The Square Tower

Where once King Henry the Eighth resided
overlooking the Solent right there
In Portsmouth old city on the sea wall
still stands the Tower of Square

Smoke Fairies played here into the night
for our pleasure at the end of their tour
with rhythm and music and flair and aplomb
to our echoing shouts of ‘encore’

And in twelfth century walls built thick for defence
like Henry we danced with the power
to different purpose eight centuries past
but still in Old Portsmouth’s Square Tower

©Jemverse

Photo – The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth – on 9 February –  the last leg of the ‘Smoke Fairies’ 2020 UK tour

The Square Tower was built in 1494 as part of the fortifications and served as a home to the Governor of Portsmouth. In 1584, it was converted to a gunpowder store, the governor having moved to a residence next to the Garrison Church. At the time of the royalist surrender of Portsmouth at the end of the Siege of Portsmouth during the English Civil War 1200 barrels of gunpowder were stored in the tower; the royalists were able to use the threat of detonating the store as a bargaining chip during the negotiations leading up to the surrender. It’s unlikely that Henry VIII ever lived there – but he would almost certainly have visited.

Shoreham Airport again

5 of 7 in the Jemverse series ‘Shoreham again’

Shoreham Airport’s terminal building
The oldest in the land
Is getting a new makeover
To make it fresh and grand

It’s 1930’s facade fell into
a terrible state
With peeling paint and cracks in walls
But soon it will look great

Stavers Tiltman will be proud
Of his Art Deco creation
England’s oldest licensed airport and
a credit to the nation

©Jemverse

The Shoreham Aviation Ground started in 1910 just 7 years after the Wright brothers first flew in 1903. Situated on the flat coastal strip of land on the South Coast of England between Brighton and Worthing, the aerodrome was officially opened on 20 June 1911. The first flying school was established in 1913 and, on 13 June 1936, a beautiful Art Deco style terminal building, designed by Stavers Tiltman, was added.

Photo – Shoreham at low tide by W Standen

Jemverse first posted “Shoreham Airport” on 12 November 2014

Koper

7 of 12 in ‘The Adriatic Affair’ series from Jemverse

For our first time in Slovenia
we found Koper on the coast
originally an island
for the day to act as host

I climbed the old bell tower
two hundred steps for the unwary
and though the view was excellent
the drop was really scary

Then later on the palace
museum’s peaceful halls we found
following the history
as we walked slowly round

Another really lovely day
for this very special trip
so we are making sure that
we both make the most of it

©Jemverse

Photo – Koper, Slovenia from the top of the old bell tower – Jempics

[‘Koper’ is the seventh of twelve poems capturing our autumn 2019 ‘Adriatic Affair’ cruise aboard the Marella Celebration. From 24 through 31 October we visited…
24/10 – Dubrovnik, Croatia (‘Finding Summer’ (02/11) and ‘Dubrovnik Divine’ (03/11))
25/10 – Hvar, Croatia (‘Hvar’ (04/11) and ‘Hoorah for Hvar’ (05/11))
26/10 – Ancona, Italy (‘Ancona Encore’ (06/11) and ‘Ancona II’ (07/11))
27/10 – Koper, Slovenia (‘Koper’ (08/11))
28/10 – Venice, Italy (‘Venice (touch & go)’ (09/11) and ‘Venice II’ (10/11))
29/10 – Rijeka, Croatia (‘Rijeka’ (11/11)), and
30/10 – Split, Croatia (‘An unexpected tricycle ride’ (12/11) and ‘Split II’ (13/11))
…before sailing back into Dubrovnik for the flight home on the 31st]

Jublains

7 of 12 in “The Bucket List” series from Jemverse

Although the sun was shining
it was minus fifteen there
and absolutely freezing
in Jublains in open air
Northern France, December
Two thousand ten all wrapped up warm
we visited the fortress
on the hilltop all forlorn
But we really didn’t linger
but walked swiftly round the walls
of this fortress that the Romans
used when conquering the Gauls

©Jemverse

Jublains, in the Mayenne region of North-Western France, is also the site of the Roman capital fortress of Noeodunum. Photo – Jempics

“The Bucket List’ series features the following:
[1] Pompeii (190904)
[2] Paris (190905)
[3] The Parthenon (Athens) (190906)
[4] Rhodes (190907)
[5] Santorini (190908)
[6] Minack Theatre, Cornwall, UK (190909)
[7] Jublains (France) (190910)
[8] Venice (190911)
[9] Lands End, Cornwall, UK (190912)
[10] Korcula (Croatia) (190913)
[11] Parc Guell (Barcelona) (190914), and
[12] Stone Henge, Wiltshire, UK (190915)

Bignor

Two Roman villas
Two Mondays past
we’ve visited and found several ways
to lose ourselves here
with plenty of cheer
a cure for any malaise

Bignor this time
Mosaics again
under thatch to par excellence
Discovered when farming
at the time quite alarming
in the nineteenth century perchance

Had the place to ourselves
with no-one else here
so we took time to take it all in
Inspired here to capture
in awe and some rapture
this Bignor palace will bring

We took lots of pictures
with details to use
in things that we make when back home
Sculptures and drawings
of mosaic floorings
that antiquity to us has shown

©Jemverse

Photo – detail from a 2nd century mosaic floor, Bignor, Sussex, UK – Jempics

Fishbourne

And so it was with Romans
Fishbourne finally today
saw Sal and I this morning
venture out and come this way
England’s mosaic glory
tessellated on the ground
tells a tale of history
when in the sixties found
And now this treasure prospers
revealed for all to see
Especially today for
my soulmate Sal and me

©Jemverse

Laid in AD 160, this is the mosaic floor of one of the main dining rooms in the north wing of Fishbourne Roman palace, near Chichester in West Sussex. Discovered by accident in 1960 during the laying of a mains water pipe, excavations have since revealed it to be the largest Roman palace in the UK. [Photo – Jempics]

Gone

 

When I was last in Cardiff
the old hotel was there
Boarded up and derelict
yet still with life to share

But now it’s been demolished
leaving just an empty space
Its bygone age has left us
with a sadness in its place

So I’m pleased I took a photo
when I was last down here
For a memory to capture
something which I now hold dear

©Jemverse

Photos – Jempics. [Top – just the ‘Old Custom House at the top of Bude Street in Cardiff now (November 2018); Bottom – the ‘Old Custom House’ with the adjacent derelict ‘York Hotel’ (1890) still in situ (March 2017)]

The Wellington

Moored now at the Temple Stairs
where she’s been since forty-eight
The Wellington lies white and proud
A museum ship of late

Rescuing survivors
during World War two
Where she acted as an escort
in the Pacific ocean, blue

But now she lies serene, at rest
In London on the Thames
Where people get historic tours
in parties now and then

©Jemverse

Photo – (stock) HQS Wellington

The ‘Wellington’ is the last surviving example of a Second World War escort ship in Britain. For most of the war. she carried out convoy escort duties, steaming over 240,000 nautical miles, providing escort to 103 convoys and rescuing some 500 survivors from lifeboats. Since 1948 she’s been moored at Temple Stairs on the Thames and is now owned by ‘The Wellington Trust’. As the HQ of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, she has been renamed ‘HQS Wellington’.

A split down the middle

14 of 16 in the Jemverse ‘Venetian Vistas’ series

Split was a tale of two cities
spread across differing times
Roman columns interspersed
reused with modern lines
Ingenuity prevailed as
walls within walls lay
Preserving parts of history
to see another day

The Diocletian’s Palace
and marbled passageways within
hid secrets in the alcoves
to be found where light was dim
There were many little cafes
and restaurants and bars
Which with the Roman history
made Split spectacular

©Jemverse

Photo – Modern day buildings inside the columns of the Roman Emporer Diocletian’s palace built at the end of the third century A.D. Today around two thirds of the modern day city of Split in Croatia is built inside the old palace and garrison – Jempics

The archway in the photo is the one at the centre of the sea-facing facade of the original palace – see thumbnail below.

Gondolier

10 of 16 in the Jemverse ‘Venetian Vistas’ series

Our gondolier sang songs
as he took us into shade
Cool waters in our gondola
combined with serenade

The ancient walls around us
and narrow waterways
Venetian history spoke to us
on this happiest of days

It was beautiful, exquisite
and we had a moment there
Tears of joy from what we saw
in Venice everywhere

©Jemverse

Photo – Gondolas, Venice, Italy – Jempics

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