Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All Creatures Great and Small

Too cold for the park today; we've been to the library already this week, so it's the coffee shop! One baby on my lap, two in high chairs, Nigel in a big-people chair all by himself, because he is a Big Boy. One latte, four waters, three bananas, and 25 minutes later, we leave. The woman at the next table, a rather severe woman in a very tailored suit, who had greeted our arrival with a dubious stare over the screen of her laptop, was smiling and cooing at the babies by the time we left. When I began stuffing small hands into mittens, she gave a coo of disappointment. "Oh, are you leaving so soon?" A good morning's outing. - - - - - - - - - For some light-hearted reading, one of my long-time favourites is James Herriot, author of a series of wonderful, semi-autobiographical books about his life as a veterinarian in the north of England in the thirties and forties. Mostly laugh out loud stories, some that will raise a lump in your throat, I've read and reread these books countless times - and then read them to my children. The chapters make great bedtime reading for children six and up, I find. Great stuff! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2007 Mary P


Blogger Candace said...

Oh, I loved reading James Herriot when I was young. I remember being reduced to sobs occasionally.

1/10/2007 04:29:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Mary, your neighborhood must be awesome if you're in walking distance of a park, library and coffee shop.

1/10/2007 05:27:00 p.m.  
Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

I was thinking the same thing, tina. Would love to walk to a coffee shop.

And James Herriot is the best. The story about the brakes going out on the car and him having to turn into the driveway with the man and go around his house makes me laugh hysterically every time.

1/10/2007 06:57:00 p.m.  
Blogger julia said...

Oh, I love James Herriot. The one that always made me cry was the one about the dog with mange - Just One Woof, I think it's called. So sad.

Did you ever see the series? It's ancient, but really good. Very funny.

1/10/2007 10:43:00 p.m.  
Blogger Lady M said...

I love James Herriot too! I'm remembering how the junior person always had to jump out of the car to open gates on country roads. And how his wife, Helen, was a pioneer of wearing slacks instead of skirts in their community.

1/11/2007 01:08:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Candace: He had some great tales to tell! Wasn't it a great series?

MamacitaTina: I do live in a great neighbourhood. In fact, I live within walking distance of three parks, three coffee shops, a library, a couple of nice shopping areas, and a mall.

'Course, it depends on your definition of 'walking distance'. Some of these places are a couple of miles away - which I can walk in half an hour if all the tots are in the stroller, longer if any are walking. (They take turns in the stroller for the longer walks, but I routinely have the 22-month-old walking a half-mile to a mile. He chats and sings the whole way.)

Kelli: My favourite, I think, is the story of Mrs. Pumphrey and her precious peke, Tricki-Woo, descendent of emperors.

Julia: Just One Woof was taken from one of the books and made into a children's story. Very sweet.

I have seen the series, as it happens - in the late seventies, when I was in England on holiday, and yes, it was lovely. It was also probably new then!

LadyM: My grandfather used to quote a rhyme they used when women started wearing slacks: "Women in slacks should look to their backs", meaning, as he explained, not every woman's backside was flattered by trousers... Only too true - though the same thing can be said of men. Should they wear skirts, then? (Grandad thought it was pretty funny when I put that question to him at the ripe age of 16.)

1/11/2007 08:16:00 a.m.  
Blogger Kristen said...

Your outings with the kids always amaze me. I haven't tried to take Bryce and Quinn to a coffee shop in over a year, because, well, the last attempt did not involve a severe fellow customer's disappointment at our exit. It was more like a celebration.

1/11/2007 03:28:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Professional curiosity has me wishing I could see them on an outing like that. My wheels would be turning, analyzing, trying to nail the dynamic. Stuff like this should be fun, not an ordeal - fun for the boys, too!

1/11/2007 03:45:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jenorama said...

Oh, I would love to read those books-- reading them with the kids is a great idea!

1/12/2007 06:27:00 p.m.  

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