The Gloomiest Day Yet

Yesterday evening I read more of ‘Great Expectations’ and can now post five more of Charles Keeping’s superb illustrations.

In ‘Wemmick’s arm was straying from the path of virtue’ the artist uses a double page spread to indicate space between the elements of the scene.

‘He hugged himself with both his arms, looking back at me for recognition’

‘We sat down to consider the question, What was to be done?’. Here space is indicated by a significant empty chair.

‘I looked stonily at the opposite wall, and forced myself to silence’ might be seen as an example of passive aggression.

‘All that water-side region was unknown ground to me’, nevertheless, it is not beyond Mr Keeping’s imagination.

On what was probably the gloomiest day yet of our current stretch, we took a forest drive after shopping at Tesco.

Given that the camera usually picks up more light than does the human eye I have chosen not to brighten any of today’s images from mid-afternoon. Jackie parked the car along Forest Road while

I wandered about a stretch of woodland the images of which reflected the mood of the day.

The last of these carries the reflection of the Modus which Jackie had brought down the sloping road to pick me up.

This was Burley Road at 3.30 p.m.

Back along Forest Road ponies remained unperturbed by the cars or their headlights.

One we had seen earlier planted firmly across the road had turned her attention to the other side of a plastic fence.

More lichen brightened a stone on the opposite side of the road.

Further along ponies partook of provisions of hay.

This evening we dined on roast lamb; mint sauce; Crisp Yorkshire pudding; perfectly boiled potatoes, carrots , and cauliflower; and tasty gravy, with which I drank more of the Shiraz, and Jackie drank more of the Chenin Blanc.


  1. The forest photos are actually quite beautiful, Derrick. Nature as it was meant to be. I hope that you guys get some sunshine and warmer weather soon! And, dinner sounds delicious as always, Jackie! ☺️??

  2. Ah, Dickens! Why am I reading contemporary fiction at all? Also like Dumas, among several others. The drawing are superb.
    Lovely to see your wet and mossy topography–glad you went out and about. The ponies are so sturdy and perhaps hearty at heart. 🙂

  3. I think your ‘expectations’ are too great for light levels at this time of year, Derrick –
    Your photos are SO atmospheric and beautiful… and I always love your reflection images.
    But I think that today’s reflections are far from ones of a gloomy day!!

  4. I like how nature decorated stones – the still ones gathering moss and the one with golden lichen. Thanks to whoever gave hay to the ponies.

  5. On a demi-dark day, you have chosen subjects that are in synch with the prevailing mood. The lighted up cars look alive. Ponies seem unperturbed as ever. Charles Keeping is brilliant as ever.

  6. The sketch of the two men with their backs to the fire remind me of a Highland Gathering when a particularly pompous chap was inspecting my son’s pipe band in the category of Dress and Discipline. He walked around them a few times and then barked “Your men are undressed!” This was a reference to the fact that the bottom button of their waistcoats were undone. The Pipe Major looked him in the eye and barked back “They are not married sir!” It is a tradition in their band that only married men (and women) do up their bottom button.

  7. You always find and share beauty…even on the gloomy days. 🙂
    I hope the pretty ponies will always be safe on the roads. They are a bright spot…as are the lights from the cars.
    I wonder what the white pony saw and was so interested in. Something worth a closer look. 🙂
    I wonder how long it took Mr. Keeping to recreate that newspaper! That intrigued me!
    How wonderful to hear the news read aloud. 🙂
    ? ? ?

  8. It is so dark here as well, although this morning it is perhaps a little brighter with the moon visible low in the sky. The illustration of Mill Pond Bank is superb. So much detail with so few strokes of the pen.

  9. More evocative drawings–the waterfront caught my eye.
    It does look like a very gloomy day, but brightened by moss and lichen, and those ponies, of course.

  10. Your Dickens illustrations are growing on me. Particularly liked today’s selections. The pictures are wonderful. It’s amazing how some low light and moisture can really pop lichen to the forefront. Great pictures. I’m impressed that Jackie would move the Modus to pick you up rather than expecting you to walk back. Do you have a signal that says, ‘I’m tired and would appreciate a lift?’

  11. Wonderful illustrations.. And yes the weather until today has been very gloomy… Today however the Sun came out to play…
    Loved all the horses Derrick.. and Yummmmm… We had roasted lamb at the weekend and made lamb stew with the left overs…
    Have a great rest of the week Derrick.. 🙂

  12. Gloomiest is a perfect description for your day and the proof is in your photos. Love the photos of the ponies and the dreariness of the forest. A perfect hot meal to end a gloomy day.

  13. That was a gloomy day, but the forest is always a pleasure to see, especially the ponies, in any weather. Spring is coming, February 2nd, a cross-quarter day, is almost here!

    Your Michael’s tree is happily growing and the daffodils are up several inches. I will send a photo when they bloom.

  14. Fog and gloom always changes the day. Here not so much gloom in the winter unless the sun never appears. Fog opens the day, but often has gone by lunchtime. These are sea fogs due the narrowed point of my city coastline.

  15. It’s been a foggy gloomy week here too, although lunchtime was cheerier, we actually saw the sun for a while.
    I was delighted to see the ponies having their supplement of hay.

  16. I’m liking the lichen. Dead and decaying forest wood can make nice photo subjects. Derrick, your road looks very narrow. There must be drivers practicing lots of courtesy, moving side to side to let on comers pass. I love lamb. Yummy!

          1. Well, that’s not nice. Good thing that we don’t have ‘wing’ mirrors. But we do have ‘side view’ mirrors?…

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