The Peacock Spring

A welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, to collect the platinum anniversary photographs, broke the monotony of a morning spent on too-long-deferred paperwork. We enjoyed the usual ensuing conversation, naturally involving a certain amount of reminiscing.

Afterwards, beset by the raging gale-force winds, I visited the postbox.

Hanging baskets grounded 1Hanging baskets grounded 2

Despite Jackie’s distressed efforts to bring the hanging baskets and raised pots to protective ground level

Begonia fallenGeraniums and lobelia fallen

some were repeatedly blown over and their contents broken.

We haven’t dared approach the rose garden.


In 1975 I bought a first edition of Rumer Godden’s ‘The Peacock Spring’. In 1996 the novel was filmed for television. Directed by Christopher Morahan and starring Peter Egan, Nareen Andrews, Hattie Morahan, Ravi Kapoor, with Madhur Jaffrey, this production was well received. It still took me until this year to read the book. I finished it today.

Set in 1959, a slow fuse burns with ever-increasing tension, until the explosive finale of the tale of a tragic relationship. The author’s trademark poetic description and insightful characterisation enables her to build an enthralling story of a flawed family and the conflict of cultural mores. I will not give away details, but can say that the picture to the left here shows the father with his two English daughters who have been brought to India to provide a veneer of respect to his relationship with the woman portrayed.

The Peacock Spring jacket

MacMillan’s publications comes in a striking book jacket designed by David Baxter.

It is not unusual for me to take forty years to read a book in my possession. As with this one, I sometimes wonder why it took me so long.

Cottage pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, crisp orange carrots and green cabbage. I drank more of the Cuvée St Jainé and Jackie enjoyed Blanche de Namur, a different Belgian wheat beer. The filmy quality of the above photograph comes from the wisps of steam rising from the dish, possibly encouraged by the layer of smoked cheddar cheese over the mashed potato topping.