This morning I carried out more dead-heading of roses.
My post ‘https://derrickjknight.com/2018/06/04/auntie-ivy-and-sir-edmund-hillary/explains that I inherited my aunt’s book collection.
Another of her volumes, from The Book Club, published by Michael Joseph in 1958, is the first of a series of five novellas by British writer H.E. Bates which was adapted for a hugely popular television series from 1991-1993.
Bates, and his readers, revel enviously in the somewhat sybaritic lifestyle of the Larkin family. I found it very difficult to put down the book which must have taken no more than three hours, completed after lunch, to enjoy. The prose romps along following the Larkins’s “perfick”ly carefree escapades. Just three spring weeks transform the life of a would-be tax inspector who is hopelessly enamoured by the eldest daughter in what must be the most blatant efforts at an arranged marriage imaginable.
Pop Larkin is the archetypical happy-go-lucky wide boy miraculously conjuring up wildly extravagant provisions for the voluptuously maternal Ma and their vibrant brood. The initially hapless Mr Charlton is defenceless against parental schemes and the seductive allure of Mariette.
The jacket designer has captured the chaotic contentment of the author’s work so well that it is a time that he or she remains anonymous.
I hope I have not divulged too much for those who have not seen
this series of extracts from the TV series. Apart from the wedding scene these clips are most faithful to the first book.
Pam Ferris and David Jason, straight from his role as dubious trader DelBoy in ‘Only Fools and Horses’. are ‘perfick’ as the pleasure loving parents; Philip Franks as the bashful young man; and Catherine Zeta Jones as the delectable daughter.
My copy of the book bears an inscription of significant coincidence for me. An address on the first page had me doing a double take. This is ‘W.V.S. Paddington, 313 Harrow Rd.’
gives details of what was then called the Women’s Voluntary Service.
I don’t know how Ivy acquired the book, but I certainly knew 313 Harrow Road. Some twenty years after the novel came into my possession I was, as Manager of Westminster Social Services, Area 1, in charge of that building, a former Victorian town hall. When my department moved in we had a number of tenants, being charitable organisations. W.V.S. was no longer one of those – that would surely have been an even more fortuitous freak of fate.
Later this afternoon I carried out further irrigation.
Jackie having returned this evening we dined on more of her delicious chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo reserve 2107.