Clear, Changing, Light

We began the day with an early trip to Milford on Sea Pharmacy.

Cloudscapes over the Solent and Christchurch Bay were ever changing. The Isle of Wight, invisible not so long avows nicely silhouetted against clear blue sky beyond bands of white cotton and degrees of indigo clouds. Cerulean patches peeped through others. Empty cruise ships waited outside Southampton for Covid-19 restrictions preventing them from taking on passengers to be lifted.

Similar skies prevailed over Keyhaven Harbour

and Hurst Spit, along which a couple of heavy lorries churned up dust before descending to

Saltgrass Lane.

Numbers of walkers and their dogs stood out against the constantly changing skies. Beneath the truck in the third image featuring the spit can be see a husky dog and its human companions.

This group raised considerable attention and a number of questions which the gentleman holding the lead was happy to answer.

After lunch Jackie worked on her water features in the garden while I cleared up a little: transporting clippings to the compost; lifting wind-floored owls, none of which had been damaged; and gathering slender fallen branches.

Having now read the first five chapters of

in which Mr Dickens begins to introduce his characters, I scanned the above frontispiece – ‘It was a clear evening, with a bright moon’ – with the title page and five more of Mr Keeping’s illustrations.

‘The old lady, naturally strong-minded, was nevertheless frail and fading’

‘Neither of the three took any notice of him’ – as the artist shows us.

‘ ‘You have seen the gentleman in this way before, miss?’ ‘

‘He touched the tip of his high nose, by way of intimation that he would let Mr Pecksniff into a secret presently’

Notice how Charles Keeping, in ‘Mr Pinch set forth on a stroll about the streets’ establishes perspective as the lines of the detailed foreground donkeys recede into those of the suggested distant chimneys.

Just before dinner I dashed outside with my camera

to photograph a fleeting sunset.

Dinner then consisted of three prawn preparations, namely tempura, salt and pepper, and hot and spicy; Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice; served with fresh salad, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.


  1. A very interesting as well as beautiful skyscapes – the colours at the end of the day make a lovely contrast to the rest.

  2. Our skies are very similar but here they just keep leaking in surges of heavy rain. We’ve gone from drought to flooding rains and no chance of sunset or sunrise photos. Thanks for reminding me what they look like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Amazing illustrations. We don’t see illustrations much these days in any books.

  3. Beautiful images – photographs and drawings. And fascinating text – thank you for the visit to the sea today, with its broad open skies!
    I wonder what those huge lorries were doing?
    Lovely though the blue/grey skies are, this evening’s golden hues bode well for tomorrow…
    Let’s hope for sun!

    1. Thanks very much, Emma. We think they were returning from delivering sea defence materials – there is much cliff erosion. Perhaps tomorrow will be better than forecast ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for dashing out…such a gorgeous sunset!
    Love the puffy clouds! Love the puffy doggy! (Oh, that sweet sweet face!!!) Love the trees…one and all!
    Are the garden water features something new?!
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS…That dog must’ve had such joy romping around! But, oh my, on needing a bath or a hosing-down when he gets home! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ HA! ๐Ÿ˜›

          1. Oh, good! I’ll sit right here and wait! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ha! ๐Ÿ˜€
            Okay, I won’t sit here, but I will look forward to seeing them when they appear. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m glad the owls are okay. I love the weeping birch. Yesterday evening we had similar golden light for sunset. A storm was in the forecast but it never came.

  6. i’m just amazed at how beautiful the illustrations are!
    what a gallery of lovely cloud formations today and stunning sunset photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I enjoyed the photos from your day. Such beautiful transitional weather skies, and the last golden rays of the day to take us out on. We had a blustery, rainy day here punctuated by moments of sun.

    The illustrations by Charles Keeping are very well done. He was a good observer of humanity.

  8. Those are vivid photographs of life bursting at the seaside. I am delighted for the introduction of yet another series of Charles Keepingโ€™s sketches. The illustrations are as intricate and detailed as ever, the facial expressions befitting the intentions of the original author. The one that you praise for the carefully drawn perspective has indeed a three dimensional feel about it.

    The fleeting evening has been ably captured over the surrounding landscape, skies and the weeping birch and the housetop that is silhouetted like a pyramid.

  9. derrick, you had a busy day with your camera, which then you loaded here for our pleasure, many thanks…dinner of prawns 3 ways sounds delish…

  10. The colours of the setting sun on the birch trees is soothing to the spirits, Derrick. It’s a magical time of day.

    Tonight, I will quaff some Cabernet Sauvignon from the Langhorne Creek region of South Australia.

  11. I’m so glad you dashed out to capture that sunrise before dinner. Glorious!! Your cloudy day resembled ours here yesterday. Drizzles, but not enough rain to do the watering we need. I hope we get more today. Have a great weekend, {{{Derrick}}} – thanks for sharing your vistas! <3 Oh, and the line drawings are wonderful, aren't they?

  12. Such contrasting skies, beautiful shades of muted colour.
    Once again Iโ€™m envious of your visit to the coast.

  13. Dickens and Keeping are a great match. “Mr. Pecksniff.” ?
    Beautiful photos–that late day glow is so beautiful, I can imagine you running out with your camera to catch it.

  14. You’re working through a project that I mean to do one day – read all of my collection of Dickens. Mine also have illustrations but I don’t think I would have the patience to scan them. ‘Phiz’ has a totally different style to Keeping.
    I believe that husky may actually be a Samoyed. Hope the owner would agree. Something like the difference between Keeping and Phiz!

      1. Good grief. In the UK you can pay 2-3 thousand pounds for a pure bred chow-chow, so that owner will be mighty displeased if it is, and we are suggesting it is a cross-breed. LOL.

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