Wet Roads

Rain beating a clamorous tattoo on the Modus roof; repetitive rapping from a thumping car radio; abrupt slamming of doors; crashing gears of handbrake ratchets; muffled muttering of masked voices; clicking stilettos clopping through puddles – all combined to distract me from the last chapters of ‘Little Dorrit’ as I waited in the car while Jackie shopped in Tesco this morning. Fortunately the rain had stopped when she brought her trolley load for me to unload into the boot.

Heavy rain soon set in again, and I finished reading my Folio Society edition of Charles Dickens’s ‘Little Dorrit’.

For fear of spoiling the story I will not add my own detailed review of this tale which has been printed in many editions and filmed for a BBC series in 2008 to the many that may be found on the internet.

I will simply quote the first paragraph of www.brittanica.com’s article:

Little Dorrit,  novel by Charles Dickens, published serially from 1855 to 1857 and in book form in 1857. The novel attacks the injustices of the contemporary English legal system, particularly the institution of debtorsโ€™ prison.’ and add that it is a love story with added mystery.

The writer’s flowing prose with sometimes poetic descriptive passages and witty humour mostly captivates, although some of the more boring characters had my interest flagging occasionally.

Christopher Hibbert’s introduction is as helpful as always.

Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this novelist’s masterpiece. Regular readers will know that I have posted these as I have worked my way through the book. Although some narrative may be gleaned from these pages I have done by best not to reveal too much.

Here are the last three:

‘A big-headed lumbering personage stood staring at him’ as the brim of his hat had been tossed over the body of text.

In ‘Tattycoram fell on her knees and beat her hands upon the box’ the artist has captured the beating motion.

In ‘Changeless and Barren’, his final illustration, Keeping has managed to symbolise that the work is drawing to a close.

The rain returned before we arrived home and continued pelting for the next few hours. Rather like yesterday, it ceased by late afternoon. Unlike yesterday the sun remained lurking behind the thick cloud cover. We took a drive anyway.

As we approached Keyhaven the sails of a trio of enticing kite-surfers could be seen.

By the time we arrived they were packing up.

Saltgrass Lane runs alongside the tidal flats. At high tide it is often closed.

As we arrived, waves were lapping over the rocks and rapidly covering the tarmac. I was splashed by passing vehicles as I photographed the scene.

Figures were silhouetted on the spit; birds made their own contribution.

We continued along the lane back to Milford on Sea. Had we returned via Keyhaven we would probably have been locked out.

Other lanes, like Undershore, were washed by rainwater from overflowing fields and ditches. Jackie parked on this thoroughfare and I wandered along it for a while.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s stupendous chicken and vegetable stewp and fresh bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha, which involved opening another bottle.


  1. Our penitentiary here on the island was built during the times of Charles Dickens.

    It is named ‘Her Majesty’s Penitentiary’.

    Our politicians keep reassuring us that a new prison will be built sometime soon. โš˜

  2. Those kite – surfers certainly were “enticing”, Derrick. Nothing like a brave man in tight pants. lol

    When you say “Had we returned via Keyhaven we would probably have been locked out.” do you mean the water would have prevented you from getting out of there? What would you have done?

  3. Keeping certainly did capture Tattycoram’s beating in his illustration.
    Just as you did the beating of the rain in the opening of this wonderful post!
    The reflections of the trees in the roadside puddles, and the light on the wet road, are lovely.
    I do hope it will not be colder at the weekend – I’m planning for a continuation of the warmer weather, with a very dry couple of days… ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. If I ever read Little Dorritt, I’ll have to return to your posts for the wonderful illustrations.

    I like the black and white photos, particularly the birds and figures.
    The things we have to do “which involved opening another bottle.” ?

  5. We had a much dryer day than you today, it appears. We still have a quantity of snow to melt and rain is not what we want at present.
    I love the photos of lapping water at Saltgrass Flats and the shiny, puddled Undershore.

  6. That is an intense, poetic opening of the post; I couldnโ€™t help but reading it twice. That is a fitting end to the illustrated story of Little Dorrit, fuelled and fanned by Charles Keepingโ€™s inimitable artwork, and your industrious scanning of the sketches. Thank you, ever so much!

    1. As always, I am so pleased by your response, Uma. I mused on that opening in the car and wrote it as soon as we got home – so it was serendipitous that the final outing was as it was. Thanks very much.

  7. A beautifully descriptive introduction to this post, Derrick. I greatly appreciate your love for, and playfulness with, words. Dramatic scenes of rain – with none here I do not tire of seeing what might be – and a final look at Keepings illustrations. A feast indeed.

  8. I particularly love the scenes from the shore, pensive and grey. I miss our own shoreline, 2 hrs away.

    I will have to see if Little Dorrit is available on DVD. Many of the BBC series are, like Poldark.

    1. The 1970s version of Poldark is still available and is extremely good. You just buy the Dutch or Spanish version and switch the language to English. Just be careful to read the reviews before you shell out your cash. They are very informative.

  9. Okay, what have you done with the third person in the trio of kite surfers? Did you whisk him home with you to enjoy some of Jackie’s delicious cooking and some of your wine?

  10. Love the B&W photos…the waves, the clouds, the birds…all beautiful!
    The photo of the one lone person standing on the spit is so compelling and thought-provoking.
    Glad you two got home safely after encountering wet roads and splashing cars.
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Derrick, I love your diary style blog. Most of the people are saying that nothing happens in their daily life. However, our life is a set of small things we are doing during the day. People think it is not important. For me every small thing of the life is important. It’s a pleasure to read and watch pictures of your life journey.

  12. Hi Derrick
    so this is one of the few times I was on your main site for the blog (normally see the mobile version)
    and so I was able to experience the photos even more today – the theme of wet roads and them mostly mono (splash of green down in the post) with silhouettes and this vibe throughout – birds and sky – and mood!
    just brilliant
    and then to add the Little Dorrit was even sweeter
    and apprceiate your brief commentary (so succinct and like a secure nail at just the right spot on a shelf) – like how you shared “In โ€˜Tattycoram fell on her knees and beat her hands upon the boxโ€™ the artist has captured the beating motion”
    muchas gracias

      1. well I have to use mobile more than I like – but I now do see what I am missing –
        and the I one back to see the posts I miss I will make sure I am on a desktop.

        and quick question – what do you plan on doing with the scanned images of little dorrit?
        can I help in any way?
        and can I feature you in a blog post in March or April as I promote the little dorrit reading challenge?
        something like that ..

          1. ok great – the little dorrit challenge i am doing with Trent ends in June so i have a little time to think about ideas.

  13. We never get overflowing waves but we have often an overflowing River Wharfe in the valley.

    Today Joss and I are planning a drive, mainly to keep the battery charged on my car. I would prefer to sit back and be the passenger but he’s not insured for my car.

    No walking involved, all I need do is sit there and point the car in the right direction. The rain here is meant to cease shortly but the dark clouds will remain unfortunately.

      1. Thank you, Derrick. I am fine if I just sit around and do nothing, read a book, watch daytime TV, or do a little writing. Getting rid of the breathlessness is my goal, I can put up with everything else. It has improved a lot and Iโ€™m very grateful for that.

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