WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Anticipation of THE FIZZ
For The Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos – Baikonour
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
It is the FIZZ this evening and I filled with both delight and trepidation. This will be an historic occasion as the NEW POLESWORTH POETS read for the first time their selected poems for the Poets’ Trail.
All the main tasks are completed, the poets confirmed, the room booked, the press release printed in the paper, the promotion on social networks and in the village. The final tasks are in hand, refreshments, programme production and preparing the video equipment to film this auspicious occasion.
It is not as if I have never run the Fizz before and many of the tasks are purely going through the routine of preparing for such events.
So why the trepidation, why am I so anxious about the evening. It is mainly to do with the other tasks that are not associated with the trail, which I need to do before the event. The meetings and conferences that have appeared in my diary, today and tomorrow is full, when this time last week it was fairly relaxed and I could ease myself into the evening.
Whilst these meetings are all important, they have come at the wrong time for me, but that always seems to be the case, I never have an easy last day before a holiday, a day where I can tie up loose ends and can come back to a clear desk.
I could have booked a day away from work, today, but then I would end up just thinking about the evening’s event and waiting for it to happen and not achieve anything. I like to be getting on with things; the moment I leave the house to travel to the event is the start for me. The journey is as much a part as the event it self.
This journey started many years ago when I first came up with the idea for the trail. Maybe I am just making excuses about work tasks, because I can’t see where the journey goes beyond this phase of the trail. Linking Polesworth Abbey with Pooley Country Park with a trail of poetry was from the outset, all I intended to do and it is perhaps the thought that this journey is completed. This maybe the arrival and heralded as it might be, it is always the anticipation of the arrival that excites me and the love of the journey.
Saturday saw me back up at Pooley, this time filming the route of the trail before we put the poems in place. It was fresh day with sunshine and cloud and a threatening presence of rain, which meant that the park was fairly empty and this gave me a good opportunity to film in peace without disturbing others.
This was not without some amusement, as I was filming on the canal towpath, a boat approaching me giving me some nice shots as it drifted carefully through the water, causing ducks to retreat to the far bank, suddenly as the boat passed, the man at the helm shouted across to me;
“Thank goodness for that, I thought you were a speed camera!”
Later on half way up the mound, I bumped into a work crew from the country park, they we chatting away to each other, having a joke, really happy with their lot. They had been preparing the ground to install a bench half way up the path to the top. It was good to see their obvious enjoyment in their work.
I reached the top of the mound where there are views of the surrounding countryside, the pools at Alvecote, the village and the fields beyond, out to Bramcote. I was joined by a mum and her two children out on an adventure, the children making up the plot as they climbed and ran and achieved the next task in their quest. I bumped into them an hour later heading up the canal, the children quietly tagging along as they headed home.
“I think we are all adventured out today” she said.
I am now a TWEETER, I have signed up to Twitter and am now following people and being followed, which is something I have not so much resisted, but have never had the time to get to grips with how best to use it. However as the Festival Poet for the Nuneaton Summer Poetry Day, I want to use twitter as a means of engaging people with the events of the day, I want to see people sending me Poetry Tweets as well as reading the on-line blog.
You can TWEET me at: @MalDewhirst
My lost poet this week is Tommy Armstrong (1848-1920) – The Pitman Poet.
It seems appropriate that on the day we read the mining poems created from the workshops at the site of Pooley Colliery, that I feature a mining poet.
Tommy Armstrong has been described as a small man with a big heart; he was a coal miner in the North Durham Coalfield and spent most of his life around Tanfield Lea. His poems and songs are full of humour, tales and social history.
He writes in a local Durham dialect, which many would consider to be Geordie, but those in the know, would disagree, as Geordie is distinct to Newcastle. It is often hard to follow to those who are not tuned into the dialect, which may be some of the reasons why he is little known outside of the North East.
Barry Patterson picks up the theme of the miners from the North East in his poem on the trail, including lines, this time in Barry’s Geordie dialect, he being a poet from Newcastle.
Tommy Armstrong wrote about events that impacted on the lives of the miners and their families, some joyous occasions and some tragic, he often produced poems which were printed on 1d sheets sold to raise funds for the families who had lost fathers, brothers, sons in mining accidents. One of his best known poems was written about The Trimdon Grange Explosion.
He also wrote about strikes, murders, choirs and Durham Jail and a couple to the Kaiser.
He was also a songwriter and many of his songs were sung in pubs, by folksingers and still are today.
Tommy was a real character, hardworking, liked a drink, wrote with a passion and was respected and admired by all who came in contact with him. In an age before the music charts, his songs were no sooner written than they were being sung in the pubs and clubs of the Durham coalfield.
Tommy’s story has been told by his Grandson, Ray Tilly in his book Tommy Armstrong – The Pitman Poet.
More information can be found on Tommy at:
Tommy is one of the poets to be featured in the GRAFT project.
COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in May.
17th May – The Fizz 7 – Polesworth Abbey
20th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent