Keeping The Little Church In The Park

This afternoon I posted

Having read more of ‘Bleak House’ I scanned the next four of Charles Keeping’s exemplary illustrations.

‘It was a thing to look at, the three children close together’

‘Jo comes out of Tom-all-Alone’s’

‘How tranquil and happy she looked’

‘The little church in the park’

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Ceo Mencia Bierzo 2019


This afternoon I posted

Jackie is feeling rather better today, but we thought it wise to stay indoors.

I read more of ‘Bleak House’ and scanned another set of the inimitable Charles Keeping’s illustrations to my Folio Society edition.

‘Mr Snagsby at his door’

‘ ‘Don’t leave the cat there’ ‘

‘My Lady lounges’

‘I saw Mr Guppy looking up at me’

‘Old Mr Turveydrop, in the full lustre of his Deportment’

In the early days Charles Dickens wrote under the pen name of Boz, and facetiously signed his letters ‘The Inimitable Boz’. I had not known that when first applying that epithet to Charles Keeping.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway fare. We both enjoyed Ponir Tikka starters, a plain paratha, and egg fried rice; my main course was tiger prawn dhansak while Jackie’s was chicken sag. I drank more of the Appassimento.

Tractor And Trailer

Today I can post the Charles Keeping illustrations from ‘Bleak House’ that I prepared yesterday:

‘Mr Jarndyce was standing with an attentive smile on his face’

‘The portrait of the present Lady Dredlock’

‘They all looked up at us as we came in’

‘This fragile mite of a creature quietly perched on his forehead’

On the first sunny afternoon for a while Jackie was determined to go for a drive into the forest, so that is what we did. Having felt the pinch of petrol prices at Tesco – one of the cheapest, I stopped to photograph another

felled oak on either side of Caird Avenue. It was fascinating that while the mighty tree had not survived the recent storms, the tiny yellow celandines and white daisies press successfully through the often flattened grass.

We paused at Bransgore to purchase more cold medication. The verge along the row of village shops sparkled with daffodils and crocuses;

as did many other roadsides like this on on the approach to Ringwood where a drooping willow has lost a limb.

A couple of cock pheasants took a leisurely stroll through a hedge across Bennett’s Lane where a field horse sported a rug and goats gambolled in the distance.

As we ascend Crow Hill we encountered a used Christmas tree on the road ahead of us. Then a couple of wooden boxes. Then a crawling red car.

Then the culprit. A tractor with a loaded trailer spewing untied contents at intervals as it progressed at 6 m.p.h. This sinuous slope precluded easy overtaking. The red car managed to get past sooner than we did.

The occasional pool along Forest Road was in a fine reflective mood.

I was not the only person enjoying the ponies pasturing on the verges outside Burley.

Jackie had made a bland spaghetti Bolognese sauce for the children’s dinner at Elizabeth’s Garden Rescue event. Most of the youngsters left before the time for serving it, so we brought some home. This evening, with the addition of plentiful chillies, she turned it into a hot pasta arrabbiata. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Christian Patat Appassimento 2020.

As will be seen Jackie is back in harness, although she still has an unpleasant cold.

“It’s The Second Of March Today”

Another drizzle day, and Jackie’s cold, kept us inside today.

One of the consequences of retirement for me is that I often don’t know what the date is. That is my excuse for what follows, and I am sticking to it.

When I descended from our bedroom this morning I found this photograph had been moved from its shelf at the window and placed on the table between my chair and a sofa in the sitting room.

“What’s that doing there?” I asked Mrs Knight.

“It’s the second of March today”, was the smiling reply.

“Ah”, said I, rapidly realising that it was the 54th anniversary of our first wedding in 1968. Jackie won’t be well enough to dine out today, so we’ll have to take a rain check on that.

I also have the second one, on 17th October 2017, to remember. Life can become complicated.

This afternoon I began scanning the pages of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Bleak House’.

The Frontispiece ‘Fog everywhere’ and the next two illustrations demonstrate Keeping’s masterful depiction of elemental precipitations.

‘That leaden-headed old obstruction, Temple Bar’ invites the viewer to peer into the fog.

‘The place in Lincolnshire left to the rain’ makes me wonder whether the artist was inspired for this image by the sight of his car wing mirror on a rainy day.

‘We drove through the dirtiest and darkest streets that ever were seen’

‘Nobody ever was in such a state of ink’

‘A large grey cat leapt on his shoulder’

I will comment on the book as soon as I have finished the task of scanning the rest of these pages, which I hope to achieve by the beginning of June.

Last Saturday, thinking she would be going to Elizabeth’s event without me on account of my indisposition, and that I would have wanted something bland left for me, Jackie had begun preparing a pot of chicken stewp. In fact I accompanied her to my sister’s and she retained the gentle meal for another occasion. Now she had a cold it was just the job for her. I was on jankers today and got off lightly because all I had to do was heat it up and prepare the crusty bread. I finished the Malbec that had been open for nearly a week. It was still drinkable.