The Next Generation

My sisters cleared Mum’s room in Woodpeckers today and will take her favourite clothes to the undertakers. I had removed the one object I would like yesterday. This, bearing my name on the back in our mother’s block capitals, was

a pastel portrait I produced for her on the first anniversary of Dad’s death, 34 years ago.

This is the original of an enlarged photocopy, the completion of which is described in “Would You Believe It?”

This afternoon Jackie roused me from somewhat of a stupor to drive me into the forest.

Ponies could be seen on the move on the moorland astride Burley Road; holding up traffic as they crossed the road; and continuing to slake their thirsts at Whitemoor Pond.

Two grey ponies planted themselves on the road at Ibsley. Each time they shook the flies from their faces the pests dropped back into place almost without changing formation.

Two other ponies hugged the walls of the Old School House at South Gorley.

Donkeys and their foals occupied the area around Hyde primary school, while, on the green opposite

the next generation of schoolchildren were engaged in a sporting activity.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge.

When Elizabeth rang to say that she and Jacqueline were just leaving Woodpeckers and going straight home we invited them for more of the jalfrezi, which they accepted with alacrity. I opened another bottle of the same wine for them to have a little before they left for an early night.


  1. Nice portrait, Derrick. I did not realize that you were also an artist. Golden ribbon for Jackie to rouse you for a therapeutic and restorative drive in the forest. Peace and comfort to you and your family.

  2. So many beautiful ponies! I feel bad for them though with the flies. Cold weather will stop that soon enough, lovely portrait, Derrick. You are also an artist! ❤️??

  3. The pastel of your dad is a wonderful reminder, both of him, and of your mum! I love your daily forest drives — so soothing to a soul in need, and your photos of the ponies and the donkeys are beautiful — do continue doing those drives!

  4. Jackie knew what you needed. That part of the country looks so passive. Thank you for continuing to take pictures of my ponies, only God knows what the 2 up against the schoolhouse were up to! haha

  5. That is a beautiful portrait you made of your father, Derrick, and I am glad it has returned to you. The sorting and closing down of someone’s life does go on for a while after they have passed away. It is good Jackie took you on a forest drive, with all its new life and promise of the next generation to observe and contemplate.

    I couldn’t get the link “Would You Believe It?” to work for me. It just comes up with the WP editor.

      1. Thanks for fixing the link, Derrick. I enjoyed that post. Yes, there are things well beyond normal human understanding, or the ability to measure them scientifically. It does not means those things don’t exist. I have had a few uncanny experiences myself.

          1. For some reason now with your older posts I can only look at them, but not able to “like” or comment on them, even if cookies are enabled. Something changed in WP, but alas, I know not what or how to get around it.

  6. This post evoked so many feelings, Derrick. That beautiful portrait and your description is so very moving. I may have teared-up a bit.
    Then the flies on the pony–ewww! And the little donkeys–awwww!

    I’m glad Jackie got you out of your house and stupor for awhile. Thinking of you. ?

  7. Thank you, Jackie, for your love for and care of Derrick! Thanks for rousing him…his photos today are lovely and healing to me.
    (((HUGS))) to both of you <3
    Derrick, that painting is so beautiful! Your love in painting it for your Mum so many years ago got me teary-eyed.
    (((HUGS))) <3

  8. Lovely portrait of your father. I’m glad you and Jackie were able to take a drive today. Your pictures of the ponies always calm me—I hope they offered you some peace.

  9. Well done, Jackie. You both needed to get out of the house.
    Beautiful photographs today. I pray for cooler weather and an end to the wretched flies!

  10. I love how Jackie looks after you, Derrick. A ride in the country is a perfect way to reflect on all of the good memories of your Mum. What a wonderful gift you created for her. The painting is beautiful. xo

  11. Ah, brilliant of Jackie to suggest a completely normal drive through the forest. I’m sure that’s just what you both needed.

    I read the post you linked to and I DO believe it! That portrait you produced was obviously perfect, if everyone recognized it as your dad about to tell a joke. And that would probably be just the way your dad would like to be remembered. So, perhaps he helped you to get it right. I’m sure you’ll treasure that as a remembrance of both of your parents.

    Hugs to you all,

  12. Such a lovely portrait of your father, and clearly cherished until they could be together again..
    Good to see the beautiful ponies. And the children, back at school as their new year starts.
    All best wishes to you both. xx.

  13. I felt the underlying emotions in your article Derrick …
    “Time hears no commands” … Ivor
    “For every moment, a second emerges” … Robert Okaji

  14. The tale of the portrait is a moving one, Derrick. I’m glad it’s come back to you. I’m glad you got out and about for a bit, too. In times of sorrow and stress, just getting up to move can be important. The destination makes not a whit of difference — although the photos of the ponies and children were delightful.

  15. Love the pastel portrait of your dad. The resemblance to yourself is remarkable. Jackie had the right idea, taking you out into the forest for some therapeutic time with the beautiful ponies.

  16. Your pastel portrait of your father is full of depth and energy. I agree with Rosaliene about his coming to guide your Mum to the next level. The donkey foals seem to have some interesting hair cuts or hair growth.

  17. The portrait of your father does have the expression put to colour, ’Would you believe it!’. It seems to have been your father’s favourite phrase. Folks rarely pass away till we harbour their memories. Perhaps it matters only to a couple of immediate generations however. I have never met my grandfather who departed shortly before I saw the light of the day. He is all stories therefore that I have forgotten for ever.

    You have captured great outdoor shots today. I appreciate your calm and dedication to the routine we have come to enjoy. I have always suspected the octopus were aliens, probably hurled into our planet by a passing interplanetary rock, but I am impelled to believe the flies are a much more sinister beings from the back of the beyond of the universe. Ponies alone know their secret, and that is why the flies keep hounding them, always bent on keeping them dazed. The pattern is established all too well. Out here we believe our equine friends can also see the non-living like the clear light of the day, and they can peek in the future too. I wonder what wisdom they are in possession of, that dwarfs the ceaseless human industry.

      1. I am sorry, I misread the context of the expression ‘would you believe it’ as the link wasn’t working at the time. Having gone through that old post, the significance of the phrase has dawned upon me afresh. The serendipitous appearance of your father’s smiling face under the paper has a wistful linkage to where you stand today.

  18. I’m glad you went to my “Return of the Native” spot on your drive today. There is an eternity in some places that are very fitting after the death of someone we love.

  19. What a beautiful portrait of your dad. Perhaps you should start doing portraits again. I am glad that Jacky is taking care of you and helping you get back to your usual day-to-day activity.

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