Transitory Things in Lamport

 

Lamport trees

Lamport is a small village on the road between Market Harborough and Northampton, which I have often passed through, but never made time to visit until last week, prompted mainly by reading “A Child Alone : the Memoirs of ‘BB’“.  ‘BB’ was the pen-name of D.J. Watkins-Pitchford, a naturalist, artist and author whose books I enjoyed as a child and have sometimes alluded to in writing this blog.

Watkins-Pitchford grew up in the Rectory at Lamport (now, inevitably ‘The Old Rectory’)*

Lamport Rectory

Lamport Rectory

which is next door to the church of which his father was the Rector.

All Saints, Lamport

All Saints, Lamport

and directly opposite Lamport Hall, the family seat (until recently) of the Isham family.

Lamport Hall

Lamport Hall

 

Lamport Hall

As young D.J. was an imaginative child and kept at home rather than sent to school, he would have had plenty of time to contemplate the motto of the Isham family, which is inscribed at least twice on the exterior of the Hall, and must have been visible from the windows of the Rectory.  That motto is

“In Transitory Things Resteth No Glory”.

As anyone who has read them will know, “BB” prefaced all his books with the following, which he claimed his father had copied from “a tombstone in a north-country churchyard” (I also borrowed it for a previous incarnation of this blog):

The wonder of the world

The beauty and the power

The shapes of things,

Their colours, lights and shades,

These I saw,

Look ye also while life lasts.

It occurred to me that this might have been intended as a riposte, or perhaps a complement, to the Ishams’ motto?

Anyway, here are a few glorious, transitory things in and around Lamport.

Farm at Lamport

A Bright Stream

A Bright Stream

 

And what does any of this have to do with cricket?  Only that if you cannot see the glory in transitory things, you won’t find much of it in cricket.

*This picture illustrates a feature of the house that figures vividly in ‘BB”s account of childhood;

“The other ‘familiar’ of this period, shared between my twin and myself, was a most uncanny and rather dreadful entity called ‘The Peak on the Balcony’.

I must explain that all around the top of the house there was a lead-lined balcony … this balcony was just outside our nursery at the top of the house.  It was possible to open the window and get out on it when the grown-ups were not around.  From it, one had a stupendous aerial view of the beautiful valley, falling away towards the north-west, with its trees and fishponds.  When we stood upright, the parapet came no higher than our waists.

Round this balcony, usually in winter dusks, the Peak on the Balcony patrolled.  It was intense black in colour, a pointed pyramid which glided past the windows – all a figment of our imaginations.  As I lay in bed on winter nights, I could visualise the Peak – hideously black – softly, soundlessly, gliding all round the house, peering in at the windows; a horrible apparition, much to be feared, quite different from Miss Skulls with whom one could converse without any qualms.”

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom : Benign Neglect

l’m conscious of having neglected this blog for too long. The Toad Work has pretty much had me in a half-nelson and though I’ve had the time to watch cricket I haven’t had the time (or mental space) to write about it. So although I have witnessed some momentous events (for once) I shall have to recollect them in tranquillity, rather than report in the heat of the moment.

On my return I half expected to find the blog overgrown with weeds or, to put it another way, a meadow in full bloom with wild flowers.  It can be hard to tell the two apart and simple neglect may be as effective a means of husbandry as deliberate tending.  This thought occurred on my way to Trent Bridge at the beginning of the month when I saw what, for me, were the first poppies of the Summer growing on this small patch of grass between the railway station and the path I take to the cricket ground through a housing estate known as The Meadows.  I imagine it hadn’t been mown because of cuts to council funding.Meadows 1Meadows 2 “The Meadows” was, I believe, the name for a much larger area of watermeadow on the banks of the Trent, taking in Meadow Lane (the home of Notts County FC) and Lady Bay (where Notts 2nd XI play).  It was largely built over with terraced housing, some of which remains but some demolished to make way for “The Meadows” estate.  Now it, in its turn, is partly boarded up and due for demolition, though that too seems to have been postponed due to lack of funds.Meadows 3 Meadows 4 (Ladysmock Gardens) Meanwhile the old Meadows are reclaiming their rightful territory, through the cracks and the abandoned front yards.

But The Meadows isn’t the only place where a thousand wild flowers are being allowed to bloom.  This is a small corner of the otherwise carefully tended Spa Fields in Clerkenwell

Spa Fields 1Spa Fields 2 and this a small patch in the equally well-tended Welland Park in Market Harborough.

Welland Park

I doubt whether lack of funds is the reason for the lack of mowing here, but equally I’m not sure that the mowers haven’t just “missed a bit”.  There is no doubt, though, about this, to the untrained eye, indistinguishable patch of mini-meadow in Canterbury, because there is a fence around it and a notice explaining that it has been left to bloom wild in the interests of conservation.

Canterbury : Wylde Flowers 2Canterbury : Wylde Flowers 3

and another patch elsewhere leaves even less room for doubt.

Canterbury : Wylde Flowers

It does occur to me that this admirable determination to nurture wild flowers seems to have less success so far than Nottingham’s inability to pay its verge-cutters.  (Not quite the truth, I suspect, but a comforting thought for those of us who have been neglecting our blogs, flower-beds or even back lawns for several weeks now, so I’m sticking to it.)