Omitted From The Talking Book

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Yesterday evening, Becky, who with Ian also stayed overnight with Flo and Dillon, was hunting in the library for James Joyce’s ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’. She had been listening to it on the radio. I knew where it was, but it was inaccessible at the moment. This morning I moved items blocking the passage and brought it out for her. This is my Folio Society edition of 1965, with illustrations by Dodie Masterson. The coloured drawing is on the front cover board; the black and white ones are full page pictures in the text.

This book, in its slip case, has followed me around for more than half a century. Purchased only five years after I left Wimbledon College, a Jesuit grammar school, it contains descriptions of a Catholic child’s upbringing with which I could identify. Beginning in the language of a very small boy, my recollection of Stephen’s bed-wetting and how it is warm and comfortable at first, then goes cold, was an example of such reminiscence. Becky tells me that this has been omitted from the talking book version. I was happy to present her with the slender volume.

Dillon, hailing from South Carolina, had never seen ponies roaming free before. Becky therefore offered to drive him and Flo on an equine foray. I accompanied them to Burley and back via a somewhat circuitous route. On the way to the village  we encountered a number of ponies on the moor. They mostly seemed rather young, and less inquisitive that we would expect from older ones, as they went about the business of eating grass and gorse. Interestingly, they were very tolerant of Scooby’s attention.

We stopped at Burley where the young couple explored the witchy and other tourist shops. The fudge outlet was popular. Becky’s experience was so hilarious that at this point I hand the keyboard to her.

‘I noticed a bag of Marmite Fudge and on hearing the surprise in my voice the lady in the shop asked me, tentatively, if I would like to try it.  There was a long pause before I weakly said yes.  She sliced a very small piece off the block and then said, “Oh no you won’t want that much”, cut it in half and finished her sentence, “because it’s hideous.”  I popped it in my mouth and just looked at her.  Speechless.  “It’s interesting.” I said politely.  She replied, “I think it tastes like you’ve accidentally poured gravy all over your apple crumble.”‘

As we left the village, our guests were treated to the classic pony traffic disruption. In this they were assisted by a partial road closure furnished with temporary traffic lights. A string of the animals trooped across the road. One turned back to the other side to sample some tasty looking ivy dangling over a fence. This creature couldn’t make up its mind which side of the road was more attractive. As the lights changed from red to green no further progress was possible until it had stopped crossing and recrossing the tarmac.

This evening Jackie, utilising all her new cooking appliances, produced an excellent roast chicken meal, including Yorkshire pudding, roast and sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, manges touts, sage and onion stuffing, and tasty gravy. Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Chateauneuf du Pape 2015

Lifted By Colour

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This morning we were in the grip of storm Georgina. This prompted the Muse of my youth, believing that “if we are having to put up with it, we might as well get something out of it”, to take a trip to the coast. I chose Highcliffe as the venue.

It was all right for Jackie, who could take refuge in the car after a brief foray along the clifftop. I, however, had the task of battling down the steep wooden steps to the shoreline in order to capture some images of the sea. Whilst the driving rain lashed my dripping face and the spray lathered my attire, the 60 m.p.h. winds played me like a marionette. I feared for my camera lens which I frequently dabbed with a sodden handkerchief. I couldn’t really see what I was doing, but fortunately the camera had better vision.

Gulls on shingle

Even the gulls took refuge on the shingle.

Wave after wave of cream-layered golden syrup swirled around the shore, crashing on the steadfast rocks.

Just two intrepid walkers, one with dogs, also ventured down below, where the flagpole bent like a bow.

Warnings of Unstable Cliff etc

As if the gale were not enough, there were plenty of other phenomena to be warned against.

It wasn’t until I had fought my way back up to the car park, that the sun made a brief attempt to put in an appearance.

I have learned that Paul Auster’s works are examples of Absurdist fiction, which essentially focusses on protagonists’ vain attempts to find any purpose in life through a series of meaningless actions.’Ghosts’, being the second novella of this author’s New York Trilogy, would certainly seem a case in point. I finished reading this today. Set as a detective story it pretty much follows the same course as ‘City of Glass’. Who is watching whom?, we wonder. Do we actually care? There didn’t seem much point in this repeat performance. Maybe that was the point. Meaningless it is.

Each character bears the name of a single colour, but it is the colour applied to Tom Burns’s illustrations for the Folio Society edition that lift the story, and perhaps this otherwise virtually monochrome post.

Following gyozo and won ton starters for our dinner this evening, we enjoyed Jackie’s really excellent egg fried rice served with pork ribs in barbecue sauce. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

Sometimes I Couldn’t Keep Up

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Paul Auster’s ‘The New York Trilogy is a series of novelettes, originally published in sequence as City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986) and The Locked Room (1986); and combined into a single volume the following year. The author, born February 3, 1947, ‘is’, according to Wikipedia, ‘an American writer and director whose writing blends absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction, and the search for identity and personal meaning.’

Last night I finished reading the first story which I soon realised was describing a descent into madness. Whose, I wasn’t sure; because of the several identities, realities, and time-frames.

There is also an intertextual relationship with Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It is so long since I struggled to make sense of this great Spanish classic that the significance of the link escaped me.

Chapter 2 almost had me abandoning Auster’s tale. However, I saw it to the end and came to appreciate what the author was presenting. I thought it worth persevering with, and was left happy to tackle the next one.

My copy is The Folio Society’s 2008 edition which benefits from the powerfully atmospheric illustrations of Tom Burns, which won the V & A  2009 Overall book illustration Winner for this work. The museum’s website states that ‘the judges commented that these illustrations make great use of colour, capturing the city in a very fresh and original way. They felt the images integrate perfectly with the text and manage to evoke a variety of sensations such as loneliness, complicated relationships and a sense of speed.’ I’d say he was a worthy winner.

This morning, I scanned another batch of colour negatives from my long walk of July 2003. Regular readers will know that this was executed as an exercise in support of Sam’s epic row of the following year; those who followed the link to ‘Nettle Rash’ will also know that this was not without its obstacles.

There were a certain number of occasions when I lost sight of the rower, either because of these or because there were not enough locks holding him up and giving me a chance to keep pace.

Some of the more pleasant stumbling blocks were created by the flora covering the absent footpaths. Although I can recognise a thistle and a wasp, I lack the knowledge to identify the wild flowers or the white butterfly.

There was ample opportunity to focus on the landscape alongside what I think is the Warwickshire stretch of the Oxford canal. Sometimes there was a benefit in being unable to keep up.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, and red cabbage. I drank more of the Shiraz and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

 

Hag-Seed

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With the help of James Peacock of Peacock Computers, I spent much of the day trying to clear space in a clogged up iMac. 21,000 photographs has been too much for it.

Elizabeth came for lunch, of which Jackie provided enough for the two of us to enjoy a second sitting this evening.

“Hag-Seed, hence! Fetch us in fuel…..”

Thus does Prospero send Caliban off to fetch in wood in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.

But you don’t need to know that to enjoy Margaret Atwood’s marvellous retelling of the Bard’s magical, musical mystery. Her novel is a triumphant addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare Project in which modern writers are invited to present the playwright’s work with a modern interpretation. I finished reading it today.

The original play is brought into the world of today’s technology, featuring drugs, cigarettes, rap and up-to-date musical references. As always I will not reveal the essence of Atwood’s inventive story, but the 2016 reviews were uniformly positive. Deception; disappointment; attempted ravages; revenge; and rollicking rampage are themes given new twists in a setting which provides ample opportunity for skilled group work.

This is a writer at the height of her powers. The novel races along, and her qualities as a poet shine through in her new songs. I don’t know how much research was required for her impressive understanding of either the setting she has chosen or its residents, but Ms Atwood has taken us right there.

As indicated above, no knowledge of the play is required, but you will have a very good idea of it by the time you have completed your reading. You will then be rewarded with a synopsis of Shakespeare’s original, against which you can balance what you have understood. You may then decide to pick up Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.

I certainly sought out my copy to illustrate this post. It is The Folio Society’s 1971 edition featuring

Ralph Koltai’s costume designs for the 1968 Chichester Festival.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s luscious leek and potato soup, cold meats, cheeses, and plentiful salad, with Elizabeth’s moist Dorset apple cake. I drank more of the Paniza.

 

Heirloom Or Paraphernalia

No less an accomplished novelist than P.D.James has provided a positive introduction to my Folio Society 1990 edition of Anthony Trollope’s ‘The Eustace Diamonds’. Ms James has accurately analysed the characters featured in the book, and rightly, highlighted Trollope’s understanding of the nature of women and the plight of those without an income in Victorian Britain.

Trollope’s novel is a lengthy saga based on the ownership and the search for the thieves of the eponymous jewellery. His usual skills of characterisation, dialogue, and flowing language are employed. I have to say, however, that my interest waned somewhere about the middle of the story, when I struggled with the writer’s philosophising. I began to feel that I didn’t care who owned the, or who had stolen them, if, indeed, they had been purloined. Nevertheless, I did persevere, and on balance, was pleased I had done so.

The Folio Sociaty remained committed to Llewellyn Thomas for the illustrations to this Palliser series. I have explained before why I do not like these.

This is just as well given that I spent most of the day wrestling with the installation of High Sierra, the new Operating System for iMac. By late afternoon, the outside light having disappeared, I had, with the help of Apples technical help advisers, learned that the procedure, now underway, would take another 9 hours. Not having the stomach to scan old film images and struggle with the Windows 10 alternative, I have produced no illustrations today.

But I did get to read the last 100 pages of the book.

One of the most interesting aspects of the story was the question about whether th diamond necklace was a genuine heirloom or paraphernalia. These are legal terms that Mr Trollope understood far more than I.did.

I gleaned enough from the book to establish the accuracy of Wkipedia’s comments on the subject:

‘In popular usage, an heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members.

The term originated with the historical principle of an heirloom in English law, a chattel which by immemorial usage was regarded as annexed by inheritance to a family estate. Loom originally meant a tool. Such genuine heirlooms were almost unknown by the beginning of the twentieth century.[1]

In the English legal system, any owner of a genuine heirloom could dispose of it during his lifetime, but he could not bequeath it by will away from the estate. If the owner died intestate, it went to his heir-at-law, and if he devised the estate it went to the devisee. The word subsequently acquired a secondary meaning, applied to furniture, pictures, etc., vested in trustees to hold on trust for the person for the time being entitled to the possession of a settled house. Such things were more properly called settled chattels.[1] As of 1 January 1997, no further settled land can be created and the remaining pre-existing settlements have a declining importance in English law.[2]

An heirloom in the strict sense was made by family custom, not by settlement. A settled chattel could be sold under the direction of the court, and the money arising under such sale is capital money.[3] The court would only sanction such a sale, if it could be shown that it was to the benefit of all parties concerned and if the article proposed to be sold was of unique or historical character. The court had regard to the intention of the settlor and the wishes of the remainder men[1][4]’ 

In the book, the debate centred around the Eustace family’s contention that the diamonds were an heirloom, and the widow, Lizzie Eustace’s claim that they were paraphernalia, described by the on-line free legal dictionary as

In the English legal system, any owner of a genuine heirloom could dispose of it during his lifetime, but he could not bequeath it by will away from the estate. If the owner died intestate, it went to his heir-at-law, and if he devised the estate it went to the devisee. The word subsequently acquired a secondary meaning, applied to furniture, pictures, etc., vested in trustees to hold on trust for the person for the time being entitled to the possession of a settled house. Such things were more properly called settled chattels.[1] As of 1 January 1997, no further settled land can be created and the remaining pre-existing settlements have a declining importance in English law.[2]

‘An heirloom,  in the strict sense was made by family custom, not by settlement. A settled chattel could be sold under the direction of the court, and the money arising under such sale is capital money.[3] The court would only sanction such a sale, if it could be shown that it was to the benefit of all parties concerned and if the article proposed to be sold was of unique or historical character. The court had regard to the intention of the settlor and the wishes of the remainder men[1][4]’

The Free Legal Dictionary (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/paraphernalia) describes paraphernalia as ‘the name given to all such things as a woman has a right to retain as her own property, after her husband’s death; they consist generally of her clothing, jewels, and ornaments suitable to her condition, which she used personally during his life.
     2. These, when not extravagant, she has a right to retain even against creditors; and, although in his lifetime the husband might have given them away, he cannot bequeath such ornaments and jewels by his will.’

This evening we dined on breaded chicken breasts served on a bed of onions, garlic, and peppers; with roast potatoes and mushrooms; ans spinach. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Beside The Breakwater

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This morning I pulled up a chair for Eric Gill, with whom I was soon to part company.

The Four Gospels 1The Four Gospels 7

When, four days ago, we visited All Saints’ Church at Bransgore, I knew that I would present the parish with my Folio Society facsimile copy of the Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Four Gospels, designed and illustrated by Eric Gill. The original was published in 1931. The Folio facsimile, from 2007, comes with a companion volume of essays by John Dreyfus and Robert Gibbings. The reason for the chair is that the work is too large to fit into my scanner, so I had to use a camera to record the book. Gold leaf is applied to the cover, the spine, and the edges of the pages.

The Four Gospels 4The Four Gospels 5The Four Gospels 6

A church that houses Gill’s original stone carvings is surely a suitable home for this book, containing his bold illustrations and superb lettering. Enlarging these illustrations will show the texture of the paper.

The Four Gospels 3

Each of the four evangelists is introduced by his own page.

The Four Gospels 8

All is contained in a strong box bearing the craftsman’s trademark elegantly simple calligraphy.

In order for me to present the book Jackie drove me to the home of Ingrid Tomkins who had shown us round the church. She explained that it would be kept in a safe place to which interested visitors would be given access.

Landscape 1Landscape 2

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip into the forest. We drove through the moors towards Burley. Ponies could be seen across the landscape, also bearing the embers of controlled burning of gorse;

Landscape 3

and beside the roads stretching into the distance.

Landscape 4

One cyclist preferred to push his bike up the hill.

Landscape 5

Most of these roads have a limit of 40 m.p.h., reducing to 30 on the approach to villages. Even at 30 m.p.h. collision with a pony could be fatal.

Forest Leisure Cycling

The tourist season is not yet over for Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley,

Sows 1

where a quintet of grunting, snorting, snuffling, scampering young Gloucester Old Spot sows informed us that this year’s pannage had begun. They scratched backs, flanks, and bums against the bollards and street sign as they fell over each to enter Burley Lawn.

Sows 2

Their elegant turns of leg belied their ungainly appearance as they raced to the next possible source of food

Sows 3

upon which, like seething maggots, they all seized at once.

Forest trees

 

We travelled along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

Bracken 1Bracken 2

where the bracken is browning

Needles of arboretum 1Needles of arboretum 2

and fallen needles carpeting their tree roots.

Drink can on grass

During the hundred or so metres along the forest verge I ventured, I counted upwards of a dozen discarded drink containers and other detritus;

Stream 1Stream 2

and lobbed into an otherwise picturesque stream

Special Brew cans 1Special Brew cans 2

were more than that number of Carling Special Brew cans.

From here we continued to Kitchen Makers at Sway where Ann took us through two different proposals, both of which look exciting, but one of which is probably ruled out by the shallowness of our drainage system. We are to consider these two options. I told Ann that we have very good reports of her firm from Geoff Le Pard, whose mother had used them twice. Ann had fond memories of Mrs. Le Pard.

We brunched at The Beach Hut Café at Friar’s Cliff. Readers may remember that on a recent visit I chose a meal described as pulled pork burger with chips and salad, and pointed out that this was not what I had been given. My observation was accepted and an undertaking to change what was written on the board was promised. The specials board now features a quarter pound burger topped with pulled pork. There is no mention of salad. I expressed my appreciation of this, which went down well.

Couple on beach beside breakwater

The sea was rather wilder today. There was just one couple on the beach, basking beside a breakwater.

It will come as no surprise that, after Beach Hut big breakfasts, pizza and salad sufficed for our evening meal.

 

 

 

Mains Gas

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Last night I finished reading ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ by Anthony Trollope. Originally published in serial form, like other Victorian novels, this saga of family and politics was the forerunner of today’s television series. The book was the first of the Palliser sequence. It is longer than most readers would like in the modern world, but it repaid the time investment. I won’t give away any details, but can say that the author writes fluently and keeps us interested in the interrelated lives of his protagonists.
David Skilton’s introduction to my Folio Society edition is helpful and informative.
 I have to say, however, that the illustrations by Llewellyn Thomas were most disappointing. The drawings are heavy, wooden, and badly sketched. I attach two examples to make my point. In the first, we are to believe that the gentleman descending from the carriage is pointing at the other man, at whom he is not even looking. In the other, is it really credible that any of the limbs really belong to any of they figures from which they awkwardly dangle?
This afternoon we attended Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton where we underwent new patients’ assessments by Matthew Hefferan. More of what is required anon.
Lymington Lifeboat Station
After this we drove to Lymington where I wandered along a section of the harbour opposite the lifeboat station.
Lifeboat jackets
Its shop is seen on the right. Not visible in that shot are the jackets hanging in the window the left.
Slipway
At the bottom of the slipway pontoon
Reflected bins
stands a row of waste bins that were reflected in the still water on the other side.
 I had to admire the skill required to pack in the rows and rows of moored boats.
The juxtaposition of two signs, not too far apart, rather intrigued me,
so I had to Google:
“The kill cord, or ‘engine safety cut-out switch’ to give it its proper name, is a device used to stop the engine in the event of the helmsperson being thrown out of their seat. It consists of a length of cord or plastic wire connected to a kill switch on the engine or dashboard of the boat.19 Nov 2014

Kill cords: Everything boatowners need to know – Motor Boat & Yachting

Black headed gull
A few black headed gulls paddling around the silt were the only visible sign of life in and around the harbour.
 The Wight Link ferry made its way out towards the Solent.
Mains gas has not yet come to us in Downton. It was, however brought to the town of Lymington in 1832. This monument celebrates the event and expresses
Lymington gas monument 3
the gratitude of the people to its benefactor.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Post House Pie, with Yorkshire pudding, crisp carrots, green beans, and broccoli. I drank Lion’s Lair shiraz 2013.