This week, in Derbyshire hospitals, we talked about the books that we remembered from childhood. I brought in some old books, and we enjoyed passing them around and having a good browse. Some patients had really strong memories of reading as children, and old lady said that her daughter brought a regular supply of books to the for her. One lady recited the whole of If by Rudyard Kipling – children often had to learn poetry by heart, and those poems often stick in people’s heads for their whole lives. The smell and feel of books bring back memories – as do illustrations. I still vividly remember the pictures in my old Ladybird books.
I told the patients and staff about my recent adventures at Hay literary festival and showed them my pictures, and had to explain the concept of Harry Potter to the patients! We enjoyed reading some of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, which I’ve loved since I was a child – very gory and violent though, but sometimes that’s a good thing – unless you’re trying to get children to sleep without nightmares I suppose!
This week’s sessions proved that a love for books is for life – and that reading can continue to give pleasure and enjoyment regardless of age or illness.
That fusty old book smell brings it all back –
Opening the tattered pages,
Finding the treasure inside.
The adventures of Gloops – the cartoon cat from the Sheffield Star,
Rupert annuals for Christmas,
Twinkle and Jackie for the girls.
Precious stories – Black Beauty, Heidi, Noddy.
Reading the Secret Seven under the bed covers.
A set of Encyclopaedias to explore the world –
The workings of a jet engine.
Reading Granny’s almanacs to find out the future.
Treasured Sunday School prizes.
The poems we learned in school –
Albert and the Lion,
The Owl and the Pussycat,
Daffodils, If by Kipling,
Every word still known by heart.