A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Alan Alexander

Today is the birthday of A.A. Milne, according to the Writer’s Almanac.  He was born in London in 1882 and was the creator of our beloved Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.  Milne wrote more than just Pooh stories, but his other works were never really successful.  You can get many of them for Kindle free: The Holiday Round, If I May, Mr Pim Passes By, and more.  I have enjoyed them, but that’s probably because I wanted to.

Personally, I was always partial to Eeyore.  I don’t think I am an Eeyore personality type, although no one is really a good judge of his own personality type, but I think I have his sense of humour – both Eeyore and A.A. would have spelled it that way.

When I was a child, many years ago, my brother and I had the four book set which including two books of stories and two books of Milne’s poems (When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six).  As much as I loved the stories, I think I may have preferred the poems.  I still have the books and dip into them occasionally as the first lines pop into my head for no apparent reason and I simply must look up the rest of them.  If you have never read any of them…you should.  You can find them online.  Might I suggest a few of my favorites – I’ll just give you the first couple of lines and hope you are snagged.

                                    Christopher Robin
                                    Had wheezles
                                    And sneezles,
                                    They bundled him
                                    His bed…..

                         Furry Bear
                                    If I were a bear,
                                        And a big bear too,
                                    I shouldn’t much care
                                        If it froze or snew……

And my personal favorite:

                        The Doormouse and the Doctor
                                    There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
                                    Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).
                                    And all the day long he’d a wonderful view
                                    Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)....

I do remember reading the stories to my daughter, and before that to my nephews.  It’s quite heartwarming that they still remember me reading “The Heffalump”.  I’m afraid I didn’t read the poems as often as I should have.  Perhaps I gave them a choice, in which case we know they would have chosen stories.

On our 1997 trip to England we visited Hartfield and the candy shop visited by Christopher Robin as a child.  It is now a tourist location and full of lovely things to buy.  I limited myself to an Eeyore placemat and several postcards of E.H. Shepard’s illustrations. 

We then drove to Hundred Acre Wood (Ashdown Forest), parked, and set out for Poohsticks Bridge.  I was already having knee problems by then and as we followed the signs to the bridge through the forest, then along the edge of a field for what seemed for miles, the daily wear and tear was really getting to me.  Near the end of the field we met a couple coming in the opposite direction and they stopped to speak with us.  They said it was only over the rise at the end of the field and then down a short hill.  Since they were English, we knew that could mean anything from 300 yards to two miles.  We stood there as they went on their way and pondered just how badly we wanted to stand on a bridge and throw sticks into the water.  Not all that badly.  We had some pride however, we waited until the couple was out of sight before we turned around and headed back. I could just hear Eeyore saying, “Oh well, it was a nice walk…as far as it went.”

When we reached the carpark, we collected some ‘Poohsticks”.  After all, we really were in Hundred Acre Wood, so they were real Poohsticks.  I treasure my sticks, now framed with one of the postcards, but every time I look at it, I am reminded of my feet of  clay.  Or should I say knees of clay.


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