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This Spinning World (43 stories from far and wide), Jim Potts; ISBN 978-1-912788-02-6

I am pleased to say that my book has now been published and is available from Colenso Books (write to colensobooks@gmail.com ) and...

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Gallows Corner and Wild Garlic; Dorset.

Abundant wild garlic down the lanes around Gallows Corner, near Dewlish

Recipes (BBC)

"Dewlish, an old Celtic name, is believed to mean 'devilish'. It is named after the stream that runs through the village, which is now called Devil's Brook" (BBC).

Devil's Brook:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Wiltshire Poems; Wiltshire Dialect

Poems in the Wiltshire Dialect, by Edward Slow (pdf)

from Epistle to Mr. J. P., November, 1879.

"An ow'd the wordle use thee Jim,
I hope y'am zoun in wind an lim...

An wats tha news? Is't flat or stale?
      Wat is ther brewin?

...I hear you've got a libery,
An a room wur peapers you can zee;
This is as things did ought ta be,
      In every village...

A Jim, me vren, I hope thee hoot,
Spread bout thy intellectual vruit
In young chaps hearts let it teak root...

An now about tha comin vite
Tha Tories zeem's got in a plite;
If wat tha peapers zays is rite...

Then lok at Afferganistin,
Ther's another purty leetle din,
That's gwain ta cost Jan Bull sim tin,
      An brave lives too;
Thease war I caals a downrite zin,
      I do as true".

From Tha Moonraker and tha Laayer's Clerk:

"...Zo at a laayer's office slap,
Our Willsheer man began ta rap;
A voice then zoon baal'd out inzide,
Push ard tha dooer, an'll open wide.
Ower joskin dun as he wur tould,
An wawk'd in like a Lion bwold;
An tha vust thing there that took his eye,
Wur tow clerks zat up, at desk za high.
Well BUMPKIN! zays tha wouldest wun,
In a zart a grinnin sneerin tone,
Bist cum a laayer var ta zee,
If zo, wat can 'ess do var thee?
Why I'm cum zays he, ta know if ya will.
Tell a countryman wat you da zill?"

(Wiltshire Rhymes, London, 1881)

From The Wiltshire Moonrakers:


By J. Y. Akerman.
[North Wilts.]
A Harnet zet in a hollow tree,—A proper spiteful twoad was he,—And a merrily zung while a did zetHis stinge as zharp as a baganet,'Oh, who's zo bowld and vierce as I?—I vears not bee, nor wapse, nor vly!'Chorus—Oh, who's zo bowld, etc.[209]
A Bittle up thuck tree did clim',And scarnvully did luk at him.Zays he, 'Zur Harnet, who giv' theeA right to zet in thuck there tree?Although you zengs so nation vine,I tell'e it's a house o' mine.'Chorus—Although you zengs, etc.
The Harnet's conscience velt a twinge,But growin' bould wi' his long stinge,Zays he, 'Possession's the best law,Zo here th' shasn't put a claw.Be off, and leave the tree to me:The Mixen's good enough vor thee!'Chorus—Be off, and leave, etc.
Just then a Yuccle passin' byWas axed by them their cause to try.'Ha! ha! it's very plain,' zays he,'They'll make a vamous nunch for me!'His bill was zharp, his stomack lear,Zo up a snapped the caddlin pair.Chorus—His bill was zharp, etc.
All you as be to law inclined,This leetle story bear in mind;For if to law you ever gwo,You'll vind they'll allus zarve'e zo;You'll meet the vate o' these 'ere two:They'll take your cwoat and carcass too!Chorus—You'll meet the vate, etc.


[North Wilts.]

Our Jess wur cwoortin' Polly:Her gwoed an' kitched th' plague.'Zo cwoortin's wusser'n volly,'Zes Jess, 'an' I'll renage!'
Zes Polly, 'Dang thee buttons!Thee gwo an' blaw thee's nause!Zo zhure as zhip be muttons,Th' dain be in thee's claus!'
Martal aveard wur Jesse,An' tuk an' hiked it whoam.'Bin in my claus 'tes,' zes 'e,'I'll make a bonvire aw'm!'
Zo off a zoon tuk aal claus,Vrom sankers up ta zmock,Vur weskit, cwoat an' smaal-claus,An' putt 'em in a cock.
Jess wur a vool, but Lawksies!Thur's zights aw'm wusser'n he!It minds I o' Guy Vawks's,Thuck vire o' he's to zee!
'Twur down in veyther's archet,A gashly smother 'twur,Vor when you comes to scarch it,Thur be a zim to vur!
But 'twern't no zart o' use on't,A zoon beginned to sneeze—An' when I hires moor news on't,I'll tell 'ee how a be's!

G. E. D.

Greene Ferne Farm, Richard Jefferies

From Agrikler at the Fine Arts Academy, 1872, Second Visit - by Agrikler (J. Edwards, on a painting of Stonehenge):

"A windy daay on Salsb'ry Plaain, ud tiake thic shepherd's hat,

And blaw down Stooanidge, if the stooans ded raaly leean like that".

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Portland, Dorset: Surf and Seagulls,Chesil Beach, Easter Sunday

With short, sharp violent lights made vivid,
To the southward far as the sight can roam,
Only the swirl of the surges livid,
The seas that climb and the surfs that comb,
Only the crag and the cliff to nor'ward,
And rocks receding, and reefs flung forward,
And waifs wreck'd seaward and wasted shoreward
On shallows sheeted with flaming foam.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Screeching Seagulls, The Worst of Years: “Blinking in the Light”, Louisa Adjoa Parker; Dorset Poet

“Blinking in the Light" may be described as a poetry pamphlet, but it packs as much punch as a full-length collection.

There is no mention of Lyme Regis in this slim volume of 22 poems, published by Cinnamon Press, but there is certainly mention of some of the social problems that exist even in Dorset's and Devon’s most beautiful sea-side towns, where - to the unfortunate, the impoverished or the grieving - the sea-gulls can be perceived as screeching, screaming and mocking in a hostile and threatening manner.

There is mention of Class A drugs, a death caused by vodka and a bag of smack, pregnancy and single motherhood, racism, a suicide by hanging (“I wonder if he kept his glasses on”): more pain than love.

“he dangled upstairs
with broken neck and broken dreams
and his dog would not stop barking”.

(The week she turned nineteen)

Ian Gregson, who adjudicated the Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Competition, which Louisa won along with three others, describes it as “a collection of confessional poems which, in starkly telling a story about a fraught pregnancy and the suicide of a man very close to the speaker's family, evokes with powerful images and unadorned language a raw sense of contemporary life”.

In reviewing it, I am conscious of having had a relatively fortunate and privileged life so far, although this sequence of poems reminds the reader how fragile life is, and how events can suddenly take a terrible turn for the worse.

The collection ends on a positive, even optimistic note, as the poet struggles to come to terms with the events described (which took place two decades ago), and which she has bravely managed to put behind her.

“I can release
it, like a bird that’s been kept
for years in a covered cage.
it flies into the sky,
blinking in the light”.

(The worst of years has gone)

At the reading in Dorchester Library and Learning Centre, Louisa was able to talk about such tragic losses and grim experiences with a hint of gently ironic and self-effacing humour – the semi-public face of a survivor? She has moved on from the days when she lived in a flat

“where black flowers of mould
Bloom across the bathroom walls”.

(A blue cross says Yes to me)

 Even a move to a better flat offers little consolation -

“The new flat I wanted for so long
feels hollow. Someone
has scooped out our insides,
filled us up with pain”.


At St Michael’s Church -

“The air is thick
with blame. It falls
on us like sea mist,
like salt on open wounds”.


There may be no resurrection for those who died, but Louisa has given us a small, revitalising volume that I feel privileged to be reading over the Easter weekend.

The poems are autobiographical and confessional, as direct as the poems by Sylvia Plath, one of the most powerful poets of the last century.

I am also a great admirer of Louisa’s first volume of poetry, Salt-sweat & Tears, (now, sadly, out of print), which contains poems like “Velvet Dresses” and “Sometimes when I’m making beds”, which she also read at Dorchester Library and Learning Centre on March 24.

I hope to be able to read her first novel before too long, and a collection of her excellent short stories, some of which are only available in anthologies.

I once interviewed Louisa, back in November 2010. Her writing continues to grow in strength. Definitely a writer to be followed.

Cuba; The Rolling Stones in Cuba

BBC News, with Jumping Jack Flash video

'Historic concert' in pictures, The Guardian

Tanzania: Swahili, Language, Politics; Nationhood, East Africa.

BBC World Service - Tanzania: Can Language Unite a Nation?

"The programme comes from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It’s a country that many believe can teach a lesson to others seeking unity and stability, because right from the start the first post-independence leader Julius Nyerere insisted that everyone should learn Swahili. Well over a 100 other languages are still spoken in Tanzania but many people believe that Nyerere – partly because of his language policy - was a successful nation builder. Join Owen Bennett Jones and his guests as they discuss language and politics in Tanzania".

Language in Action, Upcountry Kenya:

Ethiopia: Emperor Tewodros II; Battle of Magdala

BBC World Service (9 minutes, BBC iPlayer)

"Emperor Tewodros II is one of the towering figures of modern Ethiopian history. He tried to unify and modernise Ethiopia. But his reign was also marked by brutality. He faced a rising tide of rebellion inside the country and then in 1868 a British military expedition marched into the Ethiopian highlands. Their aim was to free British diplomatic envoys the Emperor had imprisoned. Tewodros II made a last stand at Magdala, his mountain top fortress".

Friday, 25 March 2016

Janis Joplin Documentary

Little Girl Blue, BBC 4 iPlayer - 29 days only.

BBC Programme description:

"This extraordinary documentary brings to life the paradox of Janis Joplin - both insecure and brazen, with interviews from old band members, unseen audio and video, plus readings from Janis's letters home to her parents. It offers new understanding of a bright, complex woman whose surprising rise and sudden demise changed music forever.

Janis Joplin is one of the most revered singers of all time. She thrilled millions of listeners with her powerful, soulful voice and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1971 at the age of 27. The film includes some of her most iconic performances which embodied the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Yet her onstage bravado and uninhibited sexual persona hid hurt and insecurity stemming from her childhood in conservative Texas. On relocating to San Francisco and discovering the blues, Janis found an outlet for her loneliness and fell into a community that would embrace and celebrate her talent".

Past posting

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

William Golding: Cornish Home

According to one source, Sir William Golding was born on September 19, 1911, Saint Columb Minor (near Newquay), Cornwall.

The BBC gives more detail: "William Golding was born in his grandmother's house at 47 Mountwise (Mount Wise), Newquay, Cornwall in 1911".

William Golding's former home, Tullimaar House in Perranarworthal, Cornwall

A letter, soon after the author received the Nobel Prize for Literature:

Nobel Lecture

Nobel Banquet Speech

An extract from 'My First Book' (William Golding, A Moving Target, 1982):

"I wanted to go back to Cornwall and the sea but was in Wiltshire.. While walking on the Marlborough Downs...I saw what was rare in those days, a seagull come swooping down along the wind. I was fourteen or thereabouts, With the sight there rose in my mind as an automatic expression of what I felt, the following rhymes...

Across the sunlit downs the west wind sings
   Its ocean melodies. I stand and see
You wheel the white flash of your long, swift wings
   And for this moment being I am free:
As one who holds a shell against his ear
   And listens rapt until the sullen roar
Seems in his soul to echo faint and clear
  The slow surf-murmur of a distant shore."

D.M.Thomas, on Inspiration and Cornwall

D.M. Thomas on Cornwall, poetry and inspiration (Art Cornwall)

About D.M.Thomas (is he really 81?)

From 1984, Cornwall in Thessaloniki:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Somerset Dialect

From the March 2016 issue of Somerset Life

Some non-literary dialect specimens can be found in Elworthy’s “An outline of the grammar of the dialect of West Somerset” (1875), such as the conversation between Jack Stone and Bob Webber (p 101), written down by a Mr. Mildon of Wellington, Somerset, then transcribed into “Glossic”.

Cornwall Trip: Last Stop Launceston

"Mary, Mary Magdalene
Lying on the wall
I throw a pebble on your back
Will it lie or fall?"

Charles Causley (from Mary, Mary Magdalene)*

"...once I was too young
And still am too unsure
To cast a meaning from 
The town's hard metaphor".

Five nights in Cornwall: Boscastle, Tintagel, St. Endellion, St.Juliot, Port Isaac, Bodmin, St. Austell, Pentewan, Mevagissey, Polkerris, Menabilly, Fowey, Porthpean, Launceston.

St Mary Magdalene, Launceston - John Betjeman wrote that "St Mary Magdalene's church becomes a medieval triumph of Cornwall".

"Remember all the effort when you look at the hard surface of granite. Remember how hard it is to make the slightest impression. And after you've been watching that, look at the miracle of Cornish carving. The outside walls of St Mary Magdalene's church, Launceston, carved out of moorland granite in 1511, and finished in 1524." John Betjeman, One Man's Country, BBC TV, 1964

*Charles Causley's Launceston

Jamaica Inn, Hitchcock 1939

Jamaica Inn, TV Series, Episode 1

Episode 2


Lyme Regis, Dorset: Art Deco cinema wrecked by fire (BBC News)

From BBC News

Greece, Kalpaki: Episodes in Kalpaki; Refugees and Residents

From Ioannina Press - Επεισόδια στο Καλπάκι για τους πρόσφυγες – Κάτοικοι αντιδρούν, αντιεξουσιαστές έσπασαν τα γραφεία του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ

Louisa Adjoa Parker and Kim O'Loughlin: Dorchester Poetry Reading

From Dorset Echo

Velvet Dresses, Louisa Adjoa Parker

Update: See my review of Louisa's "Blinking in the Light"

LYME REGIS: Writer publishes poetry collection based in town

Monday, 21 March 2016

Cornwall: Polkerris, Menabilly and Fowey; Daphne du Maurier Country

The old pilchard factory, Polkerris

On pilchard fishing: "The next procedure was to get them, in carts and barrows, from the beach to the salting-house, where the women were waiting to pile them up on layers of salt. They would remain in salt, or 'in bulk', as it used to be called, for some five or six weeks, during which time the residue of oil, salt and water that dripped into the stone wells below would serve a local purpose, the salt, water and offal turned into manure, the oil clarified and sold".

 Daphne du Maurier, Ports and Pilchards, "Vanishing Cornwall", 1967.


Growing up in the house that inspired 'Rebecca' - Flavia Leng remembers life at Menabilly with her mother, Daphne du Maurier, in 1944 - The Telegraph

A Tale of Three Houses, Prague Review

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca taught me how to love literature, John Crace

Daphne du Maurier talks about Menabilly (video, 1946)

Rebecca (pdf)

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited. No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me".

Rebecca, the 1940 movie

Cornwall: Missing Mevagissey

A walk before breakfast on a bright and sunny March morning. 

The fishing harbour of Mevagissey - as a young boy, my first template for fishing villages. 

An archetype revisited after 65 years...a Hardyesque experience.

"Those were the years when, at night, you looked out at the bay, you would often see a hive of little golden lights, moving like glow -worms upon the water: the Mevagissey fishing fleet out. One never sees them now". A.L Rowse, A Cornish Childhood, 1942.