Last weekend, Easter weekend, I went to visit my cousin Jess and her husband Jezz in Tamworth. Jess suggested that we drove to Shackerstone, about 20 miles away, to the Railway Museum and maybe to have a ride on the wonderfully restored steam railway.
My own inclination was to sit in a quiet country pub and drink copious quantities of Real Ale and so we went to the Railway Museum.
Thank you Jess.
Despite my slight reluctance, it was a very interesting and enjoyable trip and after picking up our cars at Shackerstone, we parted as I had to drive to London. This is when I realised where I was! Just fifteen days before King Richard III had been taken along this very route on his final journey, a procession from Fenn Lane Farm to the wonderful cathedral in Leicester, where he was to be interred.
In case you have not heard of this unusual event – it was not very well publicized and hardly any one knew about it – Richard III, a Mediaeval King, died in battle in 1485, came briefly among us and shared his secrets, told us what he ate and the illnesses he suffered, suggested to us his hair colour and body weight and wowed the ladies both young and old, before his time on earth again was over and he was returned to the soil from whence he came (or quite close to it anyway).
Driving along this processional Richard III route I noticed something strange and a little magical. Everywhere I looked trees were bursting into leaf; chestnut, crab apple, beech …taking on a vibrant green mantle along their branches, clothing themselves in leaf.
The Willow, Salix caprea, was covered with furry looking Pussy Willows, desirable for flower arranging but a bane to hay fever sufferers when the pollen starts to blow, but oh! how spectacular on this bright day.
Baby rabbits were hopping in the fields
and lambs frolicked with their mother
I really was enjoying all of the splendour of nature and felt what a pity it was that the hedgerows and fields had not been so abundant 15 days previously for the journey of the king. Even the flowers were showing their colours, shy violets peeping, primulas unfurling their primrose petals, jonquil escapees from gardens making little sunshine patches in the green.
It was then that I began to wonder a strange and wondrous thought. Maybe Richard had not missed all of these miraculous happenings. Maybe he had caused them! Fifteen days before there had been no leafy buds, no lambs or baby rabbits, no flowers and now there were! What had changed?
HE had traversed this route.
Could Richard III be causing miracles to happen?
I stopped the car and tried to access Google. Of course I couldn’t. Richard may be able to make miracles happen in nature, but even he cannot get an internet connection in rural Leicestershire!
Later, safely in a hotel room, I found the Facebook pages I was after. Fans of the dead king were convinced that he should be canonised for his unerring goodness. Maybe they were right! Maybe this mere man, just a normal king, did have magical or miraculous powers.
He, Richard, was most certainly the instigator, the very cause of the splendiferous nature display I enjoyed and witnessed that day. I consulted Wikipedia on how to make this king into a Saint and consequently wrote (not emailed) to the Pope. Although the Pope does not make someone a saint – the designation of sainthood only recognises what is already there – I hope that he will respond favourably and try and progress this.
Miracles happened all along this saintly man’s processional route. His sainthood cannot be denied.
I hope to go to his tomb in Leicester Cathedral next week. I need a miracle to cure this ingrowing toenail.
(Source material is unavailable.
Cotton material and a bit of velvet material is available.)
Photographs are from http://homepage.ntlworld.com/candj_simmons/SHENTONS.HTM
The Hinckley Times
Author’s own collection
© Jeff “Jefferty” Jeff: 09.04.2015