There are good reasons why Housman set his poem comparing Shropshire and London in Knighton, rather than Telford, not least because the River Teme doesn't flow through the north of the county; Telford's being a new town may also have had something to do with it. Housman was certainly spared the problems of navigating the shopping centre where I got lost the other morning as I walked to the misleadingly named Telford Central railway station.
I stayed in Telford en route to Growing Up Green & Global, event at Harper Adams University, organised by Learning 2B Sustainable, where NAEE had a stand in the über-functional university sports hall that lurked behind a rather fine Art Deco building set within leafy grounds. I never left the hall, eschewing the lure of keynote addresses, and discussion panels, preferring to talk with fellow exhibitors and passing delegates for the whole day. I'd never done that before.
As if to emphasise that nothing's a long way further than Telford, my journey home took four and half hours, the rail gods conspiring against me with slow-running, missed connections, and that multitude of assorted delays that are the everyday experience on our slow speed rail network.
For the record, the Housman poem (which of course is not really about London, Knighton, Thames, Teme – or Telford) ends:
By bridges that Thames runs under,
In London, the town built ill,
’Tis sure small matter for wonder
If sorrow is with one still.
And if as a lad grows older
The troubles he bears are more,
He carries his griefs on a shoulder
That handselled them long before.
Where shall one halt to deliver
This luggage I ’d lief set down?
Not Thames, not Teme is the river,
Nor London nor Knighton the town:
’Tis a long way further than Knighton,
A quieter place than Clun,
Where doomsday may thunder and lighten
And little ’twill matter to one.