Archive for March, 2018

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 23, 2018 by bishshat

Busy busy at Compton Verney today . 60 year 1 and 2 children from St Lawrence School Napton with Anne and Myself in the studio doing China. 30, 14 yer old young men with Claire doing Mysterious Landscapes. Jo had a further group doing the same. Forest School early years with Hanna, Amanda, Tim and Vix. A group of young girls doing dance. And Anne and I also had 40 university students on teacher training follow us to see how we work. Then after all that I went to read my poetry at The Stagey Fox in Leamington Spa. The evening was recorded for Stratford Words Radio.

Whether you like plays, novels, poetry, short stories, monologues, if it’s using words creatively you’ll find it here! Join us for interviews, what’s on, quizzes, interesting facts, and plenty of readings!

Each week we feature some of the best local writers around, and bringing in others from outside the area to help enrich our wonderful literary culture.

Do get in touch if you have any comments on the show, if you’d like your work considered for broadcast, or if you’d be interested in being interviewed. Our email address is: stratfordwords@welcomberadio.co.uk

Twitter @StratfordWords

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A cycle of songs imagining the final thoughts of Captain Scott and his polar party has been composed by Cambridge graduate Jake Wilson – with the help of the University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.

These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary.
Wilson has composed All’s Well, a cycle of five songs, from the point of view of the men who died on their return journey from the South Pole 100 years ago: Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, and Captain Robert Scott himself. The songs aim to capture the different responses of these five men as they realise their deaths are inevitable, and are dedicated to the memory of Jake’s mother, and his friend, the writer Russell Hoban, both of whom died while he was working on All’s Well.

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Jake’s interest in Captain Scott’s final Antarctic expedition was triggered when he discovered an edition of Scott’s journals in his parents’ house. After reading this gripping first-hand account of the expedition, he went on to immerse himself in the diaries, letters and biographies of Scott and the other members of the polar party.

But what started as an academic interest changed when Jake’s mother was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

He said: “Suddenly I was faced with the brutal reality of what Scott and his men must have gone through – my mother was also in a race against time, battling against her own body as it failed her. And her response was extremely similar – organising her affairs, writing letters to people who she felt needed to have heard from her, and facing death with dignity and courage.”

Jake’s determination to complete the songs after his mother’s death was reinforced by support from his close friend, the author Russell Hoban.

“Russ encouraged me to write these songs from the start,” said Jake. “I sent him draft lyrics to comment on and took my guitar to his house to play him work-in-progress. Even when he was in hospital he found the energy to listen to my demo recordings and give me advice about how to improve the songs.”

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Folk fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick, who has been collaborating with Jake since 2009, has also played a key role in the project. Swarbrick has described Jake as one of the finest guitarists and songwriters of his generation and has recently produced recordings of the songs. These will be released soon under the title All’s Well, with the support of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Heather Lane, Keeper of Collections at the Institute, said: “These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary. The Scott Polar Research Institute has been pleased to work with Jake Wilson on this project. His moving tribute to the men should have enormous popular appeal.”

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The songs have also met the approval of relatives of the team members in Scott’s polar party. David Wilson, great-nephew of Edward Wilson, said: “With All’s Well, Jake Wilson successfully recasts the South Pole story into a new genre. Evoking the distinct characters of each of the Pole Party in word and tune, he accomplishes in modern folk music what Beryl Bainbridge took an entire novel to achieve. A cultural masterpiece for the Scott centenary.”

Jake will perform All’s Well at the Polar Museum on March 27, alongside Cambridge poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave, who will be reading from her latest collection The Last March, also inspired by the story of Scott and his men. The poems will be published by Pindrop Press to mark the centenary of Scott’s death.

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Evans

Captain, o captain, is our journey done?
Did we struggle so far to find the prize already won?
Must we trudge empty-handed back to the ship?
Can a dragon still fly when its wings have been clipped?
Far from home … home…
Did we haul our way south, battle hunger and cold
For the Norskies to dash, the Norskies to dash
For the Norskies to dash all our dreams at the Pole?

All it takes to cross the line between death and life
Is a slip of the foot, or a slip of the knife
And there’ll be no flag to wrap me in my unmarked grave
No earth below me, and above me no waves
Oh for home … home…
To be back in the Gower, to glimpse Rhosili Sands
And I’ll try not to fall, I’ll try not to fall
I’ll try hard not to fall, when it’s too much to stand

I pulled and I pulled ’til my strength was all gone
Then I made myself walk ’til I just couldn’t carry on
And when you went ahead, had your lunch and brewed your tea
I crawled through the snow on my hands and my knees
To get home … home…
To the land of my fathers, my children and my wife
But I’d pulled to the end, I’d pulled to the end
Oh I’d pulled to the end…

Capt Oates and pony "Snippets". October 1911

Oates

Last night I slept and woke with pain
I almost wished no more to wake again
And oh for an opiate trebly strong
To drug down this blindfold sense of wrong
But no surrender, no surrender
No surrender, no surrender

Like Napoleon under Russian skies
We lost our battle with the snow and the ice
No hero’s welcome, only retreat
No hope of glory, only defeat
But I soldier on, I soldier on
I soldier on, I soldier on

Now the grave seems bright to me
Stepping outside seems right to me
For a pick to the head, or a bullet to the brain
You can do it to a horse, you can’t do it to a man
But maybe some time, maybe some time
Maybe some time, maybe some time
Oh I may be some time, may be some time

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Wilson

The bird circled high, the bird circled high
All alone
It was too far south, we were too far south
To get home
And the snow it fell, the snow it fell
For days
And the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
But all’s well… all’s well…

My spirit is willing, and my faith is strong
To the end
But my flesh is weak, and I almost long
For the end
Thy kingdom comes, and thy will is done
Always
Though the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
All’s well… all’s well…

Oh Ory my dear, my life seems small
To me now
Oh Ory my dear, our love is all
To me now
And though death draws near, I’ve nothing to fear
Today
As the colours they fade, the colours all fade away
All’s well… all’s well…

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Bowers

I’d rather go with no ski than the Norskie way
Give me good old-fashioned British manhaul-sledging every day
And the snow it may blind and the frost may bite
But I’ll battle on, I’ll keep fighting the good fight
And with God as my guide, I’ll head straight towards my goal
And when the pulling is all done, then I’ll just sleep in the cold

With Christ as my companion and the harness as my friend
I’ll brave every crack and crevasse, I’ll struggle to the end
And the ice may break up and the orcas circle near
But a catch in my breath will be the only sign of fear
And if the wind it should change and my luck it doesn’t hold
I’ll float calmly out to sea, and I’ll just sleep in the cold

Now our fuel is running short and the food is almost gone
But I’m far from finished, oh I still feel strong
And the darkness may close in and the shadows threaten me
But death will have no sting and the grave no victory
For I’ll never get tired and now I’ll never grow old
I’ll lie happy in my bag and I’ll just sleep in the cold

H.G Ponting. Captain Scott+s Antarctic Expedition 1910 - 1912. 7th October, 1911. Profile view of Captain Scott sitting at his desk as he writes his journals in the Winterquarters hut.

Scott

White were the nights, and white were the days
White was the path that we trod all the way
White were our thoughts, as we hauled and we dragged
But black was the flag, black was the flag

White were our dreams, and white was our sleep
White was the hope that I struggled hard to keep
For black were the shadows of the doubts that I had
And black was the flag, black was the flag

Red was the blood of the ponies that we drove
And white was the snow that it stained
Blue was the sky so clear above
But black, black was their pain

White was the dawn, but black was the day
Black was the dog on my back all the way
Black were the leaves, pressed hard in the coal
And black was the flag that we found at the Pole

Black was the flag that fluttered at the Pole
But red, white and blue
Red, white and blue
Is my soul

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On Reading Nietzsche

I feel its best to be a simple man
For education only leads to discontent
I try to study the way of it all but it flies over my head
It raises nagging negatives
I close my eyes to the lines I cannot fully grasp
Great holes appear in my soul
I wished that I had begun to know myself earlier
Or I had had the means to do so
Why was I condemned to a life that would only
Leave me asking more questions?
As I begin seeing the reasons
I realise I have learned it all too late
Education leads to the self
The self leads to loneliness
Loneliness leads to thinking
Thinking leads to questions
Questions lead to disillusion
And a wish, yes a dream for an alternative solution
A way out
An escape route
There is none
We are all condemned to nothing
This I have learned from self education
O how I wish I was but a simple man
For education only leads to complexity

John Bishop June 29th 2016-06-29

The Day I Spent in Auvers-sur-oise

She appeared at the top of a dusty steep track
That peeped out among dry stone walls and foliage
Onto the Rue Victor Hugo
She on an after thought could have been
Ursula Andress coming out of the sea
To greet Shaun Connery in the scene from Dr No.
Indeed it was such a strange sight.
“Avez-vous le chemin de la maison du Docteur Gachet”?
“Direct”! I pointed the way ahead.
“Direct”?
“Yes” I said” it’s direct”.
She was slight very, very slight
She could have easily been a model or a film star
Everything about her reminded me of someone
I have no idea who it was
She told me her name was Marianna
She grabbed my arm and held me tight
One of her high heels that was so thin and delicate broke
She held onto me while she did a fast repair
She was immaculate in pearls and diamanté
Her hair glowed in the sunlight
“Allez-vous à une danse”? I asked her as I was so amazed at her attire
“Aucun,Chic” she answered
We escorted each other to the house of Dr Gachet where we sipped champagne
She introduced me to the mayor and a poet and some artists
It was a premier and we drank more champagne
Chatted and laughed and had a splendid afternoon
On leaving her at the same steep track I said “goodbye-au revoir madame”
She turned and fixed me in her crystal blue eyes.
“No John Marianna”.
Arnold on the other hand was so much bigger than his slim frame
Arnold was loud very loud and he commanded me to look at him and his past
He had paintings outside on easels which were terrible
Blotches of paint and stippled colours
No forms at all Van Gogh attempts
A sign said café fermé but he sat in his studio in a garden
That was cracking in the afternoon heat
I was shown in and sat down while he hunted manic like in the draw of a cabinet
A hand full of images black and white of his children
Images too of his youth spent in Montmartre
He looked great every inch a rebel
He spoke of his family all living in London all doing well
One in Richmond with deer and ducks
He laughed loud very loud pointing at me and laughing
Fou Fou I thought. “I am Paris, Paris is Paris, I miss Paris”!
“Montmartre and my youth I miss it all”!
He showed me pictures of himself with princesses and glamorous
Ladies that offered him a different life
“No I was married with four children how could I”?
He said laughing again laughing loud
A cigarette unlit in his had pointing
“Politics” he shouted showing me a photo of a man standing on a box
“Politic, Politic Change nothing will change
Around and around
You take they want
The want they take”!
Loud laughter “nothing changes”!
I said “goodbye -au revoir monsieur”
I took a quick selfie of us together
The artist and the fool
And headed to Paris

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Wednesday 21st March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 21, 2018 by bishshat

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Keep The Customer Satisfied
 
Simon and Garfunkel
 
Gee but it’s great to be back home,
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
Libeled,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine,
Two steps away from the county line,
Just trying to keep my customers
satisfied,
Satisfied.
 
Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And now you’re heading into more.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
Libeled,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoeshine.

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Monday 19th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 19, 2018 by bishshat

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Ape Man

Kinks

I think I’m sophisticated
‘Cause I’m living my life like a good homosapien
But all around me everybody’s multiplying
‘Til they’re walking round like flies man
So I’m no better than the animals sitting in their cages
In the zoo man
‘Cause compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
I am an ape man

I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
‘Cause I’m a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don’t feel safe in this world no more
I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man

I’m an ape man
I’m an ape ape man
I’m an ape man
I’m a King Kong man
I’m woo-doo man
I’m an ape man
‘Cause compared to the sun that sits in the sky
Compared to the clouds as they roll by
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
I am an ape man

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Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship

This ambitious exhibition throws light on a circle of artists and designers grouped loosely around Eric Ravilious (1903-42). In Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery there were more than 500 artefacts; in Sheffield’s smaller space there are still more than 400. Ravilious, Edward Bawden and the Nash brothers Paul and John have had their work and lives reasonably well documented, but Andy Friend’s curation puts them into new contexts. Others, including Ravilious’s wife Tirzah Garwood and his on-off mistress Helen Binyon deserve further attention. Other characters in Friend’s survey include Peggy Angus, Douglas Percy Bliss, Barnett Freedman, Thomas Hennell, Percy Horton and Enid Marx.

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In addition to these artists and designers, arts mandarin Kenneth Clark, Morley College principal Eva Hubback, Architectural Review editor J. M. Richards (author of High Street), Royal College of Art principal William Rothenstein and the founders of the Dunbar Hay shop play crucial roles, too. This touring exhibition is a welcome chance to fill out their interconnecting stories, to understand the context of the time, and to see impressive work that has hardly been exhibited since the 1930s.

For example, a twelve-minute film of the Morley College commission by Bawden and Ravilious is essential viewing, since it collates all the existing photos of the college’s Refreshment Room murals – destroyed by bombing in 1940 – alongside studies and preparatory artwork. A ‘bookshop’ installation shows a large number of book illustrations and covers designed by their circle of friends, including Ravilious’s own wood engravings for the Monotype 1933 calendar. Webb & Webb use some of the motifs from this as a device within their exhibition design.

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Elsewhere in the show, Friend’s curation emphasises the importance to this circle of artists of shrewd clients: The Listener, the Curwen Press, Lanston Monotype, Kynoch Press, London Underground, Wisden and many more. Display type on the wall quotes Tirzah Garwood’s delight at her first commission for the BBC in 1928: when asked to do her first job, she ‘danced round the room with joy’. Garwood (1908-51) had been a precocious illustrator, who studied with Ravilious when she was a teenager. Her first wood engravings from 1926 are, in Friend’s words, ‘evidence of how, in a difficult art, Tirzah almost instantly became an adept peer of her already accomplished teacher – and during 1927 began to exert an influence over his own approach.’

The relatively small amount of work by Garwood after her 1930 marriage to Ravilious reflects several things: the economic turndown; the lack of opportunities for women; the demands of family (three children and a wayward husband); and cancer. Her late paintings, made after a happy second marriage and the return of the disease that would kill her, show another side of her prodigious imagination, while her early engravings and watercolours have an ease with human form that took Ravilous longer to acquire, and a sharp humour all her own.

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Little known work by Helen Binyon, including some charming children’s book illustrations, added further layers to the exhibition’s documentation of this fascinating group of pragmatic artists. Alan Powers, in his introduction to Friend’s book Ravilious & Co, compares them – as a prolific, interconnected and ultimately influential group – to the Pre-Raphaelites. But he notes that their lack of an easily referenced group name might ‘partly account for the long time it has taken for them to be recognised’.

Barnett Freedman’s work is better known, but the chance to see so much of it in one place is a delight. One ‘scoop’ of the exhibition is the portfolio of student work with which Freedman, who had suffered several rejections for a London County Council (LCC) scholarship, doorstepped Rothenstein. The latter quickly made sure the young artist was offered both a place at the RCA and a three-year LCC grant. During a tour of the Towner, Friend claimed that Freedman was a talented painter, but a ‘lithographer of genius’. Plenty of evidence backs up this claim, with posters, advertising and book covers from several stages of his regrettably short working life. A short film, with music by composer Benjamin Britten, shows Freedman tackling a stamp design commission, including a rather staged conversation with a Post Office official.

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The ‘Submarine’ lithographs and the hallucinatory watercolours of military men, equipment and aeroplanes (such as Hurricane in Flight, 1942) support Friend’s view that Ravilious was still learning, growing and stretching his abilities when the plane carrying him failed to return in September 1942.

 

Sunday 18th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 18, 2018 by bishshat

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Downsizing

In the future, searching for a way to solve overpopulation and global warming, a scientist invents “downsizing” – a process to shrink people to a height of five inches. Paul and Audrey Safranek, a married couple in Omaha with financial problems, meet Dave and Carol Johnson, who have downsized. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money.

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Exploring the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agree to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for small individuals. After undergoing downsizing, Paul receives a call from Audrey, saying that she was unable to go through the procedure and, by opting out at the last minute, will be leaving him.

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One year later, Paul finalizes the divorce with Audrey, and settles in to his new apartment. Although Paul had anticipated a life of relative ease, without Audrey’s share of their assets, he works as a customer service representative for Lands’ End. While attending a birthday party, Paul has a discussion with Dave and says that he regrets his decision to downsize. Soon after, Paul breaks up with his girlfriend and attends a party hosted by his neighbor Dušan.

The next morning, Paul notices that one of Dušan’s housecleaners is Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese political activist who was jailed and downsized against her will. Ngoc Lan was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box and had her leg amputated upon arrival. Attempting to assist Ngoc Lan with her prosthetic leg, Paul returns to her house in the slums outside of the walls of Leisureland. After assisting Ngoc Lan’s dying friend, Paul attempts to repair Ngoc Lan’s prosthetic leg only to break it and renders her unable to work. In return, Paul works for Ngoc Lan’s cleaning service where he also assists in gathering food from around the city that Ngoc Lan distributes throughout the slums. Dušan attempts to release Paul from his obligation by taking him to Norway, the site of the first small community, with his friend Joris Konrad, but Ngoc Lan argues to come along. Ngoc Lan had received international attention after her arrival in the United States, including personal correspondence from the inventor of downsizing, Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen, who had previously invited her to Norway to express his regret at the abuse of his procedure.

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While traveling in a fjord, Paul’s boat encounters Dr. Asbjørnsen and his wife, Anne-Helene. Dr. Asbjørnsen announces that humanity is doomed, as the positive feedback of Arctic methane emissions cannot be stopped, and will result in the eventual extinction of the human race. Arriving in the first colony, Paul is shown that Dr. Asbjørnsen planned for such a contingency with the creation of a large vault inside a mountain to insulate the colony and preserve humanity in the event of an extinction.

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Paul is excited to enter the vault and asks Ngoc Lan to join him. She rejects his offer, saying that he does not need to enter the vault and can do good in their community by returning. Paul enters the vault, but changes his mind and leaves as the door is closing, choosing to return with Ngoc Lan, Dušan, and Konrad.

Having returned to Leisureland, Paul assists Ngoc Lan in her duties of providing needed aid and supplies to the people of the slums.

Saturday 17th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 17, 2018 by bishshat

Swansea 0 Spurs 3 

Christian Eriksen scored twice as Spurs reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for a second successive season with a comfortable win at Liberty Stadium.

Fabulous first-half goals from Eriksen and Erik Lamela set Spurs on their way as they chase a ninth FA Cup win.

Spurs might even have had the game sewn up by half-time, but Son Heung-min’s effort was ruled out for offside after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR). If questions are being asked of Spurs ability to deliver silverware, they certainly gave a decisive answer in a truly dominant display at Liberty Stadium.

That was all the more impressive in the absence of their talisman Harry Kane, who is ruled out until April with an ankle injury.

There are few bigger compliments to give Spurs than to say they did not miss Kane – 53 goals in his last 53 matches and all – as they were led by inspirational performances from Eriksen and Lamela.

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Swans manager Carlos Carvalhal has spoken before of making the opposition “listen to our music” but Eriksen was the conductor while Lamela, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura played a sweet symphony, their interchange and movement beguiling Swansea.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men should have been out of sight before half-time, but were denied by poor finishing, fine goalkeeping and the woodwork as a procession of chances came their way.

In between Eriksen’s sumptuous opener and Lamela’s terrific effort on the stroke of half-time, Eriksen thundered the bar, Lucas missed from six yards and Eric Dier flashed a free header over the bar, while the video assistant also denied Spurs what they thought was a legitimate goal. I thought it was a very harsh decision for such a great finish by Son.

Eriksen, as he so often does, simply tortured the Swans, pulling the strings as he scored his seventh and eighth goals against the Welsh side in just 10 appearances.

The FA Cup is not a priority for Spurs if you listen to Pochettino, but there can be no doubt Spurs supporters feel differently.

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The eight-time winners have lost seven successive semi-finals and have not tasted FA Cup glory for 27 years, the days of Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker, but they will be dreaming now, especially as they are so familiar with Wembley.

However, just as it was against Rochdale in the previous round, the issue of VAR was once again at the forefront in the FA Cup and again Spurs felt aggrieved.

The controversy came on 23 minutes when Son went clean through and crashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.

Spurs immediately appealed for the decision to be reviewed and despite replays seemingly showing Son to be level, the original verdict was upheld after a lengthy delay.

However, such was the gulf between the sides; the disallowed goal was scarcely a factor in the result. Spurs took control after Eriksen’s brilliant curled effort gave them the lead on 10 minutes and with the Dane seemingly at the centre of everything and Spurs enjoying an extraordinary amount of possession, the second seemed inevitable.

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That it took until first-half stoppage time was a surprise, but after Eriksen and Moura combined, Lamela swept home right-footed.

The contest might have changed if former Swansea keeper Michel Vorm had not brilliantly denied Martin Olsson’s firm drive and Tammy Abraham’s point-blank follow-up, but Spurs made them pay the price when Eriksen fired home a decisive third after Moura’s run just past the hour.

So We’ll Go No More a Roving

Byron

So We’ll Go No More a Roving
So we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

Venice, 1817. Lord Byron had left England nearly a year before, never to return. He didn’t just go and hang out in Italy because Italy was awesome (although it is really awesome). He sort of had to leave because he had been a very bad boy, so bad that his wife took their young daughter and left him. Left him, Lord Byron, literary celebrity and genius. Well, to be fair: just about anybody would have left Byron; he just couldn’t, ahem, remain faithful to his wife. This is probably why Lady Caroline Lamb, a married woman that Byron had an affair with, once referred to him as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

Anyway, in 1817 Byron wasn’t feeling so good, despite the fact that he was living in the scenic waterfront of Venice, Italy. In a letter to his dear friend Thomas Moore, Byron wrote “At present, I am on the invalid regimen myself,” adding later that the Venice high life had begun to weary him: “I did not dissipate much on the whole [i.e. eat and drink in excess], yet I feel the ‘sword wearing out the scabbard,’ though I have just turned the corner of twenty-nine” (Byron was worried about getting older, maybe even about death).

Immediately after these lines, Byron included the recently-penned “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving,” which would remain unpublished until 1830, six years after his death in Greece at the ripe young age of 36. (The consummate Romantic, Byron was there assisting in the Greek War of Independence.)

The context in which Byron’s poem first appeared—a letter that talks about getting tired of things—is a clue to its major themes. At 29, Byron was starting to feel old. He had had just about enough of life in high society at the time, and was ready to chill out a little bit. This is what he means when he says “well go no more a-roving.” The nights are great, perfect for going out and getting crazy and having fun, but after a while it gets old. Eventually, it’s time to move on to other things, to get more serious, to realize that life isn’t gonna last forever. And move on to other things Byron did in the last seven years remaining to him, most importantly to the composition of his greatest work Don Juan  a satirical masterpiece unfinished at his death.

This poem isn’t just about growing up a little bit, or getting tired of things. It’s also about getting older, about inching that much closer to death. When the speaker talks about the sword wearing out the sheath and all that business, he’s talking about his soul (sword) wearing out the body (sheath), which is his way of saying his soul is getting ready for its final journey out of this world and into the next. Roving in this context just refers to anything that isn’t fulfilling, anything that somebody should set aside because death isn’t too far, and it would be a shame to have wasted time roving rather than doing something more productive or enriching.

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Friday 16th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 16, 2018 by bishshat

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Witchy Woman

The Eagles

Raven hair and ruby lips
Sparks fly from her fingertips
Echoed voices in the night
She’s a restless spirit on an endless flight

Woo hoo witchy woman,
See how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye

She held me spellbound in the night
Dancing shadows and firelight
Crazy laughter in another room
And she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon

Woo hoo witchy woman
See how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye

Well, I know you want a lover,
Let me tell you, brother,
She’s been sleeping in the Devil’s bed.

And there’s some rumors going round
Someone’s underground
She can rock you in the nighttime
‘Til your skin turns red

Woo hoo witchy woman
See how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye

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Compton Verney only officially opened today with a press and gold member’s event
But I as a volunteer and learning deliverer have already done a wide range of things.
Induction and curators tour on the Monday and Wednesday. Thursday with 26 children living as Stone Age in the forest school, involving wattle and daub walls, bread making, shelter building, fire making, bread making, cave painting, and then making pots. Friday I did a range of things from cutting and bagging clay ready for the Stone Age programme that was happening again down the forest. Washing the toys for the tiny Tuesday’s including balls, blocks and ride on animals, and moving lots of chairs tables readying the classrooms. Making sure the family room was ready.
Next week I have to deliver the two new exhibitions to a group of Dutch students on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is Chinese Shang Dynasty and bronze vessels and making pots. I have a poetry event on Thursday evening at The Stagey Fox in Leamington Spa and then I will be to dressing up on the Easter weekend as a giant Rabbit. Its all go when you are retired.

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Wednesday 14th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 14, 2018 by bishshat

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We as learning deliverers had a curator tour giving us a look at the new exhibitions today at Compton Verney. Ravilious & Co and Created in Conflict.

The exhibition includes many of Ravilious’ key works shown alongside both well-known and less seen works by his contemporaries, including work by each artist that has never before been exhibited publicly, and focuses chronologically on key moments when the work and careers of these artists coincided, overlapped or was particularly pertinent to the others, such as their time at the Royal College of Art, the 1927 St George’s exhibition, their time spent at Furlongs and Newhaven in Sussex, and their various roles in the Second World War.

The exhibition represents the wide range of media in which the artists worked, from watercolours to woodcuts, lithographic prints, book jackets and illustrations, patterned papers, and wallpaper and fabric design.

Ravilious photo by Phyllis Dodd from Fry Art GalleryRavilious_Westbury-Horse

Tirzah Garwood (below) met Eric Ravilious (above) in 1925 at the Eastbourne School of Art, where he was a teacher and she a student. Tall and thin with a “small head that jutted out at the back” and “long, girlish lashes”, his manners were like those of a curate, and she could tell straight off that he was “not quite a gentleman”. He also seemed rather conceited. Nevertheless, in 1930, they were married.

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The Revilious one to me was the better of the two. In fact it was magnificent.
In the art world illustrators and graphic artists have always played second fiddle to the fine artist. But this show to me proves that real artists can multi task and the very best can multi task brilliantly. Ravilious and co shows that they can cross over and blend to produce stunning work in all areas. Fine art, graphics, and illustration and use many different mediums to make their work do what they wanted it to.

In the age before computers these men and women were a power house of British art.
You will surly recognise their wonderful styles, many of them so familiar to the British way of life in this particular time period of just before the second World War and up to and including the coronation of Elizabeth II and The festival of Britain and even up until the 1960s.
The exhibition at Compton Verney to me is one of the best they have ever had and the amount of works produced by this group of mainly friends will really astonish you.
It’s a real must visit for any art student doing any kind of art or anybody interested in the culture of a nation.

Ravilious & Co

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Peggy Angus

Based on new research and telling a story that has never been told before, this exhibition of the artist and designer Eric Ravilious (1903-1942), coincides with the 75th anniversary of his death. It explores the significant relationships and working collaborations between Ravilious and an important group of friends and affiliates, including Paul and John Nash, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman, Tirzah Garwood, Edward Bawden, Thomas Hennell, Douglas Percy Bliss, Peggy Angus, Helen Binyon, and Diana Low.

Ravilious & Co brings together nearly 500 paintings, prints, drawings, engravings, books, ceramics, wallpapers, and textiles – many rarely shown and previously unknown – and highlights key moments in the artists’ lives and work from first meetings at the Royal College of Art, to the evolution of their artistic practices into commercial and industrial design.

The exhibition has been created to mark the 75th anniversary of Ravilious’ tragic early death in Iceland during the Second World War and it finishes on a remarkable series of works from his time as an official war artist.

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This exhibition of the artist and designer Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) explores the significant relationships and working collaborations between Ravilious and an important group of friends and affiliates.
Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) is now recognised as one of the most important and popular British artists of the 20th century. This major new exhibition explores the influence of Ravilious and his circle and their remarkable impact on British art and design in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Portrait of artist Diana Low by William Nicholson 1933

Low, Diana, 1911-1975; Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Sir William Nicholson by Diana Low  1933

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EDWARD BAWDEN (1903-1989)

Bawden was a painter, illustrator and graphic artist, known for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture. He was a successful commercial artist and served as an official war artist in the Second World War.
He was awarded a scholarship to study illustration at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in 1922, and it was here that he met his fellow student, future collaborator, and lifelong friend, Eric Ravilious. By 1930 Bawden was producing work for the Curwen Press, as was Ravilious and their former tutor, Nash, producing illustrations for leading accounts such as London Transport, Westminster Bank, Twinings, Poole Potteries, Shell-Mex, the Folio Society, Chatto & Windus, and Penguin Books. Between 1930 and 1963 he taught at the Royal College of Art and in 1968 became a tutor at the Royal Academy.
Bawden lived in Great Bardfield, Essex from the 1930s to 1970 and while living there became an important member of the Great Bardfield Artists, a group whose work was diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art.

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HELEN BINYON (1904-1979)

Binyon was a notable watercolourist, print-maker, wood engraver, puppeteer and teacher, working at Willesden School of Art 1945-6 and then at Bath Academy of Art from 1949 to 1965.
After their studies at the Royal College of Art, Binyon maintained a close friendship with Ravilious for the rest of his life and in the late 1970s wrote ‘Eric Ravilious – Memoir of an Artist’, published after her death in 1983. With her twin sister Margaret she developed The Binyon Books for children, which she illustrated and Margaret wrote. Early in her career she developed a passionate interest in puppeteering, and the sisters created and ran a travelling puppet show until the outbreak of the Second World War. She illustrated several books including ‘Brief Candles’ for the Golden Cockerel Press and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for Penguin in 1938. During the Second World War she worked for the Admiralty in Bath drawing hydrographic charts.

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DOUGLAS PERCY BLISS (1900-1984)

Bliss was a painter, art critic and art conservationist and was appointed Director of Glasgow School of Art from 1946 until 1964.
He arrived at the RCA in 1922 having already studied at Edinburgh University after a year in the Highland Light Infantry at the tail end of the War. Schooled in Scotland from the age of six after a Raj childhood in India, he had confidence and quick witted entrepreneurial spirit. Although Rothenstein assigned him to the Painting School, he had ambitions to be a designer and illustrator.
In his second year Bliss was elected editor of the Student Magazine and Junior Common Room librarian – crucial roles in an environment where students learned as much from books, journals and their own discussions as from any formal teaching. An eclectic bibliophile, Bliss shared many interests with Ravilious and, during the RCA years and the rest of the 1920s, was both a close friend and a crucial early influence.

Freedman, Barnett, 1901-1958; Kitchen Interior

BARNETT FREEDMAN (1901-1958)

Freedman was a British painter, commercial designer, book illustrator, typographer, and lithographer. He was an official war artist during the Second World War.
The child of Russian Jewish émigrés, who arrived in Spitalfields, London in 1896, Freedman grew up in poverty and, between the ages of eight and thirteen, was frequently hospitalised with respiratory and heart disease. During this time, he read widely and taught himself to draw, paint, and play the piano and violin.
When he was sufficiently recovered, he was set to work as an office boy with a monumental masons’ and then in an architect’s office, and for five years attended evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
Sitting for a London County Council scholarship, he was failed on three occasions before, displaying the audacity his friends would come to know and love, he accosted Rothenstein and showed him his portfolio. The RCA Principal was immediately convinced that a great injustice had been done and forced the official concerned to offer him a scholarship.

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PERCY HORTON (1897-1970)

Horton was a painter and art teacher. From 1930-1949 he taught in the Painting School at the Royal College of Art, and became Ruskin Master of Drawing, University of Oxford from 1949 to 1964.
He arrived as a student at the Royal College of Art in 1922 after facing discrimination as a former conscientious objector during the First World War. Born in Brighton to working class parents, he was already a convinced socialist when the Great War broke out – a conflict he refused to support in any way.
After conscription was introduced, he was denied exemption from military service, called-up, taken to Edinburgh, and imprisoned from June 1916 to April 1918. He spent long periods in solitary confinement with hard labour, forbidden to either speak or draw for months at a time.
After his release, in broken health, he found it hard to get work, but in the summer of 1922 won a national scholarship, awarded without the usual interrogation about war service. This enabled him to enter the RCA’s Painting School.

(c) Mr Nick J. Chaloner; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundationem

ENID MARX (1902-1998)

Marx was an English painter and designer, best known for her industrial textile designs for the London Transport Board and the Utility Furniture Scheme. Marx was the first female engraver to be designated as a Royal Designer for Industry.
She entered the Royal College of Art (RCA) Painting School after completing a year at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. Her father, a distant relative of the political philosopher Karl Marx, was an engineer and she grew up in a liberal Hampstead household. Her school years were spent at Roedean near Brighton, to which she attributed her love of the South Downs, an enthusiasm shared with Ravilious.
The two met rehearsing for the December 1922 ‘Freshers’ Play’ in which Marx played Queen Elvira and Ravilious played Pittle Pottle, a jester in particoloured tights, and from then on he was always for her ‘the country boy who enjoyed birds nesting and games, a sort of Papageno’ (the bird-catcher in Mozart’s The Magic Flute). Ravilious’ friendship would prove crucial to Marx’s transition from failing painter to modernist designer. Excluded from Sir Frank Short’s RCA engraving classes on grounds of supposedly poor drawing, Ravilious began sneaking her in to learn by night what he had been taught during the day.

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JOHN NORTHCOTE NASH (1893-1977)

Nash was a British painter of landscapes and still-lifes, and a wood engraver and illustrator, particularly of botanic works. He served as an official war artist in both the First and Second World Wars.
From 1934-1940 he taught at the Royal College of Art in London. An accomplished printmaker, he was, with Paul, a founder member of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920. He produced woodcuts and wood engravings first as illustrations to literary periodicals, and then increasingly as illustrations for books produced by private presses, including Jonathan Swift’s Directions to Servants (Golden Cockerel Press, 1925).

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PAUL NASH (1889-1946)

Nash was a painter, photographer, writer, a fine book-illustrator and designer of applied art, stage scenery, fabric and posters. He was one of the most important landscape artists of the twentieth century and played a major part in promoting the avant-garde European styles of abstraction and surrealism throughout the 1930s. He is perhaps best known for his work as an official war artist, producing some of the most memorable images of both the First and Second World Wars.
A prominent member of the Society of Wood Engravers, Nash was involved in its first exhibition in 1920. As well as two volumes of his own wood engravings, Places and Genesis, Nash produced highly regarded book illustrations for several authors throughout the 1920s, including Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon. In 1924 and 1925 he taught part-time at the Design School at the Royal College of Art where he had a major impact on Ravilious and his circle.
Paul was the older brother of the artist John Nash

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Created in Conflict

Addressing a broad time period, Created in Conflict: British Soldier Art from the Crimean War to Today will consider the enduring questions raised by war, including ways of keeping in touch with home, patriotism, loyalty and the treatment of veterans. Throughout the exhibition paintings, photographs and insightful collaborations between veterans and contemporary artists will reflect the power of artworks to make us feel both better and worse about war.

Challenging perceptions about war and behaviour; presenting a new dimension to soldiers’ experience, creativity and skills.
Created in partnership with the National Army Museum, this exhibition will showcase the incredible resourcefulness and diversity of artwork made by British Armed Forces personnel. With important loans from the V&A, the Imperial War Museum, and the Museum of Military Medicine, the exhibition will feature a rich variety of resonant items including tankards made by soldiers in the trenches during World War I, game pieces carved by Prisoners of War during World War II, and toys and quilts made by convalescing soldiers.

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Thomas William Wood, Portrait of Private Thomas Walker, 1856  

This painting has been called a “rare propaganda portrait” and was apparently designed to allay public concerns over hosptial conditions for soldiers during the Crimean War. Victoria’s visit was probably another attempt to do the same. As you may be aware, Florence Nightengale and others were able to publicise the poor state of many field hospitals, and the need for cleanliness and more careful nursing of the wounded.

Tuesday, December 25, 1855: The Queen has forwarded to Private Thomas Walker, 95th Regiment, a present of £10. On her Majesty’s last visit to Fort Pitt she was struck with a quilt brought to her notice as the work of Walker, and desired that it might be forwarded to her Majesty, which has recently been done through Colonel C. B. Phipps.

Monday, March 3, 1856: An artist is engaged in the Military Hospital, Fort Pitt, Chatham, completing an oil painting of Thomas Walker, 95th Regiment, who has been an inmate at the hospital for fourteen months, during which period the entire top of his skull has been removed by skilfull operation at different periods by Mr. William Perry, surgical operator. The painting, which is intended for an exhibition, represents Thomas Walker in bed, busily engaged sewing together pieces of different coloured cloth, for the purpose of making the quilt which the Queen, upon seeing, was pleased to order to be sent to the palace. A part of the pattern is represented in the picture lying outside the bed. It was at the battle of Inkerman this youth received his wound, by a shell bursting directly over his head, which it fractured in the most extraordinary manner, causing insensibility for several days, until a piece of bone which pressed on his brain was removed.

The patchwork done by Private Thomas Walker as he convalesced from a head wound in the Fort Pitt military hospital at Chatham, made for a particularly detailed narrative relationship between soldier maker and patchwork, which widely circulated in the contemporary press. The details known about Walker perhaps suggest a fuller accompanying narrative for the anonymous Leicestershire Regiment coverlet also supposed to have been made by a convalescent soldier recovering from Crimean War wounds. Walker, of the 95th Regiment, was severely injured at the battle of Inkerman. He met the Queen during a series of Royal visits to the wounded, and she described him in her journal as a most extraordinary case, a shell having burst on his head, the whole upper part of which was exfoliating, & would come away! Yet he looked well in the face, & said he did not suffer, only at times from giddiness. The Dr says he will entirely recover.13 The Times identified Walker as ‘perhaps the most extraordinary case’ among the wounded soldiers visited by the Queen: he ‘has been in hospital nearly 12 months, during which time he had 13 pieces of his skull removed by Doctor Parry

An 1856 portrait by Thomas Wood, now in the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons, depicts Walker propped up in bed making a vibrantly coloured quilt using the red, black, white and gold of army uniforms. Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper produced an engraving of Wood’s painting, with which they included some details of how Walker had learnt to quilt in hospital with help from a fellow soldier’s wife. As Glenn Fisher’s research (2008) has shown, Walker’s father was a brewer’s servant and his own trade or calling was recorded on his attestation papers when he joined the 95th in 1850 as ‘a hawker’. These papers also show that he was able to sign his own name.14 Although Walker seems to have learnt patchwork in hospital, the report in Cassell’s suggests that he drew on his existing skills in hawking goods, to turn his sickbed work into a successful commercial enterprise.

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Thomas Walker, left and Joseph Conolly who were presented to Queen Victoria on her visit to Chatham Hospital. Both were wounded at Inkermann

Private Thomas Walker has employed much of his time in hospital, and relieved the tedium of hisconfinement, in making patchwork rugs and table covers from the scarlet clothand facings of soldiers’ jackets. In the manufacture of these he has exhibited somuch taste and ingenuity that her majesty was pleased to select one for which she generously sent him £10; another large one has also been purchased from him, and he is now engaged in the making of a third, and still more handsome large rug, which he hopes to be able to dispose of to some charitably inclined persons. It deserves to be recorded to Walker’s credit that he has given six pounds of her Majesty’s donation to his relatives, who are in distressed circumstances, and £1 to the wife of a fellow patient who has assisted him in his work (5 July 1856).

L0010204 Fort Pitt Hospital, Chatham, 1855

Although, sadly, the Queen’s Walker quilt does not survive as part of the Royal Collection, the archive at Windsor does demonstrate that the Queen continued to be interested in Walker’s work and wellbeing. Following the Queen’s Chatham hospital visits, an update on Walker’s condition was sent to Colonel Phipps, keeper of the Privy Purse, who advised the Queen on her engagement with the war: About ten days ago Dr Parry extracted a large piece of his skull very skillfully. He is going on very well & amuses himself by making a patch work quilt of bits of cloth from soldiers coats, trousers and facings. He has shown great ingenuity in the devices he has chosen & does it very nicely.

Colonel Eden’s commendation of Walker’s ‘ingenuity’ of design, and nicety of work, is echoed by Cassell’s report of Walker’s ‘taste and ingenuity’ and his continuing endeavour to produce ‘still more handsome’ items, and by the emphasis in Wood’s painting on the neatness and delicacy of execution, as Walker carefully stitches together small triangles of material to produce perfectly interlocking parti-coloured lines. This celebration of Walker’s dextrous needlework and aesthetic skill gives a new dimension to the more conventional soldierly heroics signaled by his battle-wound. At the same time, these accounts work to reassure non-combatants about the rehabilitation of the wounded soldier, quickly returned to productivity and industry. Cassell’s detailing of the monies Walker received and passed on for his work brings his narrative into the wider story of self-help and improvement promoted by the journal. Founder John Cassell welcomed content ‘illustrative of the triumph of religion, temperance, morality, industry, energy and self-control over idleness, apathy, intemperance and habitual self-indulgence’.

The inscrutability of Private Walker’s expression in Wood’s painting perhaps registers an ambivalence about soldiers’ feelings towards such work. Though the Queen recites the reassurance he ‘said he did not suffer’ in her journal, and Cassell’s reports that Walker had borne much suffering ‘with cheerful resignation’, the expression Wood gives Walker is certainly not cheerful. By making Walker’s face unreadable Wood keeps Walker’s feelings about his position and his ‘therapeutic’ work, a mystery, opening a space for doubt in the viewer’s interpretation of the painting. This indeterminacy might also encourage attention to the other troubling elements of this image. The positioning of the scissors in Walker’s lap, with their point directed to the centre of his crotch, uncomfortably suggests emasculation, even castration, by invalidism, and the craft work of the sickbed. This pointed reminder of the wounds suffered by Walker is extended by the surplus of available ‘scrap’ uniforms, in which we can perhaps glimpse the life and death narratives of those soldiers killed by the conflict that Walker narrowly survived.

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95th at Inkerman

When the siege of Sebastopol was decided upon, the Second Division took up a position on the extreme right, on the heights of Inkerman, and here it was twice attacked – on the 26th October, and, more heavily, on the 5th November. At the battle of Inkerman, the 95th – weakened by the losses at Alma and on the 26th October, and by the sickness which had been contracted in Turkey and had never left the army – numbered only 10 officers and 433 of other ranks. The regiment was now formed in six companies. There were not enough officers to spare two to carry the Colours, but there was no idea of leaving them in the rear in safety. They were brought on the field, “and were carried that day by two sergeants” – the Queens Colour by Sergeant William McIntyre and the regimental Colour by Sergeant John Gooding. Surely there can be no battle more difficult to describe than Inkerman!

The aim of the British soldiers was to attack, and no sooner did they leave the high ground about their camps to meet their enemy that the men found themselves involved in isolated combats, by small parties, by twos and threes, and even of individuals, fought out to the death in the mist-laden copses below Mount Inkerman. Many fought alongside the Guards near the sandbag battery that was taken and retaken seven times that day. Champion, who led the 95th, was mortally wounded, Major Hulme was shot through the thigh, Macdonald, the adjutant, received nearly twenty wounds by ball or bayonet; and till long past midday the unequal fight went on, until at its close the regiment had suffered casualties to the number of 144, and when the company rolls were first called, barely 80 men answered to their names. Two sergeants and 28 rank and file had been killed; four officers, two sergeants, and 108 of other ranks were wounded. Although the Battalion strength was under 100 as it marched away from Inkerman, it nevertheless continued to serve in the trenches before Sevastopol and the final attack on the fortifications. The saying in the 2nd Division “There may be few of the 95th left, but those are as hard as nails” led to the nickname of “The Nails”.

Its numbers reduced by three great losses in action, the survivors weakened by disease, exposure, and privation, the regiment yet continued during that awful winter on the Crimean uplands to do its full share of trench work; and when the campaign ended, the 95th had sustained a loss of 637 killed or dead of wounds and sickness, while 462 had been invalided.

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A Welcome Arrival, 1855 

Oil on canvas by John Dalbiac Luard 

Born into a military family, the artist John Dalbiac Luard had passed through Sandhurst and served with the 63rd (The West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot and then the 82nd (The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers) Regiment of Foot before selling his commission as a lieutenant in January 1854 in order to take up painting as his profession. In the winter of 1855-1856 Luard travelled to the Crimea in order to produce sketches of the war and to visit his brother, Captain Richard Amherst Luard (b. 1827) of the 77th (The East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot, who is believed to be the central figure in the painting. The figure on the right has never been positively identified, but may be a self-portrait of the artist, who in a letter to his father recounted how he had witnessed the unpacking of a box of supplies while visiting his former regiment, the 82nd Regiment of Foot.

In the centre of the painting, asleep on a table behind the stove, is a cat, long popularly identified as ‘Crimean Tom’, the pet rescued from Sevastopol and brought back to England by Deputy Assistant Commissary William Gair. It is has been suggested that perhaps Gair is the officer on the left of the painting examining a miniature or photographic image of loved-ones at home. However there is no evidence to substantiate any of these claims.

For officers at least, the arrival of parcels from home was a welcome relief from the monotony and privations of life in camp. The walls of the hut are decorated with pages from ‘The Illustrated London News’.

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The Last Jedi

Resistance forces, led by General Leia Organa, flee D’Qar when a First Order fleet arrives. Poe Dameron leads a costly counterattack that destroys a First Order dreadnought, but after the Resistance escapes to hyperspace, the First Order tracks them and attacks the Resistance convoy. Kylo Ren, Leia’s son, hesitates to fire on the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence, but his TIE fighter wingmen destroy the bridge, incapacitating Leia. Disapproving of new leader Vice Admiral Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe helps Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret mission to disable the tracking device.

Meanwhile, Rey arrives on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Disillusioned by his failure to train Kylo as a Jedi, and under self-imposed exile from the Force, Luke refuses to help—even after he learns of Han Solo’s death at Kylo’s hands—and believes that the Jedi should become extinct. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo communicate through the Force, puzzling the two enemies. As the rival Force users learn about each other, each has future visions of themselves as partners.

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R2-D2 persuades Luke to train Rey. After Kylo tells Rey about what happened between him and Luke that caused him to choose the dark side of the Force, Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Supreme Leader Snoke was corrupting him, causing Kylo to destroy Luke’s new Jedi Order in retaliation. Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, Rey leaves Ahch-To to confront Kylo without Luke. Luke prepares to burn down the Ahch-To Jedi temple and library, but hesitates. Yoda’s ghost appears and destroys the temple by summoning a thunderstorm, claiming Rey has all she needs to learn, and encourages Luke to learn from his failure.

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Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions cowardly and risky, Poe leads a mutiny. Finn, Rose, and BB-8 travel to the Canto Bight casino and acquire the help of the hacker DJ, who says he can help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate Snoke’s ship, but all but BB-8 are captured by Captain Phasma. Meanwhile, Rey lands on the ship, and Kylo brings her to Snoke, who reveals that he facilitated the mental connection between her and Kylo as part of a plan to destroy Luke. Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and, with Rey, defeats Snoke’s guards. Rey believes that Kylo has returned to the light side of the Force, but he instead invites her to rule the galaxy with him, which she refuses. They use the Force to fight for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.

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Leia recovers and stuns Poe, allowing the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the ship to mislead Snoke’s fleet as the others flee to an abandoned Rebel Alliance base on Crait. DJ reveals the Resistance’s plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are slowly destroyed. Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming Snoke’s fleet at lightspeed; Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose, who escape after defeating Phasma, and they join survivors on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose attack with old speeders. Rey and Chewbacca draw the TIE fighters away with the Falcon, while Rose stops Finn from completing a suicide run against the enemy siege cannon, which penetrates the Resistance fortress.

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Luke appears and confronts the First Order to enable surviving Resistance members to escape. Kylo orders the First Order’s forces to fire on Luke to no effect. He then engages Luke in a lightsaber duel; upon striking Luke, Kylo realizes he has been fighting a Force projection of him. Rey uses the Force to help the Resistance escape on the Falcon. Luke, exhausted, dies peacefully on Ahch-To. His death is sensed by Rey and Leia, but Leia tells surviving rebels that the Resistance has all it needs to rise again. At Canto Bight, one of the children who helped Finn and Rose escape grabs a broom with the Force and gazes into space.