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Tag Archives Cheshire

RESURRECTION

Our house, the street’s first, was built epochs ago

on Cheshire pastureland. There has been nothing

for history to note here – only births, deaths,

the occasional fire and break-in,

and marriages at the Methodist Church

almost opposite us. Empires collapsed

from within – Austro-Hungarian,

British, French, German, Ottoman, Russian,

and Soviet. Here only the seasons came,

and bed-sits, then gentrification.

 

Now the St Petersburg Resurrection

A Cappella Choir – founded post-Gorbachev

to sing the liturgy in concert halls –

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ENGLISH JOURNEY

I have made my English journey – by rail,

Chester to Euston return – maybe,

on average, three times a year since I was four.

 

It is like revisiting a ragged

museum of serendipitous

keepsakes: Canada Geese on Cheshire ponds;

GEC become Alstom in Stafford:

wind turbines and mobile phone towers

jostling radio masts near Rugby;

concrete cows in Milton Keynes; Ovaltine

in Kings Langley; Watford’s mosques;

and, anywhere, marshalling yards of

derelict rolling stock,

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A SILK PURSE: THE EVERYMAN THEATRE, LIVERPOOL

Before it was the Everyman Theatre

it was Hope Hall Cinema – and bar –

frequented by Dooley, Henri, McGough,

the Liverpool Scene. I saw Jean Renoir’s

1939 black and white ‘La Règle

du Jeu’ – Chekhovian, dystopian

entre deux guerres – in what was an untouched

dissenters’ chapel four-square between

the two cathedrals on Hope Street.

 

It became a theatre known for new writing,

new music – all with a political edge

and with humour,

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THE HEREDITARY PRINCIPLE

Hugh d’Avranches, one of the Conqueror’s henchmen,

with him at Hastings, got the Saxon earldom

of Chester and the palatine of Cheshire,

with its forests of deer and boar, as reward.

His nicknames were ‘Lupus’ and ‘Gros Veneur’

because he ravened the Welsh like a wolf

and he was a hunter and a glutton.

 

His descendant, Gerald Grosvenor, His Grace,

the late, sad 6th Duke of Westminster – holder

of twenty eight appointments, decorations,

medals, orders and titles,

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SERENDIPITY

Pursuing our Holy Grail of finding
four balloon back Victorian dining chairs
in good condition, we drove, to furthest
Cheshire – near where the motorway grows
and the villages have Anglo-Saxon names –
the second Saturday before Christmas
to an antique centre once a dairy farm.
In seven erstwhile milking sheds, covering
fifty thousand square feet, were displayed
a range of products of the industrial
revolution – A Hornby train set,
a tractor seat, a Singer sewing machine,
a framed, signed photo of Edwina Currie,
a Parker-Knoll chair,

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COINCIDENCE…

the storyteller’s trapdoor: ‘And it so

happened…’ But it does sometimes. Aristotle

called them ‘accidents’ – and here’s a pile-up!

 

It is a Thursday night – and bell ringing

practice at the parish church we can see

from the long window on the half landing.

Our house was here years before the church

or the houses behind us or in our street.

The Shoulder of Mutton Field was bought

at auction and the first built was ours

more than a hundred and sixty years ago.

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THE LANE

The motorway cuts through it. It was always

a proper Cheshire country lane with

ditches and hedgerows of may and oak

but it remained an unpaved track subject

to the weathers. Travellers or Roma –

though ‘Gypsies’ or ‘Irish Tinkers’ we called them

then – with grass for their hirsute ponies,

their caravans obscured by the hedges

and their shy kids safe from the odd car,

would camp there. We would try to explore,

to find where it led, hoping for some mansion

occupied by GIs with their comics

and gum.

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VIRTUALLY BIRDLESS IN ASSISI

For Sarah:  always a conservationist, latterly a twitcher.

 

i

 

In Umbria – the cuore verde of pristine, wooded hills,

Orvieto’s honey-pale wines,

the paintings of Perugino and Pisano,

the Tiber’s milky jade,

tartufo nero

they stew thrush.

 

ii

 

At least once in our suburban garden,

house sparrow, green finch, ring-necked dove, wren,

jay, wood pigeon, robin, starling,  

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WHO LAUGHS LAST

At Tatton Park, Cheshire – where herds of red and fallow deer

graze studiously beneath the take-off path

of Manchester Airport and are seemingly deaf

to climbing Airbuses and 737s – the so called Tenants’ Hall

was previously the last Lord Egerton’s private museum,

its four walls adorned with mounted heads of,

for example, wildebeest, giraffe, black rhinos, lions –

all killed by Maurice himself.

 

In the ‘20s, with the Tatton rents keeping the jackals,

as it were, from the door,

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AN ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE WORLD

‘Holt Bridge On The River Dee’ By Richard Wilson RA

 

Near where the Romans made pottery and tiles

from the rich boulder clay the Ice Age brought,

a fourteenth century eight arch sandstone bridge

spans the River Dee, Afon Dyfrdwy,

linking Welsh Holt and English Farndon.

The bridge’s stones are from the same quarry

as Holt Castle’s, the first the invaders built.

Three centuries later the Roundheads took it.

 

Occasional salmon from the Atlantic

navigate the industrial detritus –

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