23 October 2020

Eaton

Doorway of The Old School House in Eaton

What did my father Philip say to me before he died? Oh yes. I remember. Go east young man!

And so I did. Late yesterday morning aboard my South Korean travelling machine, Lord Clint of Seoul, I travelled once more into rural Nottinghamshire. There were notices everywhere: "Tier 3 KEEP OUT!" and "Death to Tier 3!" but we snuck into the village of Eaton, south of Retford and parked opposite All Saints Church. I was not challenged by any of the roving red-faced COVID vigilantes armed as they were with pitchforks and burning torches.

Sad Sack Johnson and his fish-faced health minister are considering tattooing all residents of Tier 3 areas but it would be very easy to conceal the big "3" on one's forehead with theatrical make-up. Consequently, I doubt that their evil plan will ever see the light of day.

All Hallows Church, Ordsall

Off I went by the idly meandering River Idle. Soon I was in Ordsall to the south west of Retford. Inside All Hallows Church I could hear the congregation singing, "If you hate Tier Three clap your hands!" Ooo err! Time to skedaddle.

Clouds began to cluster like worries in one's mind. I passed through Retford Golf Course where several men of a certain age were pulling golf trolleys or clouting their little white balls. Then I cut south to Morton Grange.

Breck Plantation

I saw countless little stones in the fields - all rounded by the erosive actions of ancient seas long before human beings emerged blinking into the light of our existence. Those fields are fifty miles from The North Sea but geology is a very, very, very long story. So long it would make our lifetimes seem like mere milimetres on a ruler that could reach The Moon.

Redundant pub sign in Retford

I needed the exercise. Plodding for almost three hours without ceasing - all the way back to Clint. I was relieved to discover that Tier 2 vigilantes have not yet  employed number plate recognition to root out Tier 3 lepers like me. By the way, there is no relationship between the Nottinghamshire village of Eaton and Eton in Berkshire where our current prime minister idled away his school days.

The River Idle

44 comments:

  1. I wonder if all pub signs will soon be redundant YP? Super photos yet again.

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    1. Never again the independent pubs of our youth where you couldn't even get a seat and the air was filled with raucous laughter, argument, singing and blue cigarette smoke. Oh to be in Blighty in those days of yore when best bitter surged through the pipes like the Zambezi river and all was well with the world.

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    2. You took us to another country for a while then YP.

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    3. Was it Mozambique? That is where The Zambezi empties into The Indian Ocean.

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    4. "The past is a foriegn country: they do things different there". LP Hartley.

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    5. "And so is the future" - N.G.Theasby

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  2. All these photos are beautiful but I especially like the one of the church.

    I hope you have a good day! I'm drinking coffee and getting ready to begin mine so it must be about lunchtime in Sheffield.

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    1. "Have a nice day!" I have heard that a lot in America. They tend not to say it here in England but I have noticed it gradually creeping in.

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  3. Nice calm little post. I liked it.
    Briony
    x

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    1. I hope I made you chuckle a little bit Briony.

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  4. Sad sack Johnson, Eaton Eton Idle, Skedaddle, Skedaddle, We all fall down.
    Clouds begin to cluster, Roving red-faced Retford, Plodding without ceasing, We all fall down.

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    1. I hope I don't fall down because I do not want any kind of injury that might curtail my walking.

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  5. *Footfalls echo in the memory
    down the passage we did not take
    towards the door we never opened.

    Eliot's words seem to float above the doorway of the Old School House in Eaton, and All Hallows Church in Ordsall.
    Eliot read deeply in the Book of Common Prayer; and the geology of the German Ocean, as the North Sea was called in the 19th Century, would have fascinated him.
    I presume he accepted the truth of what Darwin discovered as did John Ruskin and John Henry Newman.

    I do like that redundant pub sign in Retford. The local authority will let it lie there, and someone will steal it in the middle of the night.
    *And that will be the last of England,* as Larkin put it.

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    1. I had to read T.S.Eliot for A Level English. I should go back to "The Four Quartets". I believe I would better appreciate his voice now.

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    2. Hilaire Belloc: But when you have lost your Inns drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.

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    3. Larkin must have pinched that from Belloc. All's fair in love and war... and poetry!

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  6. You had beautiful sunshine for most or all of your walk, and you did well in taking advantage of it. Walking for 3 hours straight is so good for the mind and body, isn't it, leaving you with a pleasant tiredness when you eventually sit down and rest.
    A river named Idle - love it!

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    1. And it is idle! Sometimes I walk for too long. Three hours is probably enough for an old fellow like me. As you suggest - after three hours you feel like a better person.

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  7. I read somewhere that Bill Bryson is retiring. I hope you never hang your shoes up or stop writing.

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    1. What a kind remark to make Sue. Thank you.

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  8. Studying literature at school kills it for many people as more than one of your readers have said. Those who liked maths and physics have painful memories of sitting through Shakespeare and Keats in English class. A Dubliner who lives in Glasgow told me he hated *doing* Seamus Heaney at school, and won't look at him now. Sad, Heaney is such an exciting, physical poet.

    I would have children learn grammar and sentence construction as intensely as they learn algebra and calculus, but no one would be asked to write a critical essay on literature unless they wished to do so. Harold Bloom said he wanted to be a critic even as a boy, but Bloom was a Word Child to use Iris Murdoch's phrase.

    Many children get a buzz from poetry readings. Simon Armitage gives readings at schools. In Scotland Edwin Morgan, Ian Crichton Smith, Norman MacCaig and Liz Lochhead gave school readings. Liz is as funny as the best Stand-up Comedy.

    In the 1980s I spent a little time with a woman of 90 who lived in a village near Preston. She came from a Quaker family. She was enchanted by Shakespeare as a child because her teacher told her that the plays were like a big magical forest, the Forest of Arden in the heart of England. In the land of Faerie they spoke in a different way using different words.

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    1. I think that I was a Word Child too. I could read quite well before I went to school. By the way, Norman MacCaig was one of my English tutors at The University of Stirling. He was sad and rather too fond of whisky. I have met Liz Lochhead and after I had read some of it I considered her poetry to be overrated. It did not sing to me like W.B.Yeats or Thomas Hardy.

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    2. A pupil of MacCaig can survive Covid-19 or Covid-22! I only ever saw him once, walking in the rain near the old Scotsman office. Music is absent from good verse, too much of which sounds like other good verse. Our poets do not wish to make it sing as did Hardy and Yeats who wrote:

      I lay about me with the taws
      That night and morning I may thrash
      Greek Alexander from my flesh.

      P.K. Kavanagh asked MacCaig how long it had taken to write a particular poem. *About two cigarettes,* said Heaney's favourite living poet.
      I believe Norman rolled his own.

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  9. What a beautiful doorway! I would gladly enter through it!
    Place names in Great Britain are just the best. I probably think that because they are not as familiar to my ear as the ones here which I suppose can be okay, too, especially if they are taken from the indigenous names for those places. Like- Miccosukee, Apalachicola, even Tallahassee.

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    1. Wallace Stevens saw Stars at Tallapoosa, but I am seeing comets fall at Miccosukee, Apalachicola and Tallahasee. Place names like these are music.

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    2. I love American place names as much as I love British names. There are reasons behind them all. I also like the French place name Condom because I am a silly guy.

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    3. Aye, I suppose ye're gonny parade your Joycean ingenuity and tell us you drove through towns in the Middle West with names like Johnny, Rubber Charlie, Rawdawg, Raincoat, Happy Hat, Jimmyhat, Trojan Man, Frosty Jim, Wibbly, Trojan Man, Galosh, Frenchie, Loveglove and Cumbrella.

      How about Boris Boy, in honour of our Serial Shagger, who even now is planning how to line his capacious pockets once he's outa Number 10?

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    4. I would not don a Boris Boy as it would be bound to rip.

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    5. And I would not usually express myself this way. But I see our country going down the sinkhole, and impoverished workers struggling to survive, and beggars on every street corner, and crony capitalism with no sense of obligation towards the common good, and Fruit Loops in charge of government.

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    6. That's an insult to the inventor of Fruit Loops.

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    7. Remember the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? McMurphy (Nicholson) gives a stick of chewing gum to Chief (Will Sampson) and the Native American says, *Juicy Fruit!* For a moment McMurphy doesn't react, then there's this look of astonishment on his face, because Chief hasn't spoken a WORD in years, it's why he's in the mental hospital.

      As someone who speaks too much, I am full of admiration for those who speak but little, who even give up speaking altogether. Actors cultivate presence by doing silence workshops.

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  10. My husband and I were talking about isolated communities yesterday and how people lived long ago. If you're isolated, you're exposed to fewer germs, less illness, and then somebody new comes to the village, along with their germs and illness spreads. You can see why people became suspicious of new people because they brought illness with them, at a time when people didn't understand germ theory or how illness was spread.

    I am glad you were not skewered on someone's pitchfork and turned into a human kebab.

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    1. I suspect that your surmising is spot on Lily but I swear that I was not spreading germs in Eaton. My recent swabs were negative and I was also ringing my Tier 3 bell.

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  11. Did you hear any duelling banjos?

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    1. The Tier 3 banjo players were far more accomplished than the Tier 2 lot.

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. You are so cruel to our Great Leader, he suffers from bad hair as well. Now who else has bad hair?

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    1. Thelma, our Great Leader doesn't suffer from bad hair he suffers from pride. If you look closely he is nigh on bald so having a stupid dishevelled look is a way of hiding that.

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    2. We bow to Our Great Leader! Esteemed Raider of Dictionaries! Inseminator Supreme! Now as his boyish dreams foretold - King of the World! See his subjects gathering at his gates chanting his name: "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!"

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  14. That is quite some walk and I doubt I could do three solid hours. Maybe with a few camera stops. Maybe many. It sound like the invader enjoyed himself, and that's the main thing.

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    1. I could have given you a piggy back ride some of the way Andrew.

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  15. Hopefully you weren't captured on some overeager public safety agency's drone footage! (We're not quite back to that level of lockdown, are we?)

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