Monday, 16 July 2018

It's A New Week...............................

...............................and I'm putting last week down to experience. I got through.

So apologies for all of last weeks whinging posts and thank you for all the lovely comments and advice. I really do appreciate the virtual hugs and finding other people who are also dealing with bereavement who give encouragement is a great help.

I did get to the doctor who dished out anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants AKA tranquilizers. I took the first as prescribed but the second were taken at half the amount as I didn't much like the list of nasty side effects and then only for a few days just until things went back to normal. The doctor confirmed what people said................that grief can cause physical pain to be exaggerated when everything in the body is so tense.

And  I got down on the floor to do the back exercises which I've not been doing enough of and managed to get back up again........eventually.............. and slowly, slowly the back started getting better.

Then I sent text messages to all 3 children and all 3 phoned me back to cheer me up and Youngest brought Florence over to visit on Friday which cheered me up even more. She's collecting new words like a sponge now and it's lovely to see her so interested in books although she doesn't sit still long enough to actually have one read to her as she likes turning pages and then going off to get "  'nother book"......quantity rather than quality!

That brings me nicely to the book I've been reading over the last few days..............

Lucy found books at an early age and preferred them to anything else and she was lucky as her Dad understood and books for her to read came into the house at a great rate.

 This is what Amazon says....................
When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.
  If you've got 26 minutes to spare you can listen to her being interviewed about this book here.

At the back of the book she lists the books or authors she's mentioned in each chapter and I was sad to find how few of those listed I had read. I know she is 19 years younger than me but many of the books were published earlier but still totally unknown to me until I started working in a library when I was 16.

I need to confer with my sister................. "did we really have as few books at home as I remember?" and if so how on earth did my love of books and reading ever evolve?

All I can remember are the books bought by Aunties.........only at Christmas or birthdays and the Sunday School Anniversary book............given for attendance .........from The Christian Bookshop no doubt. But they were later surely, aged 9+ probably, so what did I read before that or what was read to me in my very early years? I have no idea.

My first memories of any sort of library were of being allowed on the Schools Library Service Mobile Library, which would have been in about 1965, to pick some books that would be in school for the whole year.
 (I went off at a tangent when writing this to see if the Schools Library Service still exists in Suffolk, but I can find no mention of it).

 And I had no idea libraries in buildings even existed until I was old enough to find it myself  ..............a 3 mile bus ride and a walk to the top of the town in about 1969 to borrow books by Alistair McLean and Ian Fleming from here........... Stowmarket library and this is

No automatic alt text available.
 how it was from the 1930's up to the 1980s. A teeny building hidden in the grounds of the Mid Suffolk (Formally East Suffolk)  Council Offices. No wonder it was under-used. Even when I worked there in the late 1970's, I could read a whole book when I worked late. A spooky place too in the dark but lovely and cool in the summer.

Anyway somewhere in the time before I found the library I can remember Enid Blyton's books of short stories, like these

(Picture from ebay and no, I'm not tempted)

I also remember The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Swallows and Amazons so maybe we were read to at home ( Enid Blyton) and primary school (the rest) after all.

At Grammar school I seem to remember a book club of some sort where we were given a leaflet and could order a book to buy which was delivered to the school and we started to read more in class too, in English lessons...........there was the awful "reading round the class" when each person took it in turns to read a paragraph......... much too slowly for me and I would be miles ahead and have lost the place when it got to my turn again.
There was a school library but my only memory of it was being made to stand outside of it once when I wouldn't stop talking.............were we having a lesson in the library? If so what and why and only one?

All in all I certainly couldn't write a book about early years reading as Lucy has done, she must have a phenomenal memory.

But everything changed in 1971when I decided not to go back to school for A levels (and onto university which was what you were supposed to do if you were at Grammar School) but to get a "dead end" job as a library assistant in Bury St Edmunds Borough Library.
Plenty of reading there!

Back Tomorrow



  1. Thank you so much. After reading this I went straight over to Amazon and spend a bit of the savings on it. It sounds absolutely wonderful and I know I will enjoy it very much.
    It's good to read that your back is improving - long may it continue to do so! xx

  2. I'm glad to hear your back is feeling better.
    I used to read a lot. I learnt to read about five years old, all by myself (my brother was born then, so I had to entertain myself). We had a mobile library which is still going strong, and a school library. I read all books from the school library, and driver/library assistant used to ask me whether I had read a book or not - if not, then it was not in the library collection and could be purchased... Oh the times before computers.
    When life hit me, I couldn't read, couldn't read even a newspaper article. It's been 16,5 years, an honestly it took me 15 years before I could pick a book and read it through. I missed reading, but couldn't do it.
    My godmother was working in a publishing house when I was a child, so I got all the books I wanted, my luxury during otherwise a rather poor childhood (or maybe an exclusive childhood - we spent the money only on things we valued, not on things other might have found valuable).

  3. Thank you for the recommendation, that sounds just my sort of book. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with books - my mother valued them highly, having grown up with only a Bible and her Sunday school prizes at home. Visits to the library were a weekly event, I had my own ticket from age 5 and was allowed to choose my own four books. I love Ulvmor's description of 'an exclusive childhood' - yep, that describes my family!

  4. I started reading in junior school, we were given books to read, like you we did not have many at home. In Senior school I fell in love with their huge library it was a new school and all those perfect books to read. My English teacher started giving me books to read to widen the scope of topics. I will always remember him fondly as he saw the book worm in me. Both my daughters loved books, all my adult life I have had a great collection of books.

  5. Ive still got my Daughters childhood books..and mine...and my Dads.My Dads are from the 1930s and were all prizes from Sunday school.Although Ive got rid of loads of books over the last year,I could never part with these.And I also loved Enid Blyton,,Famous 5,Secret 7 and I think the 5 Findouters.I used to go to the library all the time when I was a kid.Glad to hear that your back is feeling a bit better,xx

  6. Hello Sue, I've been reading your blog and the previous one for ages, but not commented before.I feel as though you're an old friend. I love this post and all your comments about books. I worked as a Library Assistant for 5 years in the 1980s. I really admire the way you're overcoming adversity. I've survived a major bereavement and cancer and from one who's been there, you're doing 'just great'.

  7. I grew up in a very rural area, so no libraries there & school books could not be taken home. A book was always a birthday or Xmas gift, and in our house it was only considered necessary to own one book at a time & regularly reread it. I have read relatively few of the 'classic' children's books.
    As an older child I managed to buy some books (usually Agatha Christie etc) at village fetes & jumble sales, and I borrowed lots from school friends access to more books.
    Since then I have always joined the nearest library to where I am living and working (to go to in the lunch break). Libraries have been the mainstay of my own family's reading and I try to support them at all times as they are constantly under threat of closure.

  8. I can't imagine a life without books. There were always books in the house when we were growing up, most bought from jumble sales - we were 'trained' to head for the book stall as soon as the doors opened. Books were also passed around within the family so we received books from an older cousin and then passed ours on to a younger cousin. There wasn't much money for anything else growing up but we always had books. We also went to the library every week to choose our four books each - do you remember 'proper' library tickets and the librarian stamping the date inside the book? We've continued to read anything and everything as adults - we being my twin sister and myself - and we still share books around. My sister passes her books to me and once read, I pass them on to friends and family. We still use the library - I regularly go in to choose eight books, and often borrow DVDs as well.

  9. Glad your back is feeling better.
    Here another bookworm, ever since I was a little child I have read a lot. I get my books at the library, buy them secondhand or new and sell them after reading on a special Dutch site. Not the library books of course ;-)
    Enjoy the day, kind regards

  10. Sue, I am always inspired by your love of books.
    I loved Swallows and Amazons too and passed that love on to my son. He is now 60 but still has a complete set and knows them inside out.
    Yes, you are right about physical ailments taking over when one is bereaved. I lost both my husbands (both very dear to me) to cancer and each time I had a long physical road to recovery from various aches and pains as well as the mental recovery from bereavement, which I am not sure one ever recovers from - just learns to live with. You are doing fine.

  11. Glad to hear your back is doing better. Hoping this is a good week for you.

    Both my parents were readers, so even though we moved a great deal internationally (military) when I was young, books always came with us which was significant because you had to keep within tight weight limits when moving household goods. As an adult, I have moved a fair amount myself, but I still have a few Enid Blyton books and others from my childhood. Libraries are my main source of reading these days. Grateful that in our US system there is access to an incredible array of material. Fortunate, too, that I live only 5 miles from a good size library which I visit weekly. At least locally, our libraries are not under threat of closure as I know is the case in far too many UK towns.

  12. My mother read all the time and our English teacher encouraged reading too. As for leaving school at 16, I also did. My school encouraged a select few to go into sixth form and it was all mapped out what each would do, i.e. some for university and some for teachers training colleges. No other careers planning was done. The rest of us were largely ignored and no discussion took place about A levels or careers with us. In the summer holidays after the O level results came out my parents received a duplicated letter saying I had passed the required number to give me a right to progress to 6th form, as they were obliged to do by the school regulations. My father said I could go back if I wished but I said no, the school were only doing as they were required to do and they already had their plans in place for those who were going back. I have never regretted my decision and in fact went to university a few years later under my own steam.

    I hope you enjoy this continuing good weather and have a lovely week x

  13. Lovely to read about your experience with books. I can always remember reading, but we grew up without a televison for precisely the reason my parents wanted me to read more, so guess I was lucky. In turn my boys grew up without a television and they are voracious readers as well. My dream is to one day have a house big enough to have a library of my own and to get all my books out and shelved properly. I too worked in libraries for several years as well.

    I remember the joy of ordering from the Scholastic Book Club catalogue that used to come to the school, probably twice a year I think it was - oh the excitement to get a new book or two!

    The other joy was visiting the library on a Friday evening with my Dad while my Mum did the grocery shopping.

  14. Glad your back is a little better, Sue. I have osteo arthritis, so I know how painful back problems can be (and pain elsewhere, of course.)
    I had heard of this book and seen good reviews of it, so it will go on my books list.
    I was very slow to learn to read, through ill health and changes not only of school but moving from Lancashire with my parents to glorious Devon! What a change that was, in 1951, when I was coming up to seven. But once I had mastered the skill of reading (helped by frequent doses of The Famous Five!) there was no stopping me. Thankfully, my parents had a newsagent's shop so I had all the reading material I wanted, from the daily papers, weekly magazines ('rags', not that I liked those, even then I preferred the monthly glossies) and the monthly style magazines, in particular Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home. And I was bought as many books as I could read, and also there was a small library in our shop, so I had access to books there, too. Is it any wonder I became a published writer for magazine articles, and now live in a house sinking under the weight of books?
    Hope you will have a better week, Sue,
    Hugs from Devon,
    Margaret P

  15. It's funny how you mention not remembering books at home. We didn't have many, just the dictionay, bible etc, usual in those days. I didn't get really into reading until I was in my teens and then I was hooked, but I can't read just any old book, it really has to grab me and then I can't put it down.
    Sorry about the aches and pains but at least now it is explained to you, you will not worry so much.

  16. I'm so glad you are recovering Sue. I'm glad you reached out to your children.. Grief never leaves you it just sometimes eases for a while. i tripped and broke a bone in the top part of my arm and i'm in week 5 now---hoping next weeks x ray will show some healing so im reading a lot. I grew up in a small village in kent - no library so at christmas i was able to choose annuals - for presents which kept my reading going----later at a bigger school there was a library and i found the arthur ransome books---i'm going to see if my library has Bookworm. Books have always been a pleasure childhood books particularly. when i was 11 a substitute teacher read a book in chapters to us about a girl who each day gave her packed lunch to a child who was hungry. The giver of the lunch was ridiculed at school-why had she no lunch in her bag. The story was gripping and i could hardly wait each day for the next chapter.The substitute was replaced by the headmistress who devastated me by declaring the book unsuitable saying it was the kind of book you read secretly and refused to read any more - it was a bitter disappointment to this day i havent found the book to finish the story. I loved this post so wonderful to recall the pleasure of childrens books…..thankfully i have grand children who love books. I wanted to recommend a book--called Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline its fiction but based on the orphan trains that between 1854 and 1929 transported children as charities tried to find new homes for orphans across america---its one of the best books i've read recently. Jean/winnipeg

  17. Grief comes and goes. I'm pleased you are feeling a little better. I started reading in primary school, the local library was only a couple of streets away and I spent a lot of time in there. I was even a school librarian for a short period of time.

  18. Glad you are feeling a bit better and reached out for support. Your memories of books and childhood pulled up some of mine. I lived in Illinois as a child and our family had one car that went to work with my Dad 6 days a week. Despite the weather (freezing snow to boiling hot humid) my Mom routinely took us on the bus to the library every 2 weeks where we could check out as many books as we could carry. I remember reading my way through the children's book section of novels with horses as stars - think Black Beauty. It was just the way things were but I really appreciate it looking back.

  19. Glad you sought and received medical and family support. Ihave always loved reading and books have always featured in my life. Libraries were always my best source of books and aged eight, I was given unofficial access to the big libray as I had long exhauseted the children's section.

  20. A grandchild is wonderful medicine and there are seldom no adverse reactions.

    I remember the library being such a wonderful place to go when I was a child. My friends and I would spend many summer days there. Because of eyesight problems now, I don’t read as much, but I still can enjoy a good book through audio. A good story and a person’s imagination is pure joy.

  21. I'm sure none of us minds if you have a little whinge now and then, we're all here to listen and offer virtual hugs. Glad the back is a bit better. I don't remember my parents reading to us, although I seem to remember Mum saying she did....we must have been very young though. Heidi and The Secret Garden were 2 of my favourite books as a child.

  22. Hi Sue
    I recommended this to you on a post a good while ago as I'm always interested to see what you're reading, as I am, any other reader. It was after one of your library book posts but albeit a good few posts later, so you may not have seen it. I too, found the book really interesting.

    Being one of 4 children growing up in the 70s books weren't in abundance however my mum always encouraged us to buy a book from the Puffin Club leaflet that came via school. I also loved Enid Blyton novels but never could get my head around the Famous Five.

    I remember when we moved there was a local library in our nearby shops that had a fence and swing gate you had to walk through once you had checked your books in. You were only allowed 3 at a time. When the big library opened it went up to 6 books. I used to take my younger brother and sister and select books for my mum, who had cancer and my dad who worked shifts. I was about 15.

    I remember when I was younger wanting to be a librarian and would cut a square out of the corner of brown paper sweet bags and this would be the @holder to the card that allowed you to borrow books from 'my' library. Happy days.

    I love to read and have started to set myself reading challenges via good reads. Admittedly it does link to your Amazon account however I have been reading physical books quite a bit this year and as the system allows you to add another format of a book, it's an ideal way of recording books read.

    I love to see what books folk read and what inspires their choice; not always possible with a kindle.

    Kind regards

  23. Excellent news about your back.

    The much maligned Enid Blyton was one of the writers who took my hand and led me to the joy of reading, too, then on to boarding school stories, pony adventure stories, Swallows and Amazons - quite a lot of books from home, but many more from public libraries.
    I wonder how your sister will recall the book situation. One thing for sure, your grandchildren are growing up with every opportunity to enjoy the magic of books. I told my daughter about your bookish Advent calendar, we are now gathering up suitable books for her two children. She loves the idea, so do I.

    Lovely post. I hope this week is a good one for you.

  24. I remember having a relatively small collection of my own books but I re-read them many times. I also borrowed from the library in the nearby town once a week and from the bookmobile when it came to our school. When I compare that to the books we own now I feel a bit sheepish that I don't do more re-reading these days.

    Glad to hear about your back. I've had physio for a couple of issues over the years and the therapist last time said "keep mobile, keep strong, keep loose, keep active!" and that's been my mantra ever since :) Exercises are good!

  25. What a really lovely post. I must look out for that book. Whilst I despised the works of Enid Blyton (as childish, and having NO PONIES in!!) when I read the Famous Five series to my children, I revised my opinion a little. I read just about every pony book going and have kept them all - they are like old friends, how could I possibly get rid of them?

    We couldn't afford many books so as I was an avaricious reader, I used our local library, which was in Woolston, about 2 1/2 miles from home. I usually caught the bus which left opposite our front door. Because they "had horses in them" I read my way through many of the childrens' classics too. There was a corner shop which sold Collins Childrens' Classics and I would go in and ask for any book with horses in it!

    Don't apologise for whingeing a bit - I was the same on the 2nd day of the Fair and I apologised to our nearest stallholders when we saw them at the weekend. The airlessness and its affect on me scared me, I have tosay.

    I am glad your back is more comfortable now and glad that the physio has helped. I am sure chats with your children have helped as well. It always cheers me up when I speak or meet up with mine

  26. I'm happy for you to have gotten the help you needed to get your back feeling better. Some people have it go chronic on them and never get well, so you're ahead of the game. Good too that your kids all rallied behind you. It was neat to read about your life with books. I've gotten more into reading in the last several years. I'm now reading Jenny Colgan's books. The Cafe By The Sea, The Endless Beach and now The Little Beach Street Bakery. Set in Scotland. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  27. Glad to hear your back is better, and you are enjoying your new book.
    My parents never read to me,there were no books in the house except for a childrens pictorial bible and a big hard cover of the Queens visit to Australia in early 50's.
    I was very lucky that my teacher in 2nd class had a small library in the room and encouraged me to borrow The Secret Seven, I read a few but wasn't she lent me Famous Five and I haven't stopped .
    Both my children could read before they started school, I don't think you ever grow out of a love if books. We still lend each other books and find interesting authors.

  28. Glad things seem more positive this week and well done getting back ( ha ha !) to the back exercises . Love reading and love well written books , CJ Sansom’s Shardlake novels are an absolute joy and mine are falling to bits as I have reread them so often !

  29. When we moved up to West Yorkshire when I was nine I didn't know anyone so resorted to reading a lot. My elderly neighbour had a collection of the 'Famous Five' books which she lent me one by one. She was like a little lending library. She would put a brown paper cover over each book before she gave it to me and I was under strict instructions not to turn the page corners down as a bookmark. I treated each book like the crown jewels and handed each one back to her for inspection after I had read it. Only then if it passed the test did she hand out the next!
    Glad to hear your back is easier - it was when my dad died that the lump on my Thyroid suddenly grew at a rate of knots - most likely from the stress. Be kind to yourself and draw on the support offered by family and friends they are there to help you through this. Thinking of you. x

  30. My mother read to me all the time when I was small. Just not too sure what she read. I have a feeling it was Mother Goose and those Little Golden Books.

    I loved Christmas and my birthday as my gifts always included a couple of books and I would sneak off to read them (little sister, and little brothers were a bane to read around). The school library was a favorite haunt of mine, and the public library was a constant joy. I could lose myself in it for hours!! All those lovely books.

    Reading helped me through many a hard time and I would not give it up for anything.

    Glad you are feeling better.

    God bless.

  31. I remember as a child at primary school going to the headmistresses office with a book and having to read to her once a week. Money was pretty scarce at home with 5 kids. I remember getting books for Christmas, usually an annual, and birthdays. Went to grammar school at the age of 10 and remember reading Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Alcott and Bronte etc. Lots of light reading!!lol Have always been an avid reader but never went to the library. I have over a 1,000 books right now, and that is after doing quite a cull over the last year. DH, on the other hand, never reads books at all!! They say opposites attract!!

  32. I was a school librarian and found the SLS a great help until it closed a few years ago. I too read voraciously in my childhood but did not have a library near me. So I read all my schoolfriends' books and all the neighbours' books and anybody else's that I could get my hands on. I still read every day and get through loads of books : )

  33. I am reading this book now too - lovely read and brings back memories of first visits to our Library. I remember two walls of biographies of famous people - one wall of women and one of men. I decided I would only read the women biographies! I loved that Library. I am a Librarian - although in law - now and very proud of my profession. Thank you for link to video.