“He’s After Us, Mum”

Today’s welkin canopy was a dismal, leaking, colander riddled with humid vapour.

At mid-morning we drove to Hockey’s Farm Shop for brunch in their re-opened café.

The recently completed thatched roof across the road in Gorley Lynch bears effigies of a fox stalking a row of ducklings following their mother along the crown of the roof. The little one bringing up the rear turns and surely must be alerting mother with “he’s after us, Mum”. She, however, carries on regardless, well aware that he will never catch them.

The shallow stream flowing over the ford at Ibsley bore glassy reflections, and

a drinking pony which, having tempted me out of the car, lifted its head, took one look, and calmly ambled off up the hill.

The longer Chekhov story I read this afternoon uses its division into 8 short chapters to vary the settings and to focus on different relationships of the main protagonists, much like the acts in a play – in this case a tragedy. I will try to review the work without giving away the details of the tale.

Normally translated as ‘The Grasshopper’, Elisaveta Fen, our translator, has opted to call this ‘The Dragonfly’, because she sees the flighty young female lead as ‘a dragonfly darting about between flowers in pursuit of its prey’.

Essentially we have a struggle between the calm common sense of science and the more immediate attractions of art. Fen offers the opinion that this is ‘exceptional among Chekhov stories in that the ‘artistic’ milieu……is portrayed with a hint of acidity, not to say maliciousness, which suggests a degree of personal grudge against the ‘artists’, who all but ignore the existence of the ‘scientists’, including doctors of medicine, and seem to hold them in contempt.’

This is how illustrator Nigel Lambourne has pictured ‘ ‘Dymov,’ Olga told him, ‘You reject both music and painting’

The narrative is well crafted with deceptively simple language conveying vivid descriptions of place, surroundings, and personnel.

This evening I finished the jalfrezi meal with more of the Cabernet Sauvignon, while Jackie enjoyed egg, chips, and onion rings with the last of the rosé.