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.