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Friday, 8 March 2013

Our Town #1




Approaching from the north
down steep and steepening Folly Hill
and into Castle Street,
beware the tight right-hander
or take the cut end over end
to end in Farnham Park,
your wheels as free as air.

Par 3, the golf course you are on.
Nine holes, if you've not made a tenth.
(Amenities and wild life share
in equal measure here
for this, a park to cherish.)

Three hundred acres plus:
no planted beds,
no long borders, but instead;
a stunning avenue of trees
one kilometer long,
eight woods and copses,
several ponds, the river
Nadder and its valley
and a cycle way;
cattle and deer are here --
and don't forget
the vigilante foxes
that patrol our streets.

Somewhere among the trees, I've heard
(you only hear, you never see),
the Ranger's House
where dignitaries visiting may lodge --
including those requiring an armed guard.

Once gently guided to another path,
I wondered -- idly, as one does --
had I been balaclava'd, carrying
a cello case... how gently guided then?

But now, you've made the tight right-hander
and come in quick succession to
The Cricket Club and Farnham Castle,
twelfth century the latter, once
the seat of bishops, now
a centre meant for briefing
those about to go abroad.
Alas, its A1 reputation has not proved proof
against ubiquitous administration.
Horticulturists will love the Palace Gardens.

We're very close here
to the heart of what
I call My Town,
the place where I have lived for half my life,
but still the road drops down
and S-bends for a bit beneath
low, overhanging trees
then broadens out, becomes
a boulevard but in name
with parking either side,
the buildings Georgian,
shops and businesses as well as houses.
Still we drop down --
less steeply -- to The Borough,
part of the centre's one way system.
The very heart itself.



Submitted in response to Paula Sayers prompt for Critique and Craft at dVerse Poets

The images show Farnham Park's Nadder Valley and the Castle Gate House. They were sourced from Wikimedia and WikiCommons.

21 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nice...so you are going to write more of your town? the par 3 golf course...ah we had one in my hometown...grew up on it...used to go steal the balls out of the creeks as a kid...then started to play...it was only a few miles away so we would walk...it was different back then, you could walk any where you know....

Dave King said...

Brian
Yes, thanks for this. For sometime I've had this notion of writing a series on my town. The prompt this week decided it.

The last remark of your comment went home to me. You're so right, it was different back then, we could roam off for a day if we wanted. I was great on cycling and would just go -- 50 miles or more, where ever the whim took me.

Wouldn't let my kids do it, though. Shame, great shame.

Mary said...

Sounds like a wonderful place to live, Dave. Amidst the natural and the historical! I enjoyed the view.

(I too lived near a golf course...1/12/ blocks away; and in winter we would take our sleds over & use some of the hills for sledding. Nice memories!)

aprille said...

That is some walk around the block!
I envy you the 'underfoot', so solid and unmuddy :-)
And a cyclepath no less. Your county [Surrey?] is cycle oriented, judging from the Olympics. We have a cycle route over here, but you need body armour to venture out on it.
The greatest blow to roaming has been privatising the waterboard: their 'environmental' ideas are quite stupendously bizarre. They have even managed to wreck the Thames tow paths.
Don't get me started.
So glad to read you still have what you describe. In spite of the bodyguards.

Manicddaily said...

Sounds like an extremely nice place. I do love the idea of a different greeting for the guy in balaclava with cello case! And what if it had been a guitar? (Or tuba!) (A fellow has to have some place to practice the tuba!)

It is very charming - both the wink in your tone and the simple description. k.

aprille said...

I remember orienteering round Farnham park. The description on our run sheet was rather odd:"Farnham Park
An area full of long grass, cows, dogs and fences. The few bits that are forested you'll need a machete for. Ideal for cows - "

Ygraine said...

Oh how you've revived memories of my teenage years!
In those days I lived with my parents in Headley Down, and it was only a short bus ride to Farnham.
I spent many a sunny Saturday afternoon with friends, just happy to wander around the castle and it's park.

Thank you so much for this wonderful memory-prompt, Dave.
You've cheered up my afternoon no end! :)

kkkkaty said...

..I would like to walk that road into town...thanks for sharing and look forward to reading more ;)

Claudia said...

just read the comment thread and over here it's still possible that kids can roam around all day...they go by bike to school and to their sport lessons in the afternoon and for me this really is life quality as well..very cool description of the town dave...

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

This is a delightful hymn.
And I found "your wheels as free as air" sublime.
It reminded me of S.Heaney's "Walk on air against your better judgement..."

Victoria said...

What a lovely visit. I would love to play that par 3 someday. You've recreated all the charm of your town, a place that sound like a bit of heaven on earth.

flaubert said...

Dave, I haven't visited you in such a long time, now I am hanging my head in shame. Life just seems to get in the way.

This truly picturesque write of where you live. How lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela

David Cranmer said...

Now I wanna live there, Dave.

The Elephant's Child said...

Your town sounds truly lovely - thank you for this. The wildlife on many of our golf courses is kangaroos - who lounge on the greens quite at ease.
I have to say that I agree with Mark Twain though 'a good walk, ruined.' They are invariably such pretty places...

Dave King said...

Mary
Yep, has its drawback, though. I'm sure I'll come to them in time! There certainly is a lot of history, though. No doubt I'll come to that as well!

aprille
Cycle paths are more or less limited to the park round here. I had heard about the waterboards, but had no idea they were extending their evil influence to the tow paths... is that legal?

Ygraine
Good to hear stuff like this. Yes Headley Down, just down the road. We have often driven through or near it when out for rides. Thanks for sharing your memories.

kkkkaty
Good to hear from you. Thanks for your thoughts.

Claudia
Thanks Claudia. Envy your kids their freedom.

Tommaso
Thanks for reminding me of the Heaney. I'm afraid I've neglected him of late. Must get back to!

Victoria
Thanks for saying Victoria. Much appreciate your comments.

flaubert
I do know the feeling of life getting in the way. Keeps happening! Good to have you back. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

David
We'd love to have you!

The Elephant's Child
You make it sound so fabulous. Thanks for the comment.






Dave King said...

Missed Two!

Manicddaily
or conceal the machine gun?

I must say I very much appreciated the wink in my tone comment! Thank you very much for that.

aprille

Your orienteering sheet sounds priceless! You remind me that as I lad I entered a cycle time trial that was taking place in the area (Can't remember the details, but Hindhead was involved). There were some very strange descriptions of the local roads that we were given, too!

Dave King said...

Missed Two!

Manicddaily
or conceal the machine gun?

I must say I very much appreciated the wink in my tone comment! Thank you very much for that.

aprille

Your orienteering sheet sounds priceless! You remind me that as I lad I entered a cycle time trial that was taking place in the area (Can't remember the details, but Hindhead was involved). There were some very strange descriptions of the local roads that we were given, too!

Brudberg said...

Sounds extremely nice place to live. Any place were cycling is a natural part of living gets my vote.

Wolfsrosebud said...

beautiful capture of an unusual place

Dave King said...

Brudberg
Hi! Really good to have you visiting. Thanks so much for stopping by to give your thoughts

wolfrosebud
Thank you for saying so. Much appreciated.

Dave King said...

Brudberg
Hi! Really good to have you visiting. Thanks so much for stopping by to give your thoughts

wolfrosebud
Thank you for saying so. Much appreciated.