Archive for January, 2022

Monday 31st January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2022 by uppyalf

The Water Tower

It stands there
Intriguing me
The monolith in 2001
Comes to my mind
It’s hidden
It made me walk around it
Studying it from all angles
Water tanks
Two doors
A window
The entrance to hades
It’s a special thing

Bish 1st February 2022

The Water Tower
It stands there
Intriguing me
It’s a special thing
A sentinel
A tomb
A grave marker
It’s a special thing
Water tanks
Two doors
A window
Intriguing me
It made me walk around it
I studied it from all angles
The monolith in 2001
comes to my mind
The underworld
The entrance to Hades
It’s a special thing
Bish 31st January 2022


I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert

Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Christmas tree
There by the side of the road
Baubles tinsel festive decoration
Strange how we see such things
More and more
Who is it for?
What is it for?
Why cling on to such places
Would it not be better
To let them rest in your heart
Than at the side of a dirty road
I saw more flowers adorning
A hedgerow in Wales
A site of more sadness
Yes it made me look
But what did it make me think
We are all different I guess
I hope I would be able
To let loved ones go
placing such trivial things
At the place of their death
Seems to me a bit contrived

23 Dec 2021 Honeybourne Road

Sunday 30th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2022 by uppyalf

Saturday 29th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2022 by uppyalf

And let the trees breath for tomorrow who knows?

When our minds have left us there are still the screams!

Sometimes even the brave are afraid to go into the woods.

Thursday 27th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2022 by uppyalf

The Verneys of Compton Verney-we cannot think of the Verneys as of anywhere else-have for the last few years been severed from their ancestral estate, which, like so many of our ancient homes, has passed into the hands of a successful commercial family.

The parish, known as late as the seventeenth century as Compton Murdac, took the second half of its name from the family who were its lords from the time of Henry I to 1371, when it came into the possession of Alice Perrers, the notorious mistress and robber of Edward III. She was impeached by Richard II, but when she married Sir William Windsor, was pardoned, and Compton Murdac restored to her. Her daughter took the estate into the family of Skerne, and the Verneys came into possession in the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461).

Sir Richard Verney died in 1490, and from him descended another Sir Richard, who married Margaret Greville, daughter of Sir Fulke Greville, and sole heiress of her brother, Fulke, Lord Brooke, who died under tragic cir cumstances in 1628.* Sir Richard’s bride was the senior representative of the last Lord Willoughby de Broke, and this peerage by writ was eventually revived for her Verney descendants. When Sir Richard died in 1630 he was succeeded by his son, Sir Greville Verney, who married Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Southwell, and died in 1642.

Sir Greville’s second son, Richard, of Belton, county Rutland, eventually succeeded to Compton Murdac, was knighted, and became Member of Parliament for the county. He married Mary, daughter of Sir John Pretyman, Bart., and it should be noted that he was Sir William Dugdale’s friend, and gave him much assistance in his

In 1086 COMPTON was held by the Count of Meulan; it was rated at 7 hides and had been held by Ulward and Cantuin before the Conquest. The overlordship descended with the earldom of Warwick, of which (then vested in the Crown) it was still held in 1507.

Henry de Beaumont, his younger brother, later succeeded Count Meulan to the Earldom of Warwick.

The first Count Meulan (otherwise known as Roger de Beaumont) was one of William’s most favoured benefactors as well as being the most powerful seignior in Normandy. Sometimes the records in England show him as Robert, although this may be caused by a confusion between his son, Robert, and Roger who actually held the lands. Roger adopted the title Count of Meulan from Adelina, his wife’s family.

Roger received from William ninety manors in Warwick (including Weddington), Leicester, Wiltshire and Northampton. There is dispute as to whether he, Roger, was actually at Hastings as he was old at the time, but records show that he contributed 60 ships to the invasion force. It is more likely that he was represented by the young Robert, his son, at the Battle of Hastings. By the taking of the Domesday survey, it was Robert who known as the Count of Meulan, having inherited the title in 1082 on his father’s death. He also became a peer of France. He was also known as Roger de Beaumont, or simply Earl Roger, and became the 1st Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Leicester. Initially, although a very powerful magnate, he was only the custodian of the grants made to his father by Duke William until his father’s death. By 1082 however, he had inherited all his father’s estates in England and in Normandy. Count Meulan held a total of 57 manors in Warwick at the Domesday survey. His Chief domain in England was Sturminster Marshal in Dorset, whilst he shared with the King the great power in Warwickshire. His holdings were as follows:

Arlescote, Anstey, Avon Dassett, Barnacle, Bedworth, Bericote, Berkswell, Bourton on Dunsmore, Bulkington, Charlecote, Claverdon, Compton Verney, Fenny Compton, Frankton, Fulbrook, Hillmorton, Hodnell, Ilmington, Kington, Ladbroke, Lillington, Luddington, Marston Jabbett, Milverton, Moreton Morrell, Myton, Napton on the Hill, Newbold Comyn, Oversley, Preston Bagot, Roundhill, Seckington, Sherborn, Shilton, Shuckborough, Shuttington, Smercore, Snitterfield, Sole End, Tachbrook Mallory, Thurlsaston, Walton, Warmington, Weddington, Weston in Arden, Wibtoft, Willey, Wolford, Woodcote, Wormleighton, Dorsington,

Earl Roger (1119–53) granted the estate to Robert Murdac, and Earl William (1153–84) confirmed it to Robert’s son Roger. From this family it took its name of COMPTON MURDAK. In 1217 Thomas Murdac succeeded his brother Robert (or Roger?), to whose widow Maud he assigned dower.

He was dead by 1242, when the fee was held by the heir of Thomas Murdac, this heir being William Murdac, who had a grant of free warren here in 1254. William died about 1261, leaving a son William, a minor, whose custody was disputed between Geoffrey de Lewkenore as overlord of Edgcote (Northants.) and Margaret, Countess of Warwick, and John du Plessis (her husband) in right of the manor of Compton Murdak. Geoffrey was successful, but the elder William before his death had sent his son to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, by whom he was sent to the Countess of Lincoln; William’s widow Eve promised to do her best to get him back.

The younger William died seised of the manor in 1298, leaving a son John. This John apparently died without issue and was succeeded by his brother Sir Thomas, who was the victim of a peculiarly atrocious murder in 1316. His wife Juliana de Gayton, with the assistance of his squire, two chaplains, and other persons (and probably with the connivance of Sir John de Vaus, though he was eventually acquitted), killed Sir Thomas at Stourton (Staffs.), cut up his body and dumped the pieces in his manor of Edgcote (Northants.). For this Juliana was eventually, in 1321, burnt.

Sir Thomas died seised of the manor, his son and heir John being then aged 18. Sir John Murdak in 1323 settled the manor on himself and his wife Eleanor, but died without issue and was succeeded before 1342 by his brother (Sir) Thomas. John’s (second wife and) widow Alice seems to have married, and outlived, Simon de Northwood and was still holding dower in the manor in 1370, when Sir Thomas Murdak conveyed the manor to William de Greseley, clerk, who in 1373 conveyed it to John Bernes of London and others.

They may have been acting for Alice Perrers, the notorious mistress of Edward III, to whom Sir Thomas had conveyed the manor in November 1370. In 1371 she sued John Straunge for poaching in her free warren at Compton Murdak. On the accession of Richard II her estates were forfeited and this manor was put in the custody of John Spenser; (fn. 22) in 1380, how ever, it, with the reversion of the portion still held by Alice widow of Sir John Murdak, was granted to Sir William Windsor, husband of Alice Perrers.

They at once made a settlement of this and other estates, and on the death of Sir William the manor passed to his daughter Joan and her husband Robert Skerne, who obtained a quitclaim thereof in 1405 from Arnold Murdak, brother and heir of Thomas (son of Sir Thomas).

I’m reading the wrong books

I’m reading the wrong books
That’s what Christine said
On me asking her about Alice Peeres
And her involvement at Compton Verney
Alice Peeres! Slut, whore, robber
I was shocked
I thought she would have
More empathy for this child
For child she was only 15
On today’s standards
Arms would be up
She disagreed with
Most of what I had said
I was trying to defend her
Have I been reading the wrong books?
I admit I cannot find ones to defend her
But was she not used and abused
Was it not a clever thing to gain the
Rewards anyway she could?
The wealthy hated her
Because she was stealing their wealth
They were jealous
She was cleverer than them
The good parliament
Banished her and imprisoned her
They stripped her gains
But she came back
I wonder what hold she had on them
How did she win through while all the
Higher people were out for her blood?
I have to read more books
But only the right ones
I should do the next talk
Was Christine’s broadside
As she walked away

Bish 27th January 2022

Alice Peeres at Compton Verney

Alice Perrers seemed like a good person to start with, because she is so interesting and not your typical heroine. She first came to my attention a few years ago when I read The People’s Queen by Vanora Bennett. I was struck at how she had managed to climb up from obscurity to being the most important and wealthy lady in the land, but also how she was frustrating in her greed and lack of awareness in needing to charm people around her. You wanted to root for her, as is natural for the protagonist, but at times it was difficult to support her. Now, of course, this is a work of fiction, but it certainly sparked my interest in her.

Alice Perrers came from obscure origins, and as is common for medieval women – even of high status we are not completely certain when she was born, or to whom. She is thought to have been born around 1348, and for a long time it was thought her father was Sir Richard Perrers, a Hertfordshire landowner of reasonable standing. He had been an MP and also acted as Sheriff of the county. He had also, however, been imprisoned and outlawed in the 1350s because of his quarrel with the abbey of St Albans. This provided evidence that Alice was his daughter as she later went on to have disputes with the abbey and one of her most severe critics was the St Albans Chronicle; many believed she picked up her fathers’ quarrel as she grew up. Some contemporary sources claimed Alice was of even baser birth, an illegitimate daughter of a whore and a tiler – but as these sources were hostile towards her because of her influence over the king, it is probable that they were merely trying to further besmirch her name and add more mud to their accusations against her. Within the last two decades, documents have been uncovered citing that Alice had a brother called John Salisbury and had previously been married to a man called Janyn Perrers. Subsequent research suggests that she came from a family of London goldsmiths.

Whatever Alice’s origins, by 1362 she had found her way to court and had become lady-in-waiting to the Queen, Philippa of Hainault, Edward III’s wife. Alice was only around 14-15 years old at this time. Edward III had a reputation for his loyalty to his beloved wife. In the more than 30 years that they had been married, Edward had never been known to take a mistress. Philippa herself was beloved in the Kingdom for her kindness and compassion. Joshua Barnes, a medieval writer, described her as “a very good and charming person who exceeded most ladies for sweetness of nature and virtuous disposition”. It is probable that the exalted reputation of Philippa contributed to hatred of Alice as she took over affairs – it was easy from the start for Alice to slip into the narrative of evil temptress who seduced an aging king away from his dying, beloved queen.

It is believed that Alice became Edward’s mistress not long after she entered Philippa’s household, 6 years before the queen died. However, if this was the case, the relationship was conducted with upmost secrecy and was not made public until after the Queen’s death. It appears that Alice and Edward had illegitimate children together (if they were indeed having an affair before the Queen’s death): Alice gave birth to three children; John de Southeray, 1364; Jane Northland, 1365; Joan Skerne, 1366.

By the time the affair was made public around 1369, Alice was only 21 years old. King Edward was severely impacted by the death of his beloved wife, and he relied heavily on Alice’s presence both to fill Philippa’s void and guide him in courtly affairs. This immediately began making Alice enemies at court who were jealous of this young girl’s sudden rise to prominence.

Edward was very generous to Alice (perhaps accelerated by her skills of persuasion) and she was given lots of property, jewellery, and wealth by him. She was often seen by his side, and at Edward’s command Alice was effectively treated as a queen. Courtiers were expected to be respectful towards her, and in 1375 she rode through London dressed as “The Lady of the Sun”, in golden clothes and with Ladies surrounding her who were leading Knights on silver chains. A few years prior to this, Edward (whether at Alice’s insistence is unknown, though many believe so) gave Alice some of Philippa’s jewels – although some have argued that the jewels probably were not part of the deceased Queen’s personal collection, but rather had been gifted by her to another woman, Euphemia Hasleworth.

More importantly, however, were the properties Alice got under her belt. At the height of her power she controlled 56 manors, castles and town houses stretching over 25 counties of England from the north to the home counties. However, these were not all free hand-outs from the king; Edward only gifted her 15 of these properties. The rest were gained by her hard work and business acumen. One of these properties was claimed by the abbey of St Albans to actually belong to them. This was one of many disputes between the abbey and Alice (perhaps prompted by her father’s conflicts with them) but for now, Alice was victorious. In 1374, when the abbot attempted to take the dispute to court, Alice – confident in the King’s authority surrounding her – actually sat in the court during the proceedings to intimidate the judges to ruling in her favour. The abbot was advised to give up hope of the claims for now.

Alice was certainly shrewd, and she knew that the old king would not be around forever to protect her, and she was aware that she had built up numerous enemies. As such, she fostered relationships with Edward’s sons, Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt. This certainly served her well.

In 1376, The Good Parliament took its seat under a pressing need for funds. The corruption of the court, and the notoriety of Alice and her supporters, were making the government very unpopular with the populace. As such, MPs decided it was time to make reforms and clean up the Royal Council. Richard Lyons and Lord Latimer were accused of robbing the treasury, and were imprisoned. Latimer’s impeachment is the earliest recorded in Parliament. The King was assigned new councillors who were deemed to be of better moral calibre, including the Earl of March, the Bishop of London, and the Bishop of Winchester.

In a surprising turn of events, Alice was also dragged into accusations. As Alice held no official position in government, there was little that she could be charged with. However, her temerity in sitting in the law courts during her dispute with the abbot of St Albans meant she was able to be attacked. Concerns were aired about her behaviour there, and Parliament were able to obtain a royal decree forbidding all women from interfering in judicial decisions. She was also charged with having taken thousands of pounds from the royal purse.

The result of these accusations was that Alice was banished from the kingdom and had her lands forfeit. Edward begged for mercy to be shown to Alice, so she avoided prison on the condition that she would no longer see the King. However, this is where Alice’s schmoozing with Edward’s sons came to her rescue. After the Parliament was dissolved, John of Gaunt (as virtual ruler of the country due to Edward’s old age, and the recent death of the Black Prince) set to work undoing the rulings. He imprisoned the Speaker of the House of Commons, barred the new councillors assigned to the king from taking up their positions, and he recalled Latimer and Alice. Edward died within a year, but Alice stayed with him until his death, probably bringing him great comfort.

Thomas Walsingham, the English chronicler, accuses Alice of being so greedy and evil that when Edward passed away she stole the rings on his fingers. This is most likely an unfounded accusation made to highlight her despicable character.

After Edward’s death, and the accession of his grandson, Richard II, charges against Alice were resurrected. All of her land and belongings were confiscated, and she was ordered to live with her husband, Sir William Windsor, who she had married in secret some time between 1374 and 1377. However, Alice was not going to give up so easily. Over the remaining years, William helped her file numerous lawsuits to reclaim her properties and reverse the court judgements. They seem to have been somewhat successful, as it appears from subsequent legal records that Alice and William were back in control of some of her properties and valuables.

William died in 1384, and this brought renewed trouble for Alice. He willed her valuable properties to his heirs, even though legally they should have reverted to Alice on his death. This sparked new legal battles for Alice to try and reclaim her rightful properties in order to bequeath some to her daughters and their families. Her will shows that she had managed to retain control of some properties which she gave to her children.

Alice Perrers died in the winter of 1400/1401 aged 52 and was buried in the church of St Laurence, Upminster, as she was still in possession of the manor of Gaynes that she had obtained back in the height of her power. Her grave has subsequently been lost. Alice was a perfect example of the medieval “Fortune’s Wheel” – from obscurity, she rose to the highest position, but inevitably had a great fall, with the end of her life apparently lived in strife and legal battles. She had lived life to its fullest, however, and at one point she had a wealth of more than £20,000 – half a century later, during the reign of Henry V, the entire revenue of the government of England was £56,000. She had been one of the richest people in the land, male or female.

Wednesday 26th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2022 by uppyalf

It’s not Keats is it?

It’s not Keats is it?
Someone once told me
I never take anything
On the chin
I may appear to
But these things
They cut to the bone
I never forget
I’m like an elephant on steroids
I bellow for years
Tearing myself to shreds
Not forgetting is a curse
And it is painful
It creates a void
Between you and reality
It stops you from moving forward
Holding a hand up to your face
Instead of a mirror
It makes rain clouds
Even on the sunniest day
Help me see
Help me realise
Help me discover
A purpose to my failure

Bish 26/01/2022

Sunday 24th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2022 by uppyalf

Saturday 22nd January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2022 by uppyalf

Friday 21st January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2022 by uppyalf

On a hot summer night
Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
Will he offer me his mouth?
Will he offer me his teeth?
Will he offer me his jaws?
Will he offer me his hunger?
Again, will he offer me his hunger?
And will he starve without me?
And does he love me?
On a hot summer night
Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
I bet you to say that to all the boys


I don’t like saying RIP
I’m not sure why
It sticks in my pen
I sometimes think
I should write RIP
But it just won’t come
I stumble over it
I try to think of something
More worthy
I don’t see death as resting
Or even peaceful
I see it as final
The dead are not resting
They are not here anymore
The soul maybe released
And I tend to write
Bless their cotton socks
I guess it’s childish
I guess it’s immature
But they are gone
It’s final
Blessing them makes me feel better
It’s kind of a thank you
For being
Bless them
God bless them
Bless their cotton socks

Bish 22/01/2022


Where is all that gold?
Where is it?
Glorifying your false idols I expect
The ones you replaced theirs with
Glowing over long dead explorers
Stolen from far off lands
Where you killed thousands
Of souls for the pleasure of it
Forcing them with your lies
To fill rooms full of treasure
So you could melt it down
Like you melted burnt and crushed them
All for your greed and religion
Where is your remorse?
Where is your burden?
You appear to have gotten away
With murder
Not of a person
But of civilizations
I don’t understand
The more I read
The more I write
The more I confront my own battles
The more pain history brings to me
Religion and greed
They seem to be the key factors
History was built on
I hope your god
Sent you somewhere hot
Where the pain is endless
For that’s what you deserve
But again I know you have
Just gone nowhere
All those people you murdered
All that misery you caused
I don’t understand
The more I read
The more I don’t understand

Bish 21st January 2022

On the conquest of Mexico, Peru and the Americas

Thursday 20th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2022 by uppyalf

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2022 by uppyalf

Band of Brothers

We were young
We were fearless
We were brothers
United to a cause
I was young
I was scared
Scared of failure
Scared of getting it wrong
Breaking the family line
A Band of brothers
We really were at times
I don’t know how I did it
Looking back
I really don’t know how
But I did
I preferred the junior school
Where the girls were my friends
I didn’t like the big school
With all that macho bravado
I missed the girls
The teachers never understood me
Never gave me a chance
Too slow
Too quiet
Too fat
They put me in the bottom class
A failure to begin with
I fought
And I fought
Ending up in 4a2
Then the fifth year
Instead of 5a
They knocked me back
That hurt
It still does
I came 6th out of 48
On the fire service course
They sent me to Solihull
Another fight
Another struggle
Then when near my medal
Heart attack
No medal for you son
Job gone
Life over
Home gone
Marriage over
I was young
I was scared
I was ill
After years of retraining
After years at college
Years of volunteering
I’m back to the struggle
I’m up against the wall
I’m looking back
To the brothers I thought I had
But I’m alone
No friends
No future
No band of brothers?
Just a hollow sadness
To carry to the fire
That will see my ashes
Burn bullseye’s in the smoke
Like Dave Evans
Like Graham Bow
Like Ralph Dawson
Like Charlie Weir
Like my father
My grief takes me back
To when we were young
When we were fearless
When we were united
To a cause
A band of brothers

Bish 19th January 2022
On listening to the theme from Band of Brothers.
Graham Bow had this played at his funeral. As we left the chapel