I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.
Time for the older members of the Christmas gathering to take the air and let all that festive food go down. I had a hankering to see the Levels - I love this time of year, when they remember their nature and flood - and my swain has been after visiting Brent Knoll ever since I first told him there's a Roman Temple on its summit, so we decided to combine the two and climb it. Along for the ride were Offspring No 1 and the dog.
First stop, though, the Church of St Michael at Brent Knoll ...
... which is famed for its carved bench ends from the 14th century. My favourites are the ones that show a fox dressed as a Bishop - possibly either the unpopular Bishop of Bath and Wells, Richard Fox, or the Abbot of Glastonbury who taxed his tenants heavily. In the first panel, he is seen preaching to the villagers, who are depicted as geese.
In the main section of the second panel, the fox has been defrocked and is in leg irons, whilst below he is shown in the stocks.
In the third and final panel, the fox is being hanged by the geese and retribution is complete.
We then began our ascent of the Knoll along the edge of a very lumpy field.
Unfortunately one of our party was in DMs rather than walking boots; another, despite detouring to his flat to collect his boots, had affected to leave them behind and was wearing shoes, and for both the way after all the recent rain we've had was exceedingly slippy-slidey ...
... and just short of the summit of the knoll, we realised that it was ours to gain another day.
And so on to Berrow and its Church of St Mary ...
... with its beauteous old glass ...
... and presided over by this handsome corvid.
But the path through the dunes to the beach was calling ...
... oh and when we got there, it was so beautiful - such balm for winter-weary spirits.
Ted by the wreck of the Norwegian barque, SS Nornen.
Ropes of sand
Sandweed and seaflowers
Other dogs wanted to play ...
... but Ted is only interested in his ball.
Just throw it - throw it now!
By half three it was getting dusky so we had to go ...
Dru Marland, John Terry and I talk about 'Inking Bitterns', local wildlife, rummaging through skips and poetry on the Steve Yabsley Show. Listenable to for the next seven days, we are on from 36:00 (33:10 if you want to listen to the Beatles 'Twist and Shout' as well and why wouldn't you?) to 57:07. Here are pictures from some of the poems we read:
'Inking Bitterns' - a book of poems and pictures for wild places - is published in association with Poetry Can and availablefrom Gert Macky books and good independent bookshops - in Bristol, this means Durdham Down Bookshop, Standfords, and Foyles, price £5.