Yesterday evening I finished reading ‘Backcloth’, the fourth in Dirk Bogarde’s series of memoirs. In the 1980s, when the books were first published, I managed to miss this one which, produced by Viking, appeared in 1986. My copy is Bloomsbury’s paperback issue of 2013.
The author has further developed themes introduced in the first three books; notably his teenage and his war years, the struggles of the film industry and of ageing, If anything, his poetically descriptive prose has improved, and there is more revealing honesty.
Despite disappointments in production, I recommend this work, even to a reader who may not be familiar with its antecedents. There are, however, a few minor errors in proof-reading. The reproductions of the author’s exquisite illustrations seem to have been printed on blotting paper, and the photographs ripped untimely from the developing tray. I will not attempt to improve on them here. For £14.99 Bloomsbury should have done better – or even have omitted the pictures.
Becky and Ian had stayed overnight. As it is our daughter’s birthday we had planned to spend the day at the Hawk Conservancy Trust at Weyhill, near Andover. We were to meet Matthew, Tess, and Poppy there at 10.30 a.m.
The journey was going quite well until we hit a road diversion along single lane roads with no passing spaces. We followed, of all things, a huge Highway Maintenance truck. A combination of Diversion signs and the SATNAV sent us around a very long circle. Twice. Sometimes we were not moving at all. At one point a vehicle in front stopped and, with hazard lights on
came to a complete standstill. The driver behind us approached to find out what was happening. The stationary driver needed to be helped to pass an oncoming queue.
Eventually we found a way out of the maze. Then the SATNAV battery went flat. After a while we stopped at a garden centre where we were given confused and confusing instructions. Lost again, we stopped for further directions at a pub. It was closed. Fortunately a garage provided correct information and we arrived almost two hours late.
The rest of the day was most enjoyable and completed by an excellent meal at the Hawk Inn. My choice of main course was a rib eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato, and salad. This was followed by Eton Mess. I drank Malbec.
I took many photographs of raptors and will feature them tomorrow. We had been without internet this morning and were back on soon after 10.30 p.m. There was neither time nor energy to deal with these this evening.