Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A spring-fed copse

Small pond with reeds - at the centre of the copse

Someone emailed me a while back about these stone blocks (I'm sorry I can't find the email to give the person a mention but many thanks to her). There are three of these blocks placed at different spots around little copse at the foot of the Lawns, just off Drove Road. Each has a small poem on it - the one above has the following words "Sweetest of all things is wild flower air" and by the small reedy pond "A green fringed brook marks the edge of golden ground". I think the copse is looked after by a local primary school who use it as a nature garden.

A tranquil autumnal walk around the Lawns, so full of colour at this time of year. On this occasion, however, I walked downhill behind Christ Church to the little copse. A small footbridge over a stream fed by one of the natural 'iron' springs around the Lawns (this one is by the far wall of the Christ Church churchyard) leads to a path from the Lawns through to Cirencester Court on Drove Road.
Away from the path, I had a stroll around the copse which has a sense of being secret and, oddly, while all the trees on the Lawns are mostly gold/brown these were still completely green, well watered by underground springs. I have not written about this place before; it is typical, however, of the many hidden pockets of woodland off the beaten track around Swindon.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Autumn reflections - Queens Park

The lake - Queens Park, just before dusk, not visible in the photo is the rising moon

Another sarsen placed in the small Mesothelioma Memorial Garden in a corner of Queen's Park. Opened in 2003 in remembrance of the railway workers of the town who died of mesothelioma. But if the while I think of you dear friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end (Shakespeare)

Monday, 26 October 2009

The scenic route home

A random reflection on the beautiful county Wiltshire
Today I did something I used to fantasise about when working full time; I went down to the bus station to see which buses were in and just picked one at random … the one I chose was the 70 going to Marlborough. I hadn’t been to Marlborough for a while; I think it is true to say that although geographically quite close, there couldn't be two towns more different - although Swindon was once a small Wiltshire market town. (To illustrate the vast difference of today's Swindon I would need do an analysis of its economic history for the previous 170 years.)

An enjoyable couple of hours in Marlborough was spent ...
When I went to catch the bus home, a bus with 48a and Swindon on the front was waiting to leave. The driver looked very relaxed when he told me ‘this one goes by the scenic route’ so I jumped aboard.
What a lovely journey, the afternoon was still golden as we left Marlborough; the winding road seemed to follow the river Kennet for a while as we headed for the villages of Axford and Ramsbury. This is a part of Wiltshire I don’t get to see often as am usually heading in the Avebury/Devizes direction. The landscape was one of gentle undulation, grazing sheep, meandering river and the rosy pink of a late afternoon sky. We went through copper beech woods and ‘tunnels’ of autumn trees. By the time the bus reached Aldbourne, the silver-grey light of dusk was starting to settle over the timeless pastures. The country road ran parallel with the M4 for a few minutes and the views from either side of the bus were something of a sharp contrast. Baydon and Wanborough, the final two peaceful Wiltshire villages on our route before the bus sped down towards the bus station. Swindon seemed very busy and cosmopolitan after such peaceful, rural journey - the light was fading fast, it was good to be almost home.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Peace Stone

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on, on, and out of sight
(Siegfried Sassoon 1886 - 1967)
The first two lines of the above verse are carved into a sarson stone in the Town Gardens - I do not know anything about the stone's history though I am guessing it was erected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day in 1995. In a comparatively short time the carved words are now almost indecipherable as the stone has become lichened over the past decade. The dove carvings on the front and back of the stone can still be seen clearly (click on photo to enlarge).
Carved doves on the back of the stone
Swindon! Swindon! Place of teenage memories, I returned a decade ago for family reasons and am old enough to remember Swindon as a relatively small town with a High Street, buses that stopped in it, interesting shops. Long since ravaged by town planners; they are now trying to put the damage right ... there is talk of reinstating the canal, too late I fear.
What has not changed though are Swindon's wonderful shady parks. These are still cherished and enjoyed by the town's residents and none are more lovely than the Town Gardens in Old Town on a golden autumn day such as today.