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Well, Candia, did you enjoy your Bank Holiday?

Thanks, Brassie.  Yes, I did.  It’s always good to avoid the crowds.

I used to like walking somewhere quiet around Wintoncester, but, of

course, now there are few secret places.  Everywhere has to be

macadamised so families with tots on stabilisers, with safety helmets,

can run down their elders and betters- that is when the parents are

not tripping pedestrians up with extendable dog leads.

Oh, come now.  You still like walking around here.

Yes, but I used to find the magical places on the chalk downs. That

was before the JCBs moved in and the motorway took over.

I feel a poem coming on.


Fine dongas’ etched capillaries

trace downs in criss-cross engravature.

In pure air, flimsy with fritillaries,

Chalk Hill Blues, by divine imprimatur,

caper.  Deft dragonflies, volts from the blue:

thoraxes like mottled Venetian glass,

hover, with pink damselflies, over dew-

dipped vegetation.  Those who would pass

by to reach St Catherine’s coronet (beech

circle)- Iron Age travellers, or those

who buried their plague victims- did not breach

Nature’s contract; nor did those who opposed

that livid, open wound, scarring the cant,

observable from Compton Down.  This way,

once pilgrim path, in earshot of thin chant

from cloisters, now roars, a snarling highway,

bar of shame on history’s escutcheon.

Rufus’ cartwheels no longer rut clay;

but his blood badged the route to destruction.

The executioner’s hand did not stay.