Returning from a visit to see my mother today, we decided to put on a tape of Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind In The Willows’. (It’s the only way to get my car radio to stay tuned into the traffic news without having to listen to the radio). I read the book as a kid, enthusiastically encouraged by my mother, and I was always in two minds about it. I quite enjoyed it, and the pictures were fun, but I never re-read it like I did some of the other classics, such as Black Beauty and Treasure Island.
As we listened, I was totally captivated by the poetry of Grahame’s writing. It’s lyrical, evocative and enchanting. It’s also quite funny. As a child, all this passed me by. For me, it was just a story about woodland animals, not unlike ‘Tales From The Riverbank’, a children’s TV programme from the ’60s narrated by Johnny Morris. In fact the two got muddled up in my 7 or 8 year old brain.