Friday, 25 April 2014

Slad to Stroud Walk: May Day 2pm

Laurie Lee Centenary Walk: Slad Brook from Source to Confluence
(As featured in the Site Festival 2104 Programme)

‘Without the Slad Brook there would have been no cloth trade in the local valleys around Slad. Without the cloth trade there would have been no riots in Slad and Stroud in 1825. Join us on a walk from the source of the brook to its confluence with the Frome in Stroud. Help us recreate the past along the partially culverted brook with psycho-geographical musings, notes on flora and fauna, together with performance.’

We’ll probably meet at Bulls Cross, rather than the Camp – will confirm – but it will definitely be on Thursday May 1st at 2pm.

The Site Festival Guide also says about the whole Laurie Lee Centenary Walks:
‘… All the walks are led by writers, poets, artists and historians… Walk leaders will each offer their own unique approach…’

We will have Kel Portman from Walking the Land leading us; John Bassett from Spaniel in the Works performing; I will do the historical contextualization bits.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

UKIP and Cosmopolitanism

He, an Egyptian, an auxiliary;
She, secret- keeper for the Dobunni,
Had arranged to meet by the sacred oak,

Sheltered and hidden from keen Roman eyes
By dense, dark woods of smooth barked beech.
He, a skilled boatman from the River Nile,

And now, deserter from the garrison

At Kingsholm; beaten, whipped, lashed and abused

By officers for drunken amusement,
Found silent sympathy, trust and love

From this mute young woman at the wine shop;
She, like him, violated just for fun

And entertainment - forced to play the fool,
Was also a skilled, rehearsed dissembler,
For inside that apparently dumbstruck

Mind was mysterious Druidic lore,

Hidden safe within a tribal dreamscape.
She, beyond Roman suspicion and law,

Led him by the hand, as the red sun's rays

Sank behind the high shrine to Mercury;

She, night-navigator of marshland paths,

She, sure-footed through the night-rustling forest;

They, sheltered and sleeping through the daylight hours,
They, slipping unseen past messenger posts,

Up the eastern scarp, then down to the river.
He, Nile-native, expert boatman, stared west
Across the Severn to the Silures -
Their boat eased its way with gentle paddle

Across that broad swathe of dangerous water,
Until exhausted, they breathed freedom.

Three centuries later, loyal-subjects,
Their children’s lineage, dark-skinned Britons,
Were destined to fight for Rome and Glevum
Against Anglo-Saxon invading migrants,
Who steadily renamed the landscape.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Inundation: Past, Present, Future


We biked to Dunwich through reeds and windmill creeks,
That led through sluice and weir flatlands
To a shingle-scape of submerged churches:
Drowned Domesday town

Where All Saints, Greyfriars, the harbour,
Merchants' houses, quays, wharves, inns,
Ale houses, overhanging upper storeys,
Pilgrims' paths and thronged market streets,
Cowled ghosts, cursing mariners and bleached bones, 

All drift with the North Sea tide,
The hungry shoals and eager crabs. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Laurie Lee Walking Programme

1          1. The Slad Brook from its source to its confluence with the River Frome in Stroud (10   kms); meet at 2 pm at Bulls Cross.

          2.  'As We Walk Out’: from Slad to Southampton (approx.. 160 kms); 10th - 17th May; time and meeting place tbc; invited walkers, artists, writers.

3.      Wotton-under-Edge: Thomas Duncombe International Brigade Memorial   Walk; 17th May, meet at noon at the St. Mary’s Church (10kms).

4.    From Slad to Whiteway Colony (10 kms); 7th June, meet around 11.30 – 12 at the Woolpack; refreshments on arrival at Whiteway and then a performance of No Pasaran!

5.    Slad family walk, 29th June (5 kms); meet at the Woolpack, time tbc.

6.    ‘Crossing the Border’: Spanish Civil War Pyrenees walk, Ceret to La Agullana (36kms), 24th-25th July, meet 8.30, invited walkers, artists, writers etc.

7.    From Purgatory to Paradise: 11kms, 2nd November, meet at 10 am at Knapp House Barn, Slad.

Go to to book a place on any of these walks; scroll down until you see the Laurie Lee logo and details as to how to book are there. You need to follow the procedure there, I’m afraid; we have to be formal so that we stick to tolerable numbers for the walks.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Money and Liquidity in Stroud and Slad, 1825

She, a cord wainer from Slad,
He, a loom weaver from Stroud,
Their master clothier employers,
From Slad and from Stroud,
Men, upright, Christian and proud
Of their Master Clothiers' Association,
Against any weavers' combination,
Ordered angry weavers to Hell,
So they were dipped in the Stroudwater Canal, 

A succinct explanation
By the weavers' combination
Of the liquid nature of capital.