Beverley and its Medieval Hanse Trade

The Hanse and Beverley

Beverley Town Council (East Riding of Yorkshire) has been informed by the virtual International Hanse Day in Brilon/Germany, that its application for membership of the Modern Hanseatic League was successful. The announcement was made at the conference of delegates on 6th June 2020.

Hull represents the English contingent of Hanse Towns – currently King’s Lynn, Boston and Ipswich. Now Beverley joins 194 cities in 16 countries across Northern Europe. It is without doubt, the largest network of its kind in the world.

Despite the mention of a hanse huis in Beverley’s ancient charter from 1120, by which the Archbishop of York granted civic privileges and market rights to the town, Beverley has never been a member of the medieval Hanseatic League. Nevertheless, the town was certainly connected to it through regular trade links and its burgesses did extensive business with Hanse merchants for hundreds of years.

The original meaning of the word ‘hanse’ is shrouded in mystery. The first mention in a written text occurs in a bible translation into the Gothic language by Bishop Wulfila in the 4th cent. A.D. There it was used to describe the unit of Roman soldiers, who came to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. Consequently, it describes a group of men who have come together for a common purpose in order to support and protect each other.

During the Middle Ages its meaning expanded to mean guilds of North European merchants trading across the sea, and became the name for the historic Hanseatic League, which dominated Baltic and North Sea trade for over 400 years.

The League was never a centrally organised institution and although the common language of its members was Low German, not all members were German traders. The 12th   and 13th century were a time of expanding populations and economic development in Europe. In the territory of the Teutonic Order alone, 1000 villages and ca 100 towns were established.  Artisans and traders from overpopulated areas of the upper Rhineland, Flanders and Westphalia moved into these new settlements along the southern edge of the Baltic Sea, and northwards into parts, which are now in Russia and Poland. They mixed with the Christian native Slavic people, who survived the Northern Crusades.

The first Hanse merchants carried out their trade in the most unfavourable conditions imaginable and set up their business practices accordingly. They operated in lawless territories, covering vast distances, and were regarded with suspicion as usurers by the clergy. The absence of banks and regulated maritime waters made trade unsafe, and this was exacerbated by various forms of piracy and privateering.

 Hanse cog – backbone of maritime trade.

  All the same, they had vital and highly desirable bulky raw materials and manufactured goods from Germany to sell, which were exchanged against English wool, cloth and lead.  The trade started with individual merchants buying small shares of shipping space in several ships and equally distributing their goods over several ships. These vessels sailed in convoys, often with armed protection, to trade fairs. Their destinations remained the same for several years. Scarborough, York, Hull and Beverley fairs were among those visited. They didn’t pay agents to sell their goods, but instead used kinship ties and family members to represent them. These provided a reciprocal service for their partners. This business practice is almost unique. Only the north African Maghribi are known to have used a similar form of trading.

Although hazardous and risky, trade expanded and flourished and many merchants and their home towns became very wealthy. Naturally, they began to form an elite and controlled their local councils. They used their sheer economic power to form cartels and monopolies.

There were regular merchant meetings in Lübeck. The first such Hanse Day took place in 1361. Policy issues were dealt with by the towns, but individual merchants acted purely in their economic interest. However, control was maintained. Just as you could exclude your fraudulent business partner, a town could also be excluded from the membership of the League which meant you were excluded from the guild and the business community. Wealthy cities such as Cologne could ignore expulsion, at least for a few years, but normally, the reciprocal arrangement meant merchants didn’t dare ruin a partner’s trust. After all, he possessed the local knowledge, was familiar with the local market and maintained extensive business and personal contacts.

Whereas Cologne and Westphalian cities traded via the Steelyard, (the mighty ‘Hansekontor’ in London), the so called ‘Easterlings’ of the Hanse towns of the Baltic, such as Lübeck, Elblag (Elbing) and Gdansk (Danzig) to name but a few, went every year to Lincolnshire and the ‘Great Port of Hull’.

House of the merchant guild and the adjacent town hall – Gdansk.

    The main export from our coast was of course wool, lead and leather. During the early days of the Hanseatic League it managed to jealously guard its privileges and monopoly of overseas trade, but when Edward III. encouraged Flemish weavers to set up their manufacture of English cloth in towns such as Beverley, things began to change. Up until then, all English wool went to the Continent to the great cloth producing centres via the Hanse. The finest ware was produced in Flanders and was of course expensive.

However, as Baltic populations grew, English cloth became a much sought-after commodity. Soon, instead of exporting raw wool, the finished item was sent. The cloth trade expanded quickly and English merchants building on their long-standing partnerships with Hanse merchants began to develop their maritime trade in the Baltic. We know of an English wool staple in Elblag (Elbing) and of ca 150 English merchants trading in Gdansk (Danzig) asking to bring their families and settle permanently there. Many of them came from York, Beverley and Hull.

The East Company of the Merchant Adventurers was the English response to Hanseatic domination in maritime trade.

There are so many stories to tell of how these enterprising local traders and merchants conducted their daily lives and interacted with the culture of their partners and competitors from abroad.

Published by Eva La Pensée        September 2020

About Eva

Eva has lived in Beverley for forty years. She graduated from Münster University, Westphalia/Germany in medieval history. Now retired, her recent research has focussed on the economic, social and cultural history of Northern Europe. Engaging with all sectors of the local community was at the heart of Eva’s career in Adult Education and as local authority officer in Hull. She developed externally funded projects across the Y&H region, which was a great opportunity to get to know the area.

 Family connections and volunteering as chair of the Beverley-Lemgo Twinning Association for many years, inspired a long-standing fascination with the history and the modern network of the Hanseatic League. Eva is Talkfinder for the Beverley Civic Society and secretary of the ‘Friends of Hull General Cemetery’, a subcommittee of Hull Civic Society.

A native speaker of German, she enjoys being at home in two cultures.

Writing to cleanse your subconscious.

A revered childhood mentor, Mr Eveleigh, with the football team – a man who tried to get us to a guilt-free adolescence.

In my last blog I asked why authors continue to write, despite gaining so few readers. Am I sure that we have few readers? An internet search reveals that average US sales for a book, during its lifetime are around 200.

So why do we write?

Is it an ego trip, a wish to get rich, put over a point of view?

I suggested writing, along with some other art forms, is a way of working through some uncomfortable facts about oneself and shifting them to a more comfortable place in our subconscious.

A look inside my subconscious.

I further suggest, that most of these inconvenient areas stem from our childhood.

So, here I go with some examples. My first choice is a woman who made millions from her writing. Enid Blyton, is the most successful children’s writer of all time, but she might have disliked children.

Children behaving as we don’t wish them to, brings out the worst in adults. I suggest that, to assuage her bad conscience, Blyton created super-hero children who were beyond reproach. Had she had the mythical offspring she created, she would have had time for them. As it was, she treated her own children with indifference, which is the most hurtful of all parental responses.

And she added a dog. Dogs are the perfect children. When you don’t want them, they can be put in a corner, or in the garden or garden shed, and when needed, will provide a cuddle on demand.

By writing about super kids, pets, trolls and characters too politically incorrect for modern-day audiences, she moved her bad conscience to her bank account. She was able to provide the very best materially for her daughters and that made up, she hoped, for her overall rejection of the child-like state she couldn’t tolerate. She employed nannies, I am sure.

I checked my assumption about Enid after I had written the above.

Gyles Brandreth had the good fortune to interview Blyton’s daughters. The younger, Imogen, describes her mother as ‘arrogant, insecure, pretentious and very skilled in putting the unpleasant out of her mind, and without a trace of maternal instinct.’ (I have paraphrased).

So Imogen substantiates my theory. Not so her older sister, who has a more benign memory of her mother.

Being an awful person isn’t all bad! Has anyone not had a Blyton moment in their childhood? Her sales of books and translations are eye-watering.

I remember my Blyton moment, and remember my primary school teacher, for whom, 50 years after his early death I still have undiluted admiration. He told us, ‘If you have to read that awful woman, don’t bring the books to school.’

A bit harsh, but he was right.

The enduring childhood creator.

So why do authors bother?

Why do we write

We are exhibitionists, who want to be the centre of attention.

Really? There must be easier ways!

Am I an exhibitionist?

We want to put the world right.

Dream on.

The world isn’t waiting for us.

Save the world! Kill cars!

We want to get rich.

Stop laughing!

You can’t take it with you.

Here is the truth?

We have deep insecurities and writing about them helps us come to terms. That’s right – it’s cathartic.

So why write a fantasy fiction, a thriller, an erotic romance?

Same answer. We are wimps, who could never live the dream, so we imagine living the dream.

But don’t we do that anyway when we daydream?

Writing makes you sort out the detail that gets skipped in a daydream.

Our subconscious needs help in working up the things that happened in our youth, that we still haven’t got over.

That’s why we do it!

My descent into subconscious detail.

If you look at my list of publications, you will see that I still have a problem.

Berlin Life 5 – Gay Voyeurism and a Hetero Harbour

Gay Times and Hetero Harbours. Part 3

This is the 5th part of the Berlin Life series and the 3rd on the gay scene. I promised it some time ago, then forgot to post it. Sorry!

Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 just a click away.

Anyway, we can’t see his face, as it is well covered in a shirt and he presumably (like me) has only limited vision. That isn’t stopping him. He climbs into the fountain basin and wades trough the water, but trying to avoid the fountain. It must be an attempt at keeping dry. Can’t be done.

After two rounds of the fountain, he is soaked. At the end of his fountain odyssey he stops, and punches the water vertically – piston fashion – two or three times with his left arm which has a strange dark blue colour. I can’t identify why or what he is wearing on his arm. He then climbs from the basin and walks off, head still covered, jeans still rolled up to over his knees, as though his actions must be comprehensible to his audience. I realise the dark blue arm colour is a plaster-cast or something similar to hold a fracture firm. Perhaps the tour round the fountain gives him a few minutes relief from itching under the plaster.

‘Does he do that every evening?’ I venture to ask – she who is next to me and is no longer reading.

‘No idea. I’m not usually here,’ she answers.

‘Looks almost like a ritual,’ I risk saying.

She returns to her book. I now dare try a disruption. Her face has me so enchanted that I have to chance something.

‘What are you reading? Looks like poetry or very short stories.’

I’ve done it. Now she knows I can see nothing but shapes at one meter fifty.

She says something I don’t understand. Now she knows I don’t hear too well either. I ask for a repeat.

‘They are essays,’ she says slightly louder.

Essays. That’s not giving a lot away.

She falls back into silent reading.

I consider many times asking her to go to a nearby café and share a wine with me. I don’t do it. But I so need to sit opposite that face. It’s like an illness. I want nothing from her but to look at her face. Why don’t I just tell her that?

An old man walks round the circular perimeter path looking at all the seat dwellers. Is he a voyeur enjoying the youth making out and hoping to see a grope or two? More likely he is trying to pick someone up for the evening. He stares long at me every time he passes. If I so much as twitch, I’m sure he will approach me. It would be a disaster. Petrified sums me up.

 I realise for the nth time that I have no interest in some aging gay. How dare he look at me lasciviously when I’m in the presence of a stunning woman?

It must be clear to him that I don’t, in any way, belong to the stunning woman. She is by no means beautiful but she has ‘it’, that je ne sais quoi of good years spiced with experience. She has the joy of the good times and the character building of the bad ones, lined in her face. She is so special!

He disappears behind the water cascade. A couple enter the square; I keep calling it a square but it is clearly a round. A couple enter the circus ring from stage right for that is what it has now become. He is tall and elegant but so clearly proud of his acquisition that it is tasteless. His acquisition is stunning. No. His acquisition is startling; has bodybuilder physique with such monumental pectorals that they can double as a bosom and she flaunts them as such and wears very tight trousers with slightly high-heeled sneakers at their base. The combination causes a walk like a man not used to heels and skin-tight slacks, which I deduce as they approach, is exactly what he is. I’m sure I can detect a hint of lipstick. They are so proud, one can’t be cross with their vanity. I am mesmerized by so much bad style and I fail to notice what is going on next to me.

The wind blows and the trees rustle. All other sounds are momentarily blocked out and I have looked away from her for just a minute while I consider my options and admire the audacity of the gay couple. I think of Julian Clarey. I admire him, not for his gay send-up comedy, but for his outrageousness. What courage? And while I’m thinking that, under the cover of the rustle, she has got up and walked away, with a cute and provocative ‘bye’.

I just manage to return her farewell before she is out of earshot and the face has gone forever. Run after her!

For Christ sake. At my age? What do I have to offer her? It would be an insult to try to get closer to my goddess. Get old gracefully with the proven woman, whom you love to bits and give up on pipe dreams. You wanted nothing from her. If she had gone along with an adventure, it would have been out of economic necessity. The world is full of women who have given their life for a cause – man or family or both – and end middle-aged paupers. It would be disingenuous to pretend I can be anything to her. I once had a colleague who screwed his way round the Balkan states, promising to take young women from their destitution and then moving on before they had time to get their side of the deal. He was very tall so he got his comeuppance. All the bed-work played havoc with his back and he died well short of sixty. I know not from what; shame I hope! Or perhaps a cousin or brother of one of the cuckolded women caught up with him. I warned him that they settle scores in Slovenia differently to us.

The fountain suddenly stops. The quiet is awesome. I leave.

On the way home I find myself cycling behind a girl, maybe eighteen. She has chosen very tight slacks for the evening and knows her backside is a treat for an old man in a dry month. She can’t carry it off. Her body language reveals serious embarrassment. Why wear them if you feel awkward? I accelerate even though I am tired, just to put her out of her misery. She drops a long way behind.

Although we are on the four-lane Sachsen Damm, it is lonely and troubling in the twilight. The cycle path is far from the road and the cars move quickly. To the right is a deep cutting, hiding part of a motorway junction and to the left, businesses, long shut up for the night. No one would have seen or heard a predatory attack. Perhaps she is more scared than embarrassed. I’m suddenly glad I made the effort to overtake her. She’s scared? – I’m scared! Thinking of predatory attacks has made me realise that I’ve been foolish, and unlike the girl with the nice arse, my danger could have easily been avoided by taking keys to the main entrance of my apartment block. On my way out the house, I noticed the bicycle exit from the building had been used by junkies to prepare their fix. The tell-tale squares of charred aluminium foil were around the door. I only have a key to the bicycle cellar entrance. What do I do if a half dozen crazed crack buddies are shooting up in the lonely bicycle cellar when I arrive? I certainly won’t try to get by them, because once on the wrong side there is no quick exit from the other end. I could be overpowered and robbed in seconds and no one would hear. And why wouldn’t they attack and rob me? To them, I have everything.

Just like the young woman with the cute butt, I worry about nothing. There is no one waiting to rob me.

Fear of crime can be worse than the crime. Fear of sexual orientation is always worse than reality.

Viktoria-Luise-Platz is one of the many focuses around Schöneberg, for the Gay Scene.

Jane Austen knew – fallible heroines create nervous male moments

Leave your email address and the word <goddesses>for a free pdf copy of book 1 of my raunchy thriller – Goddesses.

What character attributes should a heroine have?

I believe a hero/heroine should have the same set. That’s what liberation is about!

Do male writers have a harder time creating a super heroine? Is it more difficult than a woman creating a super male?

This conflict for male writers has been simmering for decades, but popped recently when the long-overdue #metoo campaign took off.

The problem is much older and broader than #metoo. And because of #metoo, genuine women’s lib blokes get in an internal turmoil about tacking the topic. What right do I have to right about women in the first person?

Despite these fears, I ignored the reasons why I shouldn’t write a super heroine, and as I constructed my three superwomen, I gave them common attributes.

  • Courage
  • Intelligence
  • Sex drive
  • Sense of the ridiculous

Of course, there was more to their characters. They need to

  • Display emotion,
  • Empathise with those not so strong
  • Be fallible

In fact, all the attributes one would want in any man or woman, who one wants to love.

Fallibility, is often the most interesting to write, because that is the thing with which we can most easily identify. Jane Austen knew that truth and used it perfectly.

For my Berlin novel, The Last Stop, I let Maria be Polish and then I can take the liberty of letting her heart rule her head. It is a weakness, but is a paradox – a weakness that gives her strength. Here is the jacket summary.

5 star reviews! Can you take the tension?

Available in German translation, too.
  • Maria, an innocent from Poland, is caught in the Berlin underworld. To survive, she must learn to fight back.
    Maria recruits Jack, the artless retired tax inspector, to help her in this mission. Which is great, until he’s arrested for murder.
  • Jack’s wife, Felicity, is otherwise busy while Jack is on ‘holiday in Berlin. Realising all is not well, she journeys to be with him.
    And that’s where it all goes wrong.
  • Her life is now in danger – and it’s all Jack’s fault. He needs to rescue his wife, save his marriage, get Maria back safely to Poland and make certain he isn’t killed by the people out to kill her.

Someone Tell Me What Is Going On, Millie has desperately poor sight. She doesn’t know what she looks like, because if she removes her specs, she can’t see herself. She thinks of herself as a bit of a vamp, and assumes others see her the same way.

The jacket summary gives some clues.

Every novel needs a turning point. This one will stun you!

Mystery, comedy, suspense. Mendacity, murder and lots of love.
When 19-year-old waitress Millie takes a summer job as companion to wealthy Lady Vera Ashington at her Suffolk stately home, she has no idea that a mystery will unfold which puts her own life and her family’s business at risk. Unexplained deaths will test her morality. Can the end ever justify the means?
Lady Ashington (Vera) fears a breakdown due to personal regrets. She has one last go at seeking long-term happiness. Having taken Millie as a companion, the two women become friends and enjoy arguing about Vera’s wealth and her inability to use it wisely. ‘Too much cake’ is the problem. Millie employs strategies to empower Vera. She keeps a first person diary, and includes Vera’s viewpoint. This diary is the novel. It tells how the talents of two very different women, when harnessed, seem to move mountains.

The first ten chapters, free to read under a Suffolk Thriller.
  • Vera’s huge local influence means she can always fix things, but finds that fixes mean there is always a loser. Millie had not appreciated this and as she empowers Vera, she finds conflicts mounting. Eventually, conflicts lead to disasters, but Millie keeps faith with Lady Ashington. She believes in her good intentions, but her doubts grow.
  • Millie’s diary reveals her viewpoint, how things appear to her sister (12) and her father. She provides an interpretation of Vera actions and excuses. Above all, the life of an Oxbidge working-class girl, who unexpectedly finds herself sitting at the big table, is analysed. ‘Someone tell me what is going on!’ She shouts in exasperation.
  • And games. Vera loves games. Millie loves inventing them for her friend. Love and fun result.
  • The diary runs for three weeks, skips a month and then skips nearly a year, to provide a resolution to events.

My heroine in Goddesses becomes addicted to risky sex and gets in a pickle.

Click here for a free read.

Goddesses or 49½ shades of charcoal, is a fitting riposte to the misogyny and cliché of much BDSM literature and is delivered through the chaos of one Connie Grimshaw, a successful business woman in an international consultancy agency. She has worked hard and ignored her emotional needs. One day, on a business trip, she realises the cost of her repressed attitude to sex. Her PA (Dee) recommends she models herself on the pagan goddesses, lives by their rules and develops the vamp in herself. The Goddesses help to rationalise her lascivious behaviour, but don’t stop her getting into hilarious, embarrassing and sometimes, dangerous situations. But there are forces at work, which see the opportunity to make money through mismanagement of Connie’s feelings. Can she defeat the bad boys?

  • Connie uses the myth of ancient female goddesses to guide her through her emergence as a sexual being, but they make her reckless and the risks mount.
  • Faced with identity ruin, loss of prestige and employment issues, she enlists the help of Abe, the bored insurance assessor. A trip to Baltimore flushes out the enemy – a man obsessed with charcoal décor, to hide the blood.
  • He reveals her betrayal by friends and lovers past. He says she is powerless, and is in his hands, but she has other ideas. The fightback begins.

All these women have a steady Eddie around to keep them out of trouble, or, as a last resort, get them out of the stew they are already in. We know that these power women would have managed without the bloke, but a love interest always helps a story go round.

The only heroine to have met resistance from women readers is Connie Grimshaw, in Goddesses. Do women hate her because she has thoughts, no woman would entertain, or because women find her behaviour unacceptable but just a little bit attractive.

They are not telling me. But you can! I will publish the complete chapter on Connie and her lover, trying to work through Beardsley’s Venus and Tannhäuser. Watch this space.

Top reviews from United Kingdom

Richard W Baker4.0 out of 5 stars A stage play methinks. Reviewed in the United Kingdom Verified PurchaseGet on board with a feast of real life characters as they courageously slalom through Berlin leaving a trail of blood.
This is a modern day glimpse of corrupt, drug inspired prostitution set against the backdrop of people trafficking.
Read it if only to experience the sights, sounds and odour of Berlin street life. Terrific appeal from a virgin novelist.

Cold showers and broken tablets – But not from 50 Shades.

Goddesses rule! after a feisty fightback.

Connie Grimshaw gets herself in a mess, by playing sex-games in book 1 of Goddesses. She gets herself out again by fighting the bad boys in book 2.

Here is an excerpt, where she and her lover try to work through an Aubrey Beardsley moment. They play Venus and her goat. Tannhäuser looks on.

To get a free pdf of the first book, leave me a message under contact.

OK! If you have read Beardsley, you will know he had Venus fooling with a unicorn, but this isn’t a story about things going to plan. Our protagonists have to make do with a goat.

And things didn’t go to plan for some of my beta-readers. One complained of needing cold showers, the other dropped his tablet in the bath and couldn’t continue until it was fixed.

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49½ Shades of Charcoal! Here is a sampler below.

Chapter 14

Poor Adolphe

 Connie is considering her options.

I have a great idea for our next interlude. I think it exceeds De La Pine in the gallery at Kew. Unfortunately, I need a unicorn’s suit – as a fancy dress, that is. I’ve spent most of this morning phoning round hire shops. Dianne has been hovering, bursting pipes to find out what I’m up to. I had to remind her that I would answer all on Saturday. She was doubtful. She expects a rebuff when she asks the awkward questions. I told her to do some work. Someone has to. I had phone calls to make.

‘I may be able to help,’ says a man at Silly Suits, of Tooting Bec. ‘I have a goat suit – you know –  symbol of raunchiness.’

‘Have you ever observed goats?’ I ask.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Last summer, while I was on holiday, I cycled past a field. I had to stop. Two bucks trying to beat each other’s brains out.’

‘That’s what I mean.’

‘There were three girls in the field.’

‘You mean does,’ he interrupted.

‘They were women. While the guys were trying to kill each other, the lasses were eating furiously. Their body language said, Let’s get a good meal in before things kick off. “Generative power.” What nonesense? Self-preservation I’d call it!’

‘Whatever. Do you want a goat suit?’

I state the obvious.

‘A goat is not a unicorn.’

‘It is if you screw the detachable horn on to the middle of the head and remove the billy-goat hooks over his ears.’

‘Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed my unicorn is to be a converted goat. Doesn’t have the savoir faire, does it?’

‘What? Do you want it or not?’

‘Of course I do. How does it work? It is for a man, probably six foot.’

‘The belly is open. He’ll need to wear swimming trunks or die of heat exhaustion. He wears it like a cape, I suppose.’

‘Excellent. What time do you shut?’

‘Late, madam. We do most of our business around nine in the evening.’

I got off the train at Tooting Bec and found Silly Suits. He handed a huge carrier over to me.

‘I hadn’t realised how heavy a goat would be.’

‘Be glad you are not wearing it. I couldn’t find the unicorn screw-in horn so I’ve left it as a goat. That’s okay, isn’t it?’

‘I suppose it will have to be,’ I sigh. ‘So long as the goat is horny.’

He looked up. I blushed. Why did I just say that? My sex life with a goat has nothing to do with him. I changed the subject.

‘How clean is the goat thing? I mean, if he’s in his swimmies, it mustn’t be too full of previous sweat and so …’

Beardsley’s Venus and Tannhäuser

Poetry Evening – Hull University. 18/08/17

The Assembled
The usual suspects from the English Department
Assemble, Levitically, as romantic as Monday morning.
Late, crusty defensive years and ears hear
Sunny but arid words.
Brynmor evenings thwart noon’s thirst for torpor,
But siestas can be a moveable feasts.
Midday slumbers threaten the evening air.

The Readings
Gangs of knowing smiles
Show pinched appreciation
And uncertain comprehension
But precise applause -
Just in case.

The Token Foreigner
Kim stood with her notes
And translator.
Her voice sang remote sounds
About a blade which came and went,
Its long profile accumulating perspectives.
And then she praised a disabled artist
Pushing air onto paper,
Thus seeking a colour to define
The hands he had been painting?
For some reason it didn’t matter
If one accidentally cut off the toad’s leg.

Closing Speeches
2017, year of culture, had been honoured
And then put to bed.
What a relief!
And a special mention for Matthew,
The Hull poet we had understood.
He was urged not to apologise.
Performance poetry has its place – apparently.

Toad by Badger Pete –

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