Railway Lines and Danger.

Railways and Danger


Railway lines are dangerous! Surely everyone knows that, don’t they?

In my memories of railways; excitement, adrenaline and danger were never far away.

All memories are stored randomly in our minds, until an external ‘trigger factor’ brings them back to life.

I had such a moment in West Bridgford Nottingham a couple of months ago.

I had decided to take my 91 year old father out for a drive and look around some of his old haunts. Things had been going really well. He was on good form, recognising places and pointing them out. I was pretending to understand all the names and places he was referring to! The fact the The Globe public house on London Road was named after a cinema, and the large brick pillar (on the city side of it) was the entrance to some kind of ‘old peoples home’. Don’t forget, I’m talking about the…

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A poetic history of The Council House Nottingham


Pc Morrell reporting for duty, for a weeks patrol of our Market Square,

Preserving the peace for the King and the Queen, each day a decade

Enforcing the law and by consent, treating our citizens fair

My beat, the area and its people, from Smithy Row to South Parade.

Day 1

Prince of Wales, at the new Council House, to scenes of elation

A huge crowd fills the square, with lions Leo and Oscar surrounded.

The age of the car has begun and with it Road Traffic Legislation.

The Ritz is being built on Angel Row, a strike has its builders grounded.

We have radios in our cars, the first Police Force so to do.

Our Police boxers fought a German team, that ended in dispute

We beat the men from Stuttgart winning the bouts by seven to two

Captain Popkess our chief, minimised their use of the Nazi salute.

Day 2

War has reached our city, looking west to the Castle, Friar Lane had been hit

Well prepared in civil defence, we prepare for a very long shift.

Some had it worse. Lt Colonel Player died of wounds doing his bit.

His family’s cigarette factory, much in demand, the people needed a lift

King George came, then Eisenhower, on the Council House balcony.

Post war recovery is slow, we needed a celebration,

Tommy Lawton’s signing was a start, then our quincentenary

Princess Elizabeth and Phillip came, the future of our Nation

Day 3

The war has left us with work to be done, a cultural mix and the welfare state.

The accents heard in town, now Italian, Polish and others from the east.

All have settled in our friendly town, no longer speaking the language of hate

Our soldiers still die abroad, in Cyprus, divided by Turkey and Greece.

Paul Robeson visited us after riot and unrest, from poverty and racial tension,

After his concert the African American, was asked for his views.

His praise of our ‘great tolerance’ deservedly was mentioned.

Forest win the FA Cup and gave us some good news.

Day 4

Youth culture has arrived, Nottingham’s economy is in full flow,

The Fab Four from Liverpool create wild pandemonium

‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ thanks to our man Sillitoe.

The Beatles in town. Hysteria outside The Ritz, latterly The Odeon

A new Playhouse opens, a gathering of the artistic high hopers

Victoria Station closes, end of an era, the last train goes without much fuss

News from Swansea, six sixes from one over, by Notts cricketer Sobers

On the bleak side, more crime, a brutal murder, The ‘Pretty Windows’

Day 5

Here in the Queen of East Midlands, the square is busy with the shopper

There’s talk of a bloke with an ordinary name, Paul Smith, and his sartorial venture

The workers at Raleigh feel they have the whole world riding, the iconic ‘Chopper’

Car Parking and a pedestrian route, from The Broad Marsh to The Viccy Centre

Oil crisis, fuel shortage, power cuts; our miners out on strike.

Crisis over then another royal visit, fifteen thousand for her jubilee

Police Cadet Dean has moved on, joining Miss Torville, to dance together on ice.

Forest winning everything, celebrations in the square, thanks to Taylor and Cloughie.

Day 6

Forest march on, Panthers return, Torville and Dean get the ‘Freedom of the City’

The first woman to do so, another ‘six sixes’ for local sport.

Hooligans and political unrest cause us bobbies a problem, such a pity.

The LAPD visit us, saying we should be armed, surely a last resort.

Patrolling the square, the people are sad, ‘The Flying Horse’ has ended.

The malaise continues, mines are closing, the people clearly stressed.

Hillsborough brought in crowds, united in grief, while our reputation we defended.

Meanwhile our sporting success of two decades, seems to have regressed.

Day 7

Concern that our city’s industrial and sporting might is going into decline.

Royal visits were few, crowds only gathering to mourn Princess Di

Yet a new creative renaissance has started, in music, film and design.

Rock City bringing us the best in music, David Bowie the ultimate high.

Shippo’s and Home Ales are gone, asset stripped, only their buildings left in the hollow.

Shane Meadows arrives with Bob Hoskins, for his ‘Twenty Four Seven’ debut

Castle Rock rises, a phoenix from the flames, inspiring many others to follow.

A resilient place, Nottingham reinvented,  and ready to re-join the queue.

Darwin. Boom.

from apathy to poetry

Roosting black in the flowerbed
Head turned eyes closed beak 
Nestled over scapula
Amongst the downy disorder
Of bipartite plumage
As though the feather-shined lower
Outgrew the downy upper
Unmoved by secuteurs’ snip
Soil clink of stone on trowel 
Or judicious watering nearfoot
Unwound blinking momentarily
Staring over the proffered glass 
Ashtray wormery worms wriggling 
I forget about strawberries
Head curling eyes closing beak
Back to the gloaming shoulder 

Slide patio door work-ready 
Look suited as you lie
Spreadeagled a foot from the spot
Sleeping in too early for sunbathing
In sprawling indignity 
Like a teenager somehow
Lying in or something 
Else knees in the air

Plastic bag get a grip
Body soft eyes closed head 
Lolling at the serendipidous bin day 
Dragged past dutch irises gravel
Planted down the lane down the side
Don’t pick them I said let them be
Petalled purple tongues xanthic stripes
Flowering thought of…

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