Re Worthington Revisited
by Ralph Walker
The poem, "Worthington Revisited" seems to have created much discussion as to the identity of the Author, so how about a few clues.
An important one is about Aunt Jane who died about 1950. She was known for her straightforward talk and any weakness one had would soon be exposed. It seems, therefore, the line "Always ready your ear to bend" indicated that the Author knew Aunt Jane's character. Presumably he (we will say 'he') would have been grown-up, say about 20 years old, plus 50 years since her death, he would have to be 70 plus.
Reference to the Delph is interesting - it was at the entrance to Cloud Wood at the end of Middle Brand and was a small rock face, well climbed by boys. The name Delph would not have been too well known, there is a narrow road in Breedon-on-the-Hill so called. It means an area where stone was first quarried and brought out, did the Author have any connection with quarrying? Not all knew the wild strawberries on the top of the Delph, so it seems a favourite place for our boy, maybe a little walk from home.
The trips around Cloud Hill and the Railway Station were popular and all went to Old Chester's Mill, where the brave attempted to dog-paddle along the side of the dam, although there was a good place for beginners at the end of the Mill Race. Our boy enjoyed all this, but perhaps he wasn't the one who had a raft on Mill Dam.
There might be a clue amongst the names Big Jim Smith, Polly the Post, Flossie Brookes. But Liz Bod? It makes you think! She was Mrs Smith, the Shop-Keeper, generally referred to as Mrs Oliver, her husband's christian name. Her maiden name was Bird, hence the derivation Bod, so who told the Author - Liz Bod? You could perhaps get a clue from the reference to the Hounds meeting at the Swan Public House, as at the period of the poem they did meet on The Cross in the village. It was perhaps halfway along the time trail to the present, they could have met at the Swan. So being aware of that, has the Author been around in the district all the time rather than the point made in his introduction under the guise of returning after many years.
You may wonder if the Author did drink from his flask, sitting on the Church steps or was this a little story just from his thoughts in conclusion.
These comments might cause more discussion, I think they will, as the question will be asked again of the Author's identity; it can't be me!