Surviving The Cold Weather

Having progressed comfortably past the halfway point in Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, this morning I scanned the next six of Charles Keeping’s imaginative and skilful illustrations.

In ‘Mrs Hominy stalked in again; very erect, in proof of her aristocratic blood’ the artist perfectly displays her haughtiness.

‘Three or four meagre dogs; some long-legged pigs; some children, nearly naked; were all the living things he saw’ sprawls across a splendid two page spread.

Two more leaves are partially occupied by ‘In a moment the stick was spinning harmlessly in the air, and Jonas himself lay sprawled in the ditch’, thus depicting a sense of distance.

Mrs Gamp, being ‘Only a little screwed’, i.e. somewhat inebriated as usual, clearly afforded her young witnesses a sneaky source of amusement.

‘He stood at his shop-door in even-tide’ is one of Keeping’s authentic period street scenes.

‘That fiery animal confined himself almost entirely to his hind legs in displaying his paces’ bursting out of the text shows the horse’s stubbornly combative nature. The artist faithfully demonstrates the driver’s diminutive stature.

The day remained cold with occasional sunny periods, one of which lasted for only the first of the photographs I produced on a walk around the garden this afternoon.

This was a fanning euphorbia providing shadows; we have a plethora of primroses and pansies, some of which are now planted in an owl flown in from Mum’s garden. The other ornamental raptor pictured is the Head Gardener’s latest purchase. Later daffodils continue to bloom, as do tulips and camellias. Honesty is widespread; spirea sprays forth; fritillaries flourish. I think it is safe to say that the garden is surviving the cold weather.

This evening we dined alfresco at The Lamb Inn, Nomansland. I will report on. that tomorrow.


  1. Loved the illustrations Derrick… and your spring garden flowers…. Such a delight.. Hope you have got any tender plants covered tonight…. Another sharp frost tonight….. Sending you both our love… <3

  2. I thought it was a new owl since I haven’t remembered seeing it in your photos before, Derrick. Very pretty!
    This set of illustrations is quite sarcastic, with brilliant characterization of both the aristocratic lady and the tipsy one, It also includes wonderfully dynamic ones (“bursting out of the text”) of the spinning stick and the rearing horse. Very enjoyable.

  3. What descriptive illustrations – absolutely bursting with depth and character; such a gift!
    “Mrs Hominy stalked in again; very erect, in proof of her aristocratic blood” is such a wonderful expression…
    The beautiful and many flowers in your garden are clearly more than surviving the unwelcome April cold spell. Many congratulations to the Head Gardener, and to you!

  4. The garden is looking lovely and very tidy. I hope the wintry spell will have done no harm. My sweetheart was teasing me today because I told him I had been worried to spot slug trails over the place I had planted peas, then relieved when I looked closer to discover it was just small traces of snow. He says only a northerner could say that.

  5. Wonderful illustrations–I like both women, haughty and inebriated–so well sketched.
    I’m happy your garden survived. It looks beautiful! The new owl is quite attractive.
    I guess it warmed up or the inn has heaters if you dined alfresco, but I’ll wait to see tomorrow’s post. ?

  6. I enjoyed Charles Keeping’s illustrations, and all the lovely spring flowers in your gardens, Derrick and Jackie. The owls are perfect in there!

  7. Your garden is full of spring beauty. I like the fritillaries, They are so small and unassuming, but I love their delicacy and the intricate violet-on-white design of their petals.

  8. The garden is looking lovely, I like the new owl too.

    The ground here has had a thin blanket of snow almost every morning for the past two weeks, the pathways have been icy and short mini snow storms have been the norm during the day. Oh for a little warm weather.

  9. I always love when the owls make an appearance in your photos! 🙂 And the new owl is so beautiful! 🙂 I think it was A.A. Milne who said something about Owl being the grand and wise bird of the forest… 🙂 I like that Jackie and you have many grand and wise owls watching over your garden! 🙂
    The flowers are certainly beautifully enduring the sharing of life with the cold weather. 😉 🙂

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