Focus On The Windscreen

Nick Hayter visited this morning to assess the post-refurbishment decorating work he is to undertake. We enjoyed his usual pleasant conversation.

The unconsolable skies shed continuous profuse tears throughout the afternoon, which we began with a trip to the Lymington Post Office collection office to claim a parcel undelivered because of a shortage of ยฃ2 in postage. The good news was that there was no queue. The bad news was that the office was closed. I took an alternative option which was to stick the extra postage on the back of their card and post it back to them.

We then drove into the forest to make

a record picture of the lake at Pilley which is avidly collecting more liquid sustenance. I chose not to walk round to the other side for that view since I was already feeling a drip.

While waiting for a train at the Lymington level crossing I had plenty of time to focus on the windscreen.

Perhaps it is the intensity; perhaps the consistently fast pace; perhaps the comparative shortness; perhaps the bloodthirstiness of the historical context of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ that renders it apparently the most widely read of the master’s novels, in which there is no room for his customary dry wit, and little for his comic turns.

Later this afternoon I finished reading the work which becomes impossible to put down; and scanned the last four of Charles Keeping’s perfectly matched illustrations to my Folio Society 1985 edition.

‘ ‘Hope has quite departed from my breast’ ‘

‘He spoke with a helpless look straying all around’

‘Miss Pross seized her round the waist and held her tight’

‘She kisses his lips; he kisses hers’

This evening we dined on double egg and chips with sausages and baked beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Comtรฉ Tolosan Rouge.


  1. Although Dickens may not have had a chance for wit and comic turns – the ending was a masterpiece I never forgot!

  2. Your wit in the paragraph about unconsolable skies made me laugh. I love the photos of the reflections and ripples on the lake–particularly the three small ones.

    It’s a good story, but you also have those excellent illustrations.

  3. Certainly an impressive rainfall and a clever solution to the postage due problem. No wonder there was no queue if there was nothing to queue for. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. You captured some beautiful photos on such an oorie day! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love the lights and rain on the windscreen photo!
    I always love seeing the raindrops ripple the water.
    Kudos on the Keeping kiss! Lovely illustration!
    ? ? ?
    PS…โ€œA rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.โ€ โ€“ Rachel Carson

  5. Oh, your lovely supperโ€ฆI was eleven when I became allergic to eggs cooked in this way (cakes are fine if a small slice) but I still member the taste of a fried egg and runny yolk! It was our Tuesday night tea for a number of years after rationing ended!

  6. Photos transport the weather to my handheld apparatus. The subject lake has started to assume a palpable persona. The photo through the windscreen is like a painting that weeps aloud the aspirations of the rain.

  7. I hadn’t realised that this was Dicken’s most read book. It would be interesting to know which one is the least frequently read. I used to read Dickens as I watched my young daughter doing her swimming and her skating, and eventually I got through all the novels. I have very little memory of ,many of them which I found long drawn out and too reminiscent of Balzac who was paid by the line.
    If “Two Cities” was the most read book by Dickens with its “intensity”, “consistently fast pace” and “comparative shortness” could we add “Christmas Carol to that list of one?

  8. My next Dickens will be David Copperfield. I’ve never read Two Cities but I’ll get to it one day and be prepared for it to be intense, fast-paced and gripping. But not funny! As for the weather, we shared those skies with you, Derrick. Relentless rain. But it gave you some stunning photos ?

  9. My favorite photo is the first forest scene. It reminds me of how much I used to love walking in a gentle summer rain. (I know looks can be deceiving!)

    1. In the Summer, one can say, โ€˜to Hell with it, Iโ€™m just going out and get wet!โ€™ Summer rains are so nice when theyโ€™re gentle.

  10. Yes,Derrick, I agree, the queue always seems favorable when the establishment is closed. I almost spilled my coffee when I guffawed at that realization. Today, itโ€™s 13F, snow covered ground but clear blue skies for which Iโ€™m thankful. You have motivated me to read Dickens, again. Have a wonderful day!

  11. Fantastic waterlogged photos, especially the one taken through the windscreen, Derrick. I have enjoyed this set of Mr Keeping’s inimitable illustrations and feel disappointed that it is the last.

  12. That wet windshield shot is amazing – and as always I enjoyed the Charles Keeping illustrations. Quite the genius, isn’t he? Stay dry, {{{Derrick}}} and give Jackie a hug from me, will you?

Leave a Reply