On Thin Ice

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

A couple of nights ago I finished reading the novel on which my views had been sought. Today I e-mailed my observations to my friend, the author. As the book is not my work, I will say no more about it here.

Andrew Day, a local carpenter, visited this morning and successfully completed two tasks left over from our predecessor’s D.I.Y. disasters. There will be more bodges for him to put right.

This afternoon I scanned a batch of colour negatives from December 1986.

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The first, of Jessica at a family Christmas party at Caxton in Cambridgeshire, I converted to black and white in an effort to compensate for the graininess caused by fast film and a very small crop.

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Louisa took a break from the festivities,

and a short while later, at home in Gracedale Road, was in fine dressing-up fettle, as was Sam.

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Here, I think, Jessica was writing up her notes.

This was the last year I remember a decent amount of snow in London. Matthew took his little brother and sister for a sledge ride on allegedly thin ice beside the Waterfowl Sanctuary on Tooting Common. They were accompanied by a neighbour, the lady with the leggings whose name I disremember. Alison Barran, if you are reading this, I need your help.

I have Johnny Cash to thank for the word ‘disremember’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty beef stew, boiled potatoes, and perfectly cooked carrots, cauliflower, and green beans. On preparing the vegetables I discovered an alien being in the beans. We resisted the temptation to resuscitate the chilled caterpillar in order to rear a possibly exotic butterfly. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed more of the Fleurie.

The Swinging Sixties

This morning I began reading Jacques Suffel’s preface to Gustave Flaubert’s timeless novel ‘Madame Bovary’. This introduction seems to be doing a good job of putting the work into historical and social context. Hopefully, having read an English translation should help me with this original version.

This was another day of steady rain, so I decided to scan some ‘posterity’ pictures. Just one colour slide took approximately three hours. When I turned on my iMac a big grey box with a large X in the middle of it on the screen prompted me to download what I soon realised – or at least hoped – was a new operating system called, of all things ‘Mavericks’. Being an American organisation I suspect Apple were thinking of unbranded calves rather than independent-minded persons. They must have run out of wildcats which is what all the previous systems’ names were.

I was informed that the download would take 51 minutes. Fortunately much of this time was taken up by a welcome phone call from Sam in Perth. I will leave him to update friends and family with his own news.

The system was downloaded successfully. This involved a change of the previous galaxy photograph as wallpaper to what could loosely be described as sweeping waves. I suppose I’ll become accustomed to it.

I was now able to start on my scanning. Not. A box told me my Epson Perfection V750 PRO had quit unexpectedly and prompted me to try again. And again. And again. Probably ad infinitum if I hadn’t decided to call a halt and ring Apple Care

Naturally I was answered by a machine operated by my voice. She and I had some difficulty. Maybe it was the questions delivered in a broad Scots accent. Yes, an American system with the diction of those living north of the English border.  Perhaps my London speech was the problem. We got there in the end and I was at last in a very short queue to speak to a real live person. Whilst waiting I had the pleasure of listening to Johnny Cash singing ‘Ring of Fire’ – by far my favourite ever bit of holding music. After Johnny came something weird. But, as I said, it wasn’t a long wait.

Carolyn, another Celt, was a very helpful adviser. We established, as I thought, that Mavericks was the problem. It didn’t know I had a scanner that its predecessor had been quite happy with. In fact it stated that I didn’t have one, which I thought rather presumptuous of it. My helper sent me an e-mail with details of a link via Apple to Epson’s web pages. I tried it. Epson didn’t seem to know about my new Mavericks. I fiddled around in their system for a while then returned to Apple Care.

Carolyn had left clear information and James was able to pick up the story. I think he knew a bit more about Epson and sent me another link direct to that company. I needed, apparently, to download new software – the type that can recognise independent minded people. It was done successfully, although it took some time.

James clarified a puzzle for me. The problem with the first link had been that it provided a (very long) list of software that would be automatically downloaded by Apple if we used ‘Software Update’. I had done so and nothing happened. James said that was because the list was for hard drives and I needed software. Aaaaaarrrgh.

Anyway, before we set off to New Milton and Bashley I scanned my slide and put it into iPhoto.

Not so fast.

I had to update iPhoto first. But I managed that.

I have written so often about driving through deluges over the last couple of years, that I will not risk repetition. I will just say that the clatter of rain on the car’s external surfaces, and the whoosh of spray sent up by our wheels every time we went in for water-skiing drowned out all the other normal motoring sounds, such as the sweep and grind of the windscreen wipers.

Setting off in mid afternoon for a trip to a bank and a farm shop is not usually to be recommended. The bonus of the weather was that both establishments were virtually deserted. I was in and out of the bank before Jackie, having dropped me off, had returned from parking the car;Cheese and piesFerndene vegetable racksJackie studying meat shelvesSausagesand I was able to photograph the shelves of the Ferndene Farm shop. Previously I have been inhibited from producing a camera and potentially photographing crowds who wouldn’t like it. That was not a problem today.

Jackie Carnaby St 6.67Once we were home again I was able to return to ‘posterity’. Carnaby Street in July 1967, where I took a photograph of Jackie in the entrance to a closed clothes shop, was at the centre of the universe. It was Hwhere all the world came to buy their garments so they could be part of the London scene in that swinging decade. We didn’t have the money for such extravagance so we had a look one evening just to say we’d been there.

John Stephen had a shop in the street, where this tie, dating from 1966, was bought in the year Jackie leant against the wrought iron. I wonder whether Mick O’Neill has one like it in his superb collection.

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In July 1967, ‘Ha Ha Said The Clown’, an earlier hit in the UK, was number one in Germany for Manfred Mann, in which band Tom McGuinness played from 1964 – 1969.  Did he, I wonder – top right in the picture – buy his outfit in Carnaby Street?

This evening, ‘once more unto the’ storm did Jackie drive. This time to Ringwood for dinner at the Curry Garden, which was very full. I enjoyed lamb hatkora with a plain nan; Jackie chose prawn korma with pilau rice. We shared a sag paneer and both drank Kingfisher. Afterwards Jackie ate Walls ice cream with chocolate sauce and I had a pistachio kulfi. It was still raining as we drove back along the A31.