For Ivor: Raining Cats And Dogs: Brockhampton2,

For Ivor

Nor trees; nor masts did I espy in
Gloucester Docks; on a drizzled May day.
Rather, afore me, a copper-coloured
spiral candle, reaching upwards to join
the sea-gulls lamenting the departed
Gloucester brotherhood; who wore boots
dripping in Flanders mud and gore.

Looking down to my feet, an extract 
from your requiem for the fallen heroes.

How wonderfully, bloody apt.

Today I bought a shirt made in Vietnam
and wondered at the absurdity of it all.
I felt humbled,to have reached retirement
age, without hearing a shot fired in anger.
Unlike you, Dear Ivor.

You were taken from Cotswold elm and beech
to a battered tree-stumped landscape fashioned
by trench warfare.
No beauty here, no salve for the soul.
Respite only through memories of Severn land.
a shell-shocked return with war-scared thoughts.
withdrawn in '22 from the Shire.
Removed from:
Cotswold scarp and meadow-lands,
alive and vital through  the mind's eye,
able to anoint the paper with flowing prose.
a written legacy in music and rhyme.
Keeping us:
twixt, meadows. hills and woods
savouring Severn-side as we follow
in your tracks.
Fare Ye Well,
Dear Ivor.

May 29/30' 14 Ck.


1  the above statue is known as ' The Candle .' It arrived in the docks on August 2010, It measures 21 metres in height and was designed by Nottingham-based artist   Wolfgang Buttress.

2  The actual inscription around the base, from Ivor Gurney's "Requiem " bears these words:

 " Pour out your bounty, moon of radiant shining
     On all this shattered flesh, these quiet forms;
     For these were slain, so quiet still reclining,
     In the noblest cause was ever waged with arms. "


The Phrase " Raining Cats and Dogs " has always struck me as odd. I have heard of raining fish and raining frogs; but never such large creatures as those animals. Where could the origin of this phrase be I wondered?

Some thought it could be  that cats and dogs might  be dislodged from thatched roofs due to the violence of the storm, but that seemed improbable to produce numbers that would fit such a phrase.
A more likely, and to my mind, sensible origin comes from 17th/ 18th Century England, as I quote Here:
"The much more probable source of 'raining cats and dogs' is the prosaic fact that, in the filthy streets of 17th/18th century England, heavy rain would occasionally carry along dead animals and other debris. The animals didn't fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in storms could well have caused the coining of this colourful phrase. Jonathan Swift described such an event in his satirical poem 'A Description of a City Shower', first published in the 1710 collection of the Tatler magazine. The poem was a denunciation of contemporary London society and its meaning has been much debated. While the poem is metaphorical and doesn't describe a specific flood, it seems that, in describing water-borne animal corpses, Swift was referring to an occurrence that his readers would have been well familiar with:
Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,
Threat'ning with Deluge this devoted Town.
Now from all Parts the swelling Kennels flow,
And bear their Trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all Hues and Odours seem to tell
What Street they sail'd from, by their Sight and Smell.
They, as each Torrent drives, with rapid Force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre's shape their Course,
And in huge Confluent join'd at Snow-Hill Ridge,
Fall from the Conduit, prone to Holbourn-Bridge.
Sweeping from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts, and Blood,
Drown'd Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench'd in Mud,
Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops come tumbling down the Flood. "

So remember to mind your feet, when you walk through streets in the rain.


Following on from last week, when we looked at the grounds of the Brockhampton Estate, here are some pictures as promised showing the Medieval Manor and House.

It is set in lovely grounds complete with a very attractive lily-pond.

Walking through the entrance lodge, one could see the rose-walled house behind.

This season for the first time, rooms in some of the upper floor were open to the public.

The view down from the gallery.

1. A look through the window. 2. The Study with pipe, papers and  chair.
3. A splendid bed.

It was a truly wonderful visit and will stay long in the memory of D. and I.


Well Sunday brings us the month of June and the longest day, Next Saturday (7 / 6 ) brings us the Derby. Perhaps  Australia, the winning horse will inspire some antipodean  improvements in temperature and sunshine.
i certainly hope so!
Cheerio for now,


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