Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My father has been clearing out the

garden shed. This is the small shed next to his workshop. It is a shed which has been the repository for all sorts of 'could be useful one day' junk.
Among the treasures he has found are, inevitably, some books. Naturally it is now taking a long time to clear anything out. The books have to be looked at - carefully and at length.
There are some that can be put aside almost immediately of course. They were part of my sister's initial teacher training course. The only sports minded person in the family she trained in physical education and then switched to physiotherapy instead. The books are still there. I glanced at one on calisthenics and hastily put it down again.
There is a pile of psychological textbooks and associated test materials, nooks about statistics, books about the teaching of reading, an Open University text on Children's Literature and a small booklet by the late Jack Tizard on doing small scale research in Child Development. They do things differently now. I have piled them all up to be removed. We have not used them for twenty-five years. They are unlikely to be used again.
Then there are some novels, Madame Bovary and Jane Eyre were sitting together. I wonder what they had to say to each other. Was Jane's French good enough? There is a copy of "The Sea for Breakfast" which my father says he cannot remember reading so he has put it aside. For some reason the picture books which feature Madeline have surfaced at last. I assume my mother must have used them and then put them to one side. She packed them in with the readers and a Book of Common Prayer, a Roget's Thesaurus, Pippi Longstocking and "The Book of a Thousand Poems".
They have all been in boxes. There is dust everywhere. My father, covered in dust and grime, has been looking at the last book in the box he brought inside last night. It is "Fresh from the country" by "Miss Read". The opening line reads ' "And baths extra, of course," said Mrs Flynn.' I send him off to take a shower instead.


Adelaide Dupont said...

Jane's French was terrific. I don't think she even spoke it with an accent. Remember, she was a governess, and she wouldn't have wanted Adele to grow up like Emma Bovary.

(Have just read Madame Bovary for the first time, so it's really great. Flaubert really was one of the greatest stylists of his time and knew how to get feminine - and feminist - passion happening).

One of my favourite Madame Bovary scenes is the agricultural show.

Know quite a few Miss Read fans, and excellent that you found the Madeline books!

catdownunder said...

Ah yes, Jane did speak excellent French but - does she still, at this great age, speak excellent French? (MY French, never having formally been taught the subject, is terrible.)

Adelaide Dupont said...

Well, the Academie Francais would have us believe that French is growing worse, because of all the foreign influences.

To such a degree that in 1994 there was a campaign against Franglais.

Imagine all those schoolgirl plots going down in the next fifteen years!