A slight deviation from my normal topic, but one so important it can’t be overlooked:
Happy Roald Dahl day! (for last week – I had to delay this blog, for reasons that will become apparent).
My love for Roald Dahl knows no bounds. If me and Dan ever have a baby boy, I would happily name him Roald, although I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that this will not happen. My childhood is so interwoven with his stories that most of my memories involve one of his books and he is the reason why I spent a significant proportion of the first, oh, 26 years of my life, with my nose in a book. I would frequently hole myself away in our aged caravan, to submerge myself in one of his books in peace and quiet. I vividly remember tearing through Matilda, desperately trying to finish it before being dragged to a relative’s birthday party (yes, I would have finished it quicker if I hadn’t kept trying to move things with my eyes). I was so terrified of The Witches that I didn’t manage to get past the first three minutes of the cassette tape until I was 22. Although, I think me and my sister listened to Fantastic Mr Fox so many times as we drifted off to sleep, it is a wonder the cassette didn’t beg for mercy.
But despite this lifelong love, I had never been to Roald Dahl’s house. I could tell you exactly what he kept by his side as he wrote in his hut in his garden, I knew that he had carved out a hole in his armchair so that it didn’t press against an injury on his back and I’m pretty certain that my knowledge of his books would have won me Mastermind, but I had never been to Great Missenden. But Dan, being boyfriend of the year, took me there on Sunday, so I finally got to see where he wrote.
If you have never been, I very much recommend it. Roald Dahl’s family still live in the house, but they open the garden up one day every year. You can have a look through the windows into his hut and spend some time in the garden, which is beautiful.
His lovely family sell homemade jam, made from fruit grown on the site, and there is a really nice atmosphere (there usually is in a place with a high volume of homemade cakes and ice cream).
We also stopped by the Roald Dahl museum and raided the giftshop – here is my loot:
All of this very nearly made up for the Roald Dahl related tragedy that happened in my house less than a year ago. And yes, I think you can probably guess who was to blame. Let me preface this by saying that, although I love every single Roald Dahl book, there is one that has a very special place in my heart. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My childhood copy of this book is precious – even down to the smell (for some reason, it smells AMAZING).
But a year ago, Mort took advantage of the fact that we had a new bookcase. A new, open bookcase. A new, open bookcase with my Roald Dahl collection at eye level. He could have picked any book – I wouldn’t have been distraught about Revolting Rhymes, or even Esio Trot. Even The Twits I could have forgiven in time.
But no – he went straight for the bullseye.
Bit uncalled for really, wouldn’t you agree? Below the belt, even for a Dachshund. It was like walking into a literary crime scene, with bits of the front cover strewn all over the floor. And Mort, sat in the middle. With a look that said: ‘What? I picked an old one you had definitely read – what more do you want?’
I didn’t speak to Mort for at least half an hour. Which is a long time when a sausage dog is bouncing all over you, demanding fuss. I think I even left the abandoned, sucked-on pieces of my favourite book where they were, so Dan would appreciate the full gravity of the situation when he got home.
I’ve just about forgiven Mort. Just. The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me mug helped.