A Knight’s Tale (126: A Nod To Little Gidding)

The last leg of the Henley to Newark row/walk from Nottingham to Newark was 25 miles in length.

Sam set off without James, and I trailed in his wake. It is hard to believe that I managed to keep within sight of him as he rowed along the River Trent, but these photographs would seem to prove it. Perhaps the cattle would bear witness.

As the rower moved into Farndon, James, Louisa, and Gemma set out to greet him and to follow him towards

Newark Castle station 7.03

Newark Castle, first passing the railway station;

to be greeted by his reception committee as he docked. Louisa, as requested, handed me two pints of beer – all for me.

Perhaps this was a lap of honour alongside the castle ruins. This 13th century castle was originally built for the Bishop of Lincoln. A Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, ‘in 1646 the garrison surrendered, but only after a direct command from Charles I. Parliament ordered the castle destroyed so it could never be held against them again, but fate took a hand; plague broke out in Newark town, and the destruction of the castle was halted.’ This quotation is taken from  http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=93 which contains a more complete history in very readable form.

So, what has all this to do with T.S. Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’? From this, the last of the poet’s Four Quartets, I have borrowed

‘What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from………….

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time’.

Sam took delivery of his boat at Henley where he and James set about preparing and stocking it for the journey. Note the large bin behind my son as he crouches in the boat,

which I strapped on with the rather optimistic intention of collecting sponsorship money.

Pacific Pete left the mooring,

and we were under way. This was to be the last sound footpath I trod for the next eleven days.

It was our friend Alison Tucker and her sister Rosemary who made these Henley prints and sent us on our way.


  1. What a journey! For both of you. Somehow, those lines from Eliot always move me. So beautiful, so simple, so profound. Very fitting for this Knight’s Tale series.

  2. You all had quite a journey with Sam along the canals. The lines from Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’ are quite appropriate, and moving as well.

    The reflection/superimposed imaged is very interesting!

  3. That looks very much like a Newark Magnus fifth former on the station platform. I wonder what became of him? He’ll be coming up to forty by now, if my maths is correct (which it frequently isn’t!)

  4. Beautiful photos of precious memories!
    Ooh! I really like the “Newark Castle, first passing the railway station” photo!
    The photo of you setting off is so nice! And the words of T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding is a perfect accompaniment to all of the photos!
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  5. All great photos and beautiful land/seascape. That photo of “Newark Castle” – is it my computer or is there supposed to be a semi-visible man facing the sign? I am sure I read through everything but did not see an explanation.

  6. That is a very pictorial narration of the story. This leg has again yielded fascinating photographs. Is that a double exposure at the railway station?

  7. Any nod to Little Gidding, or the whole of the Four Quartets, is fine by me. It’s one of my favorite and most oft-quoted poems. One of my favorite tidbits of Eliot knowledge came from learning that he spent time in St. Louis; now I’m convinced that his reference to the river as a “strong brown god” refers to the Mississippi.

  8. All I remember of the poem “Little Gidding” is the word sempiternal. I walked there one day, it was 13 miles from where I live and 26 miles used to be an easy day walking in the flat countryside. I remember a lot of skylarks singing. These days I struggle to walk to the car and there are very few larks. Not sure if this is because they are declining or I am going deaf.

    Great picture at the station – in these days of photoshop we forget the joy of taking a shot like that – so simple, yet so rare! 🙂

      1. Me neither, though I am sometimes tempted. Then I ask myself what is the point of it all if you can fake great photos. Far better to take one great photo in your life than manufacture a thousand of them.

  9. I’m sorry to have missed most of the series but I am impressed by the feet. You’ve had plenty of adventures in your life, Derrick.

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