I never, ever read in bed until about 18 months ago when I remembered an old friend saying that she enjoyed snuggling down and reading stories every night, so I decided to try it.
For peace of mind, my bedtime books have to be non-violent and recently, finding nothing suitably adult, I turned to The House at Pooh Corner, left over from my days of reading aloud to our daughter.
Now, dear friends, as I read alone, (Hubby always comes up ages after me), I was impelled to personalise all the characters with their different voices as I used to do. Pooh bear is slightly nasal and growly, piglet more high-pitched, Owl very learned, Rabbit bossy and Tigger bouncy. As I chortled aloud at their gentle antics, I fell in love all over again with A.A. Milne's delightful prose.
So, picture Granny Bonnet sitting up in bed giggling aloud and singing Pooh's Snow song which goes like this, (you'll have to make up your own tune).
“The more it SNOWS-tiddely-pom, The more it GOES-tiddely-pom The more it GOES-tiddely-pom On Snowing.
And nobody KNOWS-tiddely-pom, How cold my TOES-tiddely-pom How cold my TOES-tiddely-pom Are Growing”.
Pooh notes that “it’s a special Outdoor Song which Has to be Sung in The Snow”
–A.A. Milne, from The House at Pooh Corner.
A week or two later when she asked me what I was reading at the moment, I somewhat sheepishly related this tale to a friend who understood absolutely how much I had enjoyed the stories again. In fact she said she had been brought up on them and the old auntie who
had always read them to her had just passed away.
Auntie was in her late 90's, had dementia and was completely unresponsive, but on her last visit before Auntie's death, my friend sang Pooh's Snow Song to her right through to the end when Auntie rallied just long enough to chime in with the final ' tiddely-pom.'
Those simple, magical words that have given so much joy to children over the years and which clearly were ingrained in Auntie's psyche gave to my friend one of the sweetest memories of her life, one she said she would never forget.
So, thank you again A.A. Milne and here's to many more evenings sharing the honeyed tones of Pooh and friends.