Monday, 4 April 2011
Writing inside books.
If you give a book as a present, do you write inside it before you give it to the recipient? Some people don't like this practice, feeling that it is defacing the book. I love to do it though. There is something so heart-warming about opening a book one has been given years ago and finding out where it came from, who sent it to you, what memories it holds.
As you will know if you follow my blog, I have been checking the marsh marigold patch in the beck for the last week, watching the buds get fatter and fatter. Yesterday they had finally burst open - now Spring is really here. They are by far my favourite wild flower. Being brought up almost on a river bank, where marsh marigolds flourished, they remind me of my childhood, of picking them and carrying them home to put in a jam jar - we called them kingcups or waterblobs.
Right next to the marsh marigolds was the first patch of daisies - another favourite. As we walked home the farmer and I were discussing whether the marsh marigold belonged to the buttercup family or not - certainly the flower itself is very similar. So when I got home I went to the shelf and pulled out two volumes of "Familiar Wild Flowers". Yes! The marsh marigold is in the buttercup family - its latin name is caltha palustris and it is in the ranunculus family.
Then I turned to the front page of the book - I have two volumes of this book and they are old. They had once belonged to someone rather grandly called Howsley Rockley - his name is inscribed in the front of each. I remember buying them from a second hand bookshop with some of my pocket money. When did I buy them - well I would guess it was early in 1943 because there it is, large as life on the front inside cover in my childish handwriting - P Smithson age nine and a half. I was instantly back in that second hand bookshop, which I don't think I have thought of between then and now.
So if you don't like writing in books - do have a think about it and reconsider. In the distant future somebody might get such pleasure from seeing what you have written.