The Evolution Of A Room

Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.

One of these was the stable door. It is my fond imagining that a horse was once kept in what became the garage, which we converted to

a utility room leading to a library, fronted by

a boarded trellis bearing clematises, solanum, nasturtiums, petunias, geraniums, etc.

I do hope this accurately describes the evolution of a room.

A few days ago I had taken my copy of J.L. Carr’s short novel, ‘A Month in the Country’ from my library, and I finished reading it this afternoon. Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1980, the book is a many faceted gem. Two men are linked by the fact of having survived Passchendaele and each having accepted commissions to uncover secrets of a medieval church. I will try not to reveal too much, but can say that in economical, well-placed, prose encompassing just 121 pages of my Folio Society copy of 1999 the author speaks of heaven and hell; of judgement, redemption, and damnation; of joy and pain; of culture and spirituality; of time and eternity; all with a slowly seething undercurrent of suppressed sexuality. It wasn’t heterosexual love to which Lord Alfred Douglas referred as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, yet there are other reasons for fear of revealing feelings.

Ronald Blythe’s perceptive and informative introduction reflects the author’s style.

Ian Stephen’s detailed illustrations are true to the text.

The front and back boards are each printed with a copy of the artist’s engraving for the frontispiece.

Here are the rest.

Early this evening we took a brief trip into the forest.

From Pound Lane near Thorney Hill we watched ponies paddling in Whitten Pond, alongside which a young woman played ball with a pair of dogs.

On our return we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away with which we both drank Tsing Tao beer.


      1. Haha, wow.
        It’s good to have alot of books.
        I have books all over in the bedrooms, closets and other places. Hopefully once I set up my library I’ll keep my books in one room.

  1. An embarrassment of riches! I love the evolution of a room and am more than a little envious of an actual library. A Month in the Country has been waiting in the wings for me forever. After feasting greedily on your wonderful illustrations from your copy, Derrick, I may have to bump it up the list πŸ™‚

  2. I love your doorway–so beautiful and inviting. I hope a horse was once kept there, too.
    Your book illustrations are always wonderful, and the book itself sounds interesting.

  3. I do love a stable door! With or without a horse. I lived in Kent in a converted barn for a couple of years and had a stable door. I’ve wanted one ever since πŸ™‚ That book sounds and looks intriguing – hinting strongly at where the ‘forbidden love’ lies…….

  4. I had to laugh at this: “Today was hot enough for us to open doors and windows.” We’re already longing for the time when it will be cool enough to open doors and windows.

  5. The evolution of your room truly looks grand., Derrick, I’m sure you’re proud of your renovations and up-grades…

  6. Perhaps there was a hansom too, parked somewhere under the willow. One could almost write a story about the horse vanishing one night and the occupant of the bungalow visiting the gentleman at Baker Street!

  7. I love your library. Once our children grew up and the old ponies died my husband converted one of the stables into a work bench. My school was getting rid of a couple of old science work benches and they were put to very good use in his new workshop.

  8. It does! How wonderful! πŸ™‚
    And, OH, I love your library! ‘Tis a joy to be surrounded by our books (“friends”)! To see them, touch them, read them, keep company with them! πŸ™‚
    Love the flowering clinging climbing vines! πŸ™‚
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  9. I like your library! Some can not understand people like you and I with all the books we own!
    The horses are a beautiful sight. But your two-day talk of Chinese food is making my mouth water – Kingdom Buffet here I come!!

  10. Lovely to see a glimpse of your books, although the spines give little hint of the riches inside. I particularly like the illustration with the boat. We were hoping to climb up to the tower yesterday, but gave up half way up and headed round the side of the hill to the pub for a cold Fentiman’s ginger beer (for me) and a cider (for my sweetheart). It was early evening, but a bit too hot to be foolish!

  11. Wonderful to have all your books in one place. I blush to admit that I had to look up Passchendaele. I suspected it was a battle, but I wasn’t sure for which war. “A Month in the Country” sounds like a book to add to the TBR pile.

    1. You would like the book, Laurie. The complete and utter waste of life in the trenches of WWI perhaps had more lasting effect over here. Thanks very much

  12. I love the room and your garden is always a pleasure to visit. In America, everyone is so obsessed with new this and new that. If a room or a house isn’t what they want, it just gets torn down and rebuilt into something even newer and all the history is lost. Sorry for the rant and thanks again for the journey.

        1. It’s very good. One man researches a chosen building 200 or so years old and very sensitively offers stories of the who have lived there. There have been 4 I think

  13. Your library is beautiful, it looks a very nice place to sit and read:) The garden is beautiful as usual. Thanks for the book review. Regards

  14. ooooh, what a great look with the row of rocks as a border in front of the stable door. Speaking of books that you read, I am in the middle of Can You Forgive Her. I appreciate that it’s long, because that way I have the chance to spend a long time with all the characters. Good Heavens how complicated things can get when we make an effort to follow the polite course and neglect to get right to the bold, uncomfortable point. Being direct would help everyone in this book. ha ha!

  15. It’s such a pleasure to have an extra room dedicated to books. That’s what we had intended to do with our younger son’s room, when he got married and moved out of the house. However, books in this house have a mind of their own, and they proliferated beyond that room and invaded the rest of the house. I suspect that, as we turn the lights off at night, they have fun and multiply on their own.
    The book seems a nice read; that you for recommending it, Derrick.

  16. Love the illustrations and the veiled comments. It makes me sad for the lovely young lady in the illustrations that may be in for an unrequited love affair.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: