Saturday, 30 July 2016

Five on Potter

Hello, thank you for dropping in, it's lovely to see you here.  Today I am joining the lovely Amy at Love Made My Home for the last Five on Friday until September and I would like to share with you a very personal Five, one which I have been waiting for and I think some of you have, too.
 
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on 28th July 1866 and here in the UK, we are making a bit of a to-do about her this week: the Royal Mail has issued a set of commemorative stamps and the Royal Mint has been issuing commemorative coins.  Here in my Shropshire patch, I need no anniversary to remind me about her -
 
 
When I was a very small child in the 1960s, my Aunt Anne bought me these books, a few at a time for my birthdays and Christmases until I had the complete set, all twenty-three of them.


Can you see the price?  Five shillings, or 25p in decimal currency, and Aunt Anne bought me twenty-three of them.  I believe the current price is £5.99.   I was not the first niece for whom she did this and nor would I be the last, I think there are three of them in the family.  I LOVED these books: they are the perfect size to be held by little hands, there is a beautifully detailed picture on every other page and the stories themselves are full of excitement and adventure.  Don't let those delicate pictures beguile you into thinking that these are sweet, romantic little tales.  Oh no, they're not.  Have you ever read The Tale of Mr Tod?  It's SCARY.  The Tailor of Gloucester?  One of the creepiest Christmas stories ever - Simpkin is a cruel and nasty piece of work.  The Tale of a Fierce Bad Rabbit?  He gets his comeuppance in the end and it involves a shotgun.  My books are not in very good condition but I make no apologies for that because they have been read, over and over again, and surely that is the purpose of books, to be read, not just to sit on shelves and be admired/neglected.  However, some of my books do have little leaflets tucked inside them, as they did when they were purchased

 
For thirty-two shillings you could have bought a bookcase to house your books.  That's £1.60 in today's money.


So, in celebration of Miss Potter's 150th birthday, today I would like to show you five other things which live in my house.  The thing is, "in the house" didn't feel at all the right place to show them to you, so I have brought them out into the garden and we have sat in the sunshine, accompanied by the drone of bumble bees feasting on the nectar in the flowers, the fluttering of butterflies and a sleeping cat.  I think Miss Potter would have preferred that.

1.  Timmy Tiptoes



 
I was a teenager when Aunt Anne bought me this Beswick figurine.  Every autumn, when I am out in the woods and the squirrels are busy running around, burying their nuts and seeds, I am reminded of the greedy little chap in the red jacket and of how accurately Beatrix Potter captured the likeness of grey squirrel on the page.

2.  Peter Rabbit

 
This plate is not mine, it belongs to The Teacher, a gift for her first birthday and baptism and if she reads this, my 'phone will be red hot because she'll be demanding it back, but at the moment it's in my house, as it has been for almost all of her life.  It was bought for her by one of her doting aunts and given with strict instructions that it should be used daily, not simply admired from afar, which is why its sibling mug and bowl no longer exist. Many, many meals were taken from this plate by little hands.  
 
3.  Benjamin Bunny


Of course, this picture is of Peter Rabbit but the image comes from The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.  Both of my girls spent many happy hours putting this puzzle together on the living room carpet, learning to match and to fit and enjoying the story of how Peter and Benjamin retrieved Peter's jacket and shoes from Mr McGregor's garden.  One day, perhaps, their children might do the same.

4.  Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

 

I have very few ornaments in my garden but Mrs Tiggywinkle lives out there all year round, peeping out from behind the foliage.  After all, she is very shy.  The book is in poor condition now, it has been read it so very many times.  
 
 
5.  Ta-dah!
 
 
 
The bookcase!  Aunt Anne spent those thirty-two shillings on the perfect place to keep my books and I have been grateful ever since because it really is something special.  You can see now just how well-read my books are, but I can't regret it, my girls, their friends and I have gained so much pleasure from them.  I wonder if I will be able to squeeze in The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots when it's published later this year? 
 
 
Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to share this little lot with you.  I'm off now to raise a cup of tea to Beatrix Potter and wish her a happy birthday.  If you have time, please hop over to Love Made My Home and see what everyone else is sharing this weekend.
 
(And just in case you are thinking that Miss Potter's books are simply children's stories, there is a very interesting article here which may convince you otherwise.)
 
See you soon.
 
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x

31 comments:

  1. A fine collection Mrs T.! A perfect post in celebration of Beatrix Potter's birthday by one of her own characters. The drawings are really beautiful aren't they. x

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I adore those drawings, they are SO detailed. She was a very talented woman. x

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  2. Oh I do love your Five, what a lucky little girl you were to have that thoughtful an Aunt!!

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    1. I absolutely agree with you, I was very lucky! When the ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter came out she took me to the cinema to see it. x

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  3. Such a great five, my daughters were blessed with a doting Aunt and have a fine collection too. Like yours well used with dog eared pages but certainly loved.

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    1. Lucky girls. I hope they ensure your lovely grandchildren also grow up to love Miss Potter. x

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  4. Oh, how lovely! What a delightful five. What a kind and thoughtful aunt you have to give all those books and how wonderful you and your family have read them time and time again. I love their well read look:)

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    1. Thank you Rosie. I think the state of the books shows that they are loved. My aunt went on to introduce me to many other authors including Lewis Carroll, Rosamond Lehmann and Elizabeth Jane Howard. She's been very influential! x

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  5. How exciting to own such a treasure! And, you have the bookcase, too! I have one book that contains all her collected stories. I bought it at a charity store years ago and its printed in England. My little grandson loves to read these timeless stories.Thank for sharing this wonderful collection have. Enjoy your day, Pat

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I think it's treasure, too, and I agree that those stories are timeless. x

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  6. Like the commenter above, I believe you have a real treasure. What a lovely gift your Aunt gave you. I bought the books for my daughter, and when she was a girl I collected the figures for her. She has her books and has bought a set for her own daughter now too. The stories are timeless.

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    1. I think your daughter was very sensible in buying her daughter her own set. Mine were in excellent condition until my daughter's friends got their hands on them. x

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  7. The Tailor of Gloucester is my favourite. I love that you can find the actual house when you visit the city (last time I went it was a little shop selling all kinds of Potter goods) but I also love the idea of the tiny note explaining why one button hole is unfinished on the waistcoat. What a gorgeous collection you have.

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    1. No more twist! I read that one on Christmas Eve, it's the perfect day for it. I've never been to Gloucester but I think that little shop is a museum as well. x

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  8. A wonderful collection, I watched Miss Potter the film yesterday afternoon, the tales are so lovely
    Clare x

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    1. I think the film is lovely. I didn't know about her engagement to Norman Warne until I saw it, so sad. It's good to have you back, Clare. Take care. x

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  9. What a lovely five. The books and book case must be so very precious to you. You have reminded me that I have a Peter Rabbit bowl, plate and cup set. It must be at my parents house somewhere. Do you still read your books? X

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    1. Hi Jules - it's nice to meet you. I've just hopped over to your blog and it's lovely. I do still dip into the books occasionally, sometimes just to look at the pictures because they are so beautiful. x

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  10. Oh my gosh, my heart skipped a beat when I saw that bookcase! Aunt Anne is a wonderful Aunt, and for you to keep it all as a keepsake is such a blessing. I am a Beatrix Potter fan as well. Who isn't, Right?
    I popped over from Amy's blog to say Hi.

    Cindy Bee

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    1. I'm very glad you did, Cindy Bee, it's lovely to see you here. I am indeed blessed in Aunt Anne and I absolutely agree, all right-minded people are Beatrix Potter fans! x

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  11. You and I are definitely of an era! Every birthday and Christmas I too had Beatrix Potter books from my great aunt. I love them to this day. In fact I'm helping with a Beatrix Potter day this Saturday, dressed as the Tailor of Gloucester. I'll be thinking of you. :) B

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    1. What lucky girls we are, Barbara. I hope today has gone well - no more twist! x

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  12. I love Beatrix Potter!! I love the books, and am a teeny bit envious of your set! I am collecting the gold centenary editions as they come out, but don't have a childhood set. Yours is so beautiful and so very precious indeed. Wonderful memories. Thank you too for joining Five On Friday. I hope that you have a great August and I look forward to seeing you again in September! xx

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    1. Enjoy the break, Amy. I am so glad that you like Miss Potter's books, too - as I love Miss Alcott! x

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  13. I have thoroughly enjoyed your sharing of your collection. This is my first visit. And I will be back for more fun.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, Tonia, it's lovely to see you here. I am reeling from learning that you are doing Christmas already, so organised! x

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  14. What a wonderful Auntie! I had no idea there were so many of these little books, now I am going to be searching......I have 8 of them and I just found a vintage plate like yours. Loved seeing your collection and the sweet figurines and plate. Lovely. xx Karen

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Yes, 23 books and a new one to be published later this year. The lost manuscript was discovered a couple of years ago and I do believe that Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is in it! I am very excited about it. x

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  15. I have been reading back, back, back to your post on May. Gosh I love the way you write! You are so eloquent, and have such a wonderful sense of humour. Have you ever considered writing a book? Seriously, you have a wonderful gift.
    I loved this post about B.Potter. My grandmother gave me Mrs. Tiggywinkle when I was about 4. My brother and sisters also received her books from Grandma. I LOVED my book, and the way my mother read it to me will stay with me forever. I still remember how the mystery of who or what Mrs. Tiggywinkle really was entranced me the first time it was read to me. You were so fortunate to have received all those books from your special aunt. What a wonderful keepsake. I hope your daughter lets you keep the plate! ;)
    Wendy

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    1. You are very kind, Wendy, thank you, and I am SO glad that you also love the real Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. I am fortunate indeed - and The Teacher has already asked for her plate! x

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