Waterborne Funerals

Starting at 4 a.m. this morning I watched the second day’s play of the second Test Match between India and England broadcast by Channel 4; and this afternoon ITV’s transmission of the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and France.

Between these two events I scanned more cemetery colour slides from May 2008.

At 19 Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green you will find a splendidly atmospheric gastro pub serving excellent meals and beverages, rejoicing in the name of Paradise by way of Kensal Green. https://www.theparadise.co.uk/private-hire-paradise-by-way-of-kensal-green

Because of Covid restrictions the establishment is currently closed, but we are assured on its website that it will be back.

The name is taken from the final line of G.K.Chesterton’s poem

The Rolling English Road

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.


The Kensal Green to which Chesterton refers is a specific section of this West London area.

This is Kensal Green Cemetery, the history and some residents of which are featured in my post “Where Is The Body?”

It is still a working cemetery. Some waterborne funerals still enter through this gate on the canalside.

Alongside the older sections lie the more recent memorials, some of which

bear tributes to loved ones of the deceased, such as Liverpool and Queens Park football clubs and the legendary Bob Marley. I know of no other burial grounds where such adornments would be permitted.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced spicy chicken tikka, plain parathas, and plentiful salad with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Metaphor

This morning I finished reading the final book of Chesterton’s Father Brown stories. I have to say that these last works are not, on the whole, as enjoyable as the earlier ones. The writer seems to philosophise rather too much for this particular genre and to overwork the language. He seeks alliteration to the extent that the flow of the prose is disturbed. Exceptions are the last two tales, ‘An Insoluble Problem’, and ‘The Vampire of the Village’.

Apple tree

Untended fruit trees tend to send stems vertically skyward. So it was with the one tree we left in the cleared kitchen garden. We did, however, prune it heavily. Although much smaller, it now has a reasonable shape, and enough blossom to suggest there will be more than the meagre three apples we enjoyed last autumn.Apple blossom 1Apple blossom 2

Perceptive readers of ‘Becky’s Book’, knowing what came later, will realise that the apple tree in that story was a metaphor for the home I lost in Amity Grove. The current one symbolises a celebration of reunion.

This afternoon I worked in a similar manner to yesterday on a batch of colour slides I made of Jackie in November 1972. Here I present just two of them:Jackie 11.72 003 - Version 3Jackie 11.72008 - Version 3By this time I was no longer living in the family home, but visited at weekends to collect the children, and hopefully spend some time with their mother.

There are far too many classic books I have never got round to reading. One of these is Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’. I have owned my Folio Society edition since its publication in 1996. Early this evening I read its unusual Introduction, by the writer Albert French. The original approach of this piece comes from its being an autobiographical sketch by a Black American teenage Marine on his way to serve in Vietnam. He knows what the book is about.

The proprietor of Hordle Chinese Take Away, who provided this evening’s dinner, has been dubbed ‘Mr Chatty Man’ by Jackie, because he is. Tonight she chose the set meal for two. We had such generous portions of rice, containing goodies such as prawns; sweet and sour chicken balls; chicken in black bean sauce; beef in ginger and spring onions; and amply filled pancake rolls, that we held some back for tomorrow’s lunch. My hefty pancake roll caused me some difficulty, and Jackie a certain amount of horrified amusement.

Have you ever tried to eat a large filled pancake with chopsticks?

We normally pick up that particular item of food with our fingers. Mine was too hot. First I tried to grasp it with the sticks. The roll slid off, and the chopsticks snapped shut. I tried spearing it with no more success. I resorted to repeated stabbing it and gripping the spilled innards with the implements. This wasn’t much more successful. I was relieved when it had cooled down enough for me to use my fingers. Mind you, it was falling to bits by then. So I returned to the chopsticks. With the meal I drank some of the Les Cornalines Chateuneuf du Pape 2013, which had been given to us by Anne on her visit a couple of days ago.



We began this morning by Jackie driving me to the Post Office at Milford on Sea to post and Easter present with a card I had made yesterday featuring lambs who first appeared in the second ovine picture illustrating ‘The Nursery Field’.

Soon after we returned home Giles popped in for a visit. Knowing that I was reading G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, he brought me two published articles that he knew would interest me; one by himself, and the other by Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine short-story writer who is one of his favourites.Chesterton

Giles Darvill’s own article was published in The Chesterton Review of November 1996, the cover of which bears rather a good pencil drawing of the subject. Entitled ‘With the Chestertons in Poland’, this deals with a trip the English writer took in 1927. It is based on letters and the log of Giles’s aunt, Dorothy Collins who was Chesterton’s secretary, still working for him at her death sixty two years later.Chesterton  photo

BorgesI couldn’t do much to enhance this photograph featuring the list of people above it, including Aunt Dorothy labelled 3 on the far right.

Borges’s piece is a general observation making comparisons with such writers as Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka.

I read and enjoyed both essays.

This afternoon I took a painful walk around the garden and a few yards into Downton Lane. My difficulty was no doubt brought about by, despite the Dosset box, forgetting to take my breakfast medication.

DaffodilsClockI am happy to be able to say that many of the daffodils that Jackie planted on the back drive in the autumn have survived the attention of the small creatures mentioned in ‘Preparing For The Party’.

For Christmas, Becky and Ian gave us two garden clocks. One has been placed on the back wall of the house, and the other on the orange shed door at the far end of our plot, seen here through the peeling eucalyptus.Dandelions and ladybird

On Downton Lane a black spotted red ladybird was making its way towards bright yellow dandelions.

This evening we dined on rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, Jackie’s special fried rice and green beans followed by baklavas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; I finished the Teroldego Rotaliano and began Blason des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011.

Father Brown

I’m not feeling any better today. This is a little frustrating because yesterday I had been able to think, which hadn’t been possible the day before, so I hoped to be running around again by now. I always was an optimist. Crystal, another blogger, had commented on how difficult it is to be patient with illness. I imagine that is what she meant.

Jackie, however, improves by the day.

From the amount of coughing I have been engaged in, my stomach now feels as if I have done a few hundred sit-ups. This is not so fanciful when you consider that in my thirties I had a period of performing more than three hundred every morning, until I decided that eleven minutes was a bit too long and boring to spend on this rather excessive exercise.

My Folio Society edition of G.K.Chesterton’s Father Brown Stories consists of two volumes, each comprising two of  the four books. Yesterday evening I finished the first book, called ‘The Innocence of Father Brown’, and containing a dozen superbly crafted short stories, in elegant, flowing, prose. The fact that the eponymous amateur sleuth is a Roman Catholic priest is really incidental. He is an entertaining little character.

Colin Dexter, the author of the Inspector Morse series of novels, has written an interesting and knowledgeable introduction, and Val Biro’s skillful illustrations enhance the 1996 publication.Father Brown cover

Unfortunately my book now has some minor water staining on its front cover. I must have unwittingly spilt some from my bedside glass in the dark when I was rather dopey.

I have mentioned before that I was encouraged to read these books by watching the TV series. This is described as based on Chesterton’s characters. The only story I have now both read and watched, ‘The Invisible Man’, has developed some of the characters and radically changed the tale. Perhaps that is the only way the author’s little gems can be transferred to an hour long dramatic production.Father Brown illustration

The text illustration I have chosen to insert here is one to ‘The Invisible Man’. I won’t say how, but it ably demonstrates the point I make above.

This evening, for the first time for some days, Jackie felt able to drive out for a Chinese Takeaway meal, and I thought I could manage to sample some of it. In the event I couldn’t eat much, but there is always tomorrow.


Sun And Wind

Jackie provided her usual chauffeur service to and from New Milton for my London trip.

Knees in train

The four coach train was as packed as usual. One gentleman kindly removed his luggage from one of the few available seats so that I could sit down. The gentleman opposite me was fast asleep. His baggage lay between his feet which stretched under the window seat. Settling one buttock on that and another on the centre one I fitted my legs around the somnolent passenger as demonstrated in the photograph. He woke with a start at Brockenhurst and asked where he was. When told, he relaxed, but didn’t change his position. This group disembarked at Southampton Airport. They were replaced by others, but the newcomers had to fit round me, which was preferable.

It was a dull, blustery, noon as I approached the Archduke to meet Norman for lunch. Somehow or other, my great friend Wolf had managed to reach the railway bridge between the arches from with the restaurant presumably derived its name to provide the appropriate embellishment.

Graffiti and Archduke

Maybe he used the crane.

lampsMy choice for lunch was the sea trout. Norman chose belly of pork, and we both opted for the pecan pie for dessert. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.

By the time I emerged from the restaurant to be blown along South Bank and across Westminster Bridge to visit Carol, the temperature had dropped to finger-tingling levels, but the sun had now come out, silhouetting the Houses of Parliament, peeking through crevices in the decorative architecture; outlining the faces of photographers’  subjects; providing side lighting for Gothic greatcoats and the supports of the bridge; setting young girls’ hair alight; and lending a translucence to the glass cases of ornamental lamps.

Houses of Parliament in silhouetteSun through Houses of ParliamentGothic greatcoatsYoung lady photographingSunlit hair

Jackie and I have recently begun the watch the Father Brown series on television. This is based on G.K.Chesterton’s classic stories of a sleuthing Roman Catholic priest, and has led me to begin reading them. I got through a few on the train today.