Not Lost After All

Those smaller sized books that are filling the spaces at the top of the library bookshelves need bookends to keep them securely in place.

We needed a few more, which, given that their product is very robust and weighty, meant a trip to IKEA in Southampton this morning. We also went to buy a replacement for Jackie’s kitchen shelves, so generously donated yesterday.
As usual, Jackie grasped a trolley, just in case we saw anything else.  This proved to be prescient, since, in addition to the above items, we also came away with a large rug for the entrance hall, several induction hob friendly cooking pans, some gift wrapping paper, and finally, a mini sack barrow. Given that we have probably finished carting large boxes of books backwards and forwards, this latter item seemed rather like locking the stable door (after the horse has bolted).

After nearly two hours in the dry heat atmosphere of this emporium, I felt as usual, as if I were in a trance.

During the wait at checkout I was able to reflect that IKEA, on our way in, had, by virtue of a certain obfuscation of their signage, warned us what we were in for.
One box of goodies retrieved from storage is labelled ‘Contents of Desk’. Since it rattles a bit and would not have been opened for some years, I have rather put off investigating the contents. I dip into it every now and then, and attempt to make decisions about disposal or otherwise.

Today I came across a small print of a photograph taken on honeymoon with Vivien in 1963. We stayed at a bed and breakfast farmhouse in Pendeen in Cornwall, and I am reliably informed by my blogging friend, Melanie of

that this was a shot of Mousehole. I do not have the negative and thought I had lost the print, the significance of which is that it was on the first roll of colour film I ever exposed, and it was instrumental in making me serious about my photography.
It was taken with the Kodak Box Brownie, and has suffered a few blemishes over the years, but I have decided not to remove these, and to present it as I found it.

I also found further art-work I had thought gone forever. Here I reproduce two:

The mother and child was the original drawing for a Christmas card made in 1976.

The elderly lady contemplating an array of medication is my Auntie Gwen.

Gwen was not confused about her pills. The drawing was made for the in-house magazine of my Social Services Area Office in Westminster Social Services. It was called ‘Age Lines’ and was devoted to our work with elderly people. Edited by Sid Briskin, one of the Social Workers, contributions were solicited from all his colleagues. I generally provided the illustrations. This one was from 1985.

We spent the afternoon and part of the evening filling shelves, reaching Novels L.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sausage casserole (recipe), boiled potatoes, and crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by chocolate eclairs. She drank Hoegaarden whilst I began a bottle of excellent El Pinsapo gran seleccion rioja 2011.


  1. Hi there Derrick. I came across your blog by accident and was very interested in your take on life here as I also came from London to live in a small village close to New Milton. I often pass the house you and Jackie now own and always thought it looked interesting, and the garden is truly lovely. It’s many years since we ate at the Royal Oak and the Plough and having read of your experiences it seems we should give them both another go! These days we generally eat in places a bit more off the beaten track but if you are looking for a pub the delivers a bit extra in the food line I would wholeheartedly recommend the Crown at Everton. And the White Horse in Milford has recently revamped its menu, the prices are very reasonable and the all day breakfast is just about the best we’ve ever had. Great to have found your blog and I will follow your adventures with interest.

  2. Your drawings are so emotional and well rendered. Love them. I used to work at a nursing home and was horrified (still am) at the number of drugs the doctors pump into the elderly. I am a healthy 53 year old and my body couldn’t deal with a quarter of what 80 year olds are routinely made to digest. Sorry – that drawing of Auntie Gwen made me rant. : (

  3. There can’t be many colour images from Box Brownie cameras remaining… that’s really fascinating to see one! And the artwork… it’s so good!? Is it your own art?

      1. Well, I should have caught up with it a lot sooner… I did read the posts when you gave me a link, but took an age to get away from Twitter, Pexels and goodness knows too many other internet distractions and come back to WordPress to read your posts again. I’m a little slow sometimes! ?

  4. I love your drawing of Auntie Gwen.

    Having never heard of it before, this is the second time in just over a week that I’ve heard Mousehole referenced.
    A week or so back I watched ‘Rick Stein’s Cornwall’ he visited Mousehole and told us how to pronounce it.

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