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.

Pumpkin Head

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Today I was mostly engaged in boring administration; correspondence in writing and in e-mail; filing; form-filling; and posting.

Hailstones 1Hailstones 2

Rapid rooftop rattling hailed a brief interlude with my camera, as ricocheting crystals created springboards of chairs, tables, paving, and anything else less receptive than soggy soil.

Early this afternoon we drove out to the Turfcutter’s Arms at East Boldre for a pre-dinner drink. In this we were to be disappointed, but every cloud has a silver lining.

Skies over Hordle Lane

Beginning with the building near the corner of Hordle Lane, we engaged in an exploration of September skies. The blue, white, and indigo palette was to change over the next hour.

Skies over Lymington River

The skyscape over Lymington River introduced an ochre tinge,

Skyscape at Tanner's Lane

retained at Tanner’s Lane where the Isle of Wight stood out in clear relief,

Ferries leaving Isle of Wight

as did ferries en route to Lymington.

Bournemouth from Tanner's Lane

Looking east, Southampton, with its Spinnaker tower was beautifully lit.

Skyscape 1

Indigo was the dominant hue to the west;

Tanner's Lane shoreTanner's Lane shore, Isle of Wight, clouds

in between the shoreline led through the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 6Cloudscape 7

On across the moors towards East Boldre the hues continued to shift with the swirling clouds.

Turfcutter's Arms 1Turfcutter's Arms 2

We soon reach our goal.

Log Fire at Turfcutter's Arms

We had forgotten it was Saturday. When you are retired there is no such thing as a weekend. It was initially clear that the pub was extremely popular, packed out, and with no available seating. Almost immediately, nothing was clear except the glowing pumpkin head in the fireplace. The electricity was down. Although it soon rose again, we decided to call it a day and return home.

Cloudscape 8Cloudscape 9

It was not yet sunset when we approached Hatchet Pond,

Coots on Hatchet Pond

where a pair of, as far as I could make out. coots paddled across the reflected skies.

Cloudscape 10Cloudscape 11Cloudscape 12

Sunset was not far off.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev, Jackie’s moist ratatouille, crisp roast potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Madiran.

 

A Touch Of Frost

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

Early this crisp and bright morning I walked around our sub-zero garden.

Petunia

Except for this sheltered petunia,

all the plants were now frost damaged;

December haze hovered over the paths;

wood and metal harboured the white precipitation;

Frost on table

and the patio table bore memories of patterns found inside the winter morning bedroom windows of my pre-central heating childhood.

Frances at The Ship

Jackie drove us to The Ship in Wiltshire’s Upavon, for a most enjoyable lunch with Frances.

Log fire

The small grate, originally designed to take coal, now burned logs.

My choice of meal was fish pie, followed by apple and ginger trifle. Frances also opted for fish pie, while Jackie chose burger and chips. I drank Wadsworth’s 6X. That was our main meal of the day

Having passed Salisbury Cathedral on our return home, we turned off the High Road to look back at the splendid building. The frosted grass of the verges of the lane had seen no sun at all.

On home territory we diverted to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy a Christmas tree, then to Barton on Sea to catch the sunset.

Isle of Wight, The Needles and lighthouse

The eye of The Needles lighthouse glowed white today.

The Leap

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

(YVONNE SPOILER ALERT. THE RECIPE IS NOT YET READY, BUT YOU MAY WISH TO AVERT YOUR EYES FROM THE FINAL PARAGRAPH)

Lamb Inn

Late in the morning Jackie drove us to Nomansland where we lunched in the Lamb Inn.

Even at midday, ponies on the green outside dined on defrosted food, avoiding the refrigerated options.

In the hostelry, beside a fine log fire, and beneath a display of character jugs, I enjoyed a burger, chips, and Doom Bar beer; while Jackie chose a bacon, brie, and cranberry baguette with coffee.

Horse and rider

As we drove away, we passed a rider who led her steed through the gate to her left.

At St Peter’s Church, Bramshaw, the autumn leaves blended well with the groggy lichen-covered  gravestones, mostly dating from the eighteenth century. Steep steps lead up the hill from the roadside; there is also a slope to the side, no doubt for those parishioners who cannot climb.

St Peter's Church wall

Most of the structure seemed to be Georgian in date, although one stone wall looked older,

Chimney

and I am not enough of an architectural historian to date this fascinating chimney.

Hedge cutting

Thinking it unlikely that the Modus would obstruct anyone, Jackie tucked it in beside the church. She was unlucky. Along came a hedge cutting machine.

Pony jumping

We paused at Wootton so I could photograph a couple of ponies drinking from a stream. As I raised my camera, one leaped from the water to the bank above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver casserole, crunchy carrots and green beans, with creamy mashed potato. She drank sparkling water and I drank Collin-Bourisset Fleurie 2015.