Sunday 20 June 2010

There once was a dormouse...

It’s that time of year again. The delphiniums are big, blue and beautiful and the geraniums, which should really be called pelargoniums, are starting to fill the window boxes with colour.

And every year I think of the poem about delphiniums blue

and geraniums red and it makes me smile.

I’ve always loved that A. A. Milne poem. It’s called ‘The Dormouse and The Doctor’ and it began,
‘There once was a dormouse who lived in a bed of delphiniums blue and geraniums red.’
I didn’t know what delphiniums or geraniums were when I was a child but it didn’t matter. The rhythm was enthralling. Mum used to read it to me at night before I went to sleep when I was very young... which is almost the name of the poetry book. The actual title of the book is ‘When We Were Very Young’. There’s a second book called ‘Now We are Six’. I had them both. I remember some of those poems so well that I can still recite them today.
The King’s Breakfast’... I just love the way he slid down the banister,
‘Us Two’... where, of course, there was always Pooh and me,
Vespers’... I too had a blue dressing gown but it didn’t have a hood.

Anyone who has never heard of A. A. Milne or Winnie the Pooh must think I’ve gone crazy. The point I’m trying to make is how important the bedtime reading routine was for me. It was the best time of the day, the most magical, special, well remembered part of my childhood. We didn’t only read poems. Mum read stories too. My all time favourite was ‘The Caravan Family’ by Enid Blyton. In fact I loved anything by Enid Blyton and once I could read I worked my way through every single ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ book many times over.

I thank Mum for creating those special times and introducing me to the wonder of poetry and prose. How sad to think that not everyone has the chance for quality time and those precious moments with a parent at bedtime. Reading to kids ought to be compulsory.