Illustrations Accommodated By The Text

Early this afternoon we discovered a leak beneath a bathroom tap, dripping into our downstairs utility room. A local plumber could only promise a visit tomorrow afternoon, but said he would try to come later today. Considering that a pretty good response given the shortage of available plumbers nearer than Geelong, we were confined indoors for the rest of the day.

This gave me the opportunity to read more of Charles Dickens’s ‘Our Mutual Friend’, and to scan six more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations demanding that the author’s text accommodate them.

‘She always walked with her husband to the railroad’ has the couple carefully placed in the background.

‘The river and its shores rang to the terrible cry she uttered’

‘ ‘If he ain’t a-going to bathe!’ ‘

‘Mr Fledgeby went rolling over and over again’

‘Dozing women-drunkards’

‘Hours and hours, days and nights he remained in this same condition’

Dave, of D J B Plumbing visited shortly before 6 p.m. and fixed the leak quite quickly at a price less than other firms’ call-out fees. He is a very engaging gentleman, too.

Afterwards we dined on Jackie’s tasty steak and onion pie; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, and broccoli all cooked to perfection; and meaty gravy, with which she drank more of the Pinot Grigio and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.


  1. That the art drives the text in this series of books you have is a testament to the art of book-making. How differently things are done today. I am impressed with your plumber too!

  2. Lucky to discover that leak, rather than have it insidiously destroy the utility room ceiling. Anyway, a good excuse for the concentration needed to read dickens these days. Aren’t you planning another room refurbishment? I can’t remember where.

  3. Sorry Derrick, still no international flights out of Geelong …
    I adored Dicken’s words about ‘home’
    “They were not less happy for such talk, and home was not less home for coming after it. Bella was fast developing a perfect genius for home. — He was in a “China house” he explained to Bella ..

  4. I had not heard the word ‘bivouacked’ before..! Wonderful illustrations – so impressive, what a simple line can do when the implement that draws it is in the right hands.
    Well done, Dave; it must have almost been worth finding the leak, as now you have a direct line to such a valuable plumber. Particularly useful as winter approaches!
    Jackie’s supper sounds perfectly orchestrated, and perfectly seasonal too.

  5. So glad the leak was fixed…and how wonderful to have an engaging plumber! YAY, Dave! πŸ™‚
    From the reading of your first sentence, I thought…”Too bad Ivor can’t come and fix the leak!” πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚ <3

  6. I’ve missed enjoying these illustrations, Derrick. Sounds like you’ve found a real gem in the plumber. Good plumbers are hard to find!

  7. “Geelong”!!! Another Aussie city whose name has roots in England.

    Your choice of wine gets my tick of approval, of course. <3

  8. Plumbers from Geelong can’t get up here to Ballarat due to Covid Lockdowns. But if you want speed, that first illustration of the cart is brilliant.

  9. Catching up on my reading. Enjoyed this post. Glad the plumber was able to come and help. We’re enjoying a relaxing Friday here. Hope your day is going well.

  10. It’s a lifetime of artwork dedicated to the occasional wildness introduced by Dickens. I am sure Keeping was neck deep into work catching up with the eccentricities of proceedings and giving them a visual corpus that stands in its own right. Back to our domestic lives, when did we complicate things as simple as plumbing and painting? Makes me want to believe that someday life as projected in the Matrix saga is all going to be true.

  11. “The terrible cry” with its reflection in the river stopped me in my tracks for quite a while. Certainly all Mr Keeping’s illustrations are outstanding, and the text serving as part of the composition of his art is an ingenious approach, but this one is at the pinnacle of expressing drama. I could not figure out what’s on the bottom of that page, though, even by enlarging.

  12. Sorry about the leak and glad for your luck in getting into a plumber’s calendar so quickly. The illustrations as always, are wonderful, and they suck me in. I keep finding myself reading the book, and wanting to turn the page. Ah, the magic of illustration.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: