I haven’t posted about my loft treasures for ages and what better time to reintroduce them than for my one hundredth post?! When I first started this blog nearly a year ago I didn’t think I’d get past one post, let alone up to a hundred, and it took me quite a few months to start posting regularly. I found it really tricky to get my head around how to write when I wasn’t sure who (if anyone) was actually reading my ramblings and although all the advice says to just write for yourself, I found that really hard. What changed for me was firstly the chat and support from a lovely group of like-minded people on Twitter, but secondly was the night that I got down boxes and boxes of my childhood books from Dad’s loft and started tweeting about them.
The response to my tweets was fantastic (for a newbie like me, anyway) and it made me cartwheel with glee to realise that there were so many others out there who felt as nostalgic as I did for books gone by. More than that, it really did give me a confidence in myself and my Story Seekers ideas that had previously been lacking. Although I still have constant doubts and worries, looking back over my loft treasures reminds me that I am now trying to forge a new path based on things that I have loved my whole life. It makes me feel as though a plan I didn’t even know I had finally has the potential to come together.
Not only have I always loved books and reading, but I was very lucky to come from a family who felt the same way and who called me a bookworm with admiration rather than regret. One of my proudest moments at primary school was when my wonderful teacher read out to the class a story I that was writing, updating them with one chapter a day as I completed each new instalment. I can still remember that story off by heart (though tragically for all of today’s publishing houses, I have lost the textbook that contained it…) Reading and writing stories was important to me from the very beginning and I hope that I can somehow help others feel the the same way.
Back to the books!
This first picture shows books that I can remember using myself to learn the basics about letters, numbers and so on. They were also a key part of the curriculum I devised for my dolls, teddies and Fimo creations (yep, clearly my teaching career was predestined as well).
The following two pictures are C’s favourite pages in the book (again, taken by him), though he tells me this is to with the massive cake in the picture rather than him having any strong feelings about the actual numbers/counting/maths involved.
Both of the next books are gorgeous, but I was absolutely obsessed with the ‘Ladybug’ one. The fact that a book could be spiral-bound and could be cut into a ‘non-book’ shape was mind-blowing to me and I remember taking this everywhere with me and having it in prime position on my bookshelf even as a teenager. (The rhymes in it are nice, too.) Looking at them as an adult, I’m probably more drawn to the illustrations in the other book now and this serves as a reminder that my adult eye won’t always agree with the children’s eyes of C and H, which is completely OK.
Oh my gosh, I ADORED this Helen Oxenbury book. There were a few in that series, I think, and again I used to read them to my toys and put them in my toys’ library for their perusal (Granny managed to get a few spare library tickets from our village library, so I made my own pretend one at home). It’s absolutely amazing that some authors and illustrators have been producing stunning work since before I was born and are still doing so now. Not that I imagine working with books to be a short-lived career – far from it – but it is awesome that such longevity is possible. It also makes me wonder which of today’s authors and illustrators will still be successful in twenty or thirty years’ time – I can think certainly think of many that deserve the honour…
We didn’t watch a huge amount of television as children, but I do remember loving Play School and clearly Mum wasn’t averse to the odd TV tie-in book! This old clip of Play School from You Tube brought back many happy memories (though I’m not sure they’d get away with singing that version of ‘The Drunken Sailor’ now…) and I love the little section about finding things that float. Clearly Play School was quite a passion for my sister and I as Mum made us our very own Jemima dolls (or in the case of my sister, many Jemima dolls, as they were so loved that they were taken on every childhood adventure and a few of them managed to get into some Pretty Serious Scrapes). I found my own doll when I was in Dad’s loft again recently (this time looking for old toys, about which I could probably write a whole different blog – there were Sylvanian Families, Poochies, Keepers, Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite dolls, My Little Ponies and hacky-sackies galore!) and it’s now back in my bedroom again :-)
This last book (and certainly the front cover that’s pictured) is actually included for the benefit of Clara Vulliamy, who has been one of the gang of people that provided support and fun over my past 100 posts (and who also makes very lovely picture books – some of them about bunnies :-) ).
Thanks so much for reading and especially to those of you who take the time to comment on, like and share my posts. I probably don’t say it enough but I really do appreciate it and knowing that I’m not just wittering to myself has made all the difference.