Rosy Cole

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Rosy Cole was born and educated in the Shires of England. Her writing career started in her teens. Four apprentice works eventually led to publication of two novels. Life intervened, but she returned to authorship in 2004. She has worked as a Press Officer and Publisher's Reader and is a member of the Society of Authors. Among widespread interests, she lists history, opera, musicals, jazz, the arts, drawing and painting, gemmology, homoeopathy and alternative therapies. Theology also is an abiding interest. As a singer, she's performed alongside many renowned musicians and has run a music agency which specialised in themed 'words-and-music' programmes, bringing her two greatest passions together. Rosy's first book of poetry, THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether, was published in April 2012, National Poetry Month, and two other collections are in preparation. As well as the First and Second Books in the Berkeley Series, she has written several other historical titles and one of literary fiction. She is currently working on the Third Book in the Berkeley Series. All her books are now published under the New Eve imprint. Rosy lives in West Sussex with her son, Chris, and her Springador, Jack, who keeps a firm paw on the work-and-walkies schedule!

Only Partially Before His Time

 

 

 It’s no Jane Austen’s house, commanding the centre of a village and smacking of genteel Georgian thrift and cultural pursuits, with windows that let in the refined light of day

Thomas Hardy’s birthplace in neighbouring Dorset, lies lost in the shade of Thorncombe Woods and is approached via a gentle, winding ascent though beech glades. You hardly know it's there until you happen upon the clearing at its gates and behold the cob and thatch cottage built by his grandfather. It seems so apt an analogy of the author's works. He was rooted in the Victorian era, but his gritty clarity, within an expansive style, foreshadows the post-war world where interior life was beginning to bleed through the skin of prose. It might even strike some readers that his method was resonant of the French novelists of his time.

The Higher Bockhampton cottage is a place of cockeyed doors, cramped rooms, roaring fires and soot smells. You can imagine the rough and tumble of a family bent on survival, growing their own food and bettering themselves against a background of rural hardship in those days of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Hardy's father, also Thomas, was a stonemason and builder, an accomplished fiddler, and the whole family would entertain themselves with music of an evening.

His mother, Jemima Hands Hardy, was an indomitable figure who was well-read and had pretensions to social status. Almost certainly she was an inspiration in Far From The Madding Crowd when her son wrote: 'She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, feared at tea-parties, hated in shops, and loved at crises.' Young Thomas, having been tutored by his mother, attended a local school at the age of eight, but showing a marked aptitude for learning, was soon entered at an academy in Dorchester. The distance meant a three mile walk each day, each way, through a landscape which contrasted rustic poverty and urban prosperity. You can well imagine that this, from Jude The Obscure, rings of his leaving and setting out upon a personal journey: 'Be a good boy, remember; and be kind to animals and birds, and read all you can.'

When you look at his portrait, what do you see? Resignation, disenchantment, even a whiff of misanthropy. Here is a fellow whose long first marriage withered into a grudging tolerance and whose wife, Emma, for twenty years slept in the attic and kept a journal and wrote poetry. The romance of wedlock had quickly expired, and Hardy felt trapped. (In the recesses of his psyche, there must have been echoes of his mother's injunction to her children to avoid marriage and live as bachelor siblings, which the other three obeyed!) ‘A bad marriage is one of the direst things on earth and one of the cruellest,’ he stated. Yet when Emma died, he was instantly tormented by loss and had her coffin placed at the foot of his bed for three days, until the funeral.

Later, discovering Emma's writings, he was overcome with guilt and remorse at his cavalier treatment of her. It was to blight the rest of his life and overshadow his marriage to the young Florence Dugdale, a children's author.

Hardy was a man who kept his tenderer feelings under wraps. His heart, though riddled with contradictions, burned with a desire for honesty and humanity. It left little room for the partiality and bias of novelists like Dickens. There is a careful modulation between good and evil in Hardy's realism. As he said himself: 'If a better way there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.'

 

 

  'To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock;
the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall.'

 

 'When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?'

 

  'I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.'

 

 'And all her shining keys will be took from her, and her cupboards opened; and little things a' didn't wish seen, anybody will see; and her wishes and ways will all be as nothing!'

 

 'When that half-burnt log and those cinders were alight she was alive!'

 

 'The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things.'

 Yes,'says she, 'when I'm gone, and my last breath's blowed, lookin the top drawer o' the chest in the back room by the window, and you'll find all my coffin clothes, a piece of flannel - that's to put under me, and the little piece is to put under my head; and my new stockings for my feet - they are folded alongside, and all my other things. And there's four ounce pennies, the heaviest I could find, a-tied up in bits of linen, for weights - two for my right eye and two for my left.'

 

 'It is rarely that the pleasures of the imagination will compensate for the pain of sleeplessness.'

 

 'So the baby was carried in a small deal box, under an ancient woman's shawl, to the churchyard that night, and buried by lantern-light, at the cost of a shilling and a pint of beer to the sexton, in that shabby corner of God's allotment where He lets the nettles grow, and where all unbaptized infants...are laid.' 

 

 'The heath and changes of weather were quite blotted out from their eyes for the present. They were enclosed in a sort of luminous mist, which hid from them surroundings of any inharmonious colour,
and gave to all things the character of light. When it rained they were charmed, because they could remain indoors together all day with such a show of reason; when it was fine they were charmed,
because they could sit together on the hills. They were like those double stars which revolve round and round each other, and from a distance appear to be one.' 

  'The rural world was not ripe for him. A man should be only partially before his time—to be completely to the vanward in aspirations is fatal to fame.'

 

 The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
      The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

 

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2016

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Fascinating. I had no idea about Hardy's first wife. Life must have been very hard for her too. Thank you for sharing this, Ro... Read More
Thursday, 25 August 2016 09:21
Rosy Cole
Thanks kindly for reading and commenting, Katia. Yes, I so agree about Emma. She did suffer greatly and clearly survived upon her ... Read More
Saturday, 27 August 2016 18:37
Monika Schott
These are beautiful, Rosy. Sad and loving. Thanks for sharing them. ... Read More
Saturday, 03 September 2016 23:56
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Inglorious Twelfth of August

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Glorious Twelfth of August is the date on which the grouse shooting season begins and is celebrated, or at least noted, in the British Isles. In times past when bloodsports were an accepted feature of rural life and there was a reverence for the disciplines of nature conservation, no thought of political or ethical correctness entered anyone's head. There were races to get the best grouse from Scotland on to London's top restaurant tables within a few hours and the winner would have been headline news.

The season for the shooting of other game begins respectively on September 1 for partridge, and October 1 for pheasant, and goes on until February. There are different dates for other species, with seasons overlapping. Game licences have now been abolished both for keepers and dealers in Britain, and all game, except hare, can be sold year round, thanks to freezer technology which wouldn't have been available when the original Game Act was passed in 1831. It's interesting that the law forbidding shooting on Sundays and Christmas Day still holds good in a country whose Christian heritage, incorporating sacred bloodshed, is largely forgotten.

This reminds me of Isabel Colegate's The Shooting Party, a novel of jaded mores and pursuits among the late Edwardian aristocracy. It mirrors the ritual of blood-letting and the drive to outwit and conquer the lower orders. The tale is a microcosm of what happens within groups of the human species when arrogant assumptions about entitlement run riot. It is an ominous metaphor for the triggers in the psyche that precipitated World War 1 and saw a whole way of life swept into oblivion.

Such are the imbalances of nature, culling may sometimes be necessary. But the thing I note on walks with my dog, Jack, through the woods and fields of southern England, is the aggressive dedication with which game is conserved for sheer sport and greedy profit. (I am told there are fortunes to be made.) The birds are kept in pens, hidden deep in the woods, and artificially fed on a regular basis. “I'm back and forth all day,” says one keeper in a country journal. “My poults are eating like it's going out of fashion.” Actually, it is. They're eating like there's no tomorrow because they're terrified. Man is their enemy. These periodicals are plastered with legal advertisements touting for clients among those accused of breaking animal welfare laws.

Shooting goes on in season and out. (Who is doing the shooting and what they are shooting, I cannot say.) It takes place dangerously close to public footpaths and sends wildlife into a frenzy for miles around. Increasingly, walkers are deterred from using any but the safer long distance hiking routes. Paths are allowed to become rampantly overgrown, either by nature, or by tall crops, maize or rape, for instance. Stiles fall into disrepair and laths are rigorously trimmed with barbed wire. Occasionally, an electric wire will be continued beneath a stile step so that dogs can't pass through unless they are agile and confident enough to hurdle the barrier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As some readers will know, Jack is a Springador. A pedigree cross-breed! A gun dog. He can roll uncooked eggs off the kitchen counter, carry them in his mouth, and disgorge them intact where he chooses. He can strip feathers from dead birds. He can catch rabbits in lightning retreat. It's what he does, what his ancestors did from time immemorial. His head lifts and his shoulders brace when he meets a pack of gun dogs on the foray. He wants to show them he knows what they're about. But as a domestic animal, he's been trained not to scare the birds and small mammals which visit the garden. Among them, we have a large family of wood pigeons, and one of collared doves, which are no problem at all. Jack understands that his job is to care for them on our patch because, in their gratitude – and they are trusting and interactive – they are helping to protect our fruit and veggies from micro pests. It's very touching how proudly they show off their raggedy new offspring who have yet to learn how to forage and how to take flights of distance. Perched on the fence, they croon their coos and reflect peacefully on life, keeping seagulls well at bay, whose plaintive din knows little abatement and very little night if they decide to roost nearby. Believe me, Larus Occidentalis is up well before the lark!

When Jack was a puppy beginning to investigate the sounds, scents and sights of his environment, he would bring in small pieces of granite from the garden and deposit them on my lap or at my feet. It took me a while to understand that these were treasure trove. He'd seen chunks of rose quartz, calcite and amethyst glinting on my desk. When, a few weeks later, he started exploring the English landscape, he'd retrieve used cartridge cases dropped in the grass. He loved finding them. Somehow, he knew what they were, that they were significant to his identity. But how I dread the sight of those articles now! And they are strewn everywhere! I know there will be dead carcases, heaps of torn feathers.

A couple of years ago, I came across a beautiful teal duck with its head tucked under its wing, who had died from a gunshot wound. When something like this happens, Jack will bury his nose in the feathers and snuffle up the smell like a truffle hound. A look will come into his eye and his demeanour change, his metabolic chemistry suddenly altered. He'll race across the fields looking for rabbit prey. And he'll catch one. Thankfully, now that he's on the threshold of his golden years, although he can still outrun his juniors, he's grown more laid back about the whole thing and seems to appreciate the 'big picture'.

Nature is red in tooth and claw but only mindless in the sense that it's ruled by the exigencies of survival. These instincts are heightened and subverted by panic through disregard of the eco-system by plundering, blundering, human primates who have the reasoning power to subdue their baser drives and employ their energies in constructive management. It seems that a proprietorial attitude to guns slackens our grasp on the awfulness of killing. And the ether becomes charged with our ethos.

Strangely, and this may seem contradictory, I think it's why we have to support our troops. We are asking them to expose themselves to all that, and what it will do to their lives if they survive. The ostensible causes of war are another issue, but, like charity, even they begin at home.

Peace within our walls and palaces. It may sound like a high ideal, but it's one that can change the world, and, if you look closely, is already happening.

 

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2010 - 2016

Recent Comments
Ken Hartke
Thank you for this, Rosy. I'm not a hunter and could write on this for a few pages but will refrain as you have touched on it so w... Read More
Friday, 12 August 2016 18:56
Rosy Cole
Glad you enjoyed your chilled-out birthday :-) The dog days of summer are indeed a special time, as Jack would agree. He, too, lov... Read More
Monday, 15 August 2016 14:22
Katherine Gregor
Good piece, Rosy. I feel quite strongly against "blood sports". Although I wouldn't choose to do this myself, I respect people w... Read More
Saturday, 13 August 2016 20:01
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A Dialogue With Flowers

  

(Image: Parham Park Limited)

 

On Summer Sunday afternoons, this is where I'm most likely to be...

 

Flowers are happy things.

P G Wodehouse

 

 

 

He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves.

 E M Forster

 

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

 Claude Monet

 

I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

 Abraham Lincoln

 

 The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. 

 Auguste Rodin

 

 

 

 

  Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

 Oscar Wilde

 Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.

Theodore Roethke


Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.

 Jeremy Bentham


Flowers are happy things.

P. G. Wodehouse

 

 

 

 A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in… What more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.

 Victor Hugo

 In a rich moonlit garden, flowers open beneath the eyes of entire nations terrified to acknowledge the simplicity of the beauty of peace.

 Aberjhani

  If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?

 Kahlil Gibran

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.

 Iris Murdoch

  

 

 'The lilies of the field' dressed finer than earthly princes, springing-up there in the humble furrow-field; a beautiful eye looking-out on you, from the great inner Sea of Beauty! 

 Thomas Carlyle

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.

 The Koran

 The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

 Tennessee Williams

The earth laughs in flowers

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2016, pilgrimrose.com 2016

Recent Comments
Former Member
I love this! It's like walking in a garden with you, dear friend.
Saturday, 06 August 2016 16:44
Rosy Cole
Thank you :-) That's exactly what I hoped for, Anne, with all the fear and gloom on this planet. And one day, we shall.
Saturday, 06 August 2016 23:12
Monika Schott
These are beautiful, Rosy! I'll be coming back to them. And the first image is just exquisite. ... Read More
Thursday, 11 August 2016 21:13
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Tails I Win!

 

El Springador celebrates his prime on a very special occasion with a retro post of seven years ago. At eight-four, he's still a live wire!

 

I have pawsed the high-octane adventure that is my life to let you folks know that today is my birthday. I'm five! Thirty-five in dog years – the canine calendar runs on bobbins – neither Pup Gregory nor Caesar (the fellow who invented canned dogfood) could get the hang of it.

Einstein, of course, came up with his major breakthrough based on knowledge of Springadors:

E = MC2, that is, Energy equals More Chips, Too.

And I taught him all he knew about Black Holes, but not where they were located! Or wot they were for! Better whisper it low; mustn't get Herself started on that one. She's been missing a memory stick for a while now. I think we probably can't keep putting it down to a Spinone moment, or the onset of Alsatians. The thing is, you see, I read in the nosepaper about this dog-bone shaped asteroid they've discovered up there. If it should land in my patch, I need somewhere to bury it.

She's fully convinced that I'm also the genius of Chaos Theory when scatter cushions go AWOL and my rubber DNA toy is fielded by the nest of wires behind her computer. I keep telling her it's all on account of some Chalkhill Blue batting his wings up on Devil's Dyke - actually saw him once, right under my nose, looking for a pollen pad to land on - but will she have it?

Now go on, admit it. The world's still barking mad, but it's been a better place since July 10, 2004, when Dog put a spaniel in the works to set about uprooting unwanted Bushes. I'm good at that. Roses are a bit tricky, but dahlias come out a treat and I quite like the taste of camellias. I've been in the doghouse (again!) - just as well I've got my own little brick-built paw-de-terre in the garden where I can chill out – because I crashed into a blooming clump of her treasured arum lilies chasing off a hedgehog. They'd never let me in at the Hampton Court Flower Show!

Wot a life, eh? I just love every moment. And birthdays give you an excuse to create real mayhem!

It sure was a red-litter day, July 10, 2004!

Wags and Woofs,

 

Jack (Canine-Still-In-Much-Waiting to Herself)

 

Copyright

© Rosy Cole 2009 - 2016

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
I love it! Happy birthday, Jack!
Sunday, 10 July 2016 17:59
Rosy Cole
Multiwags, Katia! You're a fetching customer, but I'm feline a bit uppity about your name. It does give paws... x
Monday, 11 July 2016 12:53
Stephen Evans
Inimitable Jack ... Read More
Monday, 11 July 2016 03:08
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Latest Comments

Monika Schott Farm Reflections: The Migrant Camp
20 October 2017
Thanks, Stephen. It's an important part of history. It must be captured.
Monika Schott Farm Reflections: The Migrant Camp
20 October 2017
Thanks, Rosy, that's a lovely thing to say. I am enjoying it and why shouldn't I share the joy! The ...
Stephen Evans Farm Reflections: The Migrant Camp
20 October 2017
Wonderful that the story of this community is being preserved. Bravo.
Rosy Cole Farm Reflections: The Migrant Camp
19 October 2017
Your enjoyment of this project is infectious, Moni, and unusual and fascinating to read. It's not so...
Rosy Cole Down with Moonlight: A One-Minute Play
19 October 2017
'Course it is. I bet you calculated that when you were still in diapers, as you say over there, and ...

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