Abbotswell Picnic

On this temperate morning we drove into the forest and picnicked

looking down at distant ponies and cattle in the view from the heights of Abbottswell.

A pony and foal were at home on the moorland beside Holmsley Passage.

Although no rain fell today

many roads were awash after the heavy overnight rain. Vehicles drove through pools at Stuckton, and the ford at Frogham harboured a swift-flowing stream.

This horse-drawn trap must have avoided the roadwater at Stuckton.

Deer dotting the slopes of Blissford Hill appeared to feel happily safe. This gallery is mine; the next

is Jackie’s showing the landscape including the deer and a garden.

The Assistant Photographer also pictured a lone thrush, a trio of hares,

and at North Gorley the same number of donkeys.

Needing to find a local Indian takeaway to replace Red Chilli, we chose to dine this evening at Rokali’s in Ashley in order to check out the food. This turned out to be good decision.

The atmosphere and service was very friendly, the food well cooked and plentiful – in fact ordering both onion bahjis and paratha was a dish too far for us.

We were early enough for Jackie to take interior photographs without worrying about privacy.

Here is the bar and the menu wallet.

We always make the paratha test when visiting a new restaurant. Rokali’s passed this. Real roses embellished each table.

Our shared special rice , onion bahjis, paratha, and salad were all very good. Chutneys were left with us. Shiny perspex studs decorated the chairs.

Jackie enjoyed her steaming ponir shaslick, as did I my prawn Bengal, although the photograph was not in focus. She drank Diet Coke and I drank alcohol free Kingfisher.

We were treated to the music of Bollywood emanating from the kitchen radio.

The Gods Are Athirst

Often underestimated is the influence of a translator on the literary quality of a written work of art. It seems to me that the translation of the Englishman, Richard Allinson, must have been significant in producing the version of Anatole France’s ‘The Gods Are Athirst’ in such simple, poetic prose as is presented in The Bodley Head’s first illustrated edition of 1927 which I finished reading today.
The author, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921, has produced a masterly novel set during the reign of terror in the aftermath of the French Revolution. We have a perfectly crafted tale of love, fear, poverty, mistrust, political intrigue, mismanagement, breakdown of law, and ultimate tragedy with what I think is historical accuracy. Sensitive characterisation, poetic imagery, and a keen sense of the dramatic are evident in this work. I particularly like the skilled descriptions of environment, place, and weather, all of which set the scene and have symbolic significance. Above all, this is any easy book to read. As usual, I will not give details of the story.
Having earlier embraced the flowing line exemplified by Aubrey Beardsley in his book illustrations, by the time he came to produce the illustrations for this volume, John Austen, an excellent and prolific artist, had become influenced by Art Deco, a style, although popular, which I dislike for its geometric angularity. Nevertheless I can but admire

the colour plates

and the black and white vignettes that decorate this publication.

I had trouble presenting these pages directly from the scanner, so Elizabeth photographed them while I held them down then loaded the results into the computer, taking care to crop out my fingertips.
This evening the three of us tried Rokali’s, a comparatively new Indian restaurant in Ashley. It was a good one. The food was very good, as was the friendly, efficient, service. I chose Bengali prawn; Jackie, chicken shaslik; and Elizabeth, chicken tikka bhuna. We shared special and sag rices, a plain paratha, and onion and cauliflower bahjis, and all drank Kingfisher.