I’m still playing catch up with Blogtober17, hopefully that will be sorted today. Today, or yesterdays topic was ‘Novel’. As with most of the topics I have tried to keep them in balance with the type of content I would normally publish on my blog. So today I have asked Chris if he would like to write a small piece for this topic, to which he happily obliged. I asked Chris because he has such fond memories of reading with his mum when he was small. The Wind in the Willows has an extra special place in his heart and he has begun creating new memories of Wind in the Willows with Finlay.
So, here it is. Enjoy…
If the qutote above sounds familiar, you are probably lucky enough to be one of the last generations to have enjoyed an almost technology-free childhood, before the “International Super Highway”, touch screen tablets and smart phones became honorary members of our family units – So rudely uninvited, in retrospect.
Quite often, when I am cuddled up on the sofa with my (almost) 5 year old Son, watching a pointless 90 minute Minecraft tutorial educating you on the best way to blow your utopia to smithereens, or watching yet another generic super hero, power morphing, robot monkey, battle ninja serial, I can’t help but think that I really did grow up during beautiful, more innocent times. For this, however, I’ve been accused of reflecting through rose tinted spectacles, but I wholly disagree with that notion.
I adored my childhood and reflect on it frequently. I will do my best to raise my children with the same kind values that my Sister and I were and the same, or similar, innocent literature (and movies) we enjoyed during the 1980s. In my opinion, when it comes to childhood memories, the most meaningful ones cost the least amount of money.
I can clearly remember, as a child, spending quality one on one time with my Mum and having a good book read to me at bedtime. I feel this is an important part of my Son’s childhood and development today.
On several occasions I have asked my Mum if she’d like to read to my Son at bedtime. She always seems to pick up Rupert the Bear to read….. Or maybe, I pick it up, just so I can look at my Son engrossed in my Mum’s reading, as if I had just gone back to 1985 and was having an out of body experience. The sound of her voice as she reads the two line rhymes under each picture sparking nebulous memories, as a familiar smell might.
Wind in The Willows, however, was my unrivalled favourite story when I was growing up and is still dear to my heart today. This year, in fact, Mr Toad’s family motto “Sempur Bufo” (meaning “Always a Toad”) was emblazoned on the inside of my upper arm. Toady was a nick name given to me by my Sister. Perhaps due to the amount I watched Wind in the Willows (perhaps another reason..). Now I feel proud that this fond memory will always be a part of me.
I have WITW on DVD and in hardback book these days. Back in the 80s, my Dad recorded it for me on a blank VHS tape from the TV (with The Tale of The Bunny Picnic straight after). To my earnest delight, my Son Finlay enjoys both of my favourite story pieces from my childhood.
My advice to anyone wishing to create fond, lasting memories that their child will cherish forever would be:
Buy a bean bag. Acquire a few ‘nice’ books (see if your old books are still in your parent’s attic!). Get a torch for occasional bedtime story reading by torchlight. Ensure that the Rupert annual is on your child’s Christmas list each year. (My Son’s Rupert collection comprises of the last 3 year’s annuals and all of my old ones, dating back as far as 1983.) Last, but not least, set aside some quality, unhurried time several evenings each week. Use this time to wind down by reading a nice story with your children at bedtime.