An Unknown Soldier

Just before I spent the week in Eymet with Maggie and Mike in September 2008, culminating in agreeing to buy their house in Sigoules, I enjoyed various locations with Mike and Heidi, Emily, Oliver, and Alice. One of these was at

Onesse in Les Landes. Oliver doesn’t seem to be in this family shot from the selection I scanned today from the recently recovered colour slides.

I am not sure where this beach was, but I remember picnicking on the bank in the foreground.

We took a number of walks in the sun-dappled forest with its tall pines, red-brown streams, and sandy banks of bright purple heather.

The farmhouse and its field; the nodding sunflowers; and the village perching above it are all outside Eymet, while the colourful garden and the church spire behind the rooftops are probably inside it. Without notes I am a little hazy after twelve years.

I really regret not being sure where this wonderfully sensitive sculpture of an unknown soldier adorns a war memorial. Maybe someone will enlighten me.

Having read another four chapters of ‘Little Dorrit’ I now present four more of Charles Keeping’s skilful illustrations.

Here we have a ruined uncle well portrayed by the artist;

‘My eldest daughter and my son Mr Clennham.’ The essences of one weak and one haughty captured by the artist’s pen;

‘Oh, Maggy, What a clumsy child you are!’ Drawn to perfection is Dickens’s portrait of this simple soul, including her clothing’s ‘general resemblance to seaweed’;

‘He seemed to have been sitting for his portrait all the days of his life’. Keeping has caught Dickens’s vivid description of the aptly named Tite Barnacle, down to his very clothing.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Recital.


  1. It is good to revisit holiday scenes from the past. You might not remember every detail, yet they must elicit memories that might well have remained buried.

  2. It looks like a delightful holiday, even if you don’t remember every detail. That soldier statue is quite eloquent.
    The illustrations are wonderful–Dickens was certainly a master of character names!

  3. What a beautiful place and beautiful memories!!! Even when we don’t remember every detail of a place we visited, the photos helps us recapture the feelings we felt when we were there. 🙂
    Love the bold pretty sunflowers!
    That unknown soldier sculpture is heart-touching.
    Hope you and Jackie are having a delightful day! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  4. Wow Derrick, I’ve seen a lot of your photos over the years, but this is the first time you have presented a ‘sandy’ surf beach photo… but where is it ??

  5. I was moved by the soldier memorial. It was hard to look away from his face. The French countryside looks lovely. My favorite is the farmhouse and field. It looked like a painting.

  6. Photography is the time machine till humans invent a real one which I believe is an impossibility. But it seems there is a crucial thread in one’s mind that supplies a lifeline to the journey as it were, and the snapping of which would reduce the quality of travelling. The unknown soldier looks forlorn, vulnerable in his vulnerability, mortal in his immortality. I love those big sunflowers.

  7. That second photo, the light quality and the weatherboard house, the family grouping, is wonderful. Very personal and yet also universal of many people’s holidays. 2008 somehow seems both a long time yet also two minutes ago.

  8. I tried searching for the sculpture too – you’ll not be too surprised to learn that all that came up was your own picture. I hope someone who lives nearby can help.

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