Mounting The Verge

With a penultimate scanning session today ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ is almost closing for Charles Keeping’s exquisite illustrations

‘They descended the narrow steps which led into the crypt’. Was the old man here based on Alastair Sim, even though he never made a film about this novel? Here is the trailer for his Scrooge:

‘Mr Swiveller took another pull at the tankard, and waited for her lead’

‘Kit suffered them to lead him off’

‘During this melancholy pause, the turnkey read his news-paper

‘The gentleman who was against him had to speak first’

‘The pony reared up on his hind legs’

Although the strong winds began somewhat to subside during the day, we were treated to frequent changes of light as sunny periods alternated with violent precipitation; dark clouds with blue skies.

After a shopping trip to Ferndene Farm Shop this afternoon we drove around the lanes for a while.

Sometimes we experienced the changes described above all together.

I only had to swivel on the spot in Thatchers Lane for a very few minutes to acquire these images.

On London Lane Jackie began backing up when coming nose to nose with a monster. Quick as a flash the very young man in the driving seat mounted the verge to allow her space to pass. The tractor’s rear wheels were higher than the Modus.

Most verges sport a proliferation of daffodils, like these on

Charles’s Lane.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s delicious steak pie meal with more of the same beverages.


  1. The monster truck driver was very courteous.
    The pictures show how easily the weather could changes, eh?

  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed this set of Keeping’s equisite ilustrations, as well as your breathtaking photos of changing light and the curving Charles’s Lane, Derrick.

  3. Great photos as always, Derrick. Your weather seems very wild! That’s a beautiful John Deere tractor, I know the brand very well. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

  4. The trees and daffodils are lovely. I was looking at the monster on the lane and thinking that I definitely would not want to be driving on the same road and in the opposite direction. It is quite intimidating.

  5. Monster tractor indeed.
    The daffodils look lovely, I can’t wait to see ours in bloom. The photo taken on Charles Lane has something magical about it, almost enchanted if that makes sense.

  6. Keeping has surpassed himself in today’s post – the expressions on each face tell so much about the individual’s character… I would have loved to have met the artist, though it’s quite an intimidating thought too – he is clearly such a thoughtful observer of those around him πŸ™‚
    Your own images are, as always, inspiring.
    I particularly like today’s ‘head hangers’: spring daffodils, adorned, as they are, with spring rain drops.
    I do hope there were not any bulbs under the monster’s monstrous wheels!

    1. Thanks very much, Emma. I rather fear for the verge flora under those wheels. Keeping is certainly one of my favourite illustrators. He died suddenly in 1988. I believe his widow still runs a museum in his honour.

      1. Gosh yes, in Kent, so not a million miles away.
        It looks well worth a visit, when reopen – thank you so much for letting me know!
        What a beautiful website it has.
        And a wonderful story behind their life together… It looks as though it is a very special place. 😊

        1. It is, indeed, Emma. Especially as I suggested that The Folio Society pair him with Dickens I wish I had met him. He died the year after my Dad and, like his widow, my mother lives on – as you know.

  7. Beautiful photos, Derrick, coupled with the Keeping illustrations make for a most enjoyable post. I noticed the exceptionally wide front tires on the Deere. Looks appropriate for the saturated ground we’ve seen from your photographic record of the area. The young lad in the cab was indeed most courteous.

  8. Lovely photos and I enjoyed the book extracts as well.
    Hoping to get out and see some countryside this weekend if the weather holds up, we haven’t been anywhere since before Christmas and are desperate for some fresh air.

  9. After seeing the illustrations, my mind turned the pool of water into a weird kind of camel-meets-Dr-Seuss character. I always like seeing your trees.

  10. I was wondering whether you had ever heard of or thought of using the Starscope Monocular. It is like a telescope that you can attach to your camera and then take pictures of objects that are very far. Your pictures of the sky would be even more wonderful and precise.

      1. You are most welcome. I do hope you will give it some thought. It is very affordable (in some sites you have to buy separately the phone clip for circa 16 GBP) as it is around 40 GBP. Some versions of the monocular telescope are 69 GBP including the phone clip. With your love of photography and the landscapes that you capture, I think the result would be thrilling!

          1. I think they are mainly for smart phones. I did not see any for cameras. I personally use a smart phone as I gave my camera to my daughter who was more interested in taking massive amounts of pictures

  11. I never tire of tree branches against the sky! What I find so striking about the Charles Keeping illustrations is how expressive he’s able to make the faces with just pen and ink.

  12. Enjoyed that, Derrick; thank you. I confess to finding it hard to picture anyone other than Alastair Sim as Scrooge. Nice to see rain still does occasionally fall in the south πŸ™‚

  13. Sounds like an exciting day! One never knows what might be around the bend on those narrow roads through enchanted forests.

  14. The skeletal trees against the moody sky are beautiful. I smiled at the dexterity of the young man in the monster and salute him for his politeness whilst seeing the grin on his face as he moved out of the way πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  15. When I was in college, I drove a large dump truck that carried harvested peas on the vine to the next step in the process before they were taken to the frozen food plant. It was a big operation with lots of trucks (all driven by girls) and tractors driven by boys. I found it a fun summer job, but it’s a big responsibility to drive a large vehicle. Now I’m just happy to have my ordinary car. It must have been tricky for the young man you met to drive his large tractor on a one-lane road.

  16. Gorgeous photos!!! πŸ™‚
    In that first one…the puddle of water looks like a skinny two-hump-ed camel! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ Possibly similar to an illustration by Mr. Quentin Blake! πŸ™‚
    Nice of the monster driver to give Jackie room to pass by! πŸ™‚
    ((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  17. Charles’s Lane is like something from a fairy tale.
    I marvel at how Keeping manages to convey such detail and expression in a few lines.
    I like those changeable skies and the daffodils–our first daffodil of the season bloomed. πŸ˜€

  18. Charles Keeping would have had a grand time creating line drawings of your marvelous photos today. Exquisite! I LOVE the photo of Charles Lane – that’s a keeper!

  19. Keepings are for keeps! The beautiful silhouetted trees followed up by the monster of a truck that’s also an acrobat, lead nicely to the tender flowers of the verges and the idyllic street.

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