Since joining The Year of Books I've been trying to make more time for reading again. I've definately managed to read at least every other day, but there are just so many other things calling to me too.
Whenever I sit down these days I get fidgetty if I do absolutely nothing. I either have something yarny in my hands or I'm cuddling someone. I've got knitting and hooking down to a fine art so I can do that while I watch TV and have a chat. I still have to save tricksy patterns for times when I'm alone and can completely concentrate mind you.
Reading with everyone else buzzing about is nigh on impossible though..
I've decided the best times for me to read are in the bath and late at night cosied in bed. In the bath I can lose a whole hour caught up in the pages of my latest tale. Mostly in bed I fall asleep a few pages in and then wake up in the morning with my glasses in my back.
Last weekend Little Bun and I had a massive sort out of her room. Big plans for splashing paint about and rejigging are on hold until the spring, but it still needed a sort out of things that she'd outgrown.
Having the biggest bedroom most of the girls books are stored in her room. Boxloads of old favourites that she's now too old for were taken downstairs for storing. These childhood books hold far too many memories to be given away. Some get read again when only they will do.
Reading used to be such a large part of our days when the girls were younger. Then work, growing up, school and homework took over. Those night-time rituals of snuggling up together with a tale slowly eased out of our lives as they could read their own stories.
The characters in the books haven't left us though. We always enjoyed the illustrations as much as the tales. We see Mr Davies type of dogs out and about a lot, although they're always much better behaved.
Camilla Ashforth is one of our favourite writers and illustrators. The characters she creates painted from her old toys are just wonderful. James the large bear has a really useful box which he hates anyone else going into. He looks after Horatio a tiny rabbity toy who is full of wonder. Our favourite tale with this pair is when Johnny Conqueror the Monkey turns up. He shouts "Jimmies and Jacks, Mind Your Backs", to announce his arrival before performing dreadful tricks all with things from James' box.
Miss Rosey's most beloved monkey Johnny was named after this naughty fellow. I saw our Johnny in a charity shop window when Rosey was one. I had to rush straight in for him and thank goodness I did as she clutched him to her straight away and they've remained glued to each other ever since.
Whenever my man was working away he'd come back with books for the girls. The first ones he bought were Camilla Ashforth's Willow books about the little bear who lives at Paradise Farm in the Downs with Little Pig Pink. They are wistful and innocent and a pure joy to be honest. Each Christmas Eve we still squeeze onto our bed together to read Willow at Christmas. There's just a lot less room these days.
Another favourite found on a trip away was Ruby and the Noisy Hippo. I absolutely love the bright colours in this book, the simple illustrations and the sweets.
The girls squealed with laughter waiting for all the noisy bits when we'd yell Hippo's parts to the Sweet Eating Monster.
Even the books that had to be read again and again every night for months have become favourites in our memory. My mum had to read Enid Blyton's Binkle and Flip every night to me for an age. She always says until my teens, but I think she's exaggerating again.
Short tales which could be read in one evening were slowly replaced with longer ones such as The Faraway Tree (which was a pleasure) and Pippi Longstocking (which I couldn't wait to be over).
Now here we are with me occassionally being asked to read something and me trying to get back to reading for me again. I very nearly gave up on Instructions for a Heatwave, but once I joined the reading group I kicked myself up the bum and have persevered. I'm determined to have this one done before the months's out and then who knows, maybe two books next month?
I'll write a review of this book once I've finished it and if you're interested in The Year of Books you can follow the link here or in the sidebar.
Oh yes - one other thing. I was asked where the lovely cafe we found was, but I forgot to say. Well it's called The Old Bank (was Barclays) and is in Bungay just opposite the Buttercross.