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Date: 17th May 2013

Historical context: Whit Monday was officially recognised as a bank holiday in 1871. Then 100 years later in 1971 the Spring Bank Holiday took its place. Being the first holy-day (day off for servants etc) of the summer Whitsun and Whit Sunday traditionally was a time for celebration: fĂŞtes, fairs, pageants and parades with Whitsun ales and Morris dancing in the south and Whit Walks and Wakes in the north.

Bethesda Primitive Methodist, Sunday School Walk, Whit Monday, Station Road, Hednesford Circa 1923

A poster advertising the Whitsun festivities at Sunbury, Middlesex in 1778 said: On Whit Monday, in the morning, will be a punting match...The first boat that comes in to receive a guinea... In the afternoon a gold-laced hat, worth 30s. to be cudgell'd for... On Whit Tuesday, in the morning, a fine Holland smock and ribbons, to be run for by girls and young women. And in the afternoon six pairs of buckskin gloves to be wrestled for.

In Manchester during the 17th century the Kersal Moor Whit races were the biggest event of the year when the area became a giant fairground for several days.

Whit Sunday Oddfellows Walk in Brewood 1911

With industrialisation whole towns were closed for a week to clean and maintain the machinery in the mills, so all the workers had a break at the same time. Wakes Week, was held at Whitsuntide. Lancashire Folk Lore (1882): It is customary for the cotton mills to close for Whitsuntide week to give the hands a holiday; the men going to the races etc. and the women visiting Manchester on Whit-Saturday, thronging the markets, the Royal Exchange and the Infirmary Esplanade, and gazing in at the shop windows, this day is often called 'Gaping Sunday'.

10 June 1935 : Beating the Bounds (Church of England custom) the clergy, choir and congregation, walked the boundaries of the parish in order to ensure they were intact. Sticks were carried to 'beat' out the boundaries. This photograph is of the last time this ceremony was carried out in Codsall, on Whit Monday 1935. The Chairman of the Parish Council, (Mrs Scott) can be seen in the middle with a walking stick.

Peristasis n The Peristasis was a four-sided porch or hall of columns surrounding the cella in an ancient Greek peripteros temple. This allowed priests to pass round the cella (along a pteron) in cultic processions. If such a hall of columns surrounds a patio or garden, it is called a peristyle rather than a peristasis. In ecclesial architecture, it is also used of the area between the baluster of a Catholic church and the high altar (what is usually called the sanctuary or chancel). Philogny fondness, love, or admiration towards women. Its antonym is misogyny. Cicero reports the word could be used in Greek philosophy to denote being overly fond of women, which was considered a disease. Maculation n spotted markings, pattern of spots on an animal pelt, or on leaves Mackle n printing error, blurred or double impression Lanugo n downing covering, soft hairs on developing foetus Kilderkin n liquid measurement — (obsolete) for 18 gallons - cask Kerchief of Pleasance n knight‘s flavour, embroidered cloth given by a lady to a knight to wear in battle or joust, worn on helmet or arm Jaguarundi n small wildcat — reddish coat, small ears — native to Central America

COVER: Wikipedia source material and Staffs Past Track Archive material out of copyright


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Sometimes a walk can turn into an event: first, a blackbird decided to leave its calling card on my coat when leaving its perch on a cherry tree, then a playful gust of wind blew my brolly inside out. Such is life. The humble kipper ... heaven on a plate. An acquaintance ... An under used term ... Not quite a friend ... But with the possibility of becoming one. Forget-me-nots growing like weeds, a riot of blue. Blossom wind torn from the flowering cherry trees covers the kerbs like drifting snow. Pollen: Eyes like slits in golf balls ... Sneezing ... Feverish ... Love bees, Love flowers, Love honey ... Detest pollen. On seeing broken eggshell on the field, I wondered what had happened to the little bird whose home it had been, and if it had made it to fledging.

Well, when they were calling him Weird at school what else could you expect? I mean, what sort of a nickname is that to give a child of the nobility? Okay; so he wasn‘t very noble, not your really noble noble, not as you noble nobles go you understand. I mean he‘d got a noble bloodline, no problem there, his mother was a distinct relation to a Duke of something of other; or maybe that was a distant relation, Virgil never was very clear on these things, and he mumbled. Nevertheless, giving due consideration to all the other factors, it was more a sort of a trophy title than anything else. But who else would have thought of the custard bomb? Nobody but Weird, that‘s who! Think about it, Animal friendly, efficient at immobilising any vehicle, feeds the troops in an emergency, no carbon offset, green as grass – except that it‘s yellow of course. Of course, not any tyro can make one! You need tons of corn flour, two hundred gallons of milk and a big saucepan; although the gossip says that it can be done in small batches, don‘t believe it. It‘s far too dangerous to do it that way; you could get a premature implosion in the saucepan and end up covering the county in foot thick layer of it. However, the best way is on prunes – very good for regular meetings. (CMH)

Random Words : efficient, calling, gossip, custard, blood, trophy, consideration, nobility, grotesque, weird, tyro, school Assignment : anyone can ... 2012: RBW FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and DynamicPage.aspx?PageID=52

Steph‟s two FREE poetry e-chapbooks now published on risingbrookwriters and on RBW main site

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CLIVE‟s three FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and issuu PageID=52


Nobles and similar Harffa Ye Kyng. Not ye sharpest knyfe in ye drawer. Queen Agatha (the tight fisted) Don Key O‘Tee Spanish ambassador to Court of Kyng Harffa .. Wants saint‘s big toe back Baron Leonard Bluddschott (Stoneybroke) Gwenever Goodenough Wyfe of ye Baron Della Bluddschott Ugly Daughter of Baron Bluddschott. GalLa of Hadnt Hall A Prince but Charmless Daniel Smithers Constable of Bluddschott Castle and maybe the Corowner of the County Old Maids Vera, Gloria and Bertha husband hunting sisters of Baron Bluddschott Evil Sherriff and Baron Morbidd up to no good Morgan le Fey king‘s evil sister - Merlin the king‘s magician Ye Knights [they‘re better during the day] Lancealittle, Dwayne Cottavere, Percivere Mailish (Narrator) Page to Baron Bluddschott (Probably Son by wife‘s sister) NEW CHARACTER: Richard Coeur de Poulet — returning Crusader Religiouse Lionel, Bishop of Trentby keeper of the Mappa Tuessdi Abbot Costello of Nottalot, a Nasturtium Abbey desperate for pilgrim pennies Vladimir A monk from far off somewhere, a Calligrapher Wyllfa the Druid Sorcerer Others Big Jock A Welsh poacher and short wide-boy. Robbin‘ Hoodie another poacher and wide-boy. Peeping Barry member of Hoodie‘s gang of miscreants Clarence the cook and a Wandering Troubadour None living The Ghostly Sword of Bluddschott Castle The Mappa Tuessdi ... Velum maps of the known world bought in a bazaar in Constantinople for a few pennies by Vladimir oft times copied The toe bone of St. Gastric. Gallstone of St. Hilarious Crocodile and a Unicorn and a Dragon carved in stone Issue 282 Page 5

Good luck, we ’ ll need it ...

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Della sat morosely in her dressing chambers being tarted up by an swarming army of maids for her upcoming nuptials to the Prince. Her Lady’s Maid Celia laughed at her forlorn countenance. ‘Oh it’s alright for you, you can marry whomsoever you choose, my girl. I must marry whomsoever I am told by my old dad.’ ‘Oh, you’ll live in a posh castle with your maids and me, Lady Della. It won’t be all that bad. You’ll hardly see him most of the time. He’ll be out hunting, or seeing to his estates, or going to court with the King down London. It’ll be fine.’ Della sat even less convinced than before and went to see to her private needs behind the fire screen. She leant against a torch holder by the unlit open fire and a hidden door came open, revealing a nicely furnished corridor. Intrigued, Della stepped forward, only for the door to close behind her from her footfall on the floor behind the door. Oh Drat! And she fumbled in the dark against the door only to have a torch splutter into life that set off the other torches all along the long corridor. Amazed by this she muttered, ‘This be magic. What is Morgan Le Fey up to now?’ Unable to get the door open, she called through the door, ‘Psst, Celia, Celia, come here.’ Celia came round the fire screen and saw no-one, then heard Della speak from the wall. ‘I’ve got caught behind this hidden door. Pull the torch on the left of the fire.’ Celia did as she was bid to no avail, ‘It’s doing nothing Lady Della.’ After a few moments of Celia doing everything up and down to the torch, Lady Della lost patience and cried out, ‘Psst Celia, never mind. Cover for me. I’ll find another way out.’ Della hurried along the corridor looking for another doorway or staircase. As Della reached one end of the corridor she saw it was a dead end, but then all became misty like a deep winter’s fog and she found herself in a forest glade, bathed in sunshine and flanked by banks of woodbine in bloom. Hearing flute music and the faint sound of drumbeats, she made her way through a forest path towards the music. Such a sight befell her eyes as the path opened up to a village square. Fairies lightly skipping about casting rose petals over all, being chased in vain by Satyrs, by virtue of their power of flight. Spirits part deer and part man gambolled about, striking a tuneful hand drum, or flute, playing as good as the Piper of Hameln. Unicorns and centaurs danced a jig in rapture around and around. The bowls of punch laid on rustic tables bobbed with many fruits and Della was invited to partake of the sweet nectar. ‘Oh very nice,’ she exclaimed. A Minotaur, part bull’s head and part muscle-clad man, offered his hand to Della for a dance, and they went off for a nice jig. Such fun was had by all, even a Birdie Dance when the Eagles joined the celebration. Eventually, the Conga dance started and all joined in this joyful tribal dance with wild abandon. A Sprite strode forward and offering her hand to Della, ‘May you be led to the door back to the castle Miss?’ ‘Oh already, it was such fun, but thank you so much for inviting me to your dance.’ ‘Oh nothing at all, this way Miss.’ And soon Della was back and realized she was stood behind the fire screen back in her dressing room. (ACW)

LUCIUS The Antonine Wall C.M.Hewitt All rights reserved. 2013 This is a work of fiction any resemblance between the characters portrayed and any person living or dead is accidental.

Chapter One Nones of Maius 786 AUC (13 May 164 AD) “They're out there somewhere, I can almost smell them.” I muttered, almost to myself, as my eyes and ears strained into the

blackness beyond the parapet. “When you talk to yourself in that tone of voice I know you're going mad.” The gently glinting shadow that had silently appeared at my side murmured in reply. “Jupiter! Of course those painted idiots are out there! The questions are who is out there and how many of those blue painted clowns are there? What did the sentinels say when you did the rounds?” “Mainly, 'Nothing to report, sir'. As you'd expect, seeing as how they're short of water and food and are half asleep after yesterday. Not that most of them would know when some-thing‟s wrong anyway. Except for the man on the Principia Portus, he said that there'd been a dogfight or something a little earlier. Said a fox had called and there was some snarling and stuff.” There was a very short silence, then the quiet order, “Stand the men too Optio! That was neither fox nor wolf, this is the wrong kind of country for foxes and the wrong time of day for either. Whatever it was; that wasn't an animal that we want know about. But: do it quietly, we don't want the Britinunculli to know that we know. They're going to get a warm welcome when they do appear.” “The lads haven't had a lot of rest or food, sir. They'll still be whacked from yesterday.” “Not lot of choice, Lucius.” The shadow who was Centurio Crescens told me. “You've been my Optione for long enough to realise that. They can be rested, and dead when those blue painted tribesmen come over that wall, or they can be tired and ready to get a few of them as an escort across the Styx.” “I know, sir. Dis take them, we've only got to last another two days here and then we can pull out.” “Moan afterwards, Lucius. Sometime when we're sitting with a jug of wine, somewhere warm and clear of tribesmen, blue painted or otherwise. Get those men on the walls. Now!” -----“What do you think, Terentius?” I asked of the chief scout. “Are they going to attack tonight” “Not that lot, Optio. Not at night, there's too many evil spirits and such like about at night for them to do that. No, the Druids, or whatever they are, need to be sure that the men will be fired up, and anyway they need to get them partly drunk before hand.” “Great!” Crescens said at the quick get together we had with Terentius. “Just what we need to start the day off properly is a bunch of half drunk, foaming at the mouth mad, Britinunculli coming out of the mist just after dawn. Any other rays of hope you can share with us before I go and see if I can catch some sleep?” Terntius looked over the watch fire at him and shook his head. “You're a bit touchy tonight, Centurio! There's just no pleasing some people! I bring you a load of really good news and you jump down my throat. The best bit is that this is only a small war band, about a hundred and fifty strong altogether, but, that it's split into at least three tribal bands.” “So what you're saying,” I remarked as I remembered my previous experiences with the Caledonii. “Is that what we'll see is a wave of naked barbarians, all painted blue, coming howling out of the mist. But what we'll really be getting is three bunches of savages who don't trust each other. Smack one lot down and the others may decide that this isn't a good place to be and head for the hills, or maybe not.” “That's about it, Optio”, he answered. “Outnumbered about three to one and stuck in this miserable excuse for a fort.” “Hmm,” said Crescens. “That's a good point, Terentius. The walls will even things up for us quite a lot. If we reduce the numbers before they reach the walls we should be able to put a fair few of them in the ground.” He thought for few seconds before continuing. “Here's what we'll do. Anybody who can pull a bow and hit a target will help, as will the slings we've all got. Issue what bows are available to the best shots and fill all the pouches with sling shot. When they come in range of the archers we'll shoot what shafts we have until they reach the vallum. Then it's Pila until they reach the fence and after that, it's back to the good old Spatha, or whatever your favourite side arm is.” “Machines?” I said. “By all means hit them with anything that will do some damage, but it's likely to be misty so we won't see them soon enough to do much with them. A Greek fire pot from an Onager would help but that's a one off thing. No, it's just going to be grunt work. Make sure the lads have some food and good wine in their bellies before dawn.” “How about a volley of fire pots when we hear them?” Terentius asked. “We know, roughly anyway, where they'll be coming from and we should hear them long before we can see them.” “Good idea! Do it. I'll leave it up to you to get that bit going, Terentius. Spread them out a bit though, I'd like an arc of

Greek fire across the mouth of the valley.” “With only six machines that's going to be difficult, Sir.” Terentius replied. “As you know I'm a cavalryman, not a infantryman, but I think the best we could do is to get some put down at false dawn, if there is one, and then the second volley when they're moving in.” We settled down to await the coming of the day. The crack of the Onager arms hurling the first volley of Greek fire pots awoke me from where I was huddled half asleep against the back of the fence. There was a lack of screams from the darkness but the trees and bushes at the edge of the valley began burning, thinning the mists and showing dark forms moving about. The click of the ratchets meant that another volley was being readied. Food and wine made it's appearance. “Right, now let me see if this is going to work!” Crescens appeared at my side and whistled. There was a solitary thump and another fire sprang up, “ Terentius! Another two right there and two more slightly to the left,” he called. Four more thumps and four more fires sprang into being. This time there were some screams, the screams I'd heard before when men got burned by a fire you couldn't put out by dousing it with water. The sixth Onager also thumped and more screams arose from the darkness. “Good shooting,” called Crescens. “Now get yourselves on this parapet!” The ballistarii on the gatehouse tower shot a number of bolts into the area around the fire and were rewarded by a few more screams. That changed the tone of the screams from fear to anger and as the sun began to lighten the sky the mob came, screaming hate, out of the dark forest. “Archers! Lose at will.” I commanded. That meant that the archers could put a few down, the mob split into runnels around the stricken but we were too short of bows to make much difference. “Slingers! Lose at will”. That order came from the Centurion. “Get those in the front rank with bound hair first,” he also shouted. The slingers put more down and the ditch slowed the mob for long enough so that we could get good targets for the rocks and Pila. We had time for three volleys and then the hard fighting began. ******* “Yeeaaargh,” I screamed into the face of the first Pict that came over the fence before me. A quick bash with my shield and he fell back onto the tribesmen behind him. The ranker to my right was engaged with a large tribesman and was being hammered backwards. A flick of my blade alongside the blue neck changed it to red, my rankers‟ blade came out, and the tribesman dropped. His body caused the next man over the fence to stumble. He received the benefit of three Uncia of my spatha, that removed him from the fight. The bodies eased the press of screaming tribesman allowing me to take a step back and look at the conditions on the fighting platform. To my right there was a pile of blue corpses that the oncoming warriors had difficulty climbing over and only one of my men had been downed. On the other side, the tribesmen had been able to find a footing on the rampart and had been able to get enough men over to take a stand. “Come with me”, I screamed to the men beside me and threw myself into the fray. Our extra weight gave the hardpressed defenders a chance and we threw the attackers back. That broke their spirit and they started to flee. ”Archers! Lose at will. Slingers! Take out any that look like stopping”, the order came in the voice of the Centurio. “Keep them running, we don't want any left to come back later.” The wheep of arrows, from the few archers who could still shoot, and the muted crack of the slingshot hitting the running tribesmen, carried on until they ran out of range. “Get the platform cleared, Lucius”, Crescens told me. “Throw the Picts over the fence, get our lads to the Medicus to be seen to, and then stand half down at a time for food and drink. I don't think that that lot'll be back any time soon, but you can never tell. Their leaders may be able to get enough for another charge and, if they do, it'll be a no quarter fight.” “It's always a no quarter fight with this lot, Centurio. They don't seem to get the idea of mercy at all. Vicious, devious, untrustworthy and smelly I'll grant you; but merciful? No way! Anyway, our butchers‟ bill for that last little do was light. Two dead and four slightly wounded, I haven't bothered with the Picts, but there's about forty of them dead I reckon.” “Good,” Crescens grunted. “The plan stays the same then. This century pretends to be a full cohort in here until dark tomorrow, and then we prepare to pull out before dawn on the morning after. Got it?” “Yes sir, the whole century, what's left of it; and right now that means fifty-six fully fit men and four walking wounded, knows the plan”, I was tired and thirsty and hungry and it must have shown in my voice. “This pull-out has been a mess from the start.” “Keep your voice down!” The reproach was plain in the tone of the hissed reprimand. “You know it, I know it and the lads know it, but we've got to go along with it now. No way around that lad. Keep your mouth shut and the men's spirits up. Two more dawns and we're over the hills and far away as fast as our feet will carry us. Two or three days after that and we'll be settling into the new homes our wives will have found for us.” “You hope they've found for us, you mean.” “A real ray of sunshine today, aren‟t you? There's just no pleasing some people! Look about you, Lucius. The sun's shining, the bird's are singing, there's no blue painted tribesman trying to carve your gizzard out, and; best of all, your food's being cooked for you, and all you can do is moan.” Singing loudly he went off towards the last of the granary buildings.

To be continued ....

My First Job Irene Jones

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We first met Father John when I was in the middle group at St Benedict’s Junior School. Our class teacher tried to teach us music by tuning in every morning to BBC Music for Schools. Our class teacher Mrs Riley was a good all round teacher but she freely admitted that she was tone deaf and struggled with music teaching. We sang or growled and shouted our way through: The Sky Boat Song, Annie Laurie and The Cradle Song every morning and in our daily mass at the adjoining church we shouted our way through hymns and spiritual songs, but not for much longer. The new parish priest came in to listen to our music lesson and put up with our growling and shouting. He said nothing and did not pull a face. 'This is Father John O'Leary.' Mrs Riley said 'From tomorrow he will teach us music and singing.’ The priest, who was an accomplished musician, turned and walked out without a word, leaving us to more enjoyable shouting. Next day he marched in at 10am sharp and turned the upright piano with its back to the class and began teaching us. He started with songs that we knew by heart. He played and sang, leading us patiently by example and repetition. His teaching methods were arresting, he played loudly and perfectly, standing facing us, now and then he jumped in the air and pointed at an offending child, without a break in the beat or the tune; 'flat' or 'keep time'. He even taught us Italian musical terms such as 'piano' or 'tempo' or even 'stop singing.' Before long a smart child had christened him 'Jumping John' Although his musical methods were not the only reason for this new name. When he scolded a child for conduct, he pattered from one foot to the other and scampered on the spot. Until eventually both feet were off the ground at the same time. One day Father John was standing at the church door and he beckoned me to go to him. I went to him and he told me that he had a little job for me. I had done small tasks before and did not expect remuneration. As he handed me the door keys, he told me to call at a terraced house in a Victorian street on my way to school and again on my way home every day. I was to tend the fire in the front room and go upstairs to give tea and bread and butter to a lady. I was not told her name. On the next day, I went in to the house, put my satchel in the hall and going into the kitchen put the kettle on. The I called up the stairs, 'Hello, it's Irene, Father sent me.' I found a bucket in the back porch with small coal and sticks and a pile of newspapers for lighting the fire. Once the fire was drawing up and red, I went back to the kitchen and cut a slice of bread and butter, sliced it into fingers and carried a small pot of tea with this tiny breakfast up the stairs. Like the makings of the fire, the tray was laid out for me, with a small tea caddy handy, close by. I found a pale and thin lady lying in bed and propped up on pillows. She was awake. I put the tray down on her bedside table and too shy to speak smiled at her, she smiled back as I poured a cup of tea. Across the room was a commode chair, Granny used one in her house, all the rooms had a chamber under the bed. I knew what to do, I took the pail and emptied it in the upstairs toilet, put it back in the commode chair and washed my hands before running down the stairs to check the fire, pick up the satchel and hurry to school. Every afternoon after school I called in to the quiet house and the quiet lady to make up and bank the fire for the evening. By this time she was lying on a

chaise longue covered with a tartan rug. We never spoke but there were smiles between us. This continued weekly until the beginning of Advent in December. One morning I found Father John waiting for me in the porch of the house. Every week he had handed me a couple of shillings and a few coppers after mass but this morning he was beaming as he held out his hand and asked for the keys. His manner was very pleasant and he did not hop once. I was never told what happened to the lady and I had forgotten about until I heard of Father's death at the age of ninety. Life was busy at the new school; learning, games, and homework. I was only a child. -oOo‗The first day, or the first Monday, in May is celebrated as the start of the summer season,‘ said the

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new Vicar, a very pink young man with a noticeable tremor in his hands. Mrs Jones groaned, she was a non-believer and detested do-gooders of all denominations. ‗Events are held to celebrate the end of the winter season, fertility and hope of a good summer,‘ the young man added to nods of support from the assembled members of the parish‘ Women‘s Charity Committee. ‗Maypole dancing is being revived in some places, children, usually girls, dance around a pole, from which ribbons are suspended,‘ added Miss Stevens, she of the horse teeth and aristocratic relations on her late mother‘s side, or so she intimated at every opportunity. The new Vicar smiled his appreciation, talking in public was still a new experience and he needed all the practice he could get. ‗The aim of the dance is to create a decorative pattern on the pole with the ribbons.‘ ‗Morris dancing, is also associated with the beginning of May,‘ piped up Mrs Jones, whose vicious wit was over coming her boredom. ‗Fertility. Pagan fertility rite. This type of dancing is done by real men, my Alfie was one. They dress-up all in white with bells on various parts of their costumes, and bands of bells strapped to their legs, carrying white scarves and long wooden sticks. Then there‘s the swords dance, very enthusiastic. All that manhood bouncing about, fires the blood of spring it does, so they say. All that sweating, and jumping, and bell ringing. My Alfie always got a ...‘ Miss Stevens gave the widow a withering glance. The new Vicar hid a smile. ‗Other traditions include making floral garlands, decorating houses with flowers and crowning a May Queen,‘ said Miss Stevens triumphantly changing the subject. ‗Another one! Fertility, pagan gods, a tradition often associated with a Roman fertility goddess. Flora, I think it was. Big swollen belly, pendulous ....‘ ‗Thank you, dear,‘ said Mrs Watson who was in the chair for the afternoon and relished reining in Mrs Jones, a bit of a hormonal suffer, who could get carried away with the fairies if one wasn‘t careful. ‗In Rochester, there‘s a festival of chimney sweeps,‘ whispered Miss Philips, who must have been 90 if she was a day, ‗I remember, traditionally, May the first was the only day in the year that they didn‘t have to work as a tweeny.*‘ ‗In Derbyshire, where I grew up, villagers dressed the wells with flowers,‘ added Mrs Watson and nodded to the speaker that he could continue, after all it was only another five minutes to teatime, surely Mrs Jones could keep her febrile imagination in check until then, but no ... ‗May Day is also a time for marches,‘ said a voice at the back, ‗particularly in London, to demand rights for workers. Marches are organized by trade unions. Thousands of people travel from all over to join in.‘ It was old Mr Perkins who brought his wife Doris in a wheel chair. He never usually opened his mouth. He added, ‗I‘ve carried a banner.‘ ‗Absolutely,‘ said the new Vicar in solidarity, ‗In Scotland, the May Bank holiday has been observed on the first Monday in May since 1871, but only came in to the rest of the United Kingdom in the 1970s. In 1995 this bank holiday was moved to the second Monday in May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the allies accepting the surrender of Germany: the formal end of World War II in Europe.‘ ‗Aye, lad VE Day. I were there,‘ said Mr Perkins to nods of approval from Miss Philips and Mrs Watson who then moved a round of applause for their speaker and a welcome for Mrs Jones‘s ginger parkin which was always a favourite at tea-time. (SMS) *Maid Servant

There‟s Also A Campaign SONG And Campaign Wrist Bands Being Produced.

Local poet AUDREY JACKSON has published a fundraising collection of campaign poems ―ALIVE AND WELL‖ which should be available in the Guildhall Campaign Shop this week. It is a limited print run so first come first served. (£3 suggested donation) The chapbook is crammed with pictures of the historic march on 20th April when 51,000 Stafford folk came together as one to say HANDS OFF OUR HOSPITAL.


Although I was trying to come up with an anecdote about my first job, as I have previously said many times, my work has always been boring and offers no insight into social history. But thinking about it, there is a ghost story from elsewhere in England that a workmate told us in a tea break many decades ago which might be of interest. A couple moved into a nice little house in the countryside, close by the town. Going out for the evening, they returned to find the bathroom light left on and the bathroom door wide open. They thought nothing of it. But neither could recall doing that. One morning, the lady picked up her mail and put it on one side of the mantle piece to read when returning back from work. When she came back from work, all the mail was now on the other side of the mantle piece. She thought nothing of it. Perhaps her partner had moved the mail. As work separated the times when the couple were in the house, they simply assumed their forgetfulness or the other had done something different. This went on for some time. But as money was tight, an argument arose about leaving the bathroom light on for hours when both were out of the house. So the partner got her to stand with him while he taped up the door after being absolutely positive the bathroom light was off. And they went out for a drink. When they got back, the bathroom door was open and the light on. They moved out soon after. Later discovering that the previous owner was an old lady: obviously, she was set in her ways. (ACW)

Assignment- May Day (PMW) When you give birth to a child, Be sure to give it some thought. A name will stay with you for life, And a poor one can make your life fraught. I once knew a family called Bentley. The wife, she provided an heir. But they decided to name the child Austin. A fact that was very unfair. Wikipedia image

For who in the world would wish to be Given the name of a car? The vicar he smiled when he crossed the boy’s brow And the laughter was heard from afar. Mrs Hoyle had a young son named Michael. A doctor the fellow became. “Have you seen Mike Hoyle?” the nurse shouted out. Oh Mike, what a name! What a shame! Call her Ellen or Catherine or Patsy or Sue if your surname is Pole or Day, Please think of her feelings when choosing a name And please do NOT christen her May!

It's the last few weeks before the closing date so just enough time to enter this year's international Welsh Poetry Competition. This year we are offering the following prizes: NB RBW does not endorse any competition, or workshop, or event organised by third parties.

1st Prize - £400 2nd Prize - £200 3rd Prize - £100 plus 17 runners up published on our web site. Judge - Eloise Williams Entry £4, all details, entry forms, past winners etc. on web site The closing date for the 2013 competition is: 26th May 2013 Dave Lewis

Agatha was a wild child. She found life as the daughter of a parish priest intolerable. Her brother and sister didn’t seem to mind the dullness of their day-to-day existence in the cold, grey vicarage, and the endless stream of people coming in and out for PCC meetings, prayer groups, choir practice and baptism and wedding preparation; to say nothing of the occasional tramp, wanting a hot meal and a change of attire;-didn’t seem to feel the stress she did. Once, they’d had an entire family fleeing religious persecution camped in the front room for a month. And as to the piles of clothes and food collected for various charities, well, Agatha knew the saying ‘Charity begins at home’, but it was a moot point with her, in her current situation. As the rain beat down, she made a plan. She’d join the circus and train to be a tightrope walker! Wikipedia image

Issue 286 Page 13

Stafford Knot Storytelling Club Our next club event will be on the 28th May — Rose and Crown, Market Street, Stafford

In the heart of the historic town of Stafford, nestled between the theatre and the library, is where you will find the Stafford Knot Storytelling Club. Brazilian storyteller Ana Linesand English storyteller Cath Edwards are the club hosts at Ye Olde Rose and Crown, where you can be sure of a warm welcome – and cold ale! Ana‘s and Cath‘s mission is to bring to Stafford professional storytelling for grown-ups: a reasonably-priced evening in relaxed and welcoming surroundings where audiences can enjoy low-tech, highly enjoyable entertainment. Every evening will be a little different, and each will bring you the best of storytelling. Performing in the first half of most evenings there will be a professional guest storyteller, each one with their own unique style, while the second half will be available for tellers from the floor. Many audience members have told Ana and Cath that they would like to tell a tale; most are experienced tellers, some will be first-timers, and to accommodate as many as possible there will be occasional evenings given over entirely to floor spots. This always makes for an unexpected, fun evening! On the 28th May Ana Lines will perform her new show ―Barbecued Husbands‖ . A collection of tales from Indigenous Tribes based on the work of the Anthropologist Betty Mindlin and directed by Christine McMahon. Put the date in your diary: the fourth Tuesday of the month. 28th MAY 7.30pm to 10pm, £5 on the door. Ye Olde Rose and Crown Market Street Stafford More information -

FEEDBACK: Well done on the publicity you gave to the Stafford Hospital march, it was certainly a good turnout, pity the news items on TV did not give it enough coverage, they seem to blaze disaster and doom items, time they gave a bit of praise where it’s due, to the people of Stafford

Jack of all Trades Master of None Farm jobs you would not believe take place. On the farm you build up skills far beyond what you can imagine a farmer would normally be expected to do. Living out in the countryside you tend to become an emergency doctor (to stem a vigorous flow of blood), nurse (patch it up), vet surgeon (castrate, dehorn inject), executioner (occasionally a animal or bird needs to be put down), undertaker (and buried), on occasions pathologist (why it died), investigator (what caused it), policeman (who caused it), poacher (if you can‟t beat them join them) , curator (show folk what we do), escapologist (get out of a hole that you‟ve just jumped in, to escape a creditor or the taxman), and environmental wildlife conservationist (drive round the peewit nests instead of driving over them) and many more peripheral jobs that crop up when there‟s no one else about to help. I know I jest about some of the jobs we do and how we do them, but they all crop up at some time or other, and you deal with them how you know best, it‟s all about survival, and helping others. Do unto them as you would like them to do for you.

The Work it Wonna goo Away When ya know you‟ve got to work, and it wunna go away, Put ya back into ya work, and ya hope it‟s gonna pay, You‟re the owner, and the boss, and the only worker too, The hours dunna matter, cuz ya work the night right through. Ya worry „bout the bills, and wonder how ya gonna pay, The bills that come so regular, n‟ put them out the way, Till ya sell and get some money, it‟s so hard to save at all, As if a hole in ya pocket, n‟ it‟s empty every time I call. Ya look back upon ya dreams, of how it all should have been To build up on the business, and the forecast now unseen, Expansion every year, and just getting in your stride, N‟ the tax man catches up with you, skins you off your hide. Countryman (Owd Fred)

Issue 286 Page 15 Wikipedia image: Lapwing (Peewit)

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Issue 286 RBW Online  

Issue 286 RBW Online weekly magazine

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