Dr Paul Richards ‘A Hanse Christ  Mess’ is in the Hamburg Suite at Hanse House in King’s Lynn on 6 December details www.garethcalway.co.uk  or www.marriottswarehouse.co.uk.
 



RAY OF HOPE: AN OCCASIONAL BLOG FROM UNDER THE BEYOND-
 
Ah! Gentoo Penguin with Chick and an egg!!

“Arrival Sunday 23 November
 
Just got here after a week's travelling! Phew.
I am not a great sailor and the ship was going from side to side a lot.
The Hydro plant we have here was designed and built in Kendal, Great Britain by Gilkes Ltd.
Skype, alas, does not work, it has taken me I hour to log on to emails! Still quite incredible that I can do this on a very remote island down here.
I will keep you in the news loop, may be able to send small photos if I pick my time. This is written at 22:30 on a Sunday when things are quiet.
Seals are very very smelly!
Cheers and love to all,
Ray.”

'Shackleton' Day 5 Dec

Me - Thinking of you on the day Shackleton set off from South Georgia 100 years ago. 'The Guardian' has a centrefold of Endurance in the ice today. The crew are playing football next to it!
Good job we’re all British or we’d faint!

Ray- One of my workplaces, the Hydro Power Plant, is no more than 100 yards from the gentleman's grave. There is a fence around the graveyard, to keep reindeer and seals off.
 
 
Kind Edward Point Factfile (adapted from BAS website http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/index.php)
 
Position: King Edward Point lies 860 miles east of the Falkland Islands, on South Georgia, a mountainous island near the bottom of the world, no nearer South America than Antarctica. Access is by boat or ship-based helicopter.
Purpose: Administration support; applied fisheries research.
Occupied: By the British Antarctic Survey.

Station Facilities

3 separate laboratories; a dedicated communications room; offices with excellent computing facilities; a walk-in freezer for specimen storage and a library

Administration & Status

South Georgia, part of British Overseas Territories, is administered by its own government, based in the Falkland Islands, and represented locally at King Edward Point by a Government Officer. BAS staff at King Edward Point provides logistic support assisting the Officer to carry out his duties plus the delivery of an agreed science plan.

Scientific Research

BAS scientists provide sound scientific advice to assist in the sustainable management of the valuable commercial fisheries around the island.
Climate
Surrounded by cold waters originating in Antarctica, South Georgia has a harsher climate than expected from its latitude. Permanent ice covers over half the island, large glaciers flow from the highest peaks in sharp contrast to the green coastal belt.  Mountain-sheltered, King Edward Point receives drier and calmer weather. Temperature range −15°C to +20°C with well-defined summer and winter, though snow can fall on any day of the year. The island is typically snow-covered from May to October.

Landscape

Mountainous and glaciated.
Coastal fringe is snow-free in summer with lush vegetation.
The island was once the home of the whaling industry. Tens of thousands of whales were brought ashore to be rendered down for oil. Many of the beaches are littered with whalebones. The whaling station at Grytviken, across the bay from King Edward Point, is now a heritage site and includes a museum.

Wildlife

Abundant seabirds including penguins. In summer the station beach becomes a breeding ground for Elephant seals.

Station Personnel

King Edward Point station has 22 people living on station in summer and 12 people throughout the winter. BAS staff comprise 2 fisheries scientists; 2 boating officers; 2 technicians (electrical and mechanical); a doctor and a Base Commander.

Life on Station

Everyone is on a rota to clean, cook evening meals and make bread. Comprehensive training in navigation and Search and Rescue techniques is provided initially in the UK and continued upon arrival.
 

November 22, 2014

Lynn News review of Great Massingham Social Club/ West Norfolk Radio

Great Massingham calling… and introducing West Norfolk Radio

http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/what-s-on/lifestyle-leisure/review-massingham-folkspot-night-1-6429876

Lexie Green
 
Last Sunday night I saw three hours of live variety entertainment. THREE great bands; quality floorspots, recorded CDs and interviews; a big friendly bar and a happy end-of-weekend crowd to share it all with.
I felt very smug that as a reviewer I was getting all this for free. And then I found out everyone was!
I don’t know how Vic Cross, manager of Great Massingham Social Club, and Jane Knights of West Norfolk Radio (formerly Folkspot) can afford to mount this collaboration every Sunday night. But it’s definitely worth driving (or moving!) to Massingham for –if you’re not lucky enough to live there. Or at least tuning in.
 
Lexie Green and the Indigo Blue

Lexie Green and the Indigo Blue, a Marshall-amped, female-fronted country rock band from Cambridgeshire, served up a top set of self-written songs, some of which have won international awards. If Lucinda Williams’ guitar met John Paul Jones’ drum, this might be the love-child!
They had a great range. Lexie’s vocals swooped from tender to rocking and back again and her warmth and sense of fun lifted the audience.
 
Trio
 
Norfolk’s very own Trio sustained an attractive and ambitious set of classic harmony-rock. (Stealer’s Wheel, CSN &Y, Crowded House, ELO, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Tracey Chapman…) Just when you thought Phil, Mark and Dawn’s voices couldn’t get any more exciting than their ‘Eleanor Rigby’, they hit us with a hopping 5 string bass-thumping tribute to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Hotter Than July’ that had my wife and me all but bopping around the bar.
 
Joe and Mary
Gospel-tinged Norwich country-folk duo Joe & Mary gave us a set of alternative intimate love-songs alone worth going out for. Fortunately, like Folkspot house-performers Mike Prior and Dave Cooper, they’ll be back.
 

West Norfolk Radio broadcasts every Sunday from 7-10 pm on www.westnorfolkradio.co.uk contact Jane Knights on 07780977301. Enquire about Great Massingham Social Club’s events and bookings on 01485 520387

November 10, 2014

Sedgeford Remembrance, Anthems for Doomed Youth and Private Peaceful Collins Resources

 
 
 


The Sedgeford War Memorial stands on a distinctive triangle of grass at the heart of the village: Cole Green. It was unveiled by the Countess of Leicester (of Holkham Hall) in 1920. Its lovingly tended clean modernist lines still gleam. With its telephone directory of names honouring local war dead, and its three trees standing sentinel, it has a special atmosphere all year round.

And every Remembrance Sunday it draws a village together. Whatever ‘country’ means to those gathered round the memorial today, their predecessors were prepared to die for it.

The ‘war to end all wars’, alas, did not - and wars and memorials continue. But 23 of the names read out - a figure out all proportion to the size of the village and Sedgeford is hardly alone in that – are from the First World War. It will always have that awful prominence. As the solemn and beautiful words of the service bear witness:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

No, that’s not from the Bible or The Book of Common Prayer. It’s the fourth verse of ‘For The Fallen’ written in September 1914 by the poet Laurence Binyon.

‘The Times’ published the poem in remembrance of the British Expeditionary Force’s crucial rearguard action after the Battle of Mons in August 1914 and its last ditch resistance shoulder to shoulder with the French at the Battle of the Marne in September. Without such sacrifice, the war would surely have been lost within two months.

Adopted by the Royal British Legion to commemorate fallen servicemen and women they, like the fallen, do not grow old.

 


What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen, d.1918










The General
 
 
‘GOOD-MORNING; good-morning!’ the General said

When we met him last week on our way to the line.

Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,

And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.

‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack

As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

    .    .    .    .

But he did for them both with his plan of attack.

 
 
Siegfried Sassoon


Poems as performed at a Great Massingham Social Club and streamed live on Folkspot radio Sunday 9 November (a fabulous show which included three excellent rock, harmony and folk bands on West Norfolk Radio




MY FREEDOM TO TEACH COLLINS RESOURCES ON MICHAEL MORPURGO'S FIRST WORLD WAR NOVEL 'PRIVATE PEACEFUL' ARE   here

Find them also on

http://www.collins.co.uk/page/Book+of+the+Month for November

 

November 05, 2014

Lovehearts and red wine

Lovehearts and red wine: maiden recording session -





A Sedgeford Christmas Card


The elements of Christmas -

Fire and ice -

In this tempered Arctic sun

That burns in the trees.

In these pools like skating rinks

Deep and dark and even.

Ice

In the flinty ground

And the bitter Easterly.

Fire

In the solstice sunset

Bleeding the black woods

And its ice-pink afterglow

And its fire-blue areola.

Ice

In the barn-wide rising moon.

Ice

In my soul as I'm turned

To the unlit wings

That cradle and grave

The sunset's light show.

Fire

In my soul

At a rising star

Burning like ice

In the polar blue.Fire

In my hearth at home

(Crackling through logs),

In the farmer's field

(Roaring through twigs),

Red-raw and orange

Tongues of life-lust:


The vital, stripped down

Simplicities of winter.





Sedgeford druids Vanessa Wood-Davies and Goliath Dylan-Calway performed http://garethcalway.blogspot.co.uk/p/poem-of-month.html (November 2014) together at the Wolf Folk Club on 30 Oct and (with amplification and as part of Bob Bones' undercover Beautiful Days event at which Julie Bones and her band of bears and cardinals divinely regaled) at the Lynn Arms, Syderstone on Halloween itself.

Bats and spiders, witches and ghouls, Werewolf ale and some rather persistent  cobwebs prevailed. That pub is going places and it was a privilege to broomstick-ride with them for the evening.  Pictures and further details of the general event in companion blog post here

Lovehearts and Red Wine step out
 Nuclear fusion

A duet has been born, premiered and named at the Wolf Folk Club on Oct 30 (someone mentioned Dylan - not sure if it's Thomas or Bob) and love-labouring into the world like a bat out of heaven on Hammereen. We shall return and see if the accident can be conjured again.

Vanessa provided the devilish fiddle interruptions on 'Fiddler's Hill 'and a heavenly tune ('Snow') and performance on harp behind the words on 'Susan Nobes'. Helped by three bottles of red wine I Hamm(er-House of Horror)ed up the spooky verbals . It's not easy to hold the attention of a pub audience, especially one drinking shots, but we did it. 'Fiddler's Hill' recounts a famous Norfolk legend- read about the legend here; Susan Nobes is a true Sedgeford tragedy I unearthed in the British Library by mistake while failing to trace the history of our own cottage. It deserves to be better known. Read Lynn News item about it here.