Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Wonder of Books

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.


  1. I used to love reading to my children, they all had their own favourites and I found my self reading "The Patchwork Cat" or "Each Peach, Pear, Plum" hundreds of times over the years.
    we even named pets after characters from their favourite books.

  2. Children's books are so lovely. I've had many sort outs of the years of the books, giving a few away here and there but I still hang on to quite a lot even though my children are to old for them now because I love looking at the illustrations. (I'm not too old for them!) I see a Shirley Hughes there in your pile, I've always particularly loved the way she creates a real world that captures my imagination, never mind the children's imagination!
    Jess xx

  3. Children's books really do have the best illustrations don't they. I have a few select books that I have collected and it is because of the illustrations in the various books. xx

  4. Mine and Lottie's favourites are the Winnie the Pooh poems, especially The Three Foxes! X

  5. As a teacher and mam to 3 young uns I love kids stories, the rhymes in Julia Donaldson especially. I admire reading as it has never been my strong suit. I have dan brown latest on my bedside table. It has been in the reading since my birthday last year in June. Oh dear.
    We'll done you! Keep reading!

  6. lovely! I am just re reading all the famous 5 with pops and its a delight! Have you read ROOM by emma donoghue? I am just scuttling to bed now to read the last few pages....its fabulous x

  7. We have lots of children's books in my charity shop, it's hard not to look at them all as they're so lovely! I find it easy to read but then I have no children! :) x

  8. Well I know this is a Long Way Off, but those books you are storing will be so useful one day, for grandchildren!

  9. Ever since I was very little I've always loved books, I used to spend my 2/6, old money, on a ladybird book every Saturday. I remember my younger sister having the Victory alphabet tray and seeing yours reminded me how much I loved the pieces, so much so that I've just won one on e bay!! Thanks for reminding me, I see some brooches being made x

  10. Every Christmas Eve we all sit together to read and SING that gorgeous Willow at Christmas book- it's my favourite!!! Must look out for the others now! X

  11. We were sorting out the attic this weekend and came across several boxes of the girls' old books - I don't think I could part with any of them. Our favourite was 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' (which we still quote from now) and anything by John Burningham. They bring back memories of such warm happy times x Jane

  12. Books will always be number one with me against techno toys etc
    There is nothing nicer than losing yourself in a lovely story with your children....such excitement and adventure!
    Our favourites were The Tiger Who Came To Tea, The Magic Faraway Tree and so many more....
    Oh such happy memories :)
    Tilly x

  13. Oh, oh - we LOVE Mr Davies and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's dairy...I love them because they make us all laugh. My girls are now 16 and 14 and we still read such delights! 'Harry the poisonous centipede' is regularly recited too! There is something about an old book.....
    Belated best wishes to you and yours for 2014 and good speed ahead!
    Best wishes

  14. Loved your post. So inspiring. I need to put my IPad away and READ!

  15. Yip, bath and bed is where I read the most too these days, since our little one came along, lol :) x


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