Friday, 28 November 2014

"Re-visiting" The Orchard.

Robert Searle

The Orchard was my home at Stoke Poges which is near Slough, England. I gave two references to it in an article entitled Realization of the Psychic. I have taken the relevant (cached) excerpts in connection with it.

".............Many people have experienced synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences. I have two interesting examples though I have had many others of a less "extraordinary" nature. Odd as it may seem they were both connected with where I was living(1977-1990)which was Stoke Poges, a very posh area just outside Slough.

In around 1989 I was making enquiries about possibly interviewing Ma Yogashakti, a female guru for Yoga, and Healing magazine (which was later published with photographic material). My contact was with someone who worked at the School of Oriental, and African Studies at the University of London. She supplied me with much useful information, and asked me where I lived. I said Stoke Poges, and she claimed she used to live in Chesham which was fairly nearby. However, it also transpired that she actually had relatives at the Orchard (built in the Edwardian age) which was the house I was living in on Park Road with mater, and pater! Apparently, as a child she used to stay (or possibly lived there on, and off if my memory serves me well!) there, and as proof of these claims she presented some photocopies of old photographs from her family albums. This showed the Orchard as it was in the early part of the 20th century. She made the claim that this big house was also originally the place for high ranking military people from British India to stay temporarily when on leave.
The other "meaningful" coincidence involved a telephone conversation with someone from a metaphysical society based in Hastings. He claimed he could hear inner psychic sounds at a distance, and they reminded him of the poem by Thomas Gray known as the Elegy. I was amazed by this because he did not know that I was calling from Stoke Poges which was the place where it was possibly written! Indeed, there is an actual monument to the Elegy near to the Church where Thomas Gray is buried.."

The actress Judi Trott used to live next to me at the Orchard. Notably, she appeared as Maid Marrion in Robin of Sherwood. By "coincidence," her sister Sarah was at school with me at The Tutorials in Windsor.

Among other things, the Orchard had a bomb shelter. I recall mater claiming that she could feel a "cold spot" there denoting something negative, or tragic. Indeed, it was later discovered that a long time ago, a young man training to become a lawyer had shot himself..........

There is a link which shows an aerial, and a street level view of the kind of rich area in which I used to inhabit. However, I did not know a lot of the wealthy people in the area except through my gardening activities which may be "examined" in a future post on this blog.

Incidently, the Orchard can also be seen. It is a large white house. See the link below,-0.5883482,3a,75y,7.75h,82.34t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxYXp2JT3RmCSy4kckmTTXQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656


The Curfew Tolls................

From  around 1977 to 1990 I used to live with mater, and pater at the "mansion" called the Orchard, in Park Road, Stoke Poges. Not far from where I lived there was the Monument to Thomas Gray's Elegy, a poem of some renown. Here, I reproduce it for readers. The following source is Wikipedia

".............The poem begins in a churchyard with a narrator who is describing his surroundings in vivid detail. The narrator emphasises both aural and visual sensations as he examines the area in relation to himself:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign. (lines 1–12)
As the poem continues, the narrator begins to focus less on the countryside and more on his immediate surroundings. His descriptions begin to move from sensations to his own thoughts about the dead. As the poem changes, the narrator begins to emphasise what is not present in the scene; he contrasts an obscure country life with a life that is remembered. This contemplation provokes the narrator's thoughts on waste that comes in nature:[34]
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. (lines 53–72)
The narrator focuses on the inequities that come from death, obscuring individuals, while he begins to resign himself to his own inevitable fate. As the poem ends, the narrator begins to deal with death in a direct manner as he discusses how humans desire to be remembered. As the narrator does so, the poem shifts and the first narrator is replaced by a second who describes the death of the first:[35]
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. (lines 93–100)
The poem concludes with a description of the poet's grave, over which the narrator is meditating, together with a description of the end of the poet's life:[36]
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn." (lines 101–116)
An epitaph is included after the conclusion of the poem. The epitaph reveals that the poet whose grave is the focus of the poem was unknown and obscure. The poet was separated from the other common people because he was unable to join with the common affairs of life, and circumstance kept him from becoming something greater:[37]
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God. (lines 117–128)
The original conclusion from the earlier version of the poem promotes the view that humans should be resigned to the fact that we will die, which differs from the indirect, third person description in the final version:
The thoughtless World to majesty may bow
Exalt the brave, & idolize Success
But more to Innocence their Safety owe
Than Power & Genius e'er conspired to bless
And thou, who mindful of the unhonour'd Dead
Dost in these Notes thy artless Tale relate
By Night & lonely contemplation led
To linger in the gloomy Walks of Fate
Hark how the sacred Calm, that broods around
Bids ev'ry fierce tumultous Passion ease
In still small Accents whisp'ring from the Ground
A grateful Earnest of eternal Peace
No more with Reason & thyself at strife;
Give anxious Cares & endless Wishes room
But thro' the cool sequester'd Vale of Life
Pursue the silent Tenour of thy Doom..."

PS. The reference in the first line about Curfew may be the sound of the bells of the Curfew Tower of Windsor heard at a distance. I used to help the old guide there by telling tourists something of its history.

The Year 1914...and the Year 2014.... Remembered for World War I

As I write this post the year 2014 is coming to an end. It marked the start one of the most wretched, and horrible wars of human history. Ofcourse, I am referring here to the Great War of 1914 to 1918. No words really can do it justice. It was beyond belief with the horrors of the trenches, the barbed wire, hand grenade attacks, and the shooting down, and bayonetting of human beings in so-called no-mans land.....My late grandfather on mater's side would never talk about his experiences in the War. Yet, he did mention the River Somme turning to the colour of blood....and even said that a good German was a dead one!

Nearly opposite me across the road from my flat in Chalvey, Slough there is St. Peter's Church. It has a monument to the brave, and heroic men  who gave their lives in World War I. They will never be forgotten for the ultimate sacrifice they gave to their country. It is good that World War I, and other such conflicts are remembered.

Chalvey St Peter

The two pics below were taken in Chalvey a day after the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the horror of World War I.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Basic Intro

The following are a series of posts which deal simply with my thoughts, and memories. They may provide some interest, and perhaps, even insight. However, this is a rather selective, and personal blog unlike my other ones. .

As an individual, I tend to come across as a large intellectual person with a "posh accent." However, I am very approachable, and have a very wide range of interests!! I always carry a shoulder bag where I keep certain key items. In Slough where I have been living for years I am also very well-known as the Whistler....cheering up the place now, and again with my usually "loud" musical whistling especially in the High Street. My forte is early music, and improvisation creating new quality musical compositions out of thin air.

I have also changed names of some of the people "herein" and even excluded any "detailed" descriptions of them where necessary so that their privacy and real identity is protected. I have no interest in libelling anyone.

There are many other things I could add in this blog..but I feel that what is presented is largely sufficient though more "stuff" may be included.

Thanks for reading the above.


                                                           Robert Searle  the blogger       

The pleasant wooded view outside the front door of my flat in Chalvey.   The moss is also doing well as can be seen...!

Looking out of a window with a cup of chocolate seeing a small part of Slough High Street

Slough Library, or the Curve as it is called due to its shape at Xmas time in 2018

Possibly the best photo of the blogger  Robert Searle