Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home


I think we may as well call this month Journal January or something, as Unmitigated England is so uninviting at present. Let's hope February sees more forays out into an increasingly blue yonder. A couple of days ago I ended up with a copy of the above. I'd had a copy once, but was attracted anew to the illustrations by Rowland and Edith Hilder. Rowland (seen last week in the Suffolk Brooke Bond painting) did the backgrounds of English landscape and thundery summer skies, whilst his wife Edith got the trickier job of doing the actual flowers, artfully arranged in the foreground. Feet up in front of the woodburner on Tuesday I started browsing, and on page 18 read about the extremely poisonous Hemlock Water Dropwort. I knew about its relation the Giant Hogweed, having nervously negotiated their towering stalks on numerous occasions, but this was a first.

Ripple dissolve to last night, feet up passim, thoroughly enjoying Midsomer Murders (always on top form when you see that the director is Rennie Rye) and the twin delights of seeing both the lovely gamine Hayley Mills and the village of Hambleden near Henley-on-Thames. But would you believe it? Number Two in the body count was done away with in the kitchen of a posh restaurant by, yes, the roots of Hemlock Water Dropwort, niftily substituted for celery. Ladybird Books and Midsomer Murders, who would've thought they could end up here in a deathly embrace.  

8 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Interesting guy, Rennie Rye – did some of the late Dennis Potter series. Must pay more attention when the Wise Woman has Midsomer Murders on.

Jonathan Calder said...

He also directed The Box of Delights, which seems to grow in reputation as the years pass.

Peter Ashley said...

Yes, and there's something about the name. Rennie Rye. A Pocket Full of Rye. Slightly fey, slightly off kilter. Oh, just heard a strange noise coming from the woods. Hope it's nothing normal.....

Gawain said...

Who saw the BBC4 programme about Ladybird books a couple of weeks ago? Well worth digging out on the iPlayer if its still there.

Peter Ashley said...

I saw it, thought it superb. Because it tackled a marvellous subject in depth, and didn't roll out the usual celebs to crow about them. So brilliant to see Andrew Motion waxing lyrical about what they meant to him. Such a pity the artwork archive at Wills & Hepworth was plundered so thoroughly a few years ago. Apart from the artists recalled in the programme, we've lost the originals to S.R.Badmin's matchless Trees.

Sue said...

A few years ago, I bought a book called "Boys and Girls: A Ladybird Book of Childhood". The text isn't brilliant - Peter, you would have done far, far better - but it was wort it to wallow wholeheartedly in the original illustrations.

Peter Ashley said...

I remember that book Sue, and being disappointed somewhat as I thumbed through it in a bookshop. After all there's nothing like the originals, and some of the best are still obtainable without palpitating over a bank statement.

Peter Ashley said...

And thankyou for your very kind comment Sue.