Pootling down the M40, sky blue, sun shining, trees becoming bizarrely less autumnal the further north you go and looking forward to an afternoon in one of my favourite cultural haunts. It couldn’t get much better. And then it did.
Turns out that today is National Poetry Day and Radio 4, bless its little cotton socks, is celebrating by punctuating the schedule with a series of programmes called “We British”. I caught about half of the one reflecting on Tudor times. There were grammar school boys who burst onto the scene in the wake of the Reformation, with Shakespeare reclaimed as a people’s poet in full Black Country brogue and broad Yorkshire, but there was also Anne Askew, the Protestant martyr.
And then it got even better. Murray Lachlan-Young presented a poem based on the shipping forecast – the secular liturgy of that most sacred of British subjects – the weather. And then came the difficult bit – could you, the listener, describe what you were doing in less than 10 words in the language of the shipping forecast?
I struggled with this, but the form did not readily lend itself to the landlocked English Midlands, however splendid and lyrical the day. This is the best I could do …
M40 Banbury, rising. Warwickshire, falling, rising later. Fosse Way, good.