In the bustle of our every day lives we may forget how important our surroundings are to us and how easily we can lose the things that make a place special.
John Betjeman mentioned the village in his poem “Great Central Railway Sheffield Victoria to Banbury” (Collected Poems, 1958), the end of which goes….
“Is Woodford Church or Hinton Church
The one I ought to see?
Or were they both too much restored
I do not know. Towards the west
A trail of glory runs.
And we leave the old Great Central Line
For Banbury and buns.”
Peter Coleman and his wife lived happily in the village of Woodford Halse for a number of years. He describes it as a beautiful and inspirational village. Sad to say his wife ended her journey of life in March 2013. Peter has now moved out of the village but still has all the many happy memories with him and has kindly provided these three poems for us.
He writes of his poem ‘Ridge & Furrowed Field‘, “I was very alarmed to see that the Farndon Road is to be ruined by new buildings. I believe this will be detrimental to an area of historical importance. The Ridge and Furrowed Field is an inspirational place of beauty. The poem draws its inspiration from a happy walk along the Farndon Road with my late wife. I send it to you and the people of Woodford Halse in remembrance and gratitude of a beautiful place”.
Of ‘The Fiddly Yard‘, Peter says, “Many years ago, before we moved to Woodford Halse. I worked with Mr John Parnell from Woodford Halse who was a former foot plate worker on the Great Central line. He would regale to me so many funny little railway stories. The stories he told remained with me, as did his friendship after I moved into the village. His funny stories about his time on the foot plate became the catalyst of The Fiddly Yard. He is in possession of a copy of the poem. The cinder track became The Fiddly Yard of my imaginings. Apologies to all railwaymen past and present. The term “fiddly yard” is used in America. to describe what our railwaymen would call a shunting yard. However I hope I can be forgiven for using a little poetic license. I hope the poem will promote a little discussion among the railway fraternity. In any event I dedicate this poem to John Parnell and everyone on the foot plate. Please use or pass it on.”
His third poem, entitled ‘Oh Tiny Bridge‘ is included just because he was walking and wondering one day.