Sunday, 13 January 2019

In Her Spare Room

Dear Reader,


                                                                            Toad, Badger, Mole and Ratty



I have been reading an excellent book given to me at Christmas about Kenneth Grahame's life by Matthew Dennison called 'Eternal Boy'.  As most of you readers will know 'The Wind in the Willows' is one of my very favourite books and I thought you might like a snippet of information about the author's life. 

In January 1879 Kenneth arrived for the first time at the Bank of England and started work in the position of gentleman clerk.    He was nineteen years old, serious-minded, tall, and broad-shouldered.  He had not been keen to work in a bank and had hoped to go to Oxford University  but his uncle, John Grahame, refused to fund a university education.  He  thought a good job in a bank was what Kenneth should have and procured him a place at the Bank of England.  Kenneth had read a piece by George Augustus Sala, published in 1859, which painted a sober picture of the clerk's working day.   He described a 'great army of clerk martyrs....settling down to their loads of cash-book and ledger-fillers' each morning like clockwork.  Sala apostrophised their wretchedness...

During his life,  Kenneth wrote many essays rejecting commercial, cooperate and committee life, celebrating the 'escape' of city men from the daily grind. His real love was the countryside and in particular, waters and rivers.   Long after his retirement when asked to write about his experiences at the Bank of England he replied  'Nothing doing ....much too dull a subject.'

                                                                         *

In Her Spare Room

I see these books,
draw in a breath,
as cherished memories
race into my head.

These are:

Akenfield
Portrait of an English Village
Swallows and Amazons 
The Speckledy Hen
The Little Flower of St. Francis
My Friend Flicka
The Wind in the Willows
Tales of an Old Inn

The owner of this house
is unknown to me,
but her collection
of treasured books
tells me a little of her,
what makes her who she is,
what makes me who I am.

                                                                          *

Very best wishes, Patricia




 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Waif

Dear Reader,



                                                                                         Waifs
 Dear Reader,

I have had a bad cold and cough this week so haven't thought of something interesting to tell you  but I have read 'The English Year Book' and thought you might like some of the quotes.

January 4th, Richard Hayes, 1764 in Kent.

'Our roads are very full of water, I never saw the London turnpike so much cut with the carriages, by having almost continuous rains little or much.'

January 4th, S.T. Coleridge, 1804 in Westmorland.

Horsedung echoing to the merry (Foot) traveller on a frosty morning.

January 5th, Katherine Mansfield, 1915 in Buckinghamshire

'Saw the sun rise.  A lovely apricot sky with flames in it and then a solemn pink.  Heavens, how beautiful!  I heard a knocking, and went downstairs.  It was Benny cutting away the ivy.  Over the path lay the fallen nests - wisps of hay and feathers.  He looked like an ivy bush himself.  I made early tea and carried it up to J., who lay half awake with crinkled eyes.  I feel so full of love today after having seen the sun rise'.

                                                                          *

Waif

The waif lived in a tent
on the beach.
He was cold, he was hungry.
He was always hungry.

He met a boy from a big house.
They played together
on the sand, picked up winkles
and shells, ran down to the sea.

The boy took him to his house
cut large slices of bread,
buttered them, piled cherry jam on top,
gave them to the waif who
wolfed them down.

When autumn came the boy
went back to boarding school.
The waif missed his friend,
screwed his fists into his eyes
as the tears gathered.
Wept for the loss of friendship and food.

                                                                          *

With best wishes, Patricia