River Thames

Hanging Out at Roland’s Ragbag

Roland's Ragbag

It’s been a funny time since moving on from the Go Dog Go Treetop Café. If you didn’t know, there is a General Election going on in the UK next month and the British media is full of Pompous Pontificating Politicians and their Blustering Soundbites (sounds like a pop group from the 1970’s).

Needing a break from this I headed off down to the banks of the River Thames to spend some time in a quintessential English Café and a Cream Tea at Roland’s Ragbag.

I have been frequenting the Ragbag for nearly a year now and sat on the terrace, watching boats gliding down the river, reminds me why I come here.

Roland’s Ragbag opened in July 2016 and the proprietor Mr. Roland Keld provides “A Melange, a Miscellany, a Mishmash – of memories, reflections and comment. There is always a warm welcome awaiting and T.S. Eliot’s quote above the door, “These fragments I have shored. Against my ruins.” give a flavour of what to expect.

Inside, the walls are adorned with wonderful drawings and paintings. Two of my favourites, Ebb Tide and The Patchwork Pachyderm, reflect the eclectic atmosphere of the establishment.

The tables are covered with magazines containing personal insights from Roland’s travel of the globe, complete with drawings and photos to match. From the Artic to Venice, and beyond, his literary descriptions jiggle the wanderer in you.

For the poetry connoisseur, there are poetic forms of every description on the menu and one to suit every mood. Whether you want to laugh or cry, it’s all there for you to order.

If you get a chance please pop in to Roland’s Ragbag and say hello to Roland, there is warmth and inspiration in abundance.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the room at the back. Mr. R. has a library  to die for.

That reminds me.  I need to pop into the neighbourhood library, there’s a book I need to read. I’ll tell you all about it next week.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

westminster-bridge

On the last Thursday of each month Poetry Spotlight will share some of my favourite poems. This will include poems which have impacted on me at various stages of my life and poetry I have discovered on Social Media, through the excellent blogs I read daily.

The first poem in this feature is William Wordsworth’s, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802.

The poem has meaning for me for several reasons. I was born 10 miles from Wordsworth’s birthplace in the Lake District. His poetry was a part of the school curriculum and this was one of his first poems I was introduced to.

As a young boy, the poem would bring visions of standing on Westminster Bridge, savouring Wordsworth’s view across the Thames and the lure and bright lights of London. Little did I know that in February 1983 the visions would become reality when I became a police officer in the city.

Over the next 30 years I lost count of the number of times I stood on Westminster Bridge and recited the words of the poem. As time progressed the meaning of the poem changed as, through my work, I was exposed to the dark underbelly hidden in London.

Standing on the bridge, watching the Thames flow by and replaying Wordsworth’s vision, in 1802, always brought a sense of peace and calm, a reminder there were still