A Fine Set Of Choppers

‘A Short Walk from Harrods’ is the fifth volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography, and, to my mind, the best. I finished reading it last night, and would have been saddened had I not had one more to come.

This work deals in more depth and detail with material that has been featured in earlier books, notably the years in France. Without giving too much away I would say that this is the mature writer honestly facing endings and renewal with his gifted descriptive writing. Pondering on the flowing language it occurred to me for the first time that Bogarde brings his actor’s ear to his prose. He knows how the words and their placement would sound when spoken, and he works on adapting his undoubted skill. I have not read any of his novels but this book could well read like one.

Today was free from rain, but winds gusted at more than 40 m.p.h.

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance is an ace and generous recycler. He takes our logs to another client whose heating comes solely from an open fire. To us he brings paving and other materials without charging for them.

He really enjoys what he says is “making something from nothing”. Here he stands beside an extra compost bin he is building. The burnt plywood sheet came from his friend’s garage; the pallet from another; the perspex sheeting from our garden; the boards from his own supply. The bricks along the front is a typical finishing touch.

So far the winds have not created too much damage. The galleries in this post can be accessed by clicking on any image in each one. These may be viewed full size by clicking on the boxes beneath them. Further enlargement is also possible with a click. The pictures are labelled individually.

Jackie did her best to repair some of the windburn and other damage to plants, and later we drove to the north of the forest.

There was much waving of manes and twitching of tails from the ponies on the green outside the converted school in South Gorley. One creature, keen to make my acquaintance, met me nose to muzzle as I stepped out of the car, shook her head about a bit, and repeatedly presented a fine set of choppers for inspection.

The stream at Ogdens North was now very shallow, so that pebbles on the bed could be seen beneath the reflections from above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy piri-piri chicken, marinaded throughout the day in a tangy sauce; her most colourful ratatouille; boiled baby Jersey Royal potatoes; and mature, yet tender, cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2019.


  1. I see you’ve made a new friend. Hope the wind doesn’t inflict any damage on your gorgeous garden.
    PS We could all do with an Aaron.

    1. Thanks very much, Sheree. Aaron is certainly a treasure – so reliable, too. We do have quite a bit of windburn and broken stems – and one more day of gusts – but much of this is only noticed by the Head gardener.

  2. I should read Dirk Bogarde – I enjoy biographies and he was an interesting actor. Love your garden – and your over-friendly pony certainly has a fine set of gnashers, though they could probably do with a de-scale.

    1. Given that they eat grass all day long, the state of the gnashers was interesting. Bogarde’s writing was a surprise to me – he also illustrated the earlier ones, very well. Thanks very much, Mike.

  3. Quite a biography to go into so many volumes.
    That photo in your header made me laugh–quite a set of choppers indeed!
    Aaron sounds wonderful–and how cool that he recycles items between various people so that all benefit and nothing is wasted.

    1. Aaron really does that well. I’m pleased you got a laugh, Merril. Not being much of a fan of Bogarde’s films the writing was a great surprise to me. Thanks very much.

  4. Now I’m going to wonder all night as to what that horse was trying to tell you, Derrick!!
    I need to look into that Dirk Bogarde book(s) too.

    Have a nice evening, and give Aaron a wave from the States for me on his next visit.

  5. Aaron is a gem! You are lucky to have such a friend, Derrick and Jackie!

    The gardens and forest drives are always a treat.

    I love the series of photos of that grey mare. She does have a fine set of teeth. 🙂

    1. The pony was quite harmless, but so persistent that I couldn’t get back in the car until Jackie drove on a bit 🙂 Thanks very much Tootlepedal.

  6. Maybe that friendly horsey thinks you are an Equine Dentist! HA! 😉 😀
    She DOES have a fine set of choppers! 😀 (Hmm…or maybe she was trying to tell you something?!?!)

    Aaron is a treasure! You and Jackie are fortunate to have him in your life. But, he is fortunate to have you two, too! 🙂 (The recycling to create new is great!)

    I always enjoy hearing about what you are reading! 🙂

    Oh, that everyone could be like the cauliflower and broccoli…mature, yet tender. 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  7. I am glad that the wind hasn’t caused much damage to your beautiful garden, Derrick. That while pony looks like she is trying to tell something or perhaps ask for help. Very expressive!

  8. I’m with Aaron; I love nothing better than the something from nothing; and our compost bins look so much like yours as a result!

  9. Aaron is the Lord of Discarded Things. The description of ponies is vivid, but for that I’d have imagined she was pretending to be a lioness. Maybe she was one in her previous life.

  10. I would come for dinner uninvited, just spring it on you and Jackie, but of course covid would make that even more rude, so it’s a no go do.
    Love your posts Derrick.
    PS- I have an old bound set of 12 volumes, everything Dickens ever wrote, way too old for a copyright.

    1. Thanks very much, Cindy. That would be a lovely surprise, but it’s a bit windy in garden at the moment – so the dinner would be in jeopardy. My set of Charles Keeping illustrated Dickens is missing one which was once borrowed and never returned.

  11. What a find Aaron is! I wish he was closer to us! As for the wind, I think we have it here for the week ahead. Batten down the hatches!

  12. Hope the rain is doing the garden some good, and a toast to the season of Jersey Royal potatoes – so short but so delicious. I am in the trap of anthropomorphising, but love how the pony looks as if she’s grinning for the camera.

  13. Wonderful pictures of those horses! And yay for Aaron. Love how he recycles things. He would fit right in here in central Maine. The world would be a better place if it had more people like Aaron.

  14. What an amazing portrait of the grey mare. i think the bared teeth. meant that she probably saw you as a challenge, Derrick. 😀 Good for Aaron, what a treasure he is and so is Jackie to keep you so well fed.

  15. Sorry about the wind damage.
    Loved seeing the ponies especially the toothy one, seems like she was keen to have her photograph taken!

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