Dalek in the Willows

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows.

I love that book best with E. H. Shepard’s delicate illustrations – so much gentler and thrilling than later, harsher images, and more in keeping with the lovely, little, wild adventures of that book.

But of all things I love about Wind in the Willows – the canary-yellow caravan and the fight with the weasels and Mole’s homecoming – I love Ratty’s fabulous luncheon basket best. There is something about the English literary picnic – the butter in the teapot in Three Men in a Boat, to say nothing of the Dog, the fresh cake and boiled eggs and ginger beer of The Famous Five, and the Rat’s “fat, wicker luncheon basket” with “cold chicken inside it, coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrolls-cresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater -“.

In that spirit, since last Saturday morning was so fine, and I didn’t want to reach the end of the day and have spent it all at the computer, I called up Shayna, Caitie and Karissa. We boiled eggs and packed a basket with cold ham, cheese, cornbread, almonds, chocolate-chip cookies, tomatoes, breadrolls, ginger beer, butter, salt and all good things and went to the botanic gardens, where we lay around on a blanket beside the lake, fending off ibises, ducks, magpies, honeyeaters and water hens, throwing strawberries at water dragons and listening to classic rock on a battery powered radio.

In other news there is a new Delia Sherman novel on the way, with the cover art which threatened to make me spend such a fine day indoors: Freedom Maze – I will post some process sketches soon. I have come home today for French toast and bacon, coffee and reading An Old English Grammar and David Crystal’s The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language to my father, while my mother comes in at intervals to announce that she has looked up the meaning of “atavistic”, or discuss an article on the art of translating from Turkish (family training is military history/nursing/accounting/arts/law/journalism, we just happen to be fans of linguistics).