Monday 15th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2022 by uppyalf

Sunday 14th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2022 by uppyalf

The Heart of Tin

I am going to give my heart away today
Not my heart
Not my pounding
Beating blood pulsing heart
Just a tin one
I bought it in Mexico
At the Blue House
It’s a symbol of Frida
I’m going to give it to a lady
I met yesterday an artist
She is desperate to visit La Casa Azul
So I will take her my heart
This heart of tin
To speed her on her way
To make sure she holds true
To her dream
Maybe this heart
This sacred heart
This gift between artists
Will just be the token
That assures she will go
And maybe Frida would
If she could enjoy the gift too

Bish 14/08/2022

Soma gave me the Frida card and wrote this sweet message
Thanks so much for the heart and thank you so much for this lovely poem. It’s beautiful. It was so nice meeting you this weekend

Saturday 13th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2022 by uppyalf

Friday 12th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2022 by uppyalf

Thursday 11th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2022 by uppyalf

Wednesday 10th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2022 by uppyalf

The Bracebridge Chapel

My ancestors ..

It wasn’t what I expected
The Bracebridge Chapel
No tombs or fancy carvings
Pretty austere I think that
Sums it up
Old patched carpet
Forgotten nooks
Presbyterian white walls
Fatigued and uncared for
More of a store room
Than a family room for prayer
I was taken aback by its ruin
It’s Sad predicament
it’s loss of my ancestors care
The ephergies had lost everything
But remained only as an
Unrecognisable lump
Difficult to say it was anything
That would mark a great person
I had to find the verger to let me in
He said he was feeding his wife
And he would be fifteen minutes
So I sat in the heat of the church yard and waited
It was hot he told me his congregation amounted to
Thirty souls on a good day
Beyond the gravestones lay the
The Great hall of Kingsbury
My ancestral seat
That too was locked and abandoned
I tried to get near but I couldn’t
Fences gates and thick walls
Stopped my progress
Online later I walked in 3d
It’s rooms and it’s passages
Not the same I know
It’s awaiting to be turned into
A retirement complex or the like
John De Bracebridge I found out was on the side of Earl Simon
This too pleased me
Although it cost him his land
And his fortune
I guess that’s why today
The castle and the chapel
Are like they are
But I’m pleased still
That they stood up
And took the stand for justice
That kind of rings a bell for me
And the words of Ozymandias
Came to me while I walked away
“Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck,
boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
I took two conkers from the church yard to plant in my garden.

Bish August 2022.

The name Kingsbury is derived from the Saxon Chinesburie meaning ‘royal fortified house’ or ‘Kings Fort’. The ‘bury’ part of the name means ‘fort’ or ‘defensive work’. The location of the church and remains of a medieval home (Kingsbury Hall) above the river suggest a good location for a ‘defensive’ work. Kingsbury Hall (or Bracebridge Hall as it was their family home for many years) is now only part lived in as a farmhouse. It was a fortified manor house and the remains of a curtain wall can still be seen. Kingsbury was founded by the same Angles tribe that established Curdworth and Minworth. The village is mentioned in the Domesday survey.
In 1473–74 during the Wars of the Roses there was a family dispute involving the Bracebridges and their distant relations, the Ardens (William Shakespeare’s maternal ancestors) of Park Hall in Castle Bromwich. John Arden had fallen in love with Alice Bracebridge. John’s father, Sir Walter, did not approve. John was kidnapped and taken to Bracebridge Hall. Sir Walter appealed to King Edward IV, who appointed Sir Simon de Montford of Coleshill and Sir Richard Bingham of Middleton to arbitrate. John and Alice were married in February 1474. In 1502 John inherited Park Hall in Castle Bromwich, while his younger brother Thomas settled at Wilmcote near Stratford-upon-Avon. Thomas had a son Robert who was the father of Mary Arden, William Shakespeare’s mother.

The parish church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of a chancel, former north vestry, north chapel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. It stands on high ground west of the village. The walls are of local stone.

There was probably an aisleless nave with a square chancel; the remains of one window survive in the chancel. About the middle of the 12th century north and south aisles were added, the southern being the first. The north aisle, if not both, may have been altered in the 13th century, and near the end of the same century the west tower was added. The greatest changes were made very early in the 14th century, when the chancel was doubled in length, the Bracebridge chapel built north of it, and both the nave-aisles were widened to their present limits. Late in the 14th century larger windows were inserted in the south wall of the chancel, resulting in the rebuilding of the whole wall above the plinth, and about the same time the north vestry was added. Early in the 15th century the south doorway of the aisle was altered and furnished with a timber-framed porch: the side walls of the porch were replaced with masonry a century or more later.

The 14th-century aisles had lower roofs than now, their lines being indicated in the end walls, and may have continued the slopes of the nave-roof. The walls of the aisles and the Bracebridge chapel were heightened early in the 16th century and new flat roofs were constructed. At the same time a range of upper windows was inserted in the north aisle, the south-east window was heightened, and the 12th-century arcades were altered to two 18½-ft. bays instead of the two or three narrower original bays. The chamfered pointed heads were rebuilt, with the re-use of many 13th-century small voussoirs in the eastern bays.

In 1610 the west wall of the tower was entirely rebuilt and the top stage—the bell-chamber—was added.

The clearstory to the nave is of uncertain date, but it is evidently a late addition. About the middle of the 17th century a good deal of repair was needed and the nave and Bracebridge chapel were given new roofs. It was probably then that the clearstory was raised.

The Bracebridge Chapel afterwards became a school-room, the arches to the chancel and aisle and the squint to the chancel being blocked up. (They were opened out again in 1882–6.) The fine effigies of the Bracebridge’s in the chapel suffered considerable damage during this school period.

In 1821–2 the floor-levels of the nave and aisles were raised and paved with Wilmcote stone, while new seats were put in.

A gallery built in the west end in 1820 was removed in 1886. In 1887 the 12th-century chancel arch was altered to its present pointed form. The old vestry was made to serve as the boiler-room in 1890. Repairs were done in 1928 to the tower, and in 1938 the south porch was restored, when the early-15th-century roof was discovered above a plastered ceiling and opened out.

The chancel has an early-14th-century east window of three cinquefoiled pointed lights and foiled intersecting tracery in a two-centred head: the external hood-mould has defaced head-stops. The jambs and mullions are hollow-moulded and badly weatherworn: the internal splays are of rubble with dressed angles. The wall is of grey sandstone rubble, the plinth is chamfered, and the gable-head has an old plain coping; at the angles are square ashlar buttresses. About midway in the north wall is a rough vertical seam showing the 14th-century lengthening of the 12th-century chancel. In the west half is the early14th-century archway to the north chapel. The responds have triple shafts, the middle filleted, with moulded capitals: the head is two-centred and of two chamfered orders of small voussoirs. The responds are mutilated for a former screen on the chancel side. Above the east respond are the remains of a 12th-century window walled up; they are the angles of its east splay and two voussoirs of its rear-arch. East of the archway is a rectangular squint cut askew from the chapel towards the High Altar. The doorway in the east half to the former vestry is blocked and mutilated but shows the tip of a chamfered pointed arch.

The south side has three windows: the first and third are each of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and foiled vertical and leaf tracery in a two-centred head with a segmental-pointed chamfered rear-arch. The external hood-moulds have head-stops of Edward III and Queen Philippa fashion. The jambs and mullions are chamfered, the splays are of large courses of rough ashlar. The middle, of two lights and similar tracery, is modern. Between this and the western window is a late-17th-century square-headed doorway. Below the eastern window is an early-14th-century piscina with moulded jambs and pointed cinquefoiled head with soffit-cusps. The hollow of the moulding is carved with ball-flowers joined by wavy stalks; the hood-mould also has ball-flowers and defaced head-stops. The sill has an octofoiled basin and above is a credenceshelf. Next west are three sedilia with chamfered jambs and moulded trefoiled heads and hood-moulds with head-stops.

The roof is of trussed rafter type with plastered soffit. There is one main truss of the 17th century with a king-post and struts.

The chancel arch has a modern pointed head, on 12th-century square responds of roughly tooled ashlar.

The Bracebridge Chapel to the north is now used as a vestry. The south-west part is partitioned off with thin walls of brick to enclose the organ. The east window and that in the north wall are small replicas of the east window of the chancel; the west window is of two trefoiled lights and a trefoil in a two-centred head. At the north end of the west wall is a coeval pointed doorway, the jambs and pointed head having a filleted edge roll-mould and a hood-mould with defaced head-stops. The archway to the north aisle is of two chamfered orders, the outer dying on the side walls, the inner carried on corbel-capitals carved with grotesque human faces and foliage. The walling, of roughly coursed rubble, the plinth, and the pairs of angle buttresses are like those of the chancel, but there is more elaboration at the top, which is of early-16th-century alteration. The north wall has a low-pitched gable with a parapet projecting on a hollow-chamfered string-course in which are carvings of human and beast heads. Part of the parapet was destroyed for the gablehead of the later roof. The side parapets are similar, with carved heads and spouts.

The early-16th-century low-pitched roof was replaced with a mid-17th-century high-pitched roof which has timber-framed gable-ends—the northern plastered—and a middle truss with a tie-beam, kingpost, collar-beam, and struts to the principal rafters. On each slope are two purlins, the upper strengthened with straight wind-braces.

In the south end of the east wall is the original piscina with a cinquefoiled pointed head and hood-mould, octofoiled basin and credence shelf. The hood-mould and the wall surface above it are damaged, as though there was once a later chimney-shaft built against it. Higher and just north of it is a moulded image-bracket with two blank shields carved on the face. To the north of the window is an image-niche between panelled side pilasters and with a trefoiled ogee head; the canopy work has been destroyed.

The old vestry is now used as a boiler-room and has lost its floor. Its two walls of grey stone rubble are built against the north buttress of the chancel and east wall of the chapel: at the angle are ashlar dressings. In the east wall is a square-headed doorway of brick, made in 1890: over it are the remains of a single-light window with a red stone lintel inside. In the north wall is a trefoiled single light with plastered splays and wood lintel, and farther west was a doorway, now walled up and with its dressings removed. In the 12-in. space between the window and east wall inside is a tiny rectangular niche 6½ in. wide; in the sill is a 4¼-in. bowl, 5½ in. deep, without an outlet, presumably for some ritual purpose. The lean-to roof is modern.

The nave has north and south arcades of two 18½-ft. bays and of 12th-century origin. Each has a middle round pillar; the southern has a plain scalloped square capital and grooved and chamfered abacus. In the northern the vertical faces above the scallops are treated with panels containing scroll ornament in relief and the abacus has a chamfer and small bead-mould. The responds are square with slightly varying abaci, of which the north-western has some hatch-ornament. The arches, probably of the early 16th century, are two-centred and of two chamfered orders: most of the voussoirs are large, showing some masons’ marks, but in the east bays are many re-used small stones of the 13th century.

The original angles of the nave are seen to the south-east and north-west outside.

The clearstory has two plain square-headed windows on each side, of the 16th or 17th century. The walls are of red sandstone, but have 17th-century brick eaves courses. The roof has a flat plastered ceiling; the timbers above have trusses consisting of tiebeam, king-post with struts to principal rafters, and queen-posts, also strutted. It is covered with tiles.

The north aisle has two tiers of windows in the north wall. The lower three windows are each of two plain square-headed lights with shouldered lintels inside; they are probably the 14th-century openings altered in the 16th or 17th century. The two upper windows are of the early 16th century, perhaps altered later. The eastern is of three lights, the middle ellipticalheaded and the side lights pointed, below an elliptical main head with a hood-mould. The second is of three elliptical-headed lights under a square main head. The north doorway, with chamfered jambs and pointed head, is blocked with brickwork. In the south half of the west wall is a 13th-century lancet window with plastered splays and segmental-pointed rear-arch.

The lower parts of the north and west walls are of 14th-century small rubble; above they are of large squared stones and have embattled parapets. The west wall shows the slope of the former lower roof.

The flat roof is of the early 16th century. It is divided into four main bays by moulded tie-beams which have on the soffits applied central bosses carved as conventional foliage and one Tudor rose. The bays have similarly moulded but lighter intermediate beams and purlins. The rafters are also moulded. In the south wall, east of the arcade, is a 14th-century piscina with ogee head; it has a quatrefoil basin.

The south aisle has an east window of three lights and intersecting tracery like that of the chancel, but all modern. The jambs have ovolo-moulded angles. In the south wall are two windows; the eastern is a tall one of two four-centred lights under a four-centred head with an external hood-mould; the mullion is of wood cemented; the hood-mould has perished head-stops. The second window, set higher in the wall, is probably original; it is of two pointed lights with a plain spandrel in a two-centred head with a plain hood-mould having return stops. The south doorway is probably of the early 15th century and has moulded jambs and a round arch with an external hood-mould. The west window is like the second south window; it has a flat lintel inside. The walling is similar to that of the north aisle showing the original roof slopes in both end-walls and later heightening of the Tudor period. The embattled parapets have been restored; the plinth is moulded. At the angles of both aisles are diagonal buttresses, with one intermediate buttress.

The west tower is of four stages. The north, east, and south walls are of the late 13th century and built of ashlar of small square stones with wide joints. The splayed and chamfered plinth has a half-round top member. On the north side is an original square buttress and near the aisle wall is a large corbel, for what purpose is not evident. On the south side against the aisle wall is the projecting stair turret with a circular vice. The entrance to it in the south wall has a shouldered lintel. As the tower floor has been raised the opening is now only 3½ ft. high. There appears to have been a later doorway outside, now walled up. The archway from the nave is two-centred and of three chamfered orders; the innermost has moulded capitals. The outermost west order dies on the north side wall, but is continued down on the south. The west wall, rebuilt in 1610 with the addition of the bellchamber, is built of coursed yellow ashlar and has diagonal buttresses up to the parapet string-course. The plinth is moulded and chamfered. The wall is covered with many inscriptions, names or initials of churchwardens and others, with the date 1610 repeated at least nine times. Another records the restoration of 1928, when many of the stones were faced with cement. The west window is of two trefoiled lights and a small quatrefoil in a four-centred head with a hood-mould: it was much restored in 1928. The second stage has a quatrefoiled square-headed light and at the top of it a modern two-light window. The top stage (bell-chamber) has windows, each of two four-centred lights under a four-centred head with a hood-mould. Below the western is a panel with a defaced shield of arms. The parapet is embattled; above the angles are square pinnacles that had crocketed finials, now altered or reduced.

The south porch is built of red sandstone. The arched entrance is of two orders, much defaced and much scored by sharpening of knives or weapons. The gable-head shows an original cambered tie-beam outside, but is otherwise restored with old timbers from elsewhere. The side walls have windows of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a square head. The masonry is probably of the early 16th century, but the roof is a century older. It has two moulded tie-beams with highly curved cambers and carrying pairs of sloping struts. The side purlins are each supported by two bays of cinquefoiled arched wind-braces. The masons’ joints at the ends of the tie-beams indicate the former posts of the original timber-framed side walls.

In the east window of the chapel is a tiny fragment of heraldic glass of the 14th century: it is of five quarters; the first is not definite and may be Bracebridge (vairy a fesse gules); 2, apparently barry argent and azure; 3, azure a pierced cinquefoil argent; 4, gules, seven voided lozenges (Ferrers of Groby); 5, (impaled coat?) or a sleeve gules (Hastings).

The font is of the 14th century. It has a twelvesided bowl with a moulded lower edge. The stem is hexagonal; three of its sides are treated with a trefoiled panel and varying tracery; the other three are carved with blank shields represented as hanging from hooks: the base is stepped.

In the Bracebridge Chapel are two effigies of knights, now badly damaged. The older is 7 ft. long and of the late 13th century; it is dressed in mail armour and a long surcoat: the head rests on cushions which are supported by (damaged) winged angels. The features are quite worn away. The bottom part is broken off across the legs: at the feet is a lion, and on the left side a shield. The other is of the early 14th century and of alabaster: it wears chain mail, a gypon, and a bawdric, but most of the head and the legs are missing, also the shield which was on the right side.

There is also a tapering slab in the face of which at the head is a quatrefoil sinking, containing in relief the bust of a long-haired man holding between his hands on his breast an object which may have been a heart (representing a heart burial) or a chalice.

The parish of Kingsbury was once much larger than it is now and included the hamlets of Hurley, Whateley, Slateley, Dosthill, Cliff, Bodymoor Heath, Coton, Whitacre Heath and Plumpton. Many of these settlements still exist while others have been reduced to single farmhouses or have disappeared altogether. Kingsbury was the most important settlement of the parish having the ‘mother’ church of St Peter & St. Paul.

There is evidence of both Prehistoric and Romano-British habitation in the area and after the Romans left Britain in AD.410, Mercia emerged as the largest and most important of the Saxon kingdoms. By the time Offa became its king in AD.757, Tamworth had become the favoured capital and residence. The Saxon name for Kingsbury is ‘CHINESBURIE’ meaning ‘a royal, fortified site’. Situated on a bluff above the river with a panoramic view across the Tame valley, it was a strategically important place to build a ‘burh’ or fortification. The surrounding countryside provided a rich hunting ground with its proximity to the great Forest of Arden and the ‘burh’ may well have been a royal retreat. In AD.851 King Bertwulf, fearing the threat of a Danish invasion, called all his nobles together in a ‘Great Council’ at Kingsbury to make plans that proved to be useless when Tamworth was sacked in AD.874.

By the reign of Edward the Confessor, Kingsbury was held by Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife, the Countess Godiva but they were deprived of it by William I who gave it to Turchill de Arden after the Norman Conquest. The Domesday entry for the village describes it as an estate of about 700 acres worked by 33 villeins who held land in return for services rendered to the Lord of the manor. There was an area of woodland to the north-east, two priests and a mill valued at 9s 4d making it an estate of average wealth. Turchill de Arden’s wife was Godiva’s granddaughter Leverunia and from them the manor of Kingsbury passed by marriage into the Bracebridge family.

From the 13th to the mid 16th centuries, Kingsbury’s fortunes laid in the hands of this soldiering family from Lincolnshire several of whom fought for their country at Crecy and Agincourt. Many were knights, the last being Sir Ralph de Bracebridge in 1403, and they built a chapel onto the church in which now lies the remains of two desecrated effigies. The Bracebridge’s built and lived in Kingsbury Hall although little of their building now survives as additions and alterations have been made over the centuries. The last Bracebridge to hold the manor was Thomas the Younger in 1585 when he duped Sir Francis Willoughby of Middleton Hall into buying it in order to extricate himself from debt. Poor Sir Francis was an unlucky man having the misfortune to have married a wife who may well have poisoned him!

The manor eventually passed into the Peel family from Drayton Manor, and four successive Sir Robert Peels owned land in the parish that has always been essentially a farming community. Industry started to appear towards the end of the 19th century with the opening of Cliff Brickworks but it was the development of the Warwickshire coalfield that brought the greatest change to the village.

Kingsbury Colliery was opened in 1897 and almost overnight fortunes changed as farming gradually gave way to the extraction of coal for use in Birmingham and at Coleshill’s Lurghi Plant. After the colliery shut in 1968, additional farming land was lost to the more lucrative gravel extraction at Bodymoor Heath and to the construction of the Oil Terminal on the Trinity Road. Kingsbury Water Park grew out of the old, gravel workings in 1975 and has become a haven for bird watchers and walkers alike.

Tuesday 9th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2022 by uppyalf

The Lady In The Window

How is the lady that waves to me?
The farm lady from the top of the lane
Asked Pauline
I don’t know her name
She never once looked at me
Ignored me totally
I had just explained to Pauline
That Brenda had been taken to a home
How difficult she had been these past two weeks
Still the lady from the farm wanted answers from Pauline
I wanted to say that I had waved to her great grandmother
In the same said window
And helped her when I could
Making contact
It’s nice that they have contact she said
But she didn’t know her name
I had helped Daisy the same way
Jamie and Sonia who live in Daisy’s
Had not stirred a hair
They show their faces for the dead
Clapping the NHS is all very well
But it’s the living we should turn a hand for
Terri, Sue and me had taken the brunt of Brenda
All so very sad
She refused to go to hospital
So they could not take her against her will
She didn’t want to leave her home
She wanted coffee
No she didn’t
She did want to leave home
No she didn’t
Would not eat
Would not drink
Would not speak
All very sad
Her nephew had Covid
So his boys and I put her in the kitchen chair
And carried her in tears to their car
Mick thought the world of you John
I will see you soon Brenda
Just get well
I don’t think I can
All very sad
Later the farm lady arrived
And ignored me
The one who didn’t know her name
Leaving them to themselves
I left the ladies to discuss the day
Or the weather
All very sad

Bish 9th August 2022

Monday 8th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2022 by uppyalf

Sunday 7th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2022 by uppyalf

The Things That Cause a Quiet Life

 Written by Martial
My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain,
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;

The equal friend; no grudge, no strife;
No charge of rule nor governance;
Without disease the healthy life;
The household of continuance;

The mean diet, no dainty fare;
True wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress;

The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night:
Content thyself with thine estate,
Neither wish death, nor fear his might.

How to be a Poet

(to remind myself)

i

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity…

ii

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

iii

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.”
Wendell Berry – Given.

Philippe Charles Jacquet – A quiet life.

Cool in your kaftan

I thought all the hippies were dead
But no
I’ve seen four in the last three days
Maybe the heat or the floating dandelion seeds has revived them
I saw two sitting in a pub in Long Itchington.
They were supping the cream off the top if their coffees
The guy even had the hippie beard
And the wispy hair
Be it grey and shinning in the sunlight
I saw the next one at Compton Verney
I mentioned that I saw the two yesterday
He said his wife wouldn’t let him have a beard
His kaftan was black and white it struck a note with our pirate ship
Then in Tesco today at the check out
A lady in stripe pants and gold and yellow kaftan
She looked to upmarket for me to mention the flower children
So I let it be
Fe fi fiddly dumb
Cool in your kaftan
Love and peace man

Bish 7th August 2022

Saturday 6th August 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2022 by uppyalf