The Dabbler. There's a nice piece of synchronicity.
High point of my latest visit to God's Own County (no protests from Yorkshiremen, please) was a walk along Lathkill Dale in glorious unexpected afternoon sun. The dale is one of the most variously beautiful of them all, with grand hanging woods, riverside lawns and slopes of flower-rich pasture. After much hopeful scanning of the sunlit pastures, we spotted numerous lively Common Blues, a single Large Skipper on a grasshead, and a tattered and faded Dingy Skipper (increasing by three my meagre species tally).
And of course I had a look around the Best Bookshop in the World (aka The Bookshop, in Wirksworth), where, after a slow start, I found Stefan Zweig's novella Chess, Auden's For The Time Being (with The Sea and the Mirror), Iain Sinclair's booklet on the Millennium Dome, Sorry Meniscus - and The Last Englishman: The Life of J.L. Carr by Byron Rogers, the same Byron Rogers quoted in When R.S. Thomas Met Liz Taylor. Synchronicity again.
The morning after that sunny afternoon in Lathkill Dale came the headline-making electric storms that swept the North and, to a lesser extent, the East Midlands. Lesser but quite enough, thank you. We revisited the fine permanent display of Joseph Wright's paintings in the Derby County Art Gallery. That's a Joseph Wright above - his charming alfresco portrait of The Hon. Brooke Boothby (which lives at Tate Britain) - not, in case you were wondering, me on my holidays. You wouldn't catch me with a volume of Rousseau.