(April 6th to 13th)

Format: Triple

…the mustard-coloured scouts of the Automobile Association; their natural enemies, the unjust police; our natural enemies, the deliberate market-day cattle, broadside-on at all corners, the bicycling butcher-boy a furlong behind; road-engines that pulled giddy-go-rounds, rifle galleries, and swings, and sucked snortingly from wayside ponds in defiance of the noticeboard; traction-engines, their trailers piled high with road metal; uniformed village nurses, one per seven statute miles, flitting by on their wheels; governess-carts full of pink children jogging unconcernedly past roaring, brazen touring-cars…


This is from “The Vortex” in A Diversity of Creatures.

The narrator and a party of friends are driving through the southern counties of Engalnd on a summer’s day. Their enjoyment is marred by one of his companions, who ignores the passing scene and lectures interminably on matters Imperial. But retribution, in the shape of swarms of bees, will soon be visited upon him…

Here and there they met or were overtaken by the gaily dressed crowds of whole villages turning out to some local fair; the women, with their babes on their hips, walking behind the men, the older boys prancing on sticks of sugar-cane, dragging rude brass models of locomotives such as they sell for a halfpenny, or flashing the sun into the eyes of their betters from cheap toy mirrors. One could see at a glance what each had bought; and if there were any doubt it needed only to watch the wives comparing, brown arm against brown arm, the newly purchased dull glass bracelets that come from the North-West.


This is from Kim.

Kim and the Lama, on their wanderings through India in search of the River of the Arrow, are on the Grand Trunk Road, that ‘broad smiling river of of life.’

…once, running from the East, into a high-piled, almost Egyptian, sunset, there came a night which it would have been sin to have wasted. It was warm with the breath of summer in advance; moonlit till the shadow of every rounded pebble and pointed cypress wind-break lay solid on that vast flat-floored waste; and my Mr. Leggatt, who had slipped out to make sure, reported that the roadsurface was unblemished.

‘Now,’ he suggested, ‘we might see what she’ll do under strict road-conditions. She’s been pullin’ like the Blue de Luxe all day. Unless I’m all off, it’s her night out.’


This is from “The Bull that Thought” in Debits and Credits.

The narrator is driving in southern France as Kipling often did in the nineteen-twenties, and decides to see what his car can do under ideal conditions. A distinguished Frenchman, M. Voiron, sncountered at the dinner table, has offered to observe the trial. When it is successful, he invites the narrator to join him in celebration. As they drink a memorable champagne, M. Voiron tells the story of “The Bull that Thought”.