Bobby’s Books.

Posted on 26/07/2020 By

Poem by Julia Donaldson

Bertie: “Bobby? How are you mate? We have told everyone about Jody’s Beans and Layla’s Library. You have told everyone how much you have loved books all your life. Do you still have any books from when you were a kid?”

Bobby: “Well, Bertie. As everyone has seen in our stories, I have lots of stuff from my childhood.”

Bertie: “I said ‘books’. You haven’t mentioned them, apart from trainspotting. And they aren’t proper books. How about you show our readers what books you still have from when you were lad?”

Front cover of a Daily Express "Rupert Bear" Annual.

Rupert Bear.

Bobby: “OK, Bertie. If you insist. But I have added some ‘Titbits’ at the end for our readers. I still have a lot of books from my childhood. Lots of annuals from the comics I read. Especially The Eagle, which I will tell you about one day. I had a yearning for knowledge and adventure. When I joined the local library, I was always drawn towards ‘non fiction’. To learn about the world of trains, aeroplanes, space and so on. Later, I developed a real interest in natural history. And a somewhat black side in reading about war. The latter was natural, as we were bombarded with films and literature glorifying how ‘we won the war’. Daring does of the Battle of Britain; Spitfires and Hurricanes; spies; intrepid adventures where we, us, always won. It was only in adulthood I read the truth. Even being engrossed in books like ‘Auschwitz’. The thirst for knowledge has never been sated. But of the books I still have, here are a few.

My favourite children’s author was Arthur Ransome. Swallows and Amazons. Adventures by groups of children, mostly in the Lake District. I still have Swallows and Amazons, but can’t find it. I do have Peter Duck and Swallowdale and here they are.

Bobby's Books: The books "Peter Duck" and "Swallowdale", by Arthur Ransome.

Peter Duck and Swallowdale.

Chart of the Atlantic Ocean.

In quite recent times I was reminded that Arthur Ransome also set some of his stories in Suffolk.

Oh how I loved Swallows and Amazons. Two groups of children engaged in imaginary battles with each other.

Swallows and Amazons for Ever.

Like most children back then, I read the classics. Treasure Island. Gulliver’s Travels and here is my own copy of Black Beauty.

Black Beauty.

Black Beauty.

Black Beauty.

Just William was the schoolboy I aspired to.

Just William on Holiday.

Just William.

But more and more I was drawn to books of knowledge. Each Christmas, Tony and Sylvia, brother and sister-in-law, bought kid brother books. I loved the Wonder Book Series.

The Wonder Book of Railways and the Wonder Book of Aircraft.

Battered and well read.

From Tony and Sylvia. Christmas 1954.

From Tony and Sylvia. Christmas 1954.

Supersonic Aircraft. Roy Cross.

Books on planes really excited me. From Tony and Sylvia, Christmas 1955.

Books on planes really excited me. From Tony and Sylvia, Christmas 1955.

I still liked annuals at Christmas. None more so than Rupert Bear (shown above) when I was a bit younger. And also anything to do with The Eagle comic, which will be a forthcoming story.”

The Eagle book of Trains.

The Eagle book of Trains.

Schoolboys like Bobby loved The Eagle and waited expectantly each week for the new cutaway drawing to see how things worked. Here are just two. The steam engine powered Canadian snowplough. And the amazing spiral tunnel line in Switzerland.

Schoolboys like Bobby loved The Eagle and waited expectantly each week for the new cutaway drawing to see how things worked. Here are just two. The steam engine powered Canadian snowplough. And the amazing spiral tunnel line in Switzerland.

Bertie: “So, Bobby, if I asked you what was your favourite book that you still have – what would it be?”

Bobby: “That’s easy. It’s one, or rather ten, that I still read today. Still find information for Mindfully Bertie.”

Bertie: “So what is it… or them?”

Bobby: “In 1953, at just nine years old, my mum and dad did something wonderful for me. They did the same thing for my brother before the war. For me, my dad took me to the Schoolboys’ Exhibition at the Horticultural Halls in London. The year a smog came down in January when you could not see across the road. He paid £12 (I think) hire purchase to buy and have delivered the set of books that are still my pride and joy. Ten books, of which no 10 is the index to look up every conceivable fact known to man. The books were the Google of their day. They are Pictorial Knowledge. When I was young, those books opened up the world for me. It took them a year hire purchase to pay for them. I hadn’t asked, but they had clearly seen that I was a boy thirsting for knowledge and they did their best to satisfy that need. Thanks mum and dad.”

Pictorial Knowledge, 1953.

Pictorial Knowledge, 1953.

Volume 5 was my favourite. Transport and engineering. Note Enid Blyton was Associate Editor.

Volume 5 was my favourite. Transport and engineering. Note Enid Blyton was Associate Editor.

From Volume 5.

From Volume 5.

Volume 5 again. This picture has appeared in Mindfully Bertie extolling the virtues of a 'modern road'. The A24 Mickleham Bypass, near Dorking in 1948. In particular, you will notice that modern road building seventy years ago included dual cycle tracks. The Mickleham Bypass years later achieved an awful reputation for accidents. At one time the whole bypass was to have been replaced by a new road taking out the bends and half the surrounding countryside with it. Common sense ruled and many measures were undertaken to make the road much safer now. The cycle tracks are still there but only one side is used now, The other abandoned to nature.

Volume 5 again. This picture has appeared in Mindfully Bertie extolling the virtues of a ‘modern road’. The A24 Mickleham Bypass, near Dorking in 1948. In particular, you will notice that modern road building seventy years ago included dual cycle tracks. The Mickleham Bypass years later achieved an awful reputation for accidents. At one time the whole bypass was to have been replaced by a new road taking out the bends and half the surrounding countryside with it. Common sense ruled and many measures were undertaken to make the road much safer now. The cycle tracks are still there but only one side is used now, The other abandoned to nature.

And here is book 10. The Complete Index.

And here is book 10. The Complete Index.

Look up 'Dorking' in the index and you will find in Volume 3 a picture near Dorking on Leith Hill. An idealistic view of a bygone age.

Look up ‘Dorking’ in the index and you will find in Volume 3 a picture near Dorking on Leith Hill. An idealistic view of a bygone age.

Titbits

The Virtual choir.

17,572 singers from 129 countries “sing Gently”. They include our daughter in law Marie (click on the picture and be sure to play through the credits to the end. Its almost meditation).

17,572 singers from 129 countries “sing Gently”. They include our daughter in law Marie
(click on the picture and be sure to play through the credits to the end. Its almost meditation).

And here is Marie, with daughters Giselle and Daisy-Mae.

And here is Marie, with daughters Giselle and Daisy-Mae.

Captain Sir Tom Moore presented with a Lionhearts shirt by David Beckham.

www.thefa.com/news/2020/jul/11/captain-sir-tom-moore-david-beckham-lionhearts-110720.

Flying Legends 2020 the trailer.

Fantastic (click on the picture). Flying Legends 2020 was cancelled, but the Battle of Britain Airshow in September is on and we shall be there.

Fantastic (click on the picture). Flying Legends 2020 was cancelled, but the Battle of Britain Airshow in September is on and we shall be there.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

Ellen, some trainspotting books and a candle lit for Diddley.

What do you mean ‘not proper books’? Trainspotting books are my favourite.

– – – – – – – – – –

Memories    


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