The Siege Of Krishnapur

In the afternoon of this day of steady rainfall Paul and Margery visited to deliver the painting by John Jones that Paul has now framed. We had an enjoyable conversation over tea and mince pies, and are very pleased with both the picture and the framing.

During the rest of the day I finished reading J.G.Farrell’s historical novel ‘The Siege Of Krishnapur’. Originally published by George Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1n 1973, mine is the Folio Society edition of 2008 with an excellent and insightful introduction by Hilary Mantel and evocative illustrations by Francis Mosley.

Without revealing anything of the story I can say that the clearly impeccably and aimlessly researched work takes us into the period of the Raj, its customs, its class divisions, and its beliefs. The pace of the narrative reflects the ebb and flow of action and reflection of such an event. There is dramatic action and there dull, energy-sapping periods. All the senses are so well engaged. Sickness and death are rife. We see how people are revealed in their true colours – some rising to the occasion, others failing or turning it to their own advantage. Barriers between the sexes are broken down.

The boards are embossed with this design by the artist which also runs across the spine.

 

Mr Mosley, especially with his chosen palette, has captured the essence of the time and place.

As, this evening, we left home to meet Elizabeth at The Wheel Inn, Jackie photographed arboreal fingers reaching for the full moon draped in dramatic clouds.

The staff at the community pub, having reserved a friendly table,

had placed us beside the log fire. Jackie also produced these two photographs.

Elizabeth and I both enjoyed crispy duck with ginger salad starters.

My main course consisted of oven baked hake wrapped in parma ham, lobster sauce, sautéed potatoes and asparagus. The ladies were both delighted with their roast turkey with all the trimmings. Jackie finished with Christmas pudding, and I chose Eton mess. Both were very good. Jackie and Elizabeth  both drank Warsteiner and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

The Chicks Have Hatched

One of the consequences of moving house is the need to wonder where to put things. This is very helpful in encouraging one to complete unfinished organisational tasks begun years ago. In about 2008/9, when living in Sutherland Place, I discovered that some of my books and slide boxes had been damaged by damp. The colour slides themselves were sound, but the boxes were on the wet side, so new containers were essential. I bought some, and decanted the positive films from the worst of the moistened ones. Although I had enough new receptacles to take the contents of the last, least damaged, box, I didn’t finish the task until yesterday. All in the interests of reducing by one the number of containers needing a home.
This led me, this morning, to resuscitating the ‘posterity’ series. My first photo-shoot of Jackie was made on Wimbledon Common in April 1966.Jackie 4.66 Here is one of the pictures, with the War Memorial in the background top left.
Before this I walked the whole length of Shorefield Road and Sea Breeze Road, taking in the vast acreage of the Country Park. Highway MaintenanceThe high-pitched screeching of the gulls over the stubble field on Downton Lane gave way to the deafening racket of the rookery, at times indistinguishable from that of a reversing Highway Maintenance vehicle.
Rook over nestRooks and nestRooks and nestsThe lofty nests of the frenetically active rooks are now apparenty occupied by ravenous chicks. The parents flap to and fro keeping their offspring from starving. Each rounded cluster of sticks is guarded by one adult whilst its mate energetically forages.
Building at ShorefieldStudland Common Nature Reserve boardAt the far end of the Sea Breeze section of the park, where building continues unabated, is a meandering stream-crossed woodland walk leading to Studland Common Nature Reserve. Although partly gravelled, the paths tend towards the muddy. Cow and gorse

The ear tags of cattle grazing in Studland Meadow reflected the gorse around them.

On my return I met and conversed with two separate dog-walkers. I was quite relieved that the West Highland terrier poised for attack was on the end of a lead, and had probably already had his breakfast.

This afternoon, as promised, our chests of drawers were delivered by Fergusson’s House Clearance.

The House of the Seven Gables coverBefore dinner I finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel ‘The House of the Seven Gables’, in the Folio Society edition illustrated by Francis Mosley. First published in 1851 this is an intriguing story rich in characterisation. The author’s skill in story-telling surmounts the wordiness of some of his language commensurate with his time of writing. The reader’s interest is maintained throughout. There is a touch of mystery about both the house and the writer’s tale, and he ties it all up tidily in the end.

Mosley is a versatile illustrator who remains one of my favourite Folio Society artists.

Our evening meal was roast lamb in tasty gravy, served with crisp vegetables. I drank Cimarosa Chilean merlot from 2013.