Uffington: Homage to a Poet Laureate
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|Tonight we feel the muffled peal
Hang on the village like a pall;
It overwhelms the towering elms
That death-reminding dying fall;
The very sky no longer high
Comes down within the reach of all.
Imprisoned in a cage of sound
Even the trivial seems profound.
|Sir John Betjeman CBE (28 August 1906 – 19 May 1984) was a poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack".
He was born to a middle class family in Edwardian London of Germanic background. He lived here in Uffington with his first wife, Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of a field marshal in the British Army, Lord Chetwode. However during this period he was British press attaché in Dublin and may have been involved with intelligence gathering and is reported to have been selected for assassination by the IRA until they decided that a published poet was unlikely to be involved in such work.
Although he failed his degree at Oxford University his early ability in writing poetry and interest in architecture would support him throughout his life. He wrote poetry throughout his life; starting his career as a lowly journalist he ended it as a much loved figure on British television.
He was knighted in 1969 and became Poet Laureate in 1972.
|The above coordinates are for the recommended parking place opposite St Mary's. Take time to visit it and gather the additional clue if you so wish. A visit to the nearby Tom Brown's museum is also worth the detour. but then take the secluded pathway through the hedge and not the obvious one to find your goal. This walk will take you past Garrards Farm with its blue plaque, one of many in the country marking Betjeman's places of residency.
Now the hard bit:-
Betjeman wrote a poem about leaving Wantage, but what number 'have lived, we now are whirled away'? answer A
Complete the date over Tom Brown's Museum entrance door 1B17
Now place these numbers in the coords to find the cache N51 35.8(B-2)2 W001 33.5(A-2)2
Trg va gur qvgpu!