A Month Without Rain…

When the grass turned brown…
We all thought the rain, 
Was a bit of a pain,
Drumming on rooftop,
And down window-pane.
"This weather!"
We grumbled,
"Is always the same,
It's nothing but rain, rain rain,
Rain, rain, rain...
Rain."

"Go away rain!"
We began to complain,
"Get on your bike,
Adios! 
Take a hike!
Cos we've had it to here,
With your damp, soggy drear,
Just give us a break,
Go away, disappear!"

Then one July day,
The rain went away,
Just packed up its bags,
Whilst the sun came to play.
And the temperature soared,
To heights never known,
And the ponds and the rivers,
Were as dry as a bone,
And the sun grew so hot in the sky overhead,
That the grass wasn't green,
It was scorched brown instead.

And we struggled to sleep,
And we tossed and we turned,
And the fields set on fire,
And the forests they burned,
And we suddenly realised,
We now understood,
Why when God made the rain,
He declared "It is good!"

















Melrose & Croc, Together at Christmas, by Emma Chichester-Clark

I’m an unabashed collector of books of all kinds – particularly Picture Books. I am drawn to Picture Books like a Magpie is to shiny things. I love the marriage of words and pictures. I love sharing stories with children. I love the humour and playfulness that Picture books often contain, and as a writer, I particularly admire the skill of the illustrator, at adding so much of the magic.

A small percentage of Picture Books are both written and illustrated by the same person. I would absolutely LOVE to be in this category, but sadly, my drawing skills are woefully deplete.

Emma Chichester Clark is one such talent – and there is a particular book that comes out again and again at Christmas in our house – first being enjoyed by my own children, and now by the children I look after.

It’s the story of two strangers, Melrose and Croc, who come to the big city. Both are lonely and looking for a friend.

Like all good stories, things go from bad to worse for both of them – especially Croc!

Until lovely music draws them both to the ice-skaing rink…

…where they are destined to bump into each other!

And the two lonely strangers become best of friends.

This sweet book will always be a favourite of mine. And it could partly explain my deep affection for Labradors…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

12 more sleeps till the big day!

Reflections on ‘The Snowman’, by Raymond Briggs

Boxing Day, 1982. I had just turned eight years old. And something magical was about to happen.

‘The Snowman,’ a British animated film and symphonic poem directed by Dianne Jackson and based on Raymond Brigg’s delightful 1978 picture book, was first broadcasted to the British Public, on Channel Four.

It instantly won the hearts of viewers everywhere. With it’s hauntingly beautiful music, composed by Howard Blake, fantastic animation, and slightly poignant ending – the whole 26 minutes was just enthralling to me as a wide-eyed child.

It has since become something of an annual Christmas event! The Snowman is now televised every year, on Channel Four, normally on Christmas Eve.

Growing up, I became an avid fan, and vividly remember watching the version which featured David Bowie, (a huge fan of Raymond Briggs) with my little brother, John. Bowie, played the grown-up version of the boy featured in the animation, and as viewers, we found out that it was all true, and not just a dream, because grown up Bowie still had the scarf that was given to him by Father Christmas at the snowman’s party!

Collecting all things Snowman, soon became a craze.

Given by my parents, on one enchanted Christmas day!

I don’t remember the year that I was given these lovely Royal Doulton figurines…or whether I received them all at one time. But I do remember being absolutely thrilled with them, especially with the Snowman Musical Box, which plays a magical rendition of “We’re Walking In the Air’ as the Snowman pirouettes round and around. Quite delightful!

.These figures have been loved and admired and cherished for many years! And amazingly are all still in incredible condition.

Just look at this beautiful plate too!

Aaah, I’m feeling very nostalgic just looking at these.

I hope you’ll agree, they are beautiful keepsakes – and I know that my own children will cherish them some day too.

What are some of your childhood Christmas Memories? I’d love to hear from you!

Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas, by Alison Uttley

I would love to share with you a few highlights from one of my all-time favourite Christmas Books. Alison Uttley, was an English Children’s author, who was born and brought up on a farm in Derbyshire at the end of the 19th Century. ‘The yearly tasks of sowing, harvesting and preserving were an important part of her childhood. Feast days and holidays were highlights and Christmas was especially important to the young Alison. Her mother spent many hours baking and preparing food for the festivities.’

This delightful book features the most exquisite illustrations by Margaret Tempest, who worked with Alison Uttley for almost 40 years.

It was first published in 1939 (way before my time), but I’m sure you will agree it still deserves a place on any child’s bookshelf! This book conjurs up a great deal of nostalgia and captures the simple childhood delights of Christmases gone by.

Front cover

It opens with the words:

It had been snowing for hours. Hare stood in the garden of the little house at the end of the woods, watching the snowflakes tumbling down like white feathers from the gray sky.”

“However did you get inside a snowball?” asked Hare. “I didn’t get inside. It got around me,” replied Fuzzypeg.

“It’s a Christmas Tree,” replied Mole. “It’s for all the birds and beasts of the woods and fields.”

What a treasure of a book!

I’d really love to hear about any Vintage Christmas books that you recall from childhood!