Beside The Pond

This morning was the dry part of day beset with showers of varying ferocity. We shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop for three more bags of compost and a replenishment of our stock of fruit and vegetables, then continued into the forest.

Fly-decorated ponies planted in the road around the fully occupied Holmsley Campsite did their best to impede decanted campers, cyclists, and walkers setting out on their trips.

A nonchalant adolescent foal ambled across Burley Road, along which Jackie parked so that I could

follow the bone-dry powdery pony track to Whitemoor Pond. The third of these pictures is “Where’s Derrick” (5)

It was the sight of the distant clusters of ponies and foals that drew me to take the trek through the

moorland heather. Note the crow on the back of the reflected bay alongside the grey.

This afternoon I scanned four more of Charles Keeping’s skilled illustrations to “David Copperfield”.

‘Mr Dick leaned back in his chair, with his eyebrows lifted up as high as he could possibly lift them’

‘Mr Peggotty kept a lodging over the little chandler’s shop in Hungerford Market’ contains the artists ubiquitous little dog.

‘The girl we had followed strayed down to the river’s brink, and stood, lonely and still, looking at the water’

‘I began to carry her down-stairs every morning, and up-stairs every night’

Later, I did some more work on the next episode of The Knight’s Tale. Shortly before his death in 2017, my brother Chris asked me to help with the writing of his research on the family history. Now, for this section, I find myself wading through pages of material, including contemporary photographs and reminiscences. The problem is how to cull it to reasonable blog length.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special savoury rice with tempura and hot and spicy prawns; tuna and egg mayonnaise with paprika; and plentiful fresh salad, with which she drank more of the Carricante and I drank more of the Barolo.


  1. Your indifferent ponies remind me of clueless pedestrians of all ages
    I prefer the ponies– although both might do it deliberately. ???

  2. Your indifferent ponies remind me of clueless pedestrians of all ages
    I prefer the ponies– although both might do it deliberately. ???

  3. WHOA!!!! I am so glad you told me about this post. If I had missed it to morning, I would have been kicking myself. A few more looks at those ponies and I’ll be having pleasant dreams tonight!! Thanks!!!

  4. The horses have the right of way because they can damage people and cars, I have never seen wild horses roaming like this. There are lots of wild horses in the mountains around Las Vegas though. The drawings are fabulous, so much detail in them. ☺️??

  5. Such beautiful ponies! I usually just look at the David Copperfield illustrations but today I read the last page. Now, I am so worried about the child-wife! I am sure I read the book at some point in my life but now I may have to find a copy and re-read it.

    1. It is an excellent book. I post whole pages so people can see how the artist uses his space, and readers can sample the writing. Thanks very much, AnneMarie

  6. Such wonderful photos! That adolescent foal crossing the road is gorgeous. I couldn’t chose a favorite in the gallery, but I do like the reflections.

    Keepings illustrations catch the essence of the story as usual.

  7. Pretty ponderful peaceful ponies = perfect pleasant photos! πŸ™‚

    If you’d have had a green shirt on I might not have spotted your where-ness, Derrick! πŸ˜€ Okay, well, your beautiful hair might’ve given you away.

    I feel sad that those flies pester those ponies so. πŸ™

    Mr. Keeping’s details are always a joy to peruse! I spotted his dog! And the other details in the shops/market scene are amazing. The girl by the river is drawn in such a way that we can feel the wind and cold AND her emotions and loneliness. You know I love the way he draws faces and expressions. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, Carolyn, for your fun wordplay; your empathy for the ponies; and your appreciation of Keeping – especially the girl by the river.X

  8. You have been chasing ponies deep into heathers and moors and chronicling them with exquisite photographs. I found you in the left third, slightly above the middle, of the image in which the red sign cautions visitors about rare birds resting. Your red shirt is a giveaway. Charles Keeping continues to weave magic. I can understand your puzzlement over compressing the material to blog length. Perhaps you can curate the material into two to three instalments.

    1. I wondered about the several instalments, Uma. There are long pages of reminiscences detailing escapes from the Russian revolution and the Baltic states. Does that detail have any place in my story?

      1. Definitely. All you need to find is a common thread. Then you may have sections like What He Thought or <Through the Eyes of a β€”.

  9. I spotted you in that colorful shirt, Derrick! πŸ™‚ I enjoyed all the photos from your day. I think I recognize one pony and foal from before.

  10. It is amazing to see so many horses wandering around oblivious of traffic or people…I did notice the crow on the horse back too. We have wild horses here in Australia, in the Snowy Mountains, unfortunately they are damaging the land and it is very controversial as to what to do about it.
    I enjoyed reading your post, and good luck with the family history…. I am doing the same, but slightly overwhelmed at the moment ..!

      1. Thank you for letting me know about that, I wasn’t aware of it! You have to click on the Canberra’s Green Spaces first, then click on the title ”Baby Boom for birds amongst their favourite trees, scones and cream and a tree kangaroo.” Then you scroll down to the comment at the end. That seems very cumbersome, and heaven knows why you have to click both the Heading and the Title. (things have changed a bit since block editor) I’ll look into it.
        Best wishes.

  11. Derrick is a tiny red dot moving away from us in the left par of the photo.
    This set of Mr Keeping illustrations is quite emotional, other than the ‘lodgings’ which resembles a stage backdrop.

      1. I am predominantly visual, Derrick. I guess it shows. At school, when we were assigned to memorize long passages, such as the famous dialogue of Natasha with the oak tree from War and Peace (the tree is thankfully silent) where one sentence goes on for 1,5 pages, I tried to memorize the way a page looked and then recited with my eyes closed.

        1. You certainly have a visual bent and an excellent memory. I share the visual predominance, but I don’t remember much of what I read as opposed to people’s words and actions. If I had the time I should go back to War and Peace.

          1. Memory is trained, as we all know. I am having my piano tuned in a couple of weeks, and we’ll see how good my memory still is, visual, as well as kinesthetic.

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