Saturday, 14 July 2007

An old Christmas Present

When Jack was here recently from Japan he came across this book. It was one of my mother's. When she was a little girl she was allowed just one Christmas present, as my grandparents were not very well off. She always, without exception, chose a book. This is the one Jack found.

He spent some happy moments reading through it and this is the bit he read out to me:

There is a thrill in punting, in the feel of the long yellow pole as it comes up gleaming and dripping on one's hands, in the willing response of the heavy yet obedient craft, and in the delicious lap and trickle of the water against it's sides. It is good, too, to lie in dreamy peace upon the cusions and to watch the smooth water slipping past, and the ever-changing reflection of the willows on the bank, while a more energetic companion poles up the long green reaches of the Cherwell.

Isn't it amazing. I love the style of writing and the illustrations. This book must have been published in about 1925. I also found this piece from a chapter entitled 'Do You Look Your Best?'

'Undergarments may spoil the set of one's frocks. The underslip is another factor that helps to make or mar ones's appearance. Sateens and hairy surfaced materials wrinkle up, cling to the frock, and bunch up round the hips when walking. Choose underslips made of materials that hang slick without catching to your other garments. The woven artificial silks now on the market are excellent for giving no trouble in this direction.'

I'm now going to make a cup of coffee and read 'Susan's Week in Camp'. This is the story of Susan Maggs, who was terribly, terribly, shy! And after that, I'm going to look for some of her other old books. I know she has one somewhere called 'Chatterbox'.


Maalie said...

Interesting post :-)
I used to get Chatterbox!
Also the Empire Youth Annual. I see they are going on eBay for about fifteen quid - I should have kept them! (Actually I might have one or two up in my loft).

lorenzothellama said...

Oh Maalie, I have just found Chatterbox dated 1917. That was before Mum was born so I'm not quite sure who it belonged to! Not you, is it?

Hey, it's uglze today!

Maalie said...

Yes, I have found my Empire Youth Annual 1950. And for 1955, by which time it was renamed Commonwealth and Empire Annual.
Mary Bell lay back and gazed up into the deep blue vault of the sky above her and sighed in utter content. "This," she said aloud, "is heaven itself".

Oooh, word verification: hikery

lorenzothellama said...

And the first minute they were by themselves, Dennis said, "Darling, I loved you before, but I ADORE you now I have seen you with your own people. And" - his voice grew very soft - "you must let me take a few of your roses as MY offering of thanks to your mother - for yourself!"

The School Girl's Annual.

Rauf said...

Everybody's grand parents were well off except yours Lorenzo. Perhaps you are well off now.

Its the usual story of past glory how grandparents were rich and how we are in the dumps.

all my books had illustrations. i remember Gulliver's travels. i see all the illustrations in the book first and then i used to start reading. These illustrations helped us to visualise the atmosphere. Oliver Twist had illustrations. Yes writing style was simple and straight.

Rauf said...

Hope everything is fine now Lorenzo

Raelha said...

Ooh, I just love it when you find bbooks like that. I have my mum's old baby book here with pictures of her as a child and my nan when she was younger. I also have a book that used to belong to my mum when she was little - 'Once Upon a Time'. It tells stories of Greek myths for children and has lots of colour plates to illustrate them, it's beautiful (and would have been even more so if my sister hadn't scribbled in it with crayon when she was young).

When we moved here I found an old cookery book left in the kitchen - 'La Cocina de Hoy' or Cooking Today, from the 1950s. I enjoy browsing through it every now and again. It even gives suggested menus for christenings and first communions, and tells you how to present and serve the food - just wonderful! In fact, you may have inspired me to do a post of my own.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

What a wonderful treasure! i do so adore books - and old ones that have been well loved and read over multiple generations are my favorites!

You have yet to tell me what you think of my definitions!

Martin Stickland said...

I love these old books, I have a few in the loft that I like to look at now and again to relish how life used to be when they lived in black and white and pastel colours.

Perhaps we need a bit of this old British stiff upper lip to deal with today’s troubles!

“I say chaps, that teworist is acting rather quirky, Woger, grab the little oiks legs in a wugby tackle and I’ll yanks his pants down and we’ll teach him to be such a scoundrel” “But Cedwick, the cad is carrying an air to air missile and he is pointing it directly at Aunt Dotties cake stall!” “Right chaps, we must save Aunt Dotties Victoria sponge, the first one to down the baddie can come back to my quarters for a slices of cake and lashings of ginger beer!” “Hoowar for Cedwick!”

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

sorry the weather has not been pleasant - i think that would be difficult for me - having a great need of sunshine and digging in the dirt!

Glad you liked the game - I'm sure we will play another soon - and as soon as I finish this silly grant I am working on, I want to write more on the subject of potters and grace!

Merisi said...

Hope the sun's still out and you are getting reading to hit the garden full force! :-)
(As far as what's wrong with 15 degrees, I'd dare say, nothing! All we need is having Maalie figure out the average temperatures between the two of us, what with our 34 degrees already, at 11 am, maybe it would reduce the chance of global warming? *g*)

Merisi said...

MEMO to Dennis:

somepinkflowers said...

great posting!

i found yesterday at my mom's
~~~Good Manners for Young Women~~~
copyright 1935, USA,
which states
**Its aim is to present
as briefly as possible
a resume of the important actions
that are the marks of good breeding in a woman.**

starts with table manners and
moves on to smoking & drinking...

you have inspired me to do a posting on this treasure,

so thank ever so much,
L the L!


Ex-Shammickite said...

I used to get "School Friend" from the newsagents every week, and then the "School Friend Annual" at Christmas. I wonder where they are now?

Martin Stickland said...


This is really cool becasue as you know I am having problems leaving posts due to some technical hitch. This means that I can write what I want because you will never get to read it!



kippers and jam!

I play kerplunk!

Look at my pink socks!


Martin Stickland said...

Oh poo! It let me post the above comment!

Martin Stickland said...

You is mad!
Madder than me!
Tell the OAP's
to stick their cream tea!

Velly velly funny! you make me laff like a short necked Jiraff!

Have a groovy day (That's what the hip people are saying these days isn't it?)


PS Would you belive it but todays word verification word is VWKOJXJ which is the name of a Russain woman who lived in a hole back in the year 1512

Abraham Lincoln said...

That is a terrefic read. I enjoyed every word of it. I get so disgusted with authors these days whose works are either terribly laborous or borders on the untruth so much that I lose interest.

I can't begin to tell you how many magazines I have unsubscribed to for the same reason. Terrible writing.

I found this book you quoted from to be superior to almost anything I have recently read. Including the new one called, "Letters from Iwo Jima." The book is labored writing all the way through but I read it because I have been to Iwo Jima and I did see the movie of the book as I just found it at the store the other day.

It makes for labored reading.

I actually came here to just say, "Thanks," for your visits to my blog and read this post and was fascinated by it.

Sorry if this is too long.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Ex-Shammickite said...

ooooo a broken toe, that HURTS! What you have to do is tape it securely to the next toes and then sit down with a LARGE bottle of merlot and hope for the best!
And the lilies were scented but not enough to knock your socks off.... it was the variety of colour and fabulous shapes that were so wonderful.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Oh no.... pain at both ends, that's horrible! I have some very strong painkillers here, called Oxycodon.... no, not Oxycontin, that's the current street drug of choice isn't it.... I won't need any more cos the foot pain is definitely subsiding... but FIVE teeth! Poor you.
I'm thinkin' of ya!

Craver Vii said...

Old books are special treasures. The binding, the paper, the illustrations... Love it! I saw an old book for boys recently. Not as old as this one, but still quite old. It talked about making bows and arrows, starting fires and wreaking all kinds of havoc. I wish I had that thirty years ago.

And hey! What's with all the feet injuries?! Do we have to make you wear wooden shoes?

Martin Stickland said...

Watcha been up to den wiv dat broken toe?

Have you really broken it and if so how?

My thoughts are with your toe!

Mike said...

What a treasure. I love things like this. think of how special this book must have been to your grandmother.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Lorenzo - LL wants to know if clay can really resist the potter - so you're the offical potter so I think you should answer this one in a post. I've also been told that if a pot doesn't fire correctly that all the broken pieces must be pulveized and the put back into a past before the clay can be useful again.

Will look forward to hearing what you think.

Barbara said...

I do remember this book from when I was a child or at least lthe same series. They are so lovelfy and nostalgic to read now. Youhave a treasure.
My garden did flood again yesterday but nothing like a week ago. I kind of start to get bored with the garden at this point and just do the minimum to keep it going. I get enthusiastic again in the spring. This weather has made it worse.