I had been wondering if my true Christmas feelings only come out when I read a translated book, like the Erich Kästner. More Swedish, somehow. But it works as well to travel into the past as to another country.
Strangely enough, considering my own past with Dylan Thomas, I don’t believe I had read his A Child’s Christmas in Wales before. Now I have, and it’s a most poetic excursion into the past. I’m guessing it’s Dylan Thomas’s own childhood, in which case the memories must be from the 1920s; an era I have no personal experience of.
The words are lovely enough, but I have to confess to having ‘read’ the illustrations by Peter Bailey even more avidly than Dylan’s poetic prose (prosy poetry?). I have never been a small boy in snowy Wales, wearing shorts even in winter, but somehow I felt right at home.
Dylan describes simpler times, and what seems like genuine pleasure in simple gifts and simple pastimes. Those historical aspects are things we would do well to return to.
And God bless Miss Prothero, who thanks the firemen who put out the fire in her house by offering them something to read…