Good Morning Readers,
Today I am featuring the Priorhouse Interview with blogger Derrick Knight- Derrick’s blog also includes contributions from his wife – master gardener and chef extraordinaire – Jackie.
Let us start with an opening description about Derrick:
QUESTION: Who is Derrick J. Knight?
FROM DERRICK’S BLOG: “I am a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime’s photographs.”
PRIORHOUSE: Derrick is a blogger who posts daily with a unique style. – he shares about his life, what he and his wife, Jackie, are eating, experiencing on local drives, what is going on in their garden, and who they are interacting with in life – ranging from family to folks hired for work around the house.
Sometimes Derrick’s blog gives us snapshots from a televised sporting event or provides scanned family photos from years past or scanned images from books Derrick is reading.
In fact, that is what led to this interview – Derrick read a lot of Charles Dickens this year and as some regular readers know, Trent McDonald and I had a “Little Dorrit” #Dickens spring reading challenge – info: Trent’s blog
During the 2021 Little Dorrit challenge – Derrick added to the adventure with his scanned Keepings’ images, which often had me pause to marvel at his unique blogging approach.
I realized again that we all have unique approaches to blogging and he and Jackie have found a groove. Let us remember that this should be our aim – blog in a way that reflects our passions and share in ways that lets our essence flow. This might mean posting weekly, daily, or changing it up. This could mean doing challenges, skipping challenges, doing interviews, or taking long pauses to reset. Just let’s remember to never compare blogs because we are all so different. – the goal is to “be you” and let your blog grow and monitor what it (and you) might need each season.
QUESTION: When did you start blogging and do you have any tips for bloggers?
DERRICK: I started my blog on 9th May 2012. This followed a few days on Facebook, which I had begun at the request of my youngest daughter. Very soon I was persuaded that I should transfer to writing a blog. “What’s one of those?” I asked. And the rest is history. What began as a daily diary for the benefit of a few friends and relatives has evolved into a community of valued friendships with people from all over the world. As many will know, following encouragement, I am now including a history of my era in the “A Knight’s Tale” series.
It is fortunate that I am retired, because I spend 4/5 hours a day with this activity. I am an early riser and begin my day by reading and responding to comments, then reading and commenting on other people’s posts. I don’t always comment, but I never “like” without reading. This is necessary because anyone who puts in the work deserves an honest response. These are my best tips.
PRIORHOUSE: Thanks Derrick. I also wanted to give a little more detail about how your blog has unfolded since 2012.
On Derrick’s Blog, you will find:
- Nature photography – from the Knight garden or from traveling around their area: animals roadside or in the roadway; flowers, trees, shrooms, water, sunsets, skies, etc.
- Family & Friend shares: Photos of daily activities and stories as he aims to “ramble through a lifetime’s photographs.” This post here, from January 2021, started with this tasty opening: “Another gloomy day and a joyful batch of rediscovered colour slides. The morning’s task – obviously – was to scan them.” And this next image gives an example of the Jackie and Derrick partnership in action :
- Kinight’s Tale – as Derrick mentioned – these are short memoir posts that highlight “history of his era” and various parts of Derrick’s carer and life. This link is for Knights Tale #52, where he shared tidbits about his training and a photo with his lifelong friend. He also shares about the societal events (I.e. Holocaust) and we see examples that can be used to highlight changes over the decades. Derrick noted that the training he was provided is no longer always offered to workers for free; in contrast, many folks today train at their expense and then market their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s). Also, one of my areas of interest and study is the “world of work” and so I do enjoy when Derrick shares about his work days.
- Photo Shoots – Derrick takes photos regularly and I imagine him sleeping with his camera around his neck. Just kidding – but maybe hd grabs the camera when he rolls out of bed. Perhaps he puts on his spectacles, camera strap goes around his neck, and then he grabs morning coffee. 👓📸☕️
Now when I say photo shoot, there are many things that might come to your mind – and so the photo shoots that are “Knight-unique” – are these casual collection of clicks from around the house. When they have a repair or some remodeling done – Derrick’s lens is out there snapping away – and a few times I have really paused to enjoy the photo shoot. We have so much video being shared these days and to see a photo shoot (with multiple stills) of a worker doing a project – well it is tasty. It often has a classic and creative feel to it. Derrick highlights such richness with the beauty of someone working and doing their craft – the worker and the photographer – providing a glimpse of human essence. HERE is the “finishing touches of worker on a ladder.”
- Animal Photography – When the Knight duo, Jackie and Derrick, take a drive – they often encounter horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, etc. – and then share some of this country delight:
- Sports photos – if certain teams are playing – Derrick might make a mini photo shoot out of the televised action.
- Literature – Derrick shares about what he is reading and sometimes shares scanned pages – so we can see illustrations and get a feel for the text – then he adds bits of commentary – but not too much – which is his style.
PRIORHOUSE: As noted at the start of this post, it was Derrick’s online book shares earlier this year that led to this Autumn Priorhouse interview; in particular, when he generously contributed with Keepings’ Little Dorrit images and offered comments during the challenge, it was fun support. Thanks again, amigo.
QUESTION: How many times have you read Little Dorrit and did you have any key takeaways from the book?
DERRICK: I have read Little Dorrit twice. I enjoy the writer’s flowing prose with sometimes poetic descriptive passages and witty humour. It is a love story with added mystery, and offers an insight into contemporary history and politics, especially with its depiction of Marshalsea prison. Some of the less interesting sections, like the Circumlocution Office, can be boring. I am not sure what you mean by takeaways. Perhaps the life in prison of the Master of the Marchalsea; the goodness of Clennam contrasted with the evil of Blandois; how we see riches corrupt in the Second Book. Also, Book 1, Chapter 7: The Child of the Marshalsea is perhaps pivotal.
QUESTION: Can you tell us about your bookshelf?
I am linking this question with a monthly challenge called #WhatsOnYourBookShelf (co-hosted by Donna, Sue, Jo and Debbie ) as avid book readers will enjoy learning that Derrick STILL has thousands of tangible books that he has collected over six decades!
DERRICK: I stopped buying books more than 10 years ago because I won’t have time left to read all those as yet unread. 😯📚
My Folio Society first edition illustrated by Charles Keeping is dated 1986. I have this whole set and a few copies from other publishers.
My home library contains many thousands of books collected over more than 60 years.
I was a member of The Folio Society for 50 of those years. During the late 1970s the society canvassed readers for ideas on pairing authors and illustrators. The Keeping/Dickens partnership was my suggestion.
PRIORHOUSE: Wow, that partnership was your suggestion? It has been quite successful (even though I have mentioned before that I do not really care for most of Keepings’ drawings – his art is not my preference, but I can understand the appeal) – anyhow, it must bring a smile to see the success of the paired illustrations and texts all these years later. That reminds me of your wonderful photography.
– Can you share more about your photography?
DERRICK: Although I had originally not known that we could post photos on our blogs, our photographs are now a major feature. Having used only film from my mid-teens in the 1950s until 2012, I have thousands of prints from colour slides and negatives, many of which have been scanned and loaded into my iMac. I began with my grandfather’s old box Brownie. I turned to digital when I began blogging in order to obtain immediate results.
I hope almost any of my posts will contain some of by best photographs, but https://derrickjknight.com/2016/08/30/the-drift/ probably contains as good a range as any. One of the photographs appearing in this post, with a couple of others, until a redecoration scheme rendered them unnecessary, adorned the walls of Lal Quilla, our favourite Indian restaurant in Lymington. I had donated these prints to the restaurant; Raj the manager, who had asked for them, paid for the framing. I refused payment for the pictures and he retaliated by not charging me for that night’s meal.
Years ago I produced cover and inside pictures for a professional Social Work magazine. I did charge for these and have occasionally sold others from exhibitions. Otherwise I prefer to give them away – the appreciation being my best reward. A few large prints I have made now adorn the walls of other bloggers.
QUESTION: As we wind down this post, please share about Knight gardening over the years. well, let me clarify – not “night-time” gardening – but the way you Knights have found your green thumbs?
DERRICK: Jackie began gardening with her mother when she was aged five (during the Coronation year). She was fascinated at her mother’s red, white, and blue garden palette.
From my early teens I gardened at home with an aunt and uncle. Jackie and I worked on our Amity Grove garden from 1968 until we parted in 1972. For two years, from 2009, we spent weekends in Hampshire’s West End, gardening for my sister, Elizabeth.
DERRICK: We then moved to our current house on the edge of The New Forest in 2014 and set about transforming an overgrown jungle. There are a number of before and after posts on the blog. Perhaps a good idea of the feel of this is given in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/06/26/not-fit-for-purpose/
In the first post it shows the derelict kitchen garden section that we found, and the second post has the converted space seven years later.
PRIORHOUSE: Derrick, I have mentioned before how I enjoy times when you add flowing words with your photos. Sometimes the wordplay or simple descriptions are another signature style. Below is an example:
And here is a collage of garden blooms – showing the variety that you and Jackie cultivate:
DERRICK: Thanks, Yvette! 😊 The best garden tips I can give are take advice, watch Garden Rescue on BBC, and love plants.
QUESTION: Can you tell us about the food shares you include in many of your posts? They have become a fun part of “reading” over there and I was curious about this.
DERRICK: The food coda began as a joke and has become my version of Samuel Pepys’s “And so to Bed”. I put it on once and my niece, Danni, said she could not sleep without knowing what her uncle had had for dinner.
When Jackie and I were first reunited she was still working so I did the cooking. She now does it all. Two of our favourites, namely the jalfrezi and the sausages in red wine, are her developments of my earlier efforts. No-one can have followed us for any length of time without knowing her penchant for Hoegaarden Belgian beer and mine for red wine. Sancerre is a favourite white wine for each of us. My favourite reds are Malbec and Fleurie.
Derrick, Thank you so much for doing this interview with Priorhouse blog.
And thanks to all readers out there – we appreciate your visit and would enjoy your feedback.
To connect with Derrick and Jackie go here: https://derrickjknight.com/