Sometimes a death and the ensuing obituary just pass you by unnoticed and then just this week I had cause to check out Ursula Moray Williams only to find that she had died at the age of 95 back in October.I knew nothing about her, just one of those names recalled from long ago, but her output was prodigious, a book a year for about 70 years.Her uncle was Sir Stanley Unwin the publisher, not to be confused with the other Stanley Unwin of goodlilode and remarkibold fame.
Last week I had started one of those tasks that you fly at with great enthusiasm because it seems like a really good idea at the time.
First make your declaration,
"All those children's books need sorting and would be better moved from there to here,and those that are here can go there."
At this point Bookhound would clearly have to find an urgent task of his own, and of sufficient merit to avoid assisting, "I'll just go and scrape the paint off the bathroom ceiling", and off he went.
I wheeled a trolley back and forth virtually all day to jokes about taking books around to hospital beds/prisoners on D wing etc.
About an hour in and too far past go to change my mind, this was seeming like bad idea of the year and I could have done with a happy child to help me, whole house in complete turmoil. I'd developed an alphabetical system of heaps around every inch of the sitting room floor that would have given any passing librarian a fit of the vapours.
Then understandably the process ground to a halt every few minutes with the discovery of so many forgotten treasures that needed my immediate and undivided attention.
Ursula Moray Williams' books were amongst them and with them the memory that The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse had been one of those favourite stories read aloud at Going Home Time in Miss Butteriss' (Miss Butterdish) class at Sherwood County Primary School, Mitcham.That moment before we all said The Lord's Prayer (state primary school) and put our chairs up on the tables.Probably now against health and safety of all kinds as must be the task of scrubbing our desks with Ajax at the end of every term, that's probably been outlawed too.
Gobbolino the Witch's Cat was in there too. Another book that will stay with me for life from this Going Home Time genre was Little Old Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen.Then there were all the Milly, Molly Mandy books by Joyce Lankester Brisley (who had been the artist on Ursula Moray William's earlier books) and of course My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards.
Too anarchic for Going Home Time but surely one the greatest heroines of them all, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.I had no idea Pippi had been so controversial until I read this No wonder I loved her.
Anyway by this time things had cheered up considerably and order was finally restored about 6 hours later.
I now need to think up something equally dire to get the bathroom ceiling painted, "shall we write our Christmas cards early?"