Cruck Frames

Jackie spent most of the morning watering the garden. I managed a token dead heading session which nevertheless filled two trugs. Nugget even followed me around. It helps if you use his name.

Regular readers will know of my penchant for leaving bookmarks or other tokens in my books, for posterity’s pondering.

Occasionally previous owners of my second hand copies have had the same idea. The volume I finished reading this afternoon contained two examples.

One is an engraving or possibly a linocut clearly cut from another book. I wonder whether I will ever see the original?

The other is a transparent bookmark. Who left it? Perhaps a rep for CIBA; perhaps a sufferer of chronic bronchitis. Could it have been Kellettt (or perhaps Kenneth) Carding whose name appears inscribed upside down on the bottom left-hand corner of the endpaper? If so would that explain the equally sized clip taken from the top right hand corner of the flyleaf; perhaps the name of an earlier owner?

If the first is an engraving, although charming, it lacks the finesse of the work of Robert Gibbings, whose ‘Sweet Thames run Softly’ is the book concerned.

This is the first of the author’s meanderings along an eponymous river. Originally published in 1940, my copy is the third imprint – darted 1941.

Gibbings blends elegant descriptive prose into simple philosophy, amusing anecdote, sensitive observation, and informative history; profusely illustrated with fine wood engravings.

Here I present

sample pages

displaying both the author’s engaging writing and his exquisite illustrations.

With a work of Robert Gibbings, my delight is often enhanced by his material having been covered by me, either in prose or photography;

an example of a cruck built house as described above, is more fully featured in my post “Afternoon Tea”.

This final sentence would surely not be out of place in any publication today.

Later, I retouched this image of my Grandpa Hunter, Mum, and Uncles Ben and Roy taken at Conwy c1926. The sandcastle being built may have heralded Ben’s later employment as Clerk of Works.

This evening Jackie produced a meal of roast chicken marinaded in Nando’s spicy Chilli and Mango sauce on a bed of succulent peppers and mushrooms; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine Franc Maine Bergerac 2016 – one of Lidl’s finest.


  1. Those wood carvings are certainly to be admired, Derrick!
    I have also found items left as bookmarks, including an air flight ticket, in the used books I purchased.
    My favorite is though, when I discover the author has not only signed the book, but left a note or message in for someone!

    1. Yes, I’ve found what I assumed to be bookmarks. Never occurred to me they might have been deliberately left!

      I actually posted a bill back to someone who left it in a book. Who knows ?

  2. wow – that linocut that was used as bookmark is curious. Makes you wonder.
    and I used to buy used books a lot and actually thought about making a little book with all the notes and scraps of paper – and even art pieces – like one was a pen and ink cabin/fence drawing signed by the author. Notes from a wife – receipts – etc.
    I started taking pictures of items but the idea got lost.
    anyhow, it was fun to see the previous owner bookmarks and my top takeaway is that uplifting passage:

    “…who are laughing in the fields: for every bird that is taken by a hawk there are a hundred still singing in the trees. Even in these days when hell bursts upon our world, like boiling lava from a volcano, let us remember that for every insult offered to humanity there are a hundred deeds of heroism.”

    so good.

    1. Thanks very much, Yvette. The bookmarks are a fascinating subject. Perhaps someone should write a novel. And that ending! – written 80 years ago.

  3. Another book to look up in our interlibrary loan system. Your recommendations never fail to engage me. And, yes, that ending sentence is a beauty. Lovely illustrations, too.

      1. I found “Sweet Thames Run Swiftly” in our library system! One library had it, and I’ve requested the book. Looking forward to reading it.

  4. You’re a good bird-dad, Derrick. I think Nugget has gotten attached to you. πŸ™‚ Now I’m curious about that bookmark! You’re looking quite dapper waiting for your afternoon tea.

    1. I, too, liked the fritillary – one I have photographed a lot. We came to the same conclusion about the house without entering it. A farmhouse of a similar age that we did enter had an upstairs corridor linking two staircases that neither of us could walk along. And it was surrounded by ticky tacky boxes.

  5. I have found many treasures in library books, as well, but none were intentionally left, I don’t think. I would love to see a bookmark from a fellow reader.

  6. Things I remember finding in old books: an airline boarding pass, a hand-written recipe for biscuits, a grocery list, a popsicle stick. Great fun! I once found pressed flowers in an old book owned by my grandmother. She apparently had many beaus, so I suspect they were connected to one of them.

  7. Regarding the old lady’s directions in chapter one of Gibbings’ book ; “Follow along the edge of the meadow until you come to some straggly bushes, but pay no attention to them…follow along then ’til you come to a dead tree, but pay no attention to that, either..” Thus are all directions given by all old women in my native land.

    1. πŸ™‚ Many thanks, Oglach. I once received a postcard from an English psychologist neighbour address to us at ” the house halfway on the right up the street with a letter box at the corner of Parklands Road”.

  8. One incredible thing which had been left in a book was found in the late 1970s by a young woman whose hobby was second hand book shops. I found the story during my own researches. She came across the official letter sent out by the RAF saying that “your son, Flying Officer Kevin Broadbent, is missing, presumed killed, in action”. With it was a handwritten letter from the squadron leader saying what a great chap your son, Kevin, had been and so on.
    The book the documents were in was a book of poetry belonging to Susan Lee with the address of a flat in London. Susan, as I found out later, had been the dead man’s fiancΓ©e, and the parents-in-law she would now never have, had sent her the documentation about her beloved’s death.

  9. Cool treasures to find in the books! It’s a joy in life to pass on joy…and your bookmark/token sharing is wonderful! πŸ™‚ I’ve done some of the same, but should do more. I love collecting bookmarks, and making them to give away, but I need to give more away. πŸ™‚

    Love the engravings!

    I love the “directions” given by the old lady in Chapter 1! I was once given these directions, “Turn left where the old barn USED to be.” I had to remind the person I had not lived there when the old barn existed! So I needed more clues! HA! πŸ™‚

    Yes, we must salute the heroism…and be part of it!

    HUGS to you and Jackie! Whistles for Little Nugget! πŸ™‚

  10. My bookmarks are definitely not grand or as interesting as your finds. Mine are those tiny post-its!
    I’ve had a couple of letters delivered with a misspelt house name (we don’t have a number) followed by just the village name and that is all!

  11. Sadly though our news reporters give far more attention (and air/column space) to the Insults than to the Heroism, resulting in a marked difference in the normal perception of the 1 to 100 ratio! πŸ™

    I find delight in knowing that Nugget follows both of you and that he responds to his name now! πŸ™‚

    Mr Gibbings engravings are wonderful and thanks to you i noticed his work featuring fritillaries! πŸ™‚

    Lately i seem to be obsessed with spelling or grammatical errors, especially in the news or mass printed publications. I just checked out on Google what a bronchitic(s) was (a person who shows symptoms of/has bronchitis, naturally) and while two results claimed to show what the definition of bronchitiCs was they then sent me to pages only mentioning bronchitIs, despite me having to re-qualify my initial request when Google first gave me the results for what it assumed i wanted and not what i actually typed. πŸ™

  12. Enjoyed that very much, Derrick. I need to keep an eye open for Robert Gibbings – and you’re right, that last sentence is a peach. Your comment about Ben’s future profession raised a smile…

  13. I like that Nugget responds to his name.
    I have found bookmarks and reminder cards in library books, too. The illustrations are lovely, and you are right about that last sentence!

  14. I have found bookmarks left in books by the previous owner. Usually, they are things like the tear out section of a Kleenex box or an old envelope. Happy to hear that Nugget responds to his name.

  15. It is such a sweet post I was at a loss of words that I would insert in the comment box. That transparent bookmark promising relief from bronchitis invoked many memories. At least someone is doing justice to the treasure trove of books he has been sitting upon for a long time.

  16. The illustrations in Gibbings’ book truly are exquisite. I am especially intrigued by the one with the swan an the ? water nymphs? The quote about the hundred deeds of heroism is a timeless treasure.

    1. Thanks very much, JoAnna. Gibbings states that there are legends about swan maidens in many cultures. He quotes Indian and Apsaras – the houris of Vedic heaven. His closing paragraph is indeed timeless

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