Thursday, 18 July 2013

Thursday meanderings . . .

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I grew up loving books and reading. A day without reading just never happened. It was as natural to me as was breathing.   I can thank my father for that.   He began reading to me when I was very small.  My mum is not a reader per se.   She will read the odd short story in a magazine, or article in the paper, but she just does not have the patience or interest in sitting down to read anything much larger than that.

One of the earliest stories I remember my father reading to me was one about Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse.   Jerry and his pal Toughy looked out the door to their mouse-hole one day and it was such a beautiful sunny day that they had decided to go on a picnic.  Of course that meant a trip to the big people's kitchen and an encounter with Tom Cat.  I can still hear my father reading it to me in my mind's eye, and hear his voice all squeaky and high as he created a different voice for each character.    My heart warms at the thought of a father who loved me so . . .

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I also loved the book Heidi.  It was a Little Golden Book.  I saw the movie on the television when I was older as well . . . the one with Shirley Temple in it.   I loved that too.    I loved all of the Little Golden Books.  I had quite a collection of them.   Even now when I see one of the old covers, my heart tugs at the sight.

I think I read all of the classics through the Little Golden Books as a child.   Alice in Wonderland, Heidi, Snow White, The Little Red Caboose, Hansel and Gretel . . . The Little Red Hen . . .

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My favourite one was this one though . . . We Help Mommy.  From my earliest memories I only ever wanted to be a homemaker and mother . . . this book helped to feed that desire . . .

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Most children want to be like their parents, and to help their parents.    Plus the illustrations of Eloise Wilkin in these books were my favourites . . . even then, I had an artists eye.

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I was a voracious reader and it didn't take long before I graduated to books which were more difficult to read and held my attention a lot longer . . . I adored Enid Blyton's stories about fairies and brownies and elves . . . I just couldn't get enough of these magical worlds which existed at the edges of gardens . . . then to there were the Adventure series she wrote.   Oh how I longed to go on such adventures, and to have a tuck box and drink ginger beer and eat cherry cakes . . . and I wanted a Parrot.  In reality I would probably have been terrified with a Parrot, but . . . in my imagination I could think of no more exotic pet than a Parrot, or a Monkey perhaps . . . heaven's forbid . . .

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A bit older still, I thrilled to the adventures of Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, The Bobbsey Twins and the like.   I dreamed of having adventures such as this and solving mysteries.  What wonderful worlds my books took me to.

I also loved the classics such as Little Women and Wuthering Heights.  In short, there came a time when I  read anything I could get my hands on, even the family encyclopedia.  Classics, romantics, poetry, educational . . . nothing was safe from my greedy little reading hands and mind.

One summer I even created a learning list in which I had plans to study the whole encyclopedia . . . seriously.   I had it all written down in a leftover school scribbler, of what I was going to read on which day etc.    I think I must have been a nerd?   But quite happily so . . .

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Of course I passed on my love of the written word to my own children.   This is Douglas, my middle son, on one Christmas morning.  He was a driving cowboy . . . that poor sleeper he was wearing, it was a Winnie the Pooh one and had been handed down from his elder brother to his oldest sister and then to the sister just before him.   By the time he got it the feet had worn out so much that I had cut them off . . . oh my but we must have been as poor as church mice, but happy nonetheless.

We used to all gather on the girl's big double bed of an evening after bath time when they were all smelling fresh and soapy and shampooed and I would read stories to them and we would make up stories and silly songs.   I hope that they remember those times and are now doing the same with their own babies.  I try to send my grandchildren books each year as gifts, and am always writing stories or thinking of stories I would like to write for them . . . I hope that they love to read as much as I did and do . . .

Books are magic.   They carry you into magical worlds and take you on adventures you would never take otherwise.  You get to experience strange lands and mysterious places.   You laugh . . . you cry . . . and everything in between.  You get happy endings, and sad endings . . . you thrill and you learn and you grow . . .
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I hope that I will always love to read, and that I will always be able to read.  A book never goes away . . . even when the power goes out.   Reading to candle light . . . one of my favourite things . . .

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Can you see her?   There amongst the wild flowers and grasses in our garden.   Mitzie is just adoring this beautiful weather we have been having.   When it is wet and rainy, we have to block off that part of our garden from her as it's far too muddy.  We took her to the chapel last night and let her have a good old run about the fields next to it.   She did enjoy it.   It's a nice area and you often see people walking their dogs there . . .

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They say you are always learning something new  . . . I have learned this year that certain flowers like daisies and poppies close up at night time.  I did not know that before.   I wonder why that is that they do that? 

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."

~Crowfoot, 1890 (As quoted in Catch the Whisper of the Wind) 

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a tasty Grilled Steak Sandwich, with fresh roasted garlic mayonnaise, rocket from the garden, and slow roasted tomatoes, all on top of grill toasted sour dough bread!

I do hope you enjoy your Thursday!


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