Happy New Year! Many many thanks for all your kind comments on my last post. It was wonderful to see my sister over Christmas.
I received a second-hand book as one of my Christmas presents. It is called ‘Miss Read, Time Remembered’ by Dora Saint. It’s a memoir, set in the 1920s and catalogues three years of the seven-year-old Miss Read’s life and education in a rural English community. Her family moves to a Kentish village from London, and suddenly nature and the seasons are important parts of everyday life.
I loved this book. It will not set the world on fire and I don’t believe this, and the other books in its series, are fashionable any more. It is no ‘Da Vinci Code’. It is simply a tiny snapshot of an era past, seen through the eyes of a child who is delighted by her new environment.
Here is a small snippet, about ‘Miss Read’ making toffee with her sister:
‘Having trudged back up the hill we put half a cup of water into a saucepan, a large lump of butter and let it melt.
Then we added the sugar and coconut and stirred assiduously. When it thickened we turned the lovely mess into a meat tin and tried to possess our souls in patience…
Apart from the bliss of having such an enormous amount of sweet stuff all at once, there was the exquisite suspense of waiting to see if it turned out as fudge or toffee.
Either way, we were happy, and there were no prouder cooks in the kingdom.’
As this copy of Miss Read was published over twenty years ago it is slightly frail, so I have covered it in brown paper to give a few more years’ life. I rewrote the title with my new fountain pen and added a little pen illustration, similar to those on its pages.
I enjoyed reading this book so much that I wanted someone else to enjoy it too. That got me thinking. I’m going to pass it on to one of you in a slightly different giveaway to the usual kind, along with two other little somethings. Whoever ‘wins’ the giveaway can read the book, blog their thoughts and pass it on to another blogger in the same way. I’m hoping that in this way quite a few people may enjoy it.
Along with the copy of ‘Miss Read’ will come two little birds:
This little vintage pie blackbird found in a junk shop is a well-loved and well-used fellow and is fond of letting off steam. Pies are one of my favourite foods so they are important in the Pebble household. Comforting, warming and topped with a delicious pastry duvet, few foods deliver in such a satisfying way. Here is Mr Piebird a couple of days ago, having done some sterling work with a feta, spinach and potato pie (with home-made parmesan flaky pastry).
It would be WONDERFUL to see him in the winner’s favourite pie and perhaps even for him to be passed on to sit regally in pies around blogland - that is my earnest pie wish!
Finally, the winner will receive a little hanging bird I have made. Two runners-up will receive these too. Each of these birds seems to have a slightly different character, just like my little silver birds. They’re inspired by a tiny wren who keeps hopping about under the pansies on my patio.
So, now it’s up to you. To have a chance at being the first blogger for me to pass the book and the birds to, leave a comment here. I will leave this open for a week and select the ‘winner’ on the 8th January. I do hope the book is passed on further (so let me know won’t you?). It would be so exciting to see it move from person to person and even from country to country and to see if others enjoy it as much as I did. As for the piebird - he has high hopes for his travels too. He would love to be part of your pie! I can imagine Lord Kitchener in a version of the famous poster: YOUR PIE needs THIS BIRD.
I plan to pass on more books in this way during 2010 so keep a watch out (although I don’t have any more piebirds at the moment!).
All best wishes for 2010 and best of luckxxxx