Like the pigeons in St Mark’s

Like the pigeons in St Mark’s

An unusual way to capture ever-present memories, likening them to pigeons underfoot in the Piazza San Marco, cooing and strutting in ‘honey-voiced congregations’.   And the quiet connection between his memories and his life is arresting. ‘These...
Glee-singing competition

Glee-singing competition

There is something a little dated about this description of someone’s clothing, but I liked the ‘glee-singing competition’.   I had a vague idea of ‘glee’ as a kind of song, but looked it up to find out more: ‘A glee is an English...
Snow-bound lama

Snow-bound lama

This caught my eye as it feels a little surprising as a follow on to someone’s being described as a ‘learned bigot’ and ‘ceremonious barbarian’.  Perhaps a shift in sensibility which comes of living in an age where the Dalai Lama is...
Jackal-haunted nights

Jackal-haunted nights

Elsewhere, Ryder describes ‘hag-ridden nights’, the night being where dangers lurk, real or imagined. May you be spared such hag-ridden or jackal-haunted moments. ‘Such a prospect perhaps as a high pinnacle of the temple afforded after hungry days in...
Tapestry-hung hall

Tapestry-hung hall

An instant image of a hundred English great halls of Tudor or later provenance, the walls lined with a thousand hours of needlecraft. ‘From the Pompeian parlour to the great tapestry-hung hall which stood unchanged, as it had been designed two hundred and fifty...
Bun-faced man

Bun-faced man

Bland and bun-faced isn’t a winning combination, even before he imposes his cricket-talk on people who don’t share his enthusiasm. ‘Father Phipps was in fact a bland, bun-faced man with an interest in county cricket which he obstinately believed us...
Half-shaven scrimshankers

Half-shaven scrimshankers

Lovely word ‘scrimshank’, describing either something being a mess, at sixes and sevens, or referring to work-shirking, particularly in the armed forces.  The latter meaning is clearly intended here. ‘… those half-shaven scrimshankers I see...
Hag-ridden night

Hag-ridden night

A sense of a wakeful, traumatic night, ridden by witches and haunted by demons. ‘… explains the distress of that hag-ridden night.’ Source: Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (Harmondsworth:...
All-seeing eyes

All-seeing eyes

A fictitious dedication in the novel, imbuing its artist-narrator with an almost godly omnivision, although he doesn’t portray himself as being more than a financially successful society artist, painting pictures of grand aristocratic homes at a time when their...

Pin It on Pinterest