(Apr 21st to 27th)

Format: Triple

…They stood back and took stock of the neglected growth, tapped an elbow of hedge-oak here, a mossed beech-stub there, swayed a stooled ash back and forth, and looked at each other…Jabez ranged up and down till he found a thinner place, and with clean snicks of his handbill revealed the original face of the fence. Jesse took over the dripping stuff as it fell forward, and, with a grasp and a kick, made it to lie orderly on the bank…


This is from ‘Friendly Brook’ in ‘A Diversity of Creatures’, a dark tale of fear and hatred.

Two hedgers are at work on a wet foggy November day, with the roaring brook threatening to flood the field below them, and sweep away Jim Wickenden’s haystack. As they sit to eat their dinners, they speak of Jim, and how he ‘…ain’t settin’ out to withstand her’. He feels the brook has been a good friend to him, in drowning a blackmailer.

…in three days two struts were in place, bolted from the foot of the starboard supporting-column to the under side of the cylinder. There remained now the port, or condenser column, which, though not so badly cracked as its fellow, had also been strengthened in four places with boiler-plate patches, but needed struts. They took away the main stanchions of the bridge for that work…


This is from ‘The Devil and the Deep Sea’ in ‘The Day’s Work’.

The ‘Haliotis’ has been caught pearling illegally in foreign waters, and fired on by a warship of the local navy. Her engines had been wrecked, and the crew imprisoned. Now they have been allowed on board the gutted and apparently derelict vessel. They are painfully rebuilding the engines, to escape and take revenge.

…Presently the man took a reed pen from his satchel, and trimmed it with a little ivory knife, carved in the semblance of a fish…’ ‘Ware fingers ! That blade is perilously sharp. I made it myself of the best Low Countries cross-bow steel…Yes, and that’s my ink horn. I made the four silver saints round it. Press Barnabas’ s head. It opens, and then – ‘ He dipped the trimmed pen, and with careful boldness began to put in the essential lines…that had been but faintly revealed by the silver-point…it fairly leaped from the page…


This is from ‘Hal o’ the Draft’ in ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’

Hal is Sir Harry Dawe, a notable English craftsman and artist at the beginning of the sixteenth century who had worked to beautify many churches and chapels and colleges up and down the land. He tells Dan and Una how he grew up in Sussex learning to work stone and iron and stained glass – and to avoid sinful pride.