I have been quite inspired to go and read some of the classics, following an article in one of the local papers about a father reading books with heroic girl characters, with his own daughters. It so happened that I was away for a few days this past week and in the collection of books in the house, I found an old 1956 (from memory) copy of The Secret Garden.
So I decided to read it.
Now, two things struck me,
One was that I don't recall ever having read the story at all before.
And the second was that... I absolutely loved it. From beginning to end and in the middle, I loved it. I did skip over some of the garden description because, you know, short attention span and all that, quite unlike (I am sure) my grandmother who probably read this book when she was a girl and did no such thing as skip pages of botannical description.
It was actually a perfect few days to read something like this. The weather was grand in that cold, early-winter way where the days are lovely, and there's not a lot of rain.
One afternoon I took a break from the Garden and went in search of some real gardens. As in giant ones, like farms, as I was, in fact, staying in the country - again.
One risks one's life walking down the rural roads because it's quite near to town, and people cut through quiet roads at a bloody great rate of knots so I'm forced to walk practically in the drain so I don't meet my demise. What I do meet is the totally disgusting litter that people chuck out on the road. It's about time we launched an anti-litter campaign like they did in the seventies. Anti-litter art contests, telling adults off for littering, non-political songs that are just about common human decency to not pollute the planet with your crap. That kind of thing.
But there is also loveliness.
Having left the road for a bit, I traipsed along the path by the stream and debated the sense of leaving home for an hour without an umbrella as the sky looked dodgy for a spell, Then it cleared and it would have been a nice spot to have taken a snack, a thermos of coffee, like in the olden days, and the book, and plonked down on the grass (on a tartan rug, if I owned one) and read for a bit.
But then, there is the joy of finally arriving back home, quite knackered, actually, to a nice warm house with the fire going and the rest of the book waiting. Plus a date with the TV and the Lions v Crusaders in the evening.
The Secret Garden would have been a good one to read to the children, like we did the Narnia books, but not to worry - I read it to myself, though not out loud, and I thoroughly loved it.