Raindrops on tomatoesRaindrops on roseThe garden still freshly dripped this morning after a night’s deluge of rain. I was reminded of ‘A few of [Julie Andrews’s] favourite things’, from ‘The Sound of Music’.
GreengagesAfter a wander round the estate, Jackie drove me to New Milton for me to catch the London train. I visited the money bank first, but was still rather early for the train and sat outside the station for a while. Plum-like fruit had dropped from their branches and tumbled down a grassy bank opposite, into the wet gutter. Because I didn’t know what they were, especially as they were a yellow/orange colour, I asked a passing woman who seemed vaguely familiar. She identified them as greengages and walked on into the ticket office. Soon afterwards she, having had the same sense of partial recognition, returned, having realised I was Chris’s brother.
Annie, which is her name, was at school with my sister in law Frances and a joint friend of theirs called Stephanie. Chris, Frances, Stephanie and her husband,John, had once shared a holiday with Jackie and me in Sigoules. We had first met at my niece Fiona’s wedding to Paul in August 2007, at which I had, fortunately for this post’s illustrations, taken the photographs. Jackie and I had both then met them at Chris and Frances’s Ruby Wedding celebration.

Here is Fiona on her big day:Fiona wedding 8.07 005


She and Paul here stand with their respective mothers, Frances, of course, next to her daughter:Fiona and Paul with their Mums Fiona & Paul wedding 8.07 010

Finally, Stephanie and Annie, on the right, arrive in the garden:Stephanie & Annie Fiona & Paul wedding 8.07 048

Otherwise, my journey was uneventful until I arrived at Waterloo. At the Gents on the station the change machine let fall into the tray 3 x 20p in exchange for my 50p piece. Either because the dispenser didn’t appear to have any 10p coins or because the barriers themselves were faulty they were left open and we were all invited to walk through at no charge. Soon afterwards, I picked up £5 on the concourse. Normally, in order to use the conveniences, one is relieved of 30 pee. Instead of this, I emerged from the terminal station £5.10p better off. I’d call that a result.

I took my usual route to Norman’s where he fed us on roast pork, roasted vegetables, croquette potatoes, and broad beans, followed by mixed fruit latticed tart. We shared a fine bottle of Douro.

After this, I travelled by my customary method to Carol’s, and from there back to New Milton where Jackie was waiting and drove me home.

Kenneth Clark learned his trade as an art historian long before the subject was taught in British universities like Nottingham, where my granddaughter Emily is currently studying. Clark was an extremely accomplished member of the profession, as is amply evidenced by ‘The Nude’, which I finished reading on the train. He has a sensitive and insightful approach to his material which covers drawings, paintings, and sculpture from antiquity to the early twentieth century. First published in 1956, before the advent of the internet, his encyclopaedic knowledge is impressive, and eloquently and entertainingly expressed. My Folio Society edition, the beautiful cover of which is featured in my post of 24th July, is lavishly illustrated.

Where Did That Come From?

This morning I delved into the archives of black and white negatives. Firstly, I made three more prints for Norman, of his photographs for the book he is working on. He had not been happy with the first versions of these; two he considered too dark; and in one I had undeniably snipped the stern off the ship. I couldn’t understand why I had unwittingly cropped this picture. After a few more efforts at printing from iPhoto I remembered that this method does have that unfortunate effect. That we had discovered when engaged in our card factory. It took me a while to work it out again, but I did. And wrote it all down. Had I referred back to the Clipped Wings post of last August before I began to wrestle with the problem, I could have saved myself some time.
Having completed the task for my friend, I turned to my own unsorted negatives. Next in line for my attention were some rather atmospheric shots of the banks of the Thames from about 1982. Apart from their displaying scenes that the developments of the next thirty years would change forever, they also show either a remarkably rapid feat of building or a miraculous appearance.
Thames banks c1982Thames Bank c1982 2Thames Bank 1982 3Thames bank c1982 4I haven’t studied these pictures in the intervening years, and if I made prints of them they have vanished. Since, however, they are still on the strip of Ilford film, I know the order in which I took the photographs, and have repeated it here. The second image down, provides the mystery. Examine the Booth’s Gin building. Then look at it in the next two.
Or maybe it is just a matter of perspective.

Rippon's newsagents, Dean StreetMichael was almost sixteen when, in 1980, the year of Sam’s birth, we moved to Gracedale Road in Streatham from Horse and Dolphin Yard in Soho. In his earlier teens Michael had been Soho’s only newspaper boy. At seventeen, he graduated to becoming the relief manager for the chain of newsagents, Rippon’s, from one of whose shops in Dean Street he had delivered the papers. When he was given the peripatetic job, he had bought himself a Yamaha motorbike for transport between the branches spread London-wide. As soon as Sam was big enough, probably three years later, he would mount the steed and imagine he was driving it off into the unknown. Sam on Michael's YamahaHere he is in the street outside our house.

Peacocks on buddleiaThe buddleia in the garden is now attracting a variety of butterflies. Here are a pair of peacocks.

Horses maskedHorses masked 2Horse masked 2Horse maskedEarly this evening I walked along Hordle Lane as far as the paddock and back. Horses wear protective masks to keep the flies off, but still have to use their tails as whisks.

Cow parsley seedsThe cow parsley in the verges has run to seed and now looks quite sculptural. Kenneth Clark in his study of ‘The Nude’ likens the classical ideal human figure to architectural forms. Perhaps all our creations take inspiration from nature.


The barley in the fields along the way is coming on nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine sausage casserole (recipe) with crisp vegetables and smooth mashed potato garnished with our own chives from  the garden. I received four bay leaves, this time not a source of embarrassment. Dessert was mixed fruit crumble and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, while I began Villa Blanche 2013, an excellent Pinot Noir given to me for my birthday by Helen and Bill.

Necrotising Fasciitis

La Baigneuse de ValpinconYesterday evening I read Charles Saumarez Smith’s 2010 introduction to The Folio Society’s edition of Kenneth Clark’s 1956 study, ‘The Nude’. Later, I began the book itself. As is my wont, I will comment on the work when I have finished reading it, but here I reproduce the binding illustration. Both the back and front boards are illuminated with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ magnificent 1808 oil painting, La Baigneuse de Valpincon.
This morning Jackie and I jointly undertook some more seriously scary pruning at the far end of the path by the empty house. Sports had to be removed from a euphorbia; yet another bay tree and mature suckers from an as yet unidentified  shrub had to be brought to earth; and a pyracantha and viburnum much reduced. Finally, we removed some dead sections from the snake bark maple. The log pile for winter burning on the stove increases by the day.
Against the window wall of what is now our utility room, an adjunct to the library, a mature wisteria had been cut right down to a stump, presumably in order to facilitate the insertion of the bathroom of the master suite. WisteriaHealthy new shoots have been burgeoning all summer. The first blooms have now arrived.
Early this evening, our friends Heather and Brian came for a visit and to collect books to be sold at a Charity Fun Day at Billericay Rugby Club on 3rd August, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is in aid of the Lee Spark Foundation which engages in research and disseminating information about Necrotising Fasciitis. Commonly termed the flesh eating disease, this is a condition caused by bacteria which can rapidly strip the affected areas of flesh of a human being to the bone within a couple of days, and is quite commonly fatal. Lee Spark was 19 when he died of the disease. Here is an extract on the event from Heather’s Facebook page: 10501898_10152612097232975_5661296236139084066_n

”held to support The Lee Spark NF Foundation who help with research and raise awareness of Necrotising Fasciitis known as the flesh eating bug. Their mission is to educate and inform health professionals and individuals how severe streptococcal infections may develop into necrotising fasciitis. To help them recognise the early warning signs and symptoms and to generate continued support for research into the prevention of NF.If you know me you know I went through hell for 2 years nearly losing my life and a leg to this debilitating life changing horror.
So many people suffer much worse than me and so many people lose their lives to this horrendous infection. I’m one of the lucky ones.
Should be a great day loads to do, plus craft stalls, music etc. Ill be there with a second hand book and DVD stall. Please come and support us. If you can’t support please consider a donation.”

Having loaded our visitors’ car with several boxes of books, we all four went on to dine at The Jarna where we enjoyed the usual excellent fare, and, for Jackie and me, Cobra beer. A very pleasant evening was continued at our home.