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A Literary Love Affair

From my earliest years I have always had a love of books. They have been my teacher, my friend, my refuge and my saviour. The first book I ever owned was a pop up fairy tale book bought from a jumble sale for a penny. The cover was a dirty brown, the gilt lettering rubbed and dulled with time. Inside was a wondrous land of knights and princesses and dragons and fairies. The book was quite old. Being only five years old  I was not aware of its antiquity. The cardboard pop up figures seemed to leap from the pages. It encouraged me to learn to read. Foolishly I gave it to a playmate and immediately wanted it back. She refused and that was the end of our friendship.

At school it was John and Janet which I zipped through at a rate of knots hardly able to wait for the next book in the series. On then to the Wind in the Willows. I won a book token at the age of eight for an essay I did on this marvellous book.

With that I bought ‘Heidi.’ I could picture the beautiful mountains and meadows of Austria. It helped me escape the grim cobbled streets and soot laden tiny terraces of my childhood.

Enid Blyton and the famous five next but I didn’t find these exciting enough. I tried Little Women and Good wives. Perhaps one of my favourites was The Secret Garden and I still have that book

Later I turned to Biggles and Bulldog Drummond then I graduated on to James Bond. All exciting, brave intrepid heroes, who made my heart race and my imagination soar.

My teacher advised me to read the classics, telling me I could be half way to being intelligent if I stopped reading rubbish.

I was given a copy of a Tale of Two Cities,

The bit where the hero of the story cries ‘tis a far, far better thing’ made me want to cry.

That was when I discovered Dickens and a Christmas Carol, which is my all-time favourite.

At the age of 36 I went back to college and studied for my A levels in English Lit. I was introduced to Chaucer and Shakespeare and Evelyn Waughs ‘A Handful of Dust’

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was interesting and stimulating, Shakespeare eventually got under my skin, after I began to grasp his Elizabethan phraseology and A Handful of Dust didn’t impress me at all.

Words in books are like stitches in a tapestry, weaving their magic to eventually produce stories and pictures in my head. I cannot imagine a world without books.

Kindle gives you easy access to a wonderful world of literature. But, for me, nothing will replace the sense of anticipation, magic and excitement of opening a new book by a favourite author for the first time.

Christine McCherry 2019



by Christine McCherry

Bonny Tyler sang this in the eighties. Now I ask the same question. With the Daily news full of stories of corrupt policemen, paedophile priests and preying politicians we could be forgiven for thinking that there are no good men left.

It would be so easy to fall into the mind- set that all men are the same, but this would be unfair and totally wrong. I do wish the media would offer a more balanced view of the world. While all the bad stuff is reported in every sordid detail there is hardly any mention of the policeman who died to save a stranger, or the soldier who gave his life to defend his country or the Aid worker who dedicated his life to help the poor.

There is a hullabaloo going on at the moment in which most men are labelled sex pests whether they have just winked at some attractive lady or crossed the line into a full on groping attempt. Perhaps it is because I am an older woman and know the difference through bitter experience, but girls do need to learn to recognize this. There is so much mass hysteria going on concerning the subject of sexual harassment that I am surprised any man is brave enough to show even a passing interest in a woman.

I feel that we should try to calm down a little and inject a modicum of common sense into the situation. It is great that the male who behaves like a complete moron towards a woman whether by groping, touching inappropriately or making lewd suggestions should be held to account. We, as women should not have to put up with that kind of behaviour. I believe we should try and remember, however that there are many good men out there, and to be honest I feel a little bit sorry for them. Women need to be admired, to be loved, to be cherished. I know that because. I was, and it is a wonderful feeling.

Bonny Tyler sang I need a Hero. I lost my hero six years ago this March. I think we could all do with one right now.  





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