Monday, 26 June 2017

BLACK TAILED GODWIT, AVOCETS & YOUNG, LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, OYSTERCATCHER & YOUNG BLACK HEADED GULLS @ UPTON WARREN TODAY...













WEDNESFIELD FC, MY ONLY VISIT IN 2011-12: A LIGHTHEARTED ACCOUNT...

Following the splendid news of Wednesfield FC's confirmed promotion to the West Midlands Premier League for the 2017-18 season, I looked back through my unpublished articles to find a lighthearted account of my only visit so far to watch Wednesfield play at home, a game they lost 2-3 to Haughmond in 2011-12...

The humour therein is just that, simple humour but in the light of the club's recent success and the current fine state of the ground, I hope that a smile or two will be raised by my account of my visit some years back... 

The three images directly below were Tweeted to me by the club's Twitter operator which I thank him for...

Good luck to Wednesfield for the coming season...





Malfunctions In Wednesfield…  

Reaching Wednesfield in midweek from Solihull proved not to be the easiest of journeys, although I did pass a fish and chip shop called ‘The Codfather’. I liked that… 

I had driven the M5 and the A4123, rather than losing my temper along the busier M6 but roadworks slowed my progress anyway and I was relieved eventually to spot the bent, once red railings of the Wednesfield F.C. entrance gates to my left. 
REMINDED ME OF TRYING TO DECIPHER EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS...

I was greeted in my car by an attendant, I paid my fee with difficulty, having to delve deep into my jeans for coins and then I asked him for a programme, which sported rather a strange glossy cover. Touching it was rather like dragging my nails down a school classroom’s blackboard in the 1970s and my whole body seized up and that was not because I was in Wednesfield…  
SOMEONE DEPOSITED A STOOL ON THE GROUND...

I drove alongside the dull, red shed of a grandstand but the tiny parking area near the clubhouse, changing rooms, tea-bar, skip and piles of general garbage looked more like a corral for wayward sheep in truth and I was forced to turn and leave my car alongside a touchline, behind a rail. I could have watched the game from the driver’s seat but of course I wanted to experience the real thing… 
SIDE-ON IT REMINDED ME OF A CLOSED HELMET FROM A SUIT OF ARMOUR... 

I bought a cup of tea from two women, the younger looking like a clone of the older and enquired why the original date for the game against Shawbury had been waived. I expected them to tell me of involvement in some cup-tie or other but I was informed that the pitch hadn’t been ready “…loike…” I am certain I tasted sterilised milk in the tea, something which reminded me of my childhood and I am sure that a number of blades of grass died as I poured the remnants of the dangerous liquid from my cup.
PLEASANT OUTLOOK...

There was a skip full of refuse and debris near the refreshments hatch and the courtyard seemed like a deposit for trash of various kinds. A bonfire’s remains littered wasteland behind one goal-frame and dark clouds threatened this interesting and cluttered venue. 
AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG...

I asked about getting a copy of the two teams and stepped into a V.I.P. lounge which was actually the right-hand side of the refreshments hut, fronting the changing area. A burly chap looked at me helplessly, shrugging, “O’r manager has ‘em in ‘is pockit…” Fine, thanks then.
CONFUSING...

I took pictures of the really unique and fascinating scene but those black clouds glared, daring me to stand out in the open during the game. A random whistle then beckoned me back to the lounge and like Rex the Collie, I sniffed out the rather robust chap I’d spoken to earlier and because my reading specs were in my car, he proceeded to read out the players’ names to me. He was unable to explain why the visitors had a guy on the bench called ‘David Well Be Off’. It turned out to be David Walbyoff. However, I was grateful for the information.
GREAT SKY THOUGH...

A sign at the end of the facing clubhouse wall pointed vaguely towards the lounge/changing rooms/refreshments window, maybe even a gap between the two buildings and indicated where the toilets were situated. I investigated all those possibilities and was eventually told that the facilities were actually inside the clubhouse. Helpful that… 

There were youngsters in the grandstand, who were later joined by some local girls, making for a slightly less than romantic setting for courting. I stood behind a rail along the touchline near my car but was forced by those evil clouds to make two or three rushes for cover, as heavy showers poured down. I leaned too hard on the rail at one point and an iron pole collapsed. 
THE DUGOUTS...

I had already grazed my shin on the underside of a wooden advertising hoarding whilst poking an errant ball beneath it to a player and when I sheltered during the final lashing of rain, I unwittingly stood beneath a rectangular hole in the roof and those clouds successfully dampened me at last. 

Two men had balanced a couple of drinks cans on the shelf of the grandstand’s frontage to catch a persistent leak from the ageing roof and I still have no idea why, for the water still splashed the fellows anyway.

The youngsters then began to berate the referee, as Wednesfield began to falter and one lad remarked about his own goalie, 
“He’s got it in his locker but he’s lost the key…” Then he, plus the others, guffawed with laughter. I don’t know why. So he repeated it several times. And they all laughed. Several times. 

When Shawbury netted a surprising late winner though to claim an unlikely 3-2 victory, the lad described the referee thus: “Ref, you’re a dysfunctional knob…” 

I liked that.

The Wednesfield skipper was a brick shithouse in boots, one of the strikers was an out of condition heavyweight boxer and one of the coaches bounced about like a giant space-hopper. Shawbury weathered the storm however, the youths took mobile-phone pictures of each other and the dysfunctional knob blew the final whistle. 

Me? I drove home. 

It’s what I do.






  

Sunday, 25 June 2017

THE WISCONSIN BADGERS' 2ND WORLD WAR CASUALTY, DAVE SCHREINER...

David Nathan Schreiner, born in 1921, hailed from Lancaster, Wisconsin and played football for the Wisconsin Badgers as a defensive end and as an offensive pass receiver.

After Pearl Harbor happened, he wrote a letter saying that most of the Badgers would probably be in battle with the army soon enough and that the football season would have prepared them well for the tasks ahead.

Just 24 years old, Schreiner was at Okinawa in 1945, hours before victory was claimed by the Allied forces but whilst out on patrol he was shot in the body, apparently by Japanese soldiers faking surrender. 

He died of his wounds the following day, 21st June.

I live in the UK, I have never been fortunate enough to visit Wisconsin but I follow the Badgers from afar and Dave’s story struck a chord with me.

I have just written the following poem as my contribution to the legendary status of a brave Badger who passed away 72 years ago. 

The references below to ‘Wink’ and ‘Harder’ are just to illustrate the two players who threw three passes for Schreiner to catch and score from in one quarter of one game in 1942. The quarterback was Jack Wink, the full-back was Pat Harder…

The final two verses are based of course on Wisconsin’s game song, ‘On, Wisconsin’. 

Pete Ray…


Dave Schreiner, Wisconsin Badger Hall-of-Famer

A Senior, an All-American,
Multi-faceted, an End,
He would face in-state rival Marquette
In the Fall of 1942 at Camp Randall
To reiterate his offensive threat,
As well as his penchant to defend…

In the second quarter Dave Schreiner
Scored touchdowns from three passes caught,
A feat rarely Harder, completed quick as a Wink,
Yet the standout hauled them in to cheer Camp Randall,
As deflated opponents could only reflect and think
On a thrashing defeat and a demeanour distraught…

Four catches, one hundred and thirty-eight yards gained,
A school record for the Big Ten’s MVP;
He was an All-American again and the Detroit Lions’ second round pick
In the 1943 NFL draft, cementing legendary staus at Camp Randall:
But World War Two conjured up an evil trick
And a professional career for Schreiner never did come to be…

At Okinawa in the war against Japan,
The Lieutenant Badger fought as a Marine
But whilst out on patrol he was mortally wounded
And in June 1945, news filtered through to Camp Randall
That he had succumbed just before victory was sounded:
Thus a stunned Wisconsin mourned in silence serene…

The number 80 jersey was retired in that year
And into the College Football Hall of Fame
Schreiner was inducted in 1955,
A reward for a hero from Camp Randall,
Who should surely certainly have still been alive
And an NFL star of the Grid Iron game…

On, Wisconsin, on, Dave Schreiner,
He plunged right through those lines;
Fighting on for America’s fame,
A fighting fellow, fighting to win the game…

On, Wisconsin, on Dave Schreiner,
His driving spirit through adversity rang;
He raised his glowing, fighting flame,
So let us stand, fellows and salute his name… 

Pete Ray
June 2017

For non-American football enthusiasts, an End was basically a defensive-line player, a quarterback commanded the offense by passing, handing-off the ball to a runner, or maybe taking off on runs himself and a full-back like Pat Harder was a tough runner, who was employed to gain short yardage usually.

The Big Ten was the league the Wisconsin Badgers played in, an MVP is obviously the Most Valuable Player and an All-American is a player voted as one of the very best college performers in the country, a major honour.

Camp Randall is where the Badgers play their games in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rest in Peace, Dave Schreiner…


  





Saturday, 24 June 2017

THE BODGING PREPARES FOR THE NEW NON-LEAGUE SEASON...

THE BODGING HAS BATHED & DRIES IN THE ACCUSTOMED MANNER...

HE ALWAYS DID HAVE TROUBLE WITH TENT PEGS TOO...

HE CHOOSES A DRYING HAMMOCK...

...FINDS A SHADY NOOK...

...& PREPARES FOR HIS FIRST NON-LEAGUE MATCH OF THE SEASON AT BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS ON FRIDAY EVENING...

IVY'S @ Barn Antiques, Long Marston, CV37 8RP...

FINE FOOD, FINE STAFF...





SANTA MARIA IN ORGANO: FLAMES...

Flames In Organo

Stepping into an expected austerity,
A pervading stillness
And uneasy peace, my confidence ruffled;
A sense of belonging escaped me,
The cold ceremonial antiquity muffled
As I gaped, motionless
At magnificent carvings,
Inlaid marquetry and wonderful carpentry
By Fra Giovanni, created over a quarter-century
Which dazzled, beguiled and baffled…

Stepping down into a sullen, dank crypt,
An overriding simplicity
And undue unease my presence befuddled;
A tense dawning then gripped me,
For a simmer of flames huddled
As I gazed, witless
At partial wall-paintings,
Portraying imagery and warning humanity
Of Hell’s fate, invented in a medieval century
Which amazed, intrigued but addled…

Pete Ray
June 2017

Santa Maria in Organo church, Verona…


Incredible carving by Giovanni was the highlight inside the church, as well as two signs displaying where the 1882 flood reached and the crypt’s faded wall-paintings which certainly included Hell’s flames…




FRA GIOVANNI...

...HIS FINAL WORK...

REMARKABLE...

THE ARENA...

CRYPT ALTAR...



Thursday, 22 June 2017

'STEPS DOWN TO THE HARBOUR': A NEW POEM TO ACCOMPANY JULIE ADLARD'S ARTWORK...

Steps Down To the Harbour

Redundant are small boats, lobster pots and mooring posts,
Insistent are the raw fishing nets’ warm pinks;
A harbour’s life blood hue thus clings to the coast
And rocks and patchwork form the links
Between the silence and vacancy perceived…

Consistent is the bunting, for a regatta or perhaps May Day?
Absent are local folks, or perhaps merely hidden;
A harbour’s blusher warms like sundown, its tints awry
And steps descend for the bidden,
Who for death’s airy wraiths have grieved…

Adamant is that mauve thread curling a gushing route,
Rampant its sweep towards a discreet corner, where
A harbour’s nestling eatery hugs a niche astute
And Rojano’s, maybe lurking in the Square,
Where culinary conjuring is woven and achieved?

Pete Ray
June 2017

A poem to accompany Julie Adlard’s picture of the same name…

‘Steps Down To the Harbour’ is loosely based upon Padstow I believe and one can see sailing in the distance, presumably upon the River Camel’s estuary.

I could only wonder where the mauve led to and I know Rojano’s is round a corner from the harbour, so I took the liberty to mention the restaurant in the verses above…

Loved the steps in the picture, also the harsh netting but once again the absence of humans adds so much to the work…

The ladder is so like the one used by Verona which originated from the Scaligeri family’s original name, della Scala, meaning ‘the steps’… 




  

BIFURCATED RIVETS...

Bifurcated Rivets

It languished, ageing, rusting perceptibly
Upon an antiques centre’s chair
And yet it caught my eye,
Not only for its imperfections
But because of its label which drew me in, imperceptibly:
A tin, for rivets, known as bifurcated…
Twin-forked, self-piercing like sharpened molars
And used as the lid’s instructions indicated;
Forced by a crimping punch,
Hammered smooth then on leather,
Plywood, plastics, or fibre and fixed with a crunch;
Stronger than stitches in packing cases exported
Yet reminiscent of paper fasteners, I wryly contemplated… 

Pete Ray
June 2017

Spotted at Fabulous Finds Antiques, 11 The Arden Centre, Little Alne, B95 6HW…

Simply had to find out what the curious tin had once contained… 
One would apparently use rivets 1/16 inch longer than the thickness of hard leather, whilst using rivets 1/8 inch longer than the thickness of spongy leather…

There, I’ve said it all…


Reminded me of the forked fasteners from folders and files when I was at school… 

THE TIN...

INSTRUCTIONS...

I LIKED THESE, AS A KID...