August 16th, 2010


Ailz came back from her parents yesterday with a bag full of curly kale. It was grown in somebody's garden- not I think my in-law's garden but one of their neighbour's. She asks what's for lunch. "Sausages" I say. "And curly kale." she makes a disappointed noise. "You brought it into the house," I say, "So you get to eat it." "I brought it for the rabbits," she says.

Samina had her washing done and pegged out on the line before she went to work this morning. I'm doing my washing now. It looks like it could be one of those rare days when pegged out washing will dry. I was sitting out in the yard yesterday and I couldn't help hearing Samina and a friend chatting in her yard. Samina was saying her yard doesn't drain properly since they had the builders in. Then they were discussing some shop that right-minded people won't go to any more because the shopwoman is having sex with her brother.

It's Ramadan, of course, Samina and her family were having an especially noisy dinner last night to celebrate the sun going down. Their cooking smells good- and I often wish I was having what's on their menu and not what's on my menu. I'll bet they don't bother with curly kale. 

Books I've Owned Since I was A Kid. Part 4.

Knowles' book is essentially a precis of Malory, with bits of Geoffery of Monmouth thrown in. He came to be a friend of Tennyson's (on the strength of dedicating this book to him) and (being an architect as well as a man of letters) built Alford- the house on Black Down in Sussex where Tennyson retreated during the summer months to escape the admirers who flocked round his other house on the Isle of Wight. Alford was one of the first houses anywhere with hot running water- and Tennyson got into the habit of taking three or four baths a day.

The rather gorgeous pictures are by Lancelot Speed-  who was not only a prolific illustrator but also a pioneering film maker- responsible for such early animations as The Wonderful Adventures of Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

More Speed

"This girdle, lords," said she, "is made for the most part of mine own hair, which, which when I was yet in the world, i loved full well."

The giant sat at supper, gnawing on a limb of a man, and baking his huge frame by the fire.

At last the strange knight smote him to the earth, and gave him such a buffet on the helm as well-nigh killed him.

Books I've Owned Since I was A Kid. Part 5.

I was ill in bed. I'll guess I was seven. My granny asked me what I'd like as a special present to make me feel better- and I said "A Bible-if possible with a red cover". So she went out and bought me one. I was a serious-minded child.

My Bible has pictures by Arthur Twidle (1865-1936). Twidle was the illustrator of Schoolboy Grit by Gunby Hadath, Junk Ahoy by William Charles Metcalfe, Prefect and Fag and Fags and the King by Charles Mansford- and The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Here are Twidle's versions of

David and Goliath

The Binding of Samson

The Conversion of St Paul

And the Good Shepherd

(When I was a kid I thought it was really cool how Samson was being attacked by pirates)