Finishing Touches (2)

On another gloomy wet morning Jackie photographed a selection of our current garden blooms, some decorated with pearls of rainwater.

Here we have sarcocca Hoskeriana, cyclamen, daffodil, iris reticulata Katharine Hodgkin, snowdrops, hellebore, camellia, daphne odorata marginata, and crocus.

Barry, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, then visited to extend the

downpipe across the kitchen extension roof to the guttering.

With our friend reflected in the Velux window he and I enjoyed a very pleasant conversation.

Five chapters further on in ‘Little Dorrit’ prompts a scan of five more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to this novel of Charles Dickens.

‘Mr Pancks requested Mr Rugg to take a good strong turn at the handle’ of the street pump, which were common sources of water for residents in the mid-nineteenth century. carries a long entry on “The Broad Street Pump: An episode in the cholera epidemic of 1854”.

in ‘My dear soul, you are my only comfort’, we recognise the earlier profile of the magnificent Mrs Merdle.

‘The three expensive Miss Tite Barnacles’ are somewhat less than delightful.

The jubilation of ‘The Collegians cheered him very heartily’ has the artist throwing his hats through the text.

‘The little procession moved slowly through the gate’ demanded the span of a two page spread. No doubt readers will recognise earlier acquaintances.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury pilau rice topped with a five egg omelette served with both tempura and hot and spicy prawns with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rรฉserve de Bonpas.


  1. I was thinking about how well the artist of Little Dorrit must have had to have known Dickens’ writing and this story, to be able to portray it so well in these sketches.

  2. Youโ€™ve got blooming bulbs! Iโ€™m still waiting though the rooks have quite possibly pecked them to death. The garlic granules have helped but the previous damage may be too great.

  3. Mrs Gowan and Mrs Merdle really do look as cooped up as the poor parrot, in his gilded cage!
    Barry looks like a man who knows he’s done a good job and is now ready for his own, well earned evening tipple – great to know the roof is now well sorted ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Barry looks like a friendly person and does a good job too. Your bulbs are really popping up well. Spring is on its way. I could eat your supper right now and itโ€™s not even teatime yet. ?

  5. WE had a builder booked to do our chimney stack. So far (9pm) h hasn’t arrived…

    He needs a couple of days to do the job and the forecast seems to have put him off. Pah!

      1. I was thinking of a builder we used to have (before he retired) who used to comment on the deplorable lack of skill in using lead flashing these days. Yours looks to be done well.

  6. Lovely garden. Our daffodils are shooting up, but that’s about it. We have some extremely cold weather, for Alabama anyway. I’m hoping the blooms hold off until the cold is past. Sigh.

  7. Jackie, your photos of the beautiful blooms and full-faced flowers are so lovely! Perfect captures of the raindrop-pearls! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love the Barry AND Barry-reflection photo, Derrick! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great work, Barry!
    I would sit a spell and chat with Mrs. Merdle and Mrs. Gowan. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS…now I’m thinking about your amazing meal! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks, Jackie, for stirring up my taste-buds….I’ll leave before I drool on your blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰ HA! ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. Your lovely gardern is showing blooms through the winter season – how delightful!
    I enjoy wathcing the illustrations taking different positions on pages, to suit the artist’s purpose. The three young ladies’ skirts melt into one, emphasizing the unity of less than pl;easant personality shared by the trio.

  9. You and Jackie have so many spring blooms already! The flowers look lovely, especially on a wet, grey day.

    Barry has done a very nice job of fixing the roof and getting that drain pipe taken care of. You hit the jackpot with Barry and Aaron. Both are very good at what they do.

    Still enjoying the illustrations. โ€˜The Collegians cheered him very heartilyโ€™ gives an indication of dental health in that era. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks very much, Lavinia. You hit the nail on the head with the dental health – a point I almost made myself. We really have hardly had a winter. You are so right about our tradesmen. They really care about what they do.

  10. You have one meticulous friend in Barry there. Your woes of misbehaving roofs have been sent down the drain in right earnest.

    Those illustrations of Mr Charles Keeping have convinced me he was one of the forefathers of the genre of graphic novels in vogue today.

  11. I agree with Liz about Barry and the Miss Tite Barnacles. ? I like Barry and his reflection.
    I’m envious of your flowers. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any around here for a while.

  12. I really like the photos Barry, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs they would look nice in black/white prints. They will make a wonderful thank you gift.

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