This morning saw the witch watching teenage girls riding other things than broomsticks. A young friend was taking part in a dressage competition, which was an entirely new experience for the bookwitch family. We stood around in beautiful fields watching girls and horses, all of whom had far better hair than I do.
The event made me relive some of those horsey books I used to read, when anything more real than a fictional horse would have made me quite nervous. I seem to recall a young riding heroine called Jill, whose name struck me as very exotic at the time. I was never quite sure about jodhpurs, which was an even more exotic word. Also seem to recall a pony adventure book written by a sixteen-year-old. At the time she seemed fairly old to me, so it must have been a while ago.
This spring Katherine Roberts had a new book out called I Am the Great Horse. It’s about Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great. The horse is actually the narrator of the book. Mary Hoffman sang its praises in a review, and the Resident IT Consultant sat down with the book and enjoyed it. I have to admit it’s still on my to-read pile, though this morning’s event has made me more determined.
And to spare Daughter’s blushes I will refrain from writing here about my childhood attempts at riding. But they are fairly amusing, and it’s my cheeks that should turn red, not hers.
One reason crime is so rampant in Sweden might be that ordinary foodshops sell the books; often displayed next to the checkout. You know when you’re bored and impatient standing with your trolley; you might as well buy a book as pick up a bar of chocolate or the Sainsbury magazine.
Yesterday at Willy’s (yes, really) I found both Indridason, Nesser and Läckberg among the six or so paperbacks right next to the queue.
At my local holiday Spar a couple of years ago I found Stephen Booth next to my most favourite bread. Good place for him. I even wrote and told Stephen, and he was nice enough not to run kicking and screaming away from a mad email.
Maybe more foodshops should put books where they do the most good. My English Spar only offers Warburton’s sliced bread where I queue and it gets boring after a while.
If the queue is really slow you could always start reading.
It was very Hansel and Gretel. Daughter had read about this sweetshop in the middle of nowhere, and was desperate to go. They supposedly had a stock of 300 different kinds of pick ‘n’ mix, which of course is absolutely irresistible.
The small sign pointed us down a very narrow road. It took us along for a few miles, twisting back on itself, turning this way and that. Every now and then another sign promising we were getting closer.
And there it was; a small cottage in the woods. Slightly surreal, with picnic tables and parasols next to eerily tall pine trees. We charged in, and found row upon row of neatly organised pick ‘n’ mix sweets, sorted according to shape, flavour, colour, and so on.
We bought too much, but at least they let us out again. We can get fatter elsewhere. We even found our way back without resorting to breadcrumbs.