Z is an Observer

The day started well when the post arrived, including as it did a second postcard from ILTV – hang on, you need a link there, well, a few of you do — – here it is – LINK! and my new Nadfas programme for the next season, which gives anticipation of jolliness. Later, Simon – oh gosh, another link made me scurry upstairs for the Observers books I still have, many of them from my own childhood, in their original little bookcase. Birds is a replacement (can you assume italics or quotation marks please, can’t be doing with them) but Wild Flowers, Wild Animals, Garden Flowers, Architecture, Mosses and Liverworts, Painting and Graphic Art, Music, Larger British Moths, British Insect, Dogs (2 copies of that) and Cats are all old. Fossils is a later addition.

Much of my childhood was spent reading. I was never discouraged – being equally obsessed with books themselves, my parents saw nothing odd about preferring to read than do almost anything else and there was no criticism for “always having your nose in a book”. I liked the Observer’s Book of Dogs best and knew every breed of dog in it. The one on cats was far less interesting, even if some of the pictures were in colour. There were fewer breeds and most of them looked much the same as each other – they had to be in colour or you couldn’t have differentiated between Long-haired White With Orange Eyes, Long-haired Blue, L-h Cream, L-h Smoke, and they had to put in pictures of kittens to make up the illustrations. Rather charmingly however, many of the pictures named the owners. In Birds, I learned, though have now forgotten, to tell the difference between kittiwakes and herring gulls and I stared with a complete lack of interest at mosses and liverworts, something I now find far more interesting than then. It dates from 1955 but still has its original dust jacket, a mark of how little it was read.

This afternoon, we were meant to bricklay, but it had to be cancelled as the Sage was busy helping Ben at the shop. Al has splendid new cast-iron guttering, which cost many pounds, and it was fixed with brackets which the Sage was drilling holes in for attaching to the building. It was fair enough as the work needed to be done – after all, the wall is a hobby – though it is a disappointment that yet another week has slipped away. Earlier in the summer I was busy, now the Sage is.

8 comments on “Z is an Observer

  1. Dave

    The 24 days work we have done is, in fact 24 x 2½ hours – if we’d been real brickies, working 5 day weeks, we’d have got it all done in a fortnight. But would it have been so much fun? I think not.

    Nor would any housework have been done, nor would we have been able to have all the other fun we’ve each had (individually) on our days off.

    This way we’ll have the fun of bricklaying next year too.

  2. sablonneuse

    Yes, I remember the Observer series because we bought them for our children. There weren’t many books in the house when I was a child but I remember finding Jane Eyre and it was taken away from me because “I wasn’t old enough” (at 7). There was no library nearby but a neighbour lent me loads of Enid Blyton.
    Hope your wall makes some progress before the weather changes. . . .

  3. martina

    We didn’t have Observer series books here when I was little. Mom did have Furred Animals of Australia-beautiful color plates.
    The wall is coming along very nicely! Z-would you like another postcard from here?

  4. Completely Alienne

    Such useful books. We had the British Book of Wildlife and Lenin, at 18 months, stunned the health visitor who came to check her progress, by not having a clue how to pretend to make a cup of tea (she was at home with her dada and didn’t have a toy tea set). Instead she took the health visitor through the book to show her all her favourite pictures and explain in great detail what they were. Health visitor came back the following week with a student to show her our prodigy!

  5. Z

    Never any limits on what we read. I read Pilgrim’s Progress when I was 8 and The Tempest when I was 9. A bit of a slog, I must say and I’m not sure why I did it, pretentious brat. I also read Enid Blyton, however.

    I’d love one thanks, Martina.

    I loved factual books as much as I did stories. I used to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica and follow the information from one heading to another. don’t think I was advanced as Lenin though!

  6. Anonymous

    I have always been a big reader, too. I remember reading The Hobbit in 3rd grade, after I had finished 1-63 of the Nancy Drew series. I’m still an addict.


  7. I, Like The View

    I adore the Observer books. . . their delightful small, pocket size; lovely traditional hardback with proper stitched sections and a decent dust jacket; my copy of Trees (first published in 1937, but mine being a reprint from 1966) lists 35 titles – including some of my favourite topics: 33. Lichens, 32. Astronomy, 31. Sea and Seashore, 26. Painting and Graphic Art, 34. Modern Art. . .

    . . .hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    might have to try the dreaded eBay to entice some of those into my possession!


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