Sunday, 20 January 2008

A trip down memory... er...

On Friday, after a heartbreaking trip to take a fostered cat to his new home (bwaa - he's ours!), we drifted round the shops. Barbara scooted off to do something practical in M&S or BHS (one of those shops where men stand around near the door looking lost). I ended up in a second hand book shop. It was all in a good cause as their proceeds (and a good number of their books) go to Africa.

There was not a great deal to tempt me (ever conscious of my still enormous to-be-read pile at the bottom of which are tomes penned on vellum with swan's quills), but I did find a wonderful gem for which I handed over all my loose change. It was a copy of The Comedians by Graham Greene. But not just any old copy. It was a Companion Book Club hardback edition in mint condition. The 7/3- price was still unclipped (that's seven shillings and three pence for you youngsters out there - yes, a hardback for 36.25p).

Now this may seem unremarkable, especially as there were a dozen other equally pristine volumes from the same book club. But for me it was a real dose of nostalgia. Perhaps not the best mix with the wrench of having parted with Mr Scrumptious the pussycat, but powerful nonetheless.

The reason is simple. My mother belonged to the Companion Book Club and bought these books. They sat on a set of shelves my father made and I read each and every one of them. The Graham Greene was when I was twelve and not long before we left Norwich (which I loved) and the City of Norwich School (which I loathed to the point my parents celebrated when my father was made redundant and we had to move).

I would often lie on the settee in the back sitting room and read one of these books (or any of the many others in the house). I look forward to settling down with The Comedians and, appropriately I suppose, conjuring the spirits of the past as I read.

4 comments:

Viki Lane said...

Happy reading, Grum. This reminds me of my mum's collection of The Golden Pathway, which was a much-loved childhood companion to me and, horribly, failed to survive a house move. I can still feel the texture of the paper...*drifts off into reverie*

Lane said...

What a find! Books like that are wonderful. I have an old 'Horsemanship' Year book and just opening it takes to me back to many happy hours spent studying every diagram and illustration and wishing I was the girl in the photos:-)

Hope Mr Scrumptious found his transition less of a wrench than his foster carers.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Viki: Wow, The Golden Pathway, that brings back memories. And there was a great play as well, details of which escape me, but I remember seeing that many years ago.

Lane: It's like my Molesworth books and Swallows and Amazons. Happy days.

It seems that said cat was happily playing within an hour of us leaving (round about the time we were moping over Italian food). Long may it continue - happy cats and Italian food.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Molesworth - yes! Swallows and Amazons - yes! Have read quite a bit of Graham Greene, but not 'The Comedians.' However, I did live in Norwich for a few years when I was very small (aged approx 2 to 6) and I loved it too.