A More Pleasantly Changeable Day

This silence-still, sun-bright, blue-sky, scudding-cloud, dappled-forest, dripping-leaved, clattering-chestnuts, wet-roads, reflecting-gutters, swimming-sward, morning had turned overcast by the time we emerged, brunch-sated, from Lakeview Café on our return home.

Sun-flecked tarmac and tree trunks along wet-bracken-flanked Holmsley Passage heard whispering, dripping, earthbound leaves carpeting the forest floor alongside emerging mushrooms and bouncing sweet chestnut shells bursting with fruit.

With golfing apparently rained off, a group of ponies tended the lush greens of Burley golf course.

On the opposite side of the road a solitary pony worked over the outfield beside a cluster of further mushrooms.

Leaves slowly drifted into the reflecting verges of Forest Road;

on the sunny side of which a curly haired grazing foal cast its shadow;

further along a trio of darker equines suddenly decided to cross to the other side.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh crusty baguettes followed by orange trifle, with which she drank more of the Zesty and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône.

More Rain, More Reading

Cecil Walter Bacon, MSIA (24 August 1905 – 12 August 1992), who signed his work “CWB“, was a British artist and illustrator.[1] Much of his work was in the art deco style.

Bacon was born in Battle, Sussex, England, where his father was a businessman who ran a tannery.[1]He was educated at Sutton Valence SchoolSt Lawrence College, Ramsgate, and Hastings School of Art, being at the latter from 1923 to 1925, when he was taught by Philip Cole.[1] In 1926, he began working for an advertising agency on London, before turning freelance in 1929.[1] Between 1932 and 1935 he designed a number of posters for London Transport.[2]

During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force as a Leading Aircraftsman, before, in 1942, being assigned to work producing propaganda artwork for the Ministry of Information.[1][2]

He worked regularly for the Radio Times and in 1943, during the war, he drew an illustration for the Christmas edition, depicting a soldier holding a sprig of holly.[3]

After the war, he produced designs for, among others, British Railways[2] and the Post Office Savings Bank.[1]He was adept at scraperboard work, and in 1951 wrote a book on the topic.[2] He also illustrated a number of books, and designed book jackets, including those for first editions of early works by Raymond Chandler.

Bacon married Irene Proctor in 1929; they had two sons.[1] He died on 12 August 1992.[1] A number of his posters are in the collection of the London Transport Museum.[2] A retrospective exhibition, Designer’s Progress, took place in 1984 at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.[1]

It was Bacon whose excellent illustrations adorned

of which this is the title-page and frontispiece,

and this, the book jacket to the collection of essays each originally published variously in the Spectator, Country Life, Christian Science Monitor and West Country Magazine.

I have chosen, in posting these pages from the collection, not to write my own review, but to leave the judgement of Church’s writing in those sections of text that accompany some of the pictures provided by Bacon, to you, my readers.

In the earlier days of my book collecting I subscribed to a number of dealers regular lists, then slipped the entries into the books. In this case the entry provided me with the publication date of 1951, which is not given in the book, perhaps because each essay would have had a different date when originally published.

I will provide a further selection the next time it doesn’t make sense to leave the house.

This evening we all dined on beef burgers, some of which contained jalapeños, and two consisting of haloumi; fresh salad; and chips, with which Jackie drank more of the Zesty and I drank Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages 2021

The Voyage Home

I didn’t take the extra hour in bed that heralded the end of British Summer Time this morning. Instead, I reset the clocks, watched a recording of last night’s grinding rugby World Cup Final between South Africa and New Zealand, and set about my customary work on blog comments.

On this, the first day of a period of lessening light and earlier darkness, we experienced further changing, mostly wet, weather. With an enticing spell of of blue-sky cloud we were about to drive out for a sunset when thunderous rain poured from above.

I pushed open the kitchen door, met gusts of wind sending streams through the door, upon the patio paving, and from next door’s guttering. In just two clicks I caught a warm, wet, blast.

I had spent the rest of the day completing my reading of the third volume of Charles Church’s autobiographical trilogy.

This is the blurb from the first edition of 1964 printed on the inside of the jacket:

I would accept this as a good outline of the man and his work, while adding some additional observations on this episode.

The quality of his flowing prose with its fine poetic descriptions continues largely as reported in my reviews of the earlier volumes, https://derrickjknight.com/2023/10/20/over-the-bridge/ and https://derrickjknight.com/2023/10/26/the-golden-sovereign/

He certainly demonstrates honesty and insight.

There is, however, one central section in which my interest wanes. This concerns the portraits recounting of his Civil Service and literacy acquaintances which lack his usual roundedness and would need more knowledge of the subjects to fully appreciate. I wonder what some of these characters would have thought of his sometimes less than flattering descriptions.

Soon after this we learn of his despairing breakdown, which may have a bearing on his writing here. He acknowledges the help of loved ones to aid recovery.

He names neither wife nor children, mentioning the latter rather peripherally; perhaps wishing to protect their privacy.

This evening we all dined on tender roast lamb; crisp Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; perfectly cooked carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mint sauce, and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank more Zesty and I finished the Garnacha.

Roses On The Brink Of November

Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s third place rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina.

Afterwards I responded to blog comments on my posts and read and commented on those of others. I don’t normally mention this because I kind of take it as read. This was a not untypical three and a half hours session.

This was a day of unrelenting showers, but after lunch I managed to spend some time in shirt-sleeves-warmth with just a sprinkling of rain to focus on roses in the garden. There are still many more plants in and out of season, but I refrained from including these, even the crops of the sticky willy weed with which we normally do battle throughout the first couple of months of spring.

Later I read more of “The Voyage Home” by Richard Church.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon to pick Jackie’s brains about selection, placement, and planting of bulbs in readiness for next Spring. I added a few thoughts.

This evening we dined on oven fish and French fries with garden peas, pickled onions and sandwich gherkins with which Jackie drank Zesty and I drank more of the Garnacha.

Autumn Has Arrived

On another day where showers outnumbered sunny intervals, we waited until a limited period of respite before taking an afternoon forest drive.

Here I engaged in conversation with another farmer, also a commoner giving him pasturage rights for his animals. I had seen him shooing away a solitary pony from his two highland cattle. He explained that he had done this because the interloper had been taking the food he

had put down for the cattle. This man had bred his bovines for 60 years in order to keep the breed alive. He has 48, just three of which are free in the forest – these two and a white one.

By the time I returned to the car the blue sky above had turned as cloudy as that above the tree alongside Holmsley Passage and a brief heavy shower ensued.

On the approach to Bisterne Close an occasional pool had filled and was reflecting the surrounding woodland. So squelchy was the area underfoot that it was unsafe for me to venture to far in, either there or alongside the close where

until they had made their way through to a verge further along the road, I needed to photograph ponies from a distance,

and a couple of woodland scenes.

Jackie photographed me making my way towards the ponies.

These were my own pictures of the group;

and this one of Jackie’s, who also pictured

proof that autumn has arrived.

This evening we all dined on bangers and mash; fried onions, cabbage, carrots and gravy. The bangers were a mix of fat meaty herbal sausages and tasty chipolatas. The mash was very creamy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha from another bottle.

More Showers Than Sunshine

This morning I posted

Today we received more showers than sunshine and I spent more of the morning reading Church’s “The Voyage Home”.

The sun played cat and mouse with me this afternoon.

Every time it tempted me to go out with the camera it would play the hiding part of peepo!

I therefore nipped out between showers and tried my luck.

Eventually we drove out into the forest in the rain, which soon desisted.

Curious sheep at Portmore risked garrotting themselves to investigate us through their wire fence.

Suddenly they all took off to the corner. I knew where they would be heading and walked back along the narrow lane to their gate.

Sure enough the farmer, assisted by his silent sheepdog, had filled their trough.

He invited me to come into the field for a better photographic opportunity. I gratefully availed myself of his friendly generosity. He left the gate open for me to close when I left. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him the breed and could not confidently identify them later.

The lake at Pilley is now filled to the brim, with clear reflections lit by the fickle sun reflected in a muddy pool and casting shadows across this and the bank.

This evening we all dined on racks of pork ribs and tender runner beans on a bed of Jackie’s savoury rice with which she drank more of the Lieblich and I finished the Garnacha.

The Golden Sovereign

This second of what was to become an autobiographical trilogy by Richard Church takes us from the struggling teenager to the young man of 1920.

This is an honest and insightful journey demonstrating the changes in relationships following grief and its consequent collapse of a loving home; a sacrifice imposed by family circumstances; the conflicts between desire for life in the arts and the need to secure an income; the pain of first love; the importance of friendships and encouragement; how the nature of parental relationships affects our later choices.

Church’s poetic descriptions of his surroundings and events are a delight. He enjoys simile, metaphor, alliteration, and other wordplay. Sequences are both excruciatingly painful and wryly humorous.

Our author is a master of sentence length conveying the essence of his narrative, be they long or short.

Attuned to music and the sounds of nature as he is, this reader can imagine the prose read aloud. His study and knowledge of the painterly arts is detailed.

Once again, I hope to leave the specific elements of the story to readers I have been able to entice into his world.

Despite what is written about conclusion on this jacket, there is another part to the tale which I will begin to read later.

Assisted Mobility

During her morning play time with Great Granny Ellie made her way across the room to me. At 14 months she is now able to stand alone but needs assistance to take the steps.

Following steady rain throughout the night Jackie reported that on a later shopping trip water was lapping at the bridge over Sea Road in Milford on Sea.

After lunch and before we went out for a drive I finished reading “The Golden Sovereign” by Richard Church. I will review it tomorrow.

On our trip we noticed several waterlogged fields and the banks burst of the stretch of Highland Water which still fortunately flowed under the bridge over Brockenhurst Road.

We were treated to Halloween displays at Southampton Road and

Winsor Road, Copythorne. It was the resident of the Southampton Road house who recommended the Winsor Road one. We were also

impressed by the garden opposite hers, with its antique flavour.

This evening we all dined on spring rolls; three prawn preparations -hot and spicy, salt and pepper, and Tempura – on a bed of Jackie’s garlic flavoured savoury rice, with which she and I drank more of yesterday’s beverages.

Sunshine And Showers Today

Before this morning’s first shower descended I carried out a session of rose dead heading. Shirt sleeves kept me warm enough.

After a heavy spattering on our roof I introduced my lens to the sun briefly flirting with scudding cloud clusters.

Raindrops on various blooms and a few garden views came into view. The day, much of which I spent nearing the end of the second volume of Richard Church’s autobiography, continued with more overcast skies than with sunshine.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast pork with perfect tooth-testing crackling; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli and cauliflower; tender runner beans and spinach; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank more of the Lieblich and I drank Hacienda Uranus Garnacha Old Vines, 2020.

Woodland Ecology 2023

Knowing that our comparatively sunny morning would become less pleasant during the afternoon, we followed a Tesco shopping trip with a forest drive.

The recent damp weather has added layers of moss to the decaying fallen wood gradually playing its part in forestry ecology. From the Mill Lawn car park I wandered just a few surrounding yards to record some of the changes since the larger trees first fell a year or so ago.

Clopping on the tarmac and thudding on the terrain, a motley variety of ponies wandered along and across Forest Road.

This evening we dined on the core of Jackie’s chicken and vegetable stewp with the addition of fresh ingredients that developed the taste. I finished the Shiraz and no-one else wanted any.