Josiah Wedgwood, Chert and Bakewell

Josiah Wedgwood, Chert and Bakewell
Josiah Wedgwood wanted chert
to aid the making of his pots.
He thought, ‘I’ll go to Bakewell,
I hear tell that they have lots.’
Bakewell’s snow-white China stone
Josiah liked the best
so for the grinding of his pots
he put it to the test.
He found it admirably suitable
and ordered by the ton.
It came to the potteries in a barge,
often more than one.
Wedgwood couldn’t get enough
of Bakewell’s precious stone,
he’d no sooner put an order in
than all the chert was gone.
Pretoria Quarry and Holme Bank
they cordially obliged,
and as both were there in Bakewell
the little town, it thrived.
Sometimes the chert was used to whiten
the pots Josiah made
or colour some pots pink or blue
depending on the shade.
The Bakewell men were busy.
There was always plenty of work
and Josiah kept on potting
using Bakewell’s snow-white chert.
Margaret Holbrook Jan 2016

Car Love

A fantastic new work from Zoe Quinlan


At the too much money trade in

she sits in the winter sun and waits for him.

Posh cars once truly expensive

now rest in a dusty jam.

You were once safe for three years

now after eight months it all ends in tears.

He wants to see how it feels

to hear the engine roar.

She knows his head has been turned

he hands over the keys to her.

Whatever the terms

the more powerful and younger car will be on the driveway tonight.

The sales man will smile as he rubs her down

and push up her value.


A brilliant poem by Phil Poyser.



                 This morning

it towered 50 feet above the Leylandii fronds.

             Last year,

                                      rooks had nested in its canopy and swayed precariously

                  – like today –

    as if full sail on choppy seas, running before a


                            On such a day,

                                            surely the only danger is ceding to the gusting gale,

                     tearing and tugging at those roots.

                             Ah, not so,

            for swarming up like a rigging monkey,

                                                      roped and helmeted, with chain-saw dangling,

                                                      comes the arboreal nemesis of standing proud.


              from one pitch to another, he picks off

                  branch after branch, each carefully lowered or crashing down

                        according to its girth, then metre lengths of trunk

                                                       and skull-busting slices, thudding to earth,

                                          till  just  the

                                          bare  stump

                                            r e m a i n s,

                                           s   t   a   r   k

                                             reminder of


                                                 former  glory.

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Not Going Home by Patrick Prinsloo

Not Going Home

They say they need the bed. The friendly nurse from Nigeria says I’ve had enough of the Queen’s money (God save Her) and that I should go – anyway they need the bed and so it’s bye bye baby (baby goodbye), it’s time to go home.

Home? Do they know what it’s like at home – mould in the rooms, ceiling collapsing in the underused bathroom, a teenage boy upstairs (the woman says he’s my son but that’s a lie), bailiffs knocking at the door. And thirteen year old Mandy from over the fence asking for weekly payments or she’ll go to the cops.

Here it’s clean, efficient, hot water, three meals a day; people don’t shout, swear, spit, all the time. There’s politeness even though no respect for the likes of me.

The man in bed 28 (healthy, non-smoker, monied, attractive and friendly young wife, two squeaky clean kids) has a heart transplant (triple, he says, proudly) booked for early tomorrow morning. That gives him an extra three months of hospital care.

Tonight I will swap the beds around. I could use a new heart. And not go home.

©Patrick Prinsloo

The Woman Who Swam to the Moon by Charles Heathcote

There’s a woman I know who swam to the moon;
she climbed over sea and river, over estuary and stream
heard fools call stars stones and space mud-banks.
She swam with rockets like silverfish through carpet,
met astronauts with helmets as fragile as eggshells.
Carp lead spaceships between her fingertips,
jewel-skinned beneath the brackish water, space
the final frontier.
She held the solar system in the palm of her hand,
found that planets weighed no more than marbles,
shone in the sun like cats-eyes, a kaleidoscope,
explosion of colours, supernova.
And when she reached the moon she met a man,
he thought she meant to find him, this had been a quest
and when she said she only wished to swim her way through space
he introduced her to zero gravity; and forever she will float
for once you leave the earth there’s nowhere left to run.
©Charles Heathcote 2015