“When the crowd see you run
They say, you are a sparkling flower;
You shower your wondrous power
Like a humongous, shimmering tower.
Ferocious fear and niggling nerves devoured,
Like a Nemean lion that Heracles cowered.
The loud sound
Vibrated through the ground.
The athlete was so, so proud
As he astounded the thrilled crowd.”
Lancaster Steiner School
My handwriting’s diabolical I’m afraid. There’s many a time when I’ve taken frantic notes at a meeting only to find afterwards that I can’t read a single word I’ve written. The only person who can decipher my writing is my secretary, Janet, and she’s had 21 year’s practice. The great Victorian horticulturalist, J C Louden, had a reputation for poor handwriting at a time when everyone was supposed to write in a handsome copperplate script. He once wrote to the Duke of Wellington asking for permission to see the Duke’s famous “Waterloo” breeches. The Duke misread Loudon’s signature as “London” and sent a brusque note to the Bishop of London saying that he could see no reason why he should want to see the breeches he had worn at Waterloo, but could certainly do so if he wished.
One person who would have been able to hold his head high in the Victorian handwriting stakes is Alan Ward, who, amongst his many talents, is an expert in carving calligraphy. His latest project has been to carve a stone podium, which has been inscribed with a poem written by a Lancaster school-girl, Freddie Granger. Freddie was the winner of an inter-schools poetry competition as part of National Poetry Day. Not many of the country’s greatest poets have the distinction of getting their works carved in stone, so this is quite an achievement for Freddie – and she’s only 11.