Goblin Market

By Christina Rossetti.

Goblin Market (published in 1862) is a narrative poem which tells the story of Laura and Lizzie who are tempted with fruit by goblin merchants. It is one of my favourite poems generally and my favourite Rossetti poem in particular.

Evening by evening 
Among the brookside rushes, 
Laura bow’d her head to hear, 
Lizzie veil’d her blushes: 
Crouching close together 
In the cooling weather, 
With clasping arms and cautioning lips, 
With tingling cheeks and finger tips. 
“Lie close,” Laura said, 
Pricking up her golden head: 
“We must not look at goblin men, 
We must not buy their fruits: 
Who knows upon what soil they fed 
Their hungry thirsty roots?” 
“Come buy,” call the goblins 
Hobbling down the glen. 

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

… (extract)

It’s a fairytale world of temptation and mystery, exploring themes of temptation, sacrifice and salvation.

Ancient themes magically visited in beautiful lyrical language.

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.

Spent the past couple of days listening to the audio of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood- a story about a day in the life of the inhabitants of the small Welsh seaside village of Llareggub
Richard Burton was narrating this “play for voices” and it was a delight to let his deep Welsh tones and the language wash over me as I listened to the snippets of people’s lives and snatches of their conversation that the play is all about. Realism at its finest.

Skegness.

Seaside sauce

Description

Skegness (Skeggy) is a seaside town in Lincolnshire, England. On the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea.

I went to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Skegness as a child. My partner played gigs on Skegness sea front in his early band career. Everyone I know has a Skeggy memory- work day trips, family holidays. Just a mention brings a smile to people’s faces.

Billy Butlin’s slogan was ‘Our True Intent is All For Your Delight’

It was originally a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Butlins feels a long way from Shakespeare- but maybe not. They both entertained the masses.

We didn’t go to Butlins on this occasion, but we were delighted in Skegness.

Brighton. Piers and Seafronts.

Brighton is a compact city nestled between the sea and the countryside. It’s just down the coast from where I live in Eastbourne. Today we spent the day on the pier and seafront.

Walking along the seafront towards Hove:

The Every Day Counts Rainbow.
Upside down house.
Bandstand
Constellation by Jonathan Wright, 2018.

Fabulous hotels along the front.

Interesting installation.

Forks.

Brighton Pavillion- built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George Prince I’d Wales, who became Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820.

Brighton you are unique, quirky and fabulous.

Rottingdean.

Rottingdean

A few weeks ago we walked to Rottingdean.

Rottingdean is a village in the city of Brighton and Hove, in East Sussex, on the south coast of England. In the background of the picture is Beacon Mill, a smock Mill built in 1802 for the purpose of grinding corn. It is a Three-storey smock with a single-storey base, eight sides, four patent sails, a cast iron wind shaft and fantail winding.

Dean’ in a place name means valley. ‘Rottingdean’ means ‘valley of Rota’s people’ . Rota was probably the name of a Saxon invader, driving out the existing Romano- British settlers.

So from Saxon origins to a quintessentially English seaside village, Rottingdean is well worth a passing visit.

Bodiam Castle.

We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle on the Kent/ Sussex border. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge c. 1385.

Sir Edward was born into the minor gentry c. 1346. Lady Elizabeth, sir Edwards wife, was a key figure in the castle’s history. She was heiress to the land of Bodiam and considerably wealthy to boot! Upon marriage Sir Edward was entitled to her land and money, which helped him to build the castle. A castle the size of Bodiam was large enough to house up to eighty servants.

On a natural note the castle plays host to bats, particularly the largest Daubenton maternity roost in England as well as well as a maternity roost of Natterer’s bats.

The castle stands alongside the River Rother and there is a beautiful walk following the river. The Tenterden to Bodiam railway also runs alongside the Castle stretch. There is nothing nicer than walking alongside the river with the castle on one side and the steam train passing by on the other. East Sussex is diverse and beautiful.

The Mill-Pond by Edward Thomas

The Mill pond, Batemans, Burwash

THE sun blazed while the thunder yet 
Added a boom: 
A wagtail flickered bright over 
The mill-pond’s gloom:

Less than the cooing in the alder 
Isles of the pool 
Sounded the thunder through that plunge 
Of waters cool.

Scared starlings on the aspen tip 
Past the black mill 
Outchattered the stream and the next roar 
Far on the hill.

As my feet dangling teased the foam 
That slid below 
A girl came out. “Take care!” she said— 
Ages ago.

She startled me, standing quite close 
Dressed all in white: 
Ages ago I was angry till 
She passed from sight.

Then the storm burst, and as I crouched 
To shelter, how 
Beautiful and kind, too, she seemed, 
As she does now!

Peak District National Park and the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Spent a couple of days tramping around the Peak District National Park, specifically Dovedale, a valley in the Peak District- owned by the National Trust. The valley was cut by the River Dove and runs for just over 3 miles between Milldale in the north and a wooded ravine near Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill in the south.

The beautiful countryside got me thinking about literature connections to the area- any great poets or writers. There was no one that wrote particularly about the area, however a few very famous writers had passed through, lived or stayed in the area:

Daniel Defoe (1661 – 1731)- passed through.

Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)- visited.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)- visited.

Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)- visited, (around the time she was writing Jane Eyre).

D.H.Lawrence (1885 – 1930)- lived.

George Eliot (1819 – 1880)- visited.

So although the area hasn’t produced a Wordsworth or Coleridge, it still has some literary history.

The Cormorant.

Seen on my morning run in Eastbourne Harbour today.

A large and conspicuous waterbird, the cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. The UK holds internationally important wintering numbers.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/cormorant/

The Common Cormorant or Shag

by Christopher Isherwood

The Common Cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag.
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

Saltdean Lido.

An English lido is a public outdoor swimming pool and surrounding facilities. On a cruise ship the lido deck features outdoor pools and related facilities.

The term comes from Lido, the Italian word for “beach”, and may have found its way into English via English visitors returning from Italy where sea-bathing took place from the late-19th century.

Saltdean Lido in the city of Brighton and Hove, is an Art Deco lido designed by architect R.W.H. Jones. Originally listed at Grade II by English Heritage for its architectural and historical importance, its status was upgraded further to “Grade II*” on 18 March 2011.

https://www.fusion-lifestyle.com/centres/saltdean/

The Lido was one of the sights on our coastal path walk from Peacehaven in East Sussex to the city of Brighton and Hove.

The Gentleman’s Game

Vitai Lampada

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
‘Play up! play up! and play the game! ‘

The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; —
The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
‘Play up! play up! and play the game! ‘

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind—
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!

By Sir Henry Newbolt.