I found myself in a backed up traffic queue at a level crossing, between Blackpool and Poulton le Fylde, waiting for a train to pass through. Opposite a house, with a decorative sign of verse inside the garden gate; part of the verse is obscured by bushes. I just about make out the first two lines - 'The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth' - one day I will park the car and get out to read that sign. But thanks to modern technology the verse is on the internet - the
second verse in a poem by Dorothy Gurney (1858 - 1932), poet and hymn writer.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth, -
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Seeing people on the train heading for Blackpool from Preston; a few commuters in a couple of carriages. Fleeting thoughts pass through my mind . . . that only a generation ago in the 1950s/60s the train would have been full and there would have been many more carriages when Blackpool, Lancashire, north of the river Ribble was a thriving holiday resort for all the factory workers, from cotton spinning mills, weaving sheds, engineering works, coal mines coming from industrial south Lancashire - once famed as the workshop of the world. But dirty, grimy, steam - filled jobs in dark factories with little sun, and a heavy cost to those workers health, physical and spiritual. Their holiday break at Whitsun and Summer in Blackpool must have come as welcome respite - no industrial revolution in north Lancashire, just windswept sandy beaches, donkey rides and ice creams, glitzy gaudy funfairs on the pleasure beach and pavilioned piers, Blackpool tower with its famous ballroom, modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Tram rides along the promenade as far as Fleetwood, fish and chips, and my favourite of the Flyde - windmills and beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. Allen Clarke, journalist and socialist, hundred years ago in 1916 called Blackpool and the Fylde, 'Windmill Land' and said that Lancashire was a county of two halves: Lancashire south of the Ribble was 'the workshop of the world' and north of the Ribble was the Fylde, 'the garden.' I feel as I have an affinity with Allen Clarke as we have both lived south of the river Ribble and then lived in the North albeit a hundred years apart.
But more of 'Windmill Land' another time. Today I am celebrating the joys of my own garden, and here are a few photos. I wish you could here the birdsong too.
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