Waiting for Gordo

I served on the Liddington Parish Council twenty years ago when Gordon Wilson was chair. It was fun and frustrating – until the latter got the better of me.

The fun was the Parish Plan. We’d an inaugural public meeting. I invited the pub landlord at that time to speak for ten minutes on why the pub should be named the Village Inn when villagers weren’t welcome. He opted out of speaking but when he saw the negative feedback from villagers he relented, allowed children in, removed “reserved” on every table, and opened a shop that sold morning papers. It was a good result for the landlord and the village.

I collected feedback from the teenagers for the Plan. We made a short movie, “Waiting for Gordo,” a nod to Samual Beckett’s play. The teenagers were great, now adults themselves and they still talk about it.

Frustration at getting things done in a timely manner is the lot of parish councillors. I admire them for their patience, more patience than I have. At one meeting we discussed flooding on Purley Road. Letters were exchanged with Swindon Borough. Nothing happened, twice. Irritated, Gordon, Sid Bishop and I met at the flood with picks and shovels. We dug a trench in an hour and that was the end of the it.

The Liddington logo was designed by Gordon and I got a poem out of it. It’s a tribute to Gordon for years of being chair and for his public service. And as you’re still on the PC, Gordon, can I tell you the flood is back.

As with All Things Possible (for Gordon Wilson)

The stained glass window,

the one you made yourself

of Liddington Hill,

sits on the off-side of your house

like a surprise, reflecting the hill

into our quiet village.

I turned my car there one night,

watched the light inside

compete with the foraging moon,

the solace of a private view.

Your vision of course,

your persistence, hewn

by fingers that imagined colour

on a drawing board within

the randomness of black tracks

and forged a collection of memories

from coloured glass

into a pastoral parallax.

First published in Lyden magazine

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