Keeping A Safe Distance

For most of a dull yet warm day I watched the Channel 4 broadcast of the soporific third Test Match between India and England.

Later, I scanned the next three of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’.

‘Grinder’s lot’ are stilt walkers, who were popular entertainers during Dickens’s time. There are a number of modern agencies on the internet, such as who provide costumed performers to recreate the experience.

The page was barely broad enough for the ‘Vagabond groups assembled to see the stroller woman dance’

In ‘The dwarf remained upon his back in perfect safety, taunting the dog with hideous faces’, Keeping has ensured that the taut chain restraining the frantic animal keeps it on a different page from its tormentor.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; bright Brussels sprouts, broccoli and carrots, with tasty gravy. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz. New Forest rhubarb and ginger, and salted caramel ice creams were our desserts.


  1. I love the two page illustration of the dog and his tormentor. That is quite brilliant.

    I just looked up “cottage pie” and realize I have just found something to do with leftover mashed potatoes. Love it!

    1. Nothing secret, Sylvia. Strong grated cheddar cheese and tomatoes on top. Sometimes she adds powdered cumin, but hadn’t done so with this one. Thanks for the visit.

  2. Gosh, your dinner sounds amazing – especially the New Forest Rhubarb with ginger and salted caramel ice creams… who needs restaurants to re-open when Jackie can produce such a feast on a Wet Wednesday evening?!
    Our rhubarb is still some weeks away from pulling… I shall have to use the time to find some Salted Caramel Ice Cream! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. An intriguing insight to that era Derrick, “โ€˜Grinderโ€™s lotโ€™ are stilt walkers, who were popular entertainers during Dickensโ€™s time.”

  4. Those are excellent illustrations by Charles Keeping! I like the stilt walkers. I could never do anything like that. I’d be on the ground in a minute. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. The match must have been โ€˜soporificโ€™ to the core. Your deep boredom is evident in description of the fixture as a match between India and India. Iโ€™m not watching!

    Charles Keepingโ€™s illustrations have immense transporting powers to the time and place of the story, brought to our screen assiduously by you.

  6. Stilt walkers have always fascinated me! That’s great illustration! And I love the dancing lady…her outfit, her expression, her movement, the joy she is bringing to others. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your meal looks colourful and yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. That evening meal looks delightful. Bright sunshine in the east and the garden responding well. Otherwise a day to forget. I watched the cricket and winced and suffered a second day of negative reaction to the covid jab.

        1. Agreed – and as a former fast bowler I was appalled at the dangerous foot holes our men had to negotiate. Apart from the likelihood of injury it must have bothered them and affected their rhythm.

  8. The Keeping illustrations you chose to feature are particuarly striking. The strolling woman reminds me of Carmen from the opera. Your supper looks really, really good.

Leave a Reply