Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Mr Men Treasury by Roger Hargreaves

I don't even remember now where we acquired this book.  I would strongly predict that it came from The Book People sometime in the mid Noughties.  However, it has acquired the status as one of those objects that ground someone in their environment.

I am sure we all have these objects. One of mine is the bright yellow tupperware colander that used to belong to my Mum.  The sight of it just makes me feel like I am at home.  A similar sense of solid home comes from the wooden fruit bowl we have in our downstairs living room, which also used to belong to Mum and Dad.  Wherever I have lived, this fruit bowl has been.  It is unassuming and non-flashy, but always there, being itself, whatever crisis is playing out around it, holding apples of various different hues over the years.  (Golden and then red delicious when my brother and I were little, random little furry apples back when we used to get a fruit box from Riverford and, for the past few years bag after bag after bag of Gala apples, which are the pinnacle of apple taste according to my children.)

Books, obviously, also feature highly on this objects that reflect all things Home.  My copy of the omnibus edition of The Darling Buds of May has to be near my bed.  Ditto my late 80s versions of Malory Towers.  For A, her book is The Mr Men Treasury. When we lived in our old house, this book lived in a pile of books by her "bed".  I say "bed", because A was never wholly convinced by her own bed, and so her bed became a mattress on the floor at the foot of ours.  It was a very good job our bedroom in that house was so large, because, having bought it as a boutique little DINKY (double-income-no-kids-yet) pad, by the time we moved out there were four of us, with the two little ones much more keen on Mummy and Daddy's room than their own!  So, by the mattress there was a pile of a few books, of which this was the definite favourite.

When we moved house we ensured that The Mr Men book was in the box with the kettle, the nappies, and other essentials.  Again, this was also a Very Good Job, since some of the boxes remained in their packed state for a good few months after we moved.  This was pretty much the only book A wanted for about six months after moving in.  I think it was her little piece of home in a strange new enviroment.  She even moved into her own bedroom.  However, all this meant was that MrM ended up sleeping on a mattress on her floor next to her mattress for about a year, as she had been so used to sleeping Victorian Glasgow slum stylie, that being alone just didn't cut it.

We both pretty much learnt this book off by heart (it's quite a long book).  I think A could recite large amounts of it too.  Her favourite was the one where Mr Silly paints a house green.  I favoured the one where Mr Greedy starts a suitcase-shutting business.  There's something here for everyone.  Either way, one thing is guaranteed. Wherever A lays her Mr Men Treasury; that's her home,

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