I can’t say that many books have actually affected me in obvious ways, although everything you read adds to who you are in some way. That’s why it’s slightly worrying I still buy Heat every Tuesday. But these books did.
1. Thank you, school library, for bringing me into contact with Children of the Dust aged 11 and thus initiating decades of nuclear nightmares and waking paranoia. Thanks to this book, which I could never read again but used to sidle up to every so often and peek inside, I had to have the radio or TV on whenever I was alone in the house in case a nuclear war had broken out, I had a fun topic for anxiety dreams for the rest of my life where I was trapped with loved ones in a radiation ravaged front room watching everyone die, and I firmly believed for many years that every plane that went overhead could be the one that was about to unleash its payload of nuclear hell on the UK. Having slightly more understanding of the general political situation of the time may have helped, but then again, it may not have done.
2. The Making of Star Trek. I must have quite liked Star Trek already otherwise why would I have picked up this dog-eared American paperback at a Clacton fete? But the book itself was the catalyst for a growing obsession which give me a lot of fun during my teenage years, until the X-Files came along. The black and white photos also made me believe that William Shatner was fanciable, an idea which persisted strangely against all other evidence.
3. What Mothers Do Especially when it looks like nothing. Thank you so much (this is a real thank you not like my sarky thank you in point 1) to ATypicalEssexGirl for buying me this as it arrived through the post like an angel of light at a time when the “mum instruction books” I had invested in before the birth of my little boy were causing me to weep stormily and feel hopelessly inadequate. This book made me cry in a happier way as I recognised at last that I was the mum the author was talking about, and that I was doing the right thing after all, and the boy wasn’t some kind of freak baby who wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing. The NHS should prescribe this book to all new mums as they leave hospital.
I tell you who would make a brilliant companion for the Doctor on his time travels (not really, obviously, as it would involve some pretty intense universe merging, but in the world of my mind). George from the Famous Five. She's already used to being regularly kidnapped, her dad's a mad scientist anyway so that won't come as a shock and I am sure she could battle aliens with the same panache she brought to combatting crime in Dorset. The downside is she'd probably want to bring Timmy the dog along, but there is precedent for a canine in the Tardis.
Why can't this happen? Someone write it immediately.
She could be the new Susan! But with less screaming. And more wanting to be a boy.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Or something like that. I was thinking that the village that is kindly helping HackneyHack and myself raise our small child is:
Obviously the nursery that looks after the boy three days a week and his lovely key worker Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. It's free (suggested donation)! It has a great cafe with loads of buggy room, sensory area, sandpit, Lego, doll's house, loads of room for toddlers to bomb about madly and did I mention the cafe? And it's open every day of the week!
Hackney City Farm. Animals! An even better cafe! Also free (until you feel too guilty).
Lovely Stefanie at Piccolo, Hackney Forge. Not free, but worth every pound.
The excellent man who runs the baby gym at the Collingwood Centre (free!). Can't hold a tune to save his life but very welcoming. And the stay and play ladies.
H'mm, well, I haven't written for ages as I have been tied up in creating my official work blog. But there are some things you just can't post there. Like this, for example.
A good friend of mine once confessed that as she took her daily walk through the park to the tube, the main thing on her mind was what would happen if squirrels ganged up and turned feral, and how people would have to wear anti squirrel wire mesh helmets and squirrel proof clothing. In honour of that here are the top three places my mind goes to in similar situations.
1. If Sherlock Holmes was brought forward in time to the 21st century, would he still be a brilliant detective or would he despair because all of the things he had spent so much time learning, such as the particular type of mud in Battersea, were pretty much irrelevant?
2. If I was to go back in time to the Elizabethan era armed with a goodly supply of some modern delicacy such as Lemsip or chocolate, would I be feted or burned as a witch? (Usually I think the latter).
3. Come the apocalypse what's the best way of getting out of London and where should I head? This is now complicated by having to pick small child up from nursery on the way.