Backcloth

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 Β£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.

59 thoughts on “Backcloth

  1. Traffic can be a trial, and not everyone can give good directions, but two hours late is better than no arrival at all. It sounds as though all worked out, and you even worked that Eton mess (that I now understand) into your day!

  2. That sounds like a frustrating crawl of a traffic merry-go-round. We are so dependent on satellite navigation, our natural cognition of directions seems to have given up aiding the brain. Glad you were rewarded with a great get together after the travail.

  3. That’s Chevrolet drivers for you! πŸ˜‰

    Just what you needed after a frustrating draw in the cricket when you had every right to expect a win with more game time?

    Still everything worked out eventually, even the Eton Mess! πŸ˜‰

    Hope the internet behaves itself and things become easier tomorrow.

    (Isn’t the satnav charged up by the car battery??)

  4. A little bit of a rough start, but otherwise the day sounded splendid. Happy, happy to Becky! It always tickles me to read “Eton mess.” I suppose it seems ordinary to you, but until I read your blog I had never heard of it.

  5. I’m glad you had a lovely time. It sounds as if the traffic may have had the effect of making you even happier to have reached your destination. I followed the wrong signs for quite a long way on a visit to a garden last month around some very narrow and seemingly random country roads and have to confess there was some passing contention between my sweetheart and myself as a result.

  6. I am glad to hear the day was salvaged; the delays and diversions must have tried everyone’s patience. I wasn’t aware of a hawk centre at Weyhill; I’m looking forward to learning more and seeing some stunning photos πŸ™‚

  7. UGHS on diversions and confusion and delays and waits and closed-ings, etc. Such is life. And we do learn to breathe and take each thing as it comes. πŸ™‚

    YAYS for a good meal at the Hawke Inn! I hope you didn’t eat the Hawke! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

  8. I’m glad you made it through your traffic misadventure to enjoy the day. The name Dirk Bogarde rang a bell, but I needed to Google him to job my memory. I saw him in “The Servant,” which was a fantastic movie, as was his performance.

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