Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading and Books

I remember the first moment I could read. After several weeks of studying 'Janet and John' the primer readers of my era, and after several weeks of playing a guessing game, one morning it suddenly came to me ... I don't have to listen intently to the words of others in the circle [we sat in circles for reading, and it was easy to work out what sentence each had to read ... out loud]; I knew what those squiggles on the page meant.

Anyone who has ever watched Oprah will recognise that moment as a 'light bulb' moment [no, not a daffodil bulb, or a tulip bulb moment, but a light bulb moment ... illumination shines forth and all that]. It is a moment of great interest, and life is seldom ever the same after that momentous discovery. We are free to read and go on journeys, in the mind via the written word, to exciting, scary, exhilarating, and educational trips designed to increase our understanding of the wide world around us.

At the moment I knew, though I will confess that the picture alongside may have aided that discovery, the text I was to read on the page, said, "Janet saw the aeroplane."

Our school had a library. Now a library is one of the most fascinating buildings in any town, and any home that has a whole room full of books on shelves is to me, the height of luxury. When I began school the building was elderly; it was decreed a new school be erected on the same site. However part of the playground would need be sacrificed for the boys' toilet block, and the boiler house. Three massive oak trees were cut down! These trees were not taken to the local tip, nor sold to the wood and coal merchant for winter fuel, these oaks were carefully sawn into timber from which tables and chairs were constructed. The library at our school was fully furnished with oak table and chairs.

It wasn't until we reached the age of about seven that classes were taken to the library once a week and the taking out and exchanging of books encouraged. Milly Molly Mandy was a favourite ... I have forgotten what it was about, but do still remember that name ... doesn't it just roll of the tongue! I read Sue Barton, Nurse, books; somehow they didn't entice me into the nursing fraternity; I read about ballet dancers, and boarding schools in far off England; I read the story of Heidi in the mountains and her grandfather and friend Peter, I devoured the Anne of Green Gables tales delighting in the adventures of a fellow red-head. It was a simple task to exchange Anne with myself, though perhaps there were just a few too many adventures for me to handle!
Of course as one grows the variety of reading material alters. I do remember reading P G Wodehouse and his adventures of Bertie Wooster, though must confess to not remembering much detail about them either.

The other day, after several weeks of suffering from hay fever and its attendant miseries [stuffy ears, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat and a raspy cough] I decided to spend time indoors, away from pollen and dust. A book to read! I searched through the bookcase. Many old favourites lay there, some having been read from cover to cover several times. This time I desired a 'new read.'
We attend garage sales and fairs; both excellent sources of exciting books at a reasonable price. Some have inscriptions in the fly-leaf that lead to conversations bordering on gossip. Who would write that on an inscription? Oh! this book is over 70 years old! Often there are as many tales to be told in an inscription as within the pages themselves.

This particular day I chose a P G Wodehouse book. I began to read. I had forgotten his wonderful ability to describe a situation, a humorous description that leaves little to the imagination as to how the character looks.
Even today P G Wodehouse is giving me as much pleasure as he did all of half a century ago as I follow the improbable, but made plausible by seemingly simple narration, times of the main characters. Oh yes, there is a lot to be said for that moment of realisation when I first recognised the simple sentence, "Janet saw the aeroplane

Monday, September 13, 2010


"Some days are diamonds, some days are stones", so goes the song. For many of us our day falls somewhere in between, though if we look closely enough at stones most are extremely beautiful.

Mondays are wash days. Mondays have been washdays for as long back as I remember. My Mum boiled the copper, dunked treasured articles in starch, hanging them on the clothesline to sway in the sun and breeze [on a good day], bringing them in and sprinkling those starched items with water before ironing carefully. Wash days have changed. For the housewife of the 21st century wash days are much simpler ... thankfully.

I have kept to Monday for washday, though do 'put through a load' other days as well. Today I washed, and have ironed, but not starched. As part of wash day I wash floors as well ... laundry and bathroom. This too is so much easier than in times of yore. A bucket and mop! No getting down on knees and scrubbing!

As I was mopping the laundry Dave called out. "Come and have a look here!" It was said quietly, but never-the-less from his tone I ascertained it was important that I go THEN. The sky hadn't fallen in, chicken licken was nowhere in sight!

"Look behind the battery."

I looked, and there hiding behind a tractor battery was Grandaddy. Now Grandaddy has probably resided here longer than I. I made his acquaintance not long after I arrived at this place. At first I was dubious, almost afraid. You see, his skin is old and wrinkled. He has beady eyes, and if approached too quickly, he will scuttle out of the way. Sometimes Dave picks him up; carefully from behind his head. Grandaddy has tried to nip, but most times he waits patiently to be put down on the ground.

You see, Grandaddy is a Blue tongue lizard. I have noticed smaller, and obviously younger lizards around. Sometimes they come indoors. Grandaddy is more cautious, though he may enter when I am not watching! Grandaddy has a brown mottled skin. Once I found his 'cast' skin at the side of the house. It looked like a piece of parchment, with the shapes of a lizard.

Last year while Grandaddy was meandering around the yard I hurried inside, grabbed the camera, and took his photo. This time he was agitated, showing me his tongue as he opened his mouth in an act of defiance. However all I wanted was his photo ... the vast array of animals and birds make most days, a diamond.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Passing Moments

Passing Moments by Essae Scott

Scudding across darkening skies
Black clouds strut their advance.
Flashing lightning, crashing thunder;
The brewing storm heralds an angry approach.

Empty, isolated,
Sheltered in the shadow of a barren peak,
Blinds drawn, door clanging shut
The tumbledown cottage
Assembles its armour, forsaken in grief.

Raindrops splatter a rusty roof,
strengthening winds wrench blossoming branches,
While on grimy windows
Tears of empathy flow as a swollen river,
Sadness, neglect, and desolation abound.

Clouds rumble into the distance,
A steaming mist drifting upwards reveals dazzling sunshine
Illuminating untilled gardens,
Relics of the past,
A vision for the future.