When I read aloud to my father, he almost always asks for Pride and Prejudice. “Would you like me to begin at the beginning, or would you like the Best Bits Version?” I always ask, and he says, “Oh, start when they get to Pemberley.”
We have our Best Bits Versions of many novels. This Christmas he also requested The Wind in the Willows, so we read about when the Mole finds his way to his abandoned home and the field mice sing Christmas carols, and also “The Return of Ulysses” (when our heroes chase the stoats and weasels out of Toad Hall). We would have read about Christmas dinner from To Kill A Mockingbird as well, only we couldn’t find the book.
When we all still lived at home, and visitors came, we would set aside our usual reading for a favourite extract – the battle between King Pellinore and Sir Grummore in The Sword in the Stone, Henry Lawson’s “The Loaded Dog”, painting the fence or the beetle in church from Tom Sawyer.
In other news: I am pleased to announce that a calendar was up on 1 January 2012 – it is painted through until May and is in colour. This is January, with a little milk jug I found (along with three sets of cups, saucers and cake plates) in an impenetrable second-hand shop on Ipswich Road.