Have You Heard?

Feeling better again today, but still pretty drowsy, I scanned a batch of 22 unsorted random black and white negatives, and tested my memory in an attempt to date and locate them. I think the images were all produced in 1983.

Derrick & Louisa 1983001

It was probably Jessica who made this picture of Louisa and me in our house in Gracedale Road. The ginger jar on the shelf above my shoulder was one of the spoils from our mudlarking.82388e8f3ec42ef598b97c6e7ae6e37a The large gilt-framed painting above Louisa’s head is ‘Have You Heard’, by Mary Evelina Kindon, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1905. Sadly, I no longer had room to hang it when I returned to London, so Michael arranged for its sale at a Bonhams auction in 2009.

Becky & Louisa 1983 001Becky & Louisa 1983 002

It was only this morning that Becky was amusing us with a description of how she would work on the pc at Commonside Trust, whilst simultaneously cradling a teenage client’s infant. The next two shots, as she plays cards whilst nursing Louisa, demonstrate how she perfected the skill.

Matthew through magnifying glassMagnifying glass

Having peered through a magnifying glass all that time ago, Matthew was to give Jackie and me one each for Christmas a couple of years ago.


Sam is engaged in one of his favourite pastimes.

Landscape 1

Landscape 2

These landscapes were probably taken in Surrey on a visit to Polesden Lacey.

Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian house and estate. Located on the North Downs at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey, it is owned and managed by the National Trust and is one of the Trust’s most popular properties. This photograph suggests to me that it was here that Sam lost his soldier. Jessica, Michael, Sam, Louisa, and I travelled quite regularly down the A3 from Gracedale Road to this garden.


Michael, inspired by these visits soon became a life member of the National Trust.

Louisa 1983 002Louisa 1983 04

Here are two of Louisa concentrating on her food in Gracedale Road.

Jessica, Louisa & Sam 1983

Jessica, Louisa, and Sam enjoy a game of ball at the home of Aunt Elspeth in Rugby.

Jessica, Louisa & Sam 1983 002

Jessica’s late. loved, cousin Anthony tends his mother’s garden in the background.


The daffodils suggest this must have been around Louisa’s first birthday.


Finally, can anyone identify this grasping plant?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb liver casserole, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots, broccoli, and green beans. I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon opened four or five days ago. It was still drinkable. Ian and Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Becky rose.

A Short History Of England

PeriwinkleA warm wind swept through overcast Downton and across The Solent this morning when I took my usual walk to Hordle Cliff top and back. Sheltered among the hedgerows, perky periwinkle still trails along the ground.
On my return, I wrote the rest of my share of our Christmas cards and put them in the post.
Simon Jenkins, a former editor of The Times, having completed his six year stint, has recently retired as Chairman of The National Trust. It was in association with that body that Profile Books published his ‘A Short History of England’ in 2011. I finished reading it this afternoon. Jenkins has a thorough grasp of the story of how today’s England has emerged, from the Dark Ages of the fifth century, when the Angles arrived from Germany, to the date of publication.
He writes, in a clear, simple, elegant, and often humorous style, of the country’s heroes; villains; triumphs; disasters; conflicts, both internal and external; and its development into global prominence then partial eclipse. He unravels for the lay reader key individuals and events in our history. Anyone, for example, who can clarify ‘The Wars of The Roses’, as he does, is worthy of admiration.
This concise yet comprehensive single volume deserves to be read by anyone with a wish to understand English history. All is intelligible, and such quotations as are included are brief, illustrative, and pithy. Having sometimes thought their use in history books is rather more to fill out the text than to lend it credibility, I found this refreshing.
Packed with colour illustrations, all of which are credited, the book has a useful index and appendices of 100 key dates; Kings and Queens; and Prime Ministers.History of England jacket
Naturally the choice of the four personages chosen to adorn the book jacket could be debated, but it is interesting all the same. From left to right we have King Edward III, undoubtedly the greatest mediaeval king; Queen Elizabeth I, who gave her name to a Golden Age; King Charles I, who was executed by his people; and Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, who saw us through the Second World War.
This evening yesterday’s delicious curry meal was, with its beverages, reprised today. As always, it had improved with keeping.