(June 14th to 21st)

Format: Triple

So we took the fairest of counties to our bosom for an easy hour; rocking through deep-hedged hollows where the morning’s coolth still lingered; electrifying the fine dust of a league of untempered main road; bathing in the shadows of overarching park timber; slowing through half-built, liver-coloured suburbs that defiled some exploited hamlet…


This is from the ‘uncollected’ Pyecroft story “A Tour of Inspection” .

The narrator. out for a drive in hus new ‘Decapod’ encounters Pyecroft and Hinchcliffe, and has various advenrures involving a policeman, a drunken Welsh seaman, and a barge of dynamite. We have published the story on this site.

… 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 … motor-bicycles of every shape charging down at every angle; red flags of rifle-ranges; detachments of dusty-putteed Territorials; coveys of flagrant children playing in mid-street, and the wise, educated English dog safe and quite silent on the pavement if his fool-mistress would but cease from trying to save him, passed and repassed us in sunlit or shaded settings.


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

The Narrator has set off by car with a party of friends for lunch. Unfortunately the passengers include the appalling Mr Lingnam, who – blind to the delights around him – tirelessly lectures his companions on complicated theories of imperial relationships.

Later he is undone when, having taken the wheel, he overturns a bicycle which is carrying swarms of bees…

Beyond that precise hamlet which stands godmother to the capital of the United States, I found hidden villages where bees, the only things awake, boomed in eighty-foot lindens that overhung grey Norman churches; miraculous brooks diving under stone bridges built for heavier traffic than would ever vex them again; tithe-barns larger than their churches, and an old smithy that cried out aloud how it had once been a hall of the Knights of the Temple. Gipsies I found on a common where the gorse, bracken, and heath fought it out together up a mile of Roman road; and a little further on I disturbed a red fox rolling dog-fashion in the naked sunlight.


This is from the opening passage of ” ‘They’ ” in Traffics and Discoveries.

The narrator is driving westwards across Sussex, where down a leafy drive through deep unfrequented woods he happens on a beautiful old house, where children are playing in the garden among the fountains and yew hedges. Later he finds that they are the ghosts of dead children, including his lost little daughter…