A Postillion Struck By Lightning

Yesterday evening Shelly produced a splendid roast beef dinner, complete with Yorkshire pudding and perfectly cooked roast potatoes and parsnips, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and swede; followed by fruity Queen of Puddings. Red and white wine, and Hoegaarden was quaffed.

After making more headway today I have only a few more pages of Dirk Bogarde’s first volume of autobiography to finish reading. Shame on me for keeping this excellent book on my shelves for 40 years before opening it. My eyes have been opened to the many talents of the man I remembered as a film star of my earlier years. Bogarde’s writing is poetic, sensitive, humorous when need be, and apparently most honest. The more than competent pen and ink illustrations among the most readable text, and the jacket cover are by his hand. If you would like to know the reason for the title you must read the book.

Sir Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde (28 March 1921 – 8 May 1999), known professionally as Dirk Bogarde, was an English actor and writer. Initially a matinée idol in films such as Doctor in the House (1954) for the Rank Organisation, he later acted in art-house films. In a second career, he wrote seven best-selling volumes of memoirs, six novels and a volume of collected journalism, mainly from articles in The Daily Telegraph.
Bogarde came to prominence in films including The Blue Lamp in the early 1950s, before starring in the successful Doctor film series (1954–63). He won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role; for The Servant (1963) and Darling (1965). His other notable film roles included Victim (1961), Accident (1967), The Damned(1969), Death in Venice (1971), The Night Porter (1974), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Despair (1978). He was appointed a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1990 and a Knight Bachelor in 1992. (Wikipedia)
As soon as I have devoured the rest of this work I will open the next one.
Before leaving for East Sussex for a birthday meal for Tess at The Gun in Heathfield I printed a picture of Poppy at Mr & Mrs Steele’s wedding as a card for her mother.
Once more we will be late enough home for me to have to defer commenting on the event until tomorrow.


  1. “40 years before opening it” ?? That’s nothing Derrick. I still have two books that I should have read before my first term at university in1970. Somehow, I think I’ll wait for the film to come out.

  2. This was an awesome post to begin my journey “backwards” through your posts, Derrick.
    I loved the later films of Dirk Bogarde. He was quite a talented and chameleon type of actor to blend in. . . The films I enjoyed, Darling, A Bridge too Far and The Damned are such valuable contributions to the legacy of this actor.
    I admire you blogging, socially busy, gardening, editing your own book and Still Reading! Wow!
    Peace to you and Jackie. Hope to see the edited portrait of sweet Poppy! I posted a new photo on my FB of Hendrix a few weeks ago. Social media is mainly a half hour daily.
    I’m thankful for your positive comments always. ~ Robin

    1. Thanks very much, Robin. Unfortunately I won’t be posting Poppy pics again, because her parents don’t want her pictures on the internet. I’m sure she still looks like Hendriz, though

  3. I knew your title was the title of a book but I couldn’t remember by whom – yes I read and enjoyed this so many years ago I scarce recall the contents. I am reading ‘Penguin Island’ which you have under another title and introduced me to a few posts back. I am thoroughly enjoying the sly humour of it. My only complaint is the sub-standard quality of the publication – complete with tiny illustrations that are poor copies of the originals.

    1. Thanks very much, Pauline. I am pleased you are enjoying Penguin Island. What a shame about the illustrations. Was your copy printed in China, by any chance? ‘A History of the world’ was, by the way, just my blog post title

      1. It’s a Dover Thrift Edition, from Dover Publications, New York – printed in the USA, though it was sent to me via the UK. It claims to be an exact reproduction of the original edition and probably is, but the printing is of such a poor quality is is hard to tell. Still I’m enjoying the authors work!

  4. Like Pauline, above, I read this years and years ago, and the title has always stuck in my head! I know I enjoyed it but can’t remember anything about the contents! I’m re-reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy at the moment. The language is so exquisite that it needs two readings to appreciate the story that’s threaded through her wonderful prose. Well deserving of a Booker Prize. I can’t understand why it hasn’t been made into a film!

  5. Thank you for introducing me to him! He has quite a name!
    I enjoyed reading the pages you shared here. I will have to see if I can find some of his books to read and films to watch.
    I imagine you had a wonderful time at the birthday meal! Happy Birthday to Tess!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  6. I will not have a chance to look at your blog for a day or two. Just ducked down to my local secondhand shop and purchased a copy of “A Postillion Struck By Lightning”. It was the picture of the “Privvy” wot done it.
    Unfortunately the only copy was a pristine edition by Penguin, but the pictures are all as you showed them and include twelve pages of photographs.
    Thanks for pulling it off the shelf.

  7. I lied. I must stop reading and comment. I’ve just read two pages and looked at the photos. What a delight! It comes on the list of “I wish I’d written that”.

  8. Wonderful illustrations! I was only vaguely aware of Dirk Bogarde. I will have to see if he is in our library system, and if so, I’ll get one of his books.

  9. His book seems very interesting. I had two books and I did not read them for many years, though not for 40 years 🙂 and when I read them I kept telling myself why I had not read them earlier. maybe a time has to come for anything to happen !

  10. I always liked his films, but other than him being gay, I didn’t know much else … after a Wikipedia read I am now more impressed with the man. His concentration camp memories must truly have haunted him.

  11. I usually resent illustrations in books but I must admit those were charming. I must track down this one. As for biographies by movie stars, the one I enjoyed the most is Michael Caine’s What’s it All About.

    1. I remember your dislike of illustrations, Mary. Had it been possible for me to go to art school I may well have been an illustrator 🙂 I can imagine Michael Caine’s would be good. Thanks very much

      1. Yes I find illustrations disruptive but the author is allowed to present his story as he wishes. Still I wish they wouldn’t put them in the middle of the text.

  12. He appears to have been more talented as an artist, and writer, than as an actor. He never convinced me in any part that he played. You’d hear his name mentioned in the same breath as Olivier, Richardson or Gielgud IMNSHO

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