I went up into my dad’s loft on the hunt for some of my old books from when I was little.
I struck gold: one box full of reading books and one box of information books (don’t worry I haven’t catalogued all of them).
The memories came flooding back in an instant. There were Pigeon Street books, Cockleshell Bay books, King Rollo, Willow the Wisp; a huge Thomas the Tank Engine Collection, a plethora of Ladybird read it yourself books and Well-loved tales books (with their ornate tree designs on the inside cover) as well as Paddington, Roald Dahl and Alice in Wonderland. Blue Peter and Mr Men annuals added to the eclectic mix. Then I found a collection of books that really stopped me in my tracks: My first library – READERS DIGEST Mothercare books, and in particular The day the clocks stopped, one of the books in the collection. I remembered it vividly. I was simultaneously really happy and rather sad: happy that I was reunited with them, had so many great memories of them and that I could share them with my children, but sad that my mum wasn’t here to share in it. She’d have loved dusting them off (well actually little dusting required as they were in pristine condition) and reminiscing with me and sharing them with her grandchildren.
My slightly morose feelings soon subsided when I delved into the ‘information books’ box. Ladybird’s We Can Cook and Usborne’s First Cookbook were first up. Both had spawned a number of culinary nightmares and I could remember each page as if I had a photographic memory. I instantly knew that the Usborne books The Knowhow Book of Paper Fun and Science Tricks & Magic would entertain Sofia as much as they had me, and that the Who?, What?, Where?, Why?, How? and When? compendium might save me from incessant questioning about absolutely everything in the way they’d saved my mum. I even found the official programme for the marriage of H.R.H The Prince of Wales and The Lady Diana Spencer in there!
However, the pièce de résistance had to be The Body Book by Claire Rayner *shudder*.