The question for August is - What is your favourite classic book? Why?
It is, of course, an impossible question to answer because I could never single out one of so many wonderful books I've read over the years but thinking about it carried me back to childhood and it is there I have decided to stay with...
A.A.Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner.
It was always my father who read bedtime stories and it was my father who chose what he would read to us. Something I appreciate now as he could see a world beyond Enid Blyton and delighted in introducing us to the magic of Alice and Peter Pan, the Wind in the Willows and The Water Babies....and Winnie-the-Pooh. I doubt there is a child whose attention isn't immediately captured by the daring of naming a teddy bear Pooh and who won't soon learn to love sharing the adventures (and misadventures) of Pooh and his friends.
'But his arms were so stiff...they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think - but I am not sure - that is why he is always called Pooh.'When my children came along we bought new editions - bigger and brighter, the old black and white illustrations now in bold colours but the well loved stories remained the same.
Rereading them as an adult shed new light on familiar words revealing the human insight and wisdom that most of the time goes over the heads of children.
'If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.'
These days it's my grandchildren who are making friends with those who live in the 100 Acre Wood.
I love that when they visit and we walk in the park, three generations solemnly select their sticks and lean over the bridge, competing together in the time-honoured tradition of Poohsticks.
Like Christopher Robin, I've walked hand-in-hand with Winnie-the-Pooh for over fifty years with an enduring affection and gathering memories as we go.
Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.