The Doomsday clock ticks on…

1984 at BRGS

Nervous of a nihilistic Orwellian disaster,

and the truth was the clock was sitting at three minutes to Midnight.

 

The eighties was bigger and better than it had ever been before

The ra-ra skirts and Club Tropicana

Were our own way of shaking off the pervasive doom of the previous decade,

Punctuated by strikes, unrest, fuel shortages and the three day week.

 

But the Cold war raged and the doomsday clock ticked on.

Disturbed by the dystopian nightmare of the nuclear propaganda machine.

Is this the return of the nightmare that was? What time is it Mr Wolf?

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

A couple of added words but for napowrimo day 19 we were challenged to write an erasure poem, I wrote the piece of prose earlier in the week and have used it to create the poem.

 

 

Banal bleatings from the bleughside.

I think I have a cold

My head feels rather hot

Whenever I blow my nose

There is yucky slime green snot.

 

It isn’t what I’d planned

For my poem and ode today

I guess I’ve made a rhyme

In a rather odious way.

 

I need to see the doctor

To put my ails on hold

Before this horrid virus

Does firmly take its toll.

 

My sinus are infected

My ears are hurting too

I think my dratted cold

May actually be the flu.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

All I can muster on Day 18 of Napowrimo….

Pass the tissues please…

Wintering down

So barren and bare

Sacres me with its sense of isolation

Leave-less trees, dead shrubbery scars the landscape

The wind bites through the boulders that shield me from the sudden snow flurry.

 

Old Man

Sits atop the slate,

Spoil heaps spill still from the rugged ruins of derelict mines.

Firm footsteps back toward the lake to see the sunset skim the surface of the water.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

 

I used the image called “Winter trees at Coniston” by Fay Collins. 

This was written for poetics   d’Verse

It is also Day 17 of Napowrimo.

Spring lingers long….

It feels as though it is winter that has lingered. I look around me daily and wonder at the daffodils just peeping through and everything seems to be a month behind where it was this time last year. The order is the same, but the flowering has been delayed, the rosy red tulips are only just nodding their heads toward the sun and yet April is past midway and almost done.

Then just a sprinkling of sunshine and an early evening stroll and we have stolen moments of pleasure to treasure as the daylight lingers and the smell of spring scintillates the soul.

Pebbles underfoot

Ripples of lingering spring

Sunsets in the west.

 

© Alsion Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse haibun monday.

 

 

Three minutes to midnight-1984 revisited.

In 1984 at BRGS I was the editor of our School magazine “Squirrel”. I wrote a nihilistic editorial referring to Orwellian disaster, and the truth was the clock was sitting at three minutes to Midnight, something not to be taken lightly.

I suspect most of my friends in the same or similar age-group reflect back on what were perceived to be good times of the eighties despite its obvious flaws. The information age was just beginning to emerge and everything we did in the eighties was bigger and better than it had ever been before. The eighties gave us Top Gun wings and we flew, Gloria Gaynor and Sylvester Stallone made sure we would survive even if times were hard. I sent more than one failed relationship out the door in my pink legwarmers. I didn’t get swept off my feet by some Richard Gere, Officer type but I had fun trying. I am still convinced I owe a little bit of my own fortitude and resilience to Goldie Hawn’s performance in Private Benjamin and accepted my own quirks and foibles because of characters like Ally in the Breakfast Club.

Perhaps the ra-ra skirts and Club Tropicana were our own way of shaking off the pervasive doom that had settled on us throughout the previous decade,  which had been punctuated by strikes, unrest, fuel shortages and the three day week. We had come together as a nation to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, to protect our territory in the Falklands and to see our magical Princess wed her Prince and yet still the Cold war raged and the doomsday clock ticked on.

The dystopian nightmare of the nuclear propaganda machine, the make-shift attempts at fall-out shelters for Panaorma documentaries and the secret world beneath our cities seemed to be a dark shadow of a murky past once Gorbachev came to power in 1985 as I moved away to University. The cold war was over and just after my 23rd birthday, the Berlin wall came down, to me the very symbol of the spies and lies and iron curtain and all that we had feared.

Have we now come full circle, is this the return of the nightmare that was. What time is it now Mr Wolf?

©AlisonJean Hankinson

Link to the original Squirrel 1984.snip_20180416191113

There is only one video clip I can think off to celebrate/acknowledge both then and now:

 

 

The sinking of the Michael Griffith, Fleetwood 1953.

She set sail from Fleetwood with 13 hands on deck

The fishing trawler Michael Griffith, for Scotland her course was set.

Skipper Charles Singleton made the ship return to dock

A faulty pump valve changed their course and caused the trip to stop.

Repaired and ready to be on her way as Friday morning dawned

She put to sea in stormy winds so the journey was not prolonged.

The storm was brewing in the north and forced the tide to rise

The seas were rough, the night was long, and no-one heard her cries

The winds were wild the waves washed high up on the deck

And soon after midnight the mighty Michael Griffith floundered and became a wreck

The last message was received just eight miles south of Barra Head

Will some ship please come help us, full of water, no steam. Am helpless is what it said.

Lifeboats searched in heavy seas but no wreckage could be found

All lives were lost without a trace and in the storm they’d drowned.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

This is for Day16 of Napowrimo and is in memory of the lives lost in the storm of 1953.

The image is of Fleetwood and is from Wikimedia under CCSA licence:

Dr Neil Clifton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The thirteen lives lost-

Skipper  Charles Singleton, Mate Leonard Grundy, Bosun J T Wilson, Chief engineer Harry Anderson, Second Engineer Thomas Burns, Firemen W Hargreaves and R Bodden, Deckhands J Tucker, S J Johns, J Cryson, C Murdoch and G Palin. Cook A Bidle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Storm…reflections on the storm of 1953.

It was England’s worst natural disaster of the twentieth century. A combination of a winter windstorm and high spring tides brought disaster and flooding to Scotland, England, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Between January 31 and February 1st a storm tide in the North Sea raised the water level by as much as 5.6metres above sea level in parts of the East coast. There was catastrophic flooding on a massive scale and huge loss of life.

In the Netherlands there were approx 1836 deaths, In England in the east coast counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex 307 lives were lost, a further 19 in Scotland and 28 people lost their lives in the Flanders region of Belgium. A further 230 people lost their lives at sea, on small craft, fishing vessels and with the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria. Many of those on shore were drowned in their beds as they slept. Thousands of people were made homeless.

The entire crew of 13 from the fishing trawler the Michael Griffith from Fleetwood were lost to the storm along with two crew from the Islay rescue lifeboat. They had set sail on the Thursday from Fleetwood under skipper Charles Singleton with the youngest crewmember being the deckhand George Palin. The boat vanished south of Barra Head in the early hours of Saturday morning following a stark radio message in morse- “Full of water – no steam – helpless”. Eleven women were widowed and 20 children were left fatherless.

The car ferry MV Princess Victoria, travelling from Stranraer to Larne was also lost of Saturday 31st January. Just 90 minutes after she left Stranraer a wave burst through the stern doors and despite all efforts the car decks were flooded. There were 44 survivors but 133 others perished. Not a single woman or child survived the disaster. They had all been put together in one lifeboat and it was lifted by a wave and smashed against the hull of the ship and they were all lost to the water. Portpatrick, Donaghadee and Cloughy lifeboats all made attempts to locate and help rescue those aboard. The Donaghadee lifeboat, the Sir Samuel Kelly joined the frantic search for survivors after the ship went down finally at approx 13.58 with her Captain still bravely at the helm. Its crew eventually plucked 33 men to safety. Bravery medals were awarded to many for their valiant rescue efforts that day.

This still remains one of the most little-known tragedies of the twentieth century. Thank you dad for telling me about it.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

399px-A_tribute_to_the_Lifeboatmen_of_Portpatrick_-_geograph.org.uk_-_26385

The featured image is from Wikimedia and is in the public domain- By Wrecksite (www.wrecksite.eu) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

the other image is the memorial at Portpatrick again in wikimedia- andy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Guardian, the storm in pictures