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My husband and I are both print junkies. Our house is full of books and the few on the stairs that originally were on their way up or down have now developed into permanent piles. We read everywhere. The thought of being on a train or a plane without anything to read is a special kind of torture. When I see people being held on remand or in prison on television my first thought is, they have nothing to read! How will they cope? Yet strangely, it never seems to be lack of reading matter that bothers them.
This feeling that books are vital to life came in handy recently when a family holiday started with something of a disaster.
We had gone with my daughter’s family to Scotland. This time we’d flown, as me and Desmond find the journey long. He is the only driver and so single handedly getting us through the 8 hour drive is a problem. We are getting on in life and even with an overnight stay half way, we arrive tired. The dreadful un-greenness of flying when we could have driven has not escaped us. We offset our flight by donating to a local charity who is having a big tree-planting drive. (Stroud Valleys Project.)
Another difference is that we went in October – a beautiful month but the days are much shorter so we arrived in the pitch dark.
As always, we had shopped for food in the local town and so although it wasn’t all that late, we were unloading cars in the pitch dark. Desmond picked up the box of groceries (we had a box to avoid buying yet another Bag for Life – he is on the penny pinching side of careful) and set off up the steps. I had opened my mouth to say, ‘take out some of the stuff’ but he had done it, and wouldn’t have listened had I had time to issue my warning. He tripped on a small step he had forgotten was there. The groceries fell, including the (only) bottle of wine, it smashed and my husband fell on it.
I’ll skip ahead to when Steve, my son in law, who is an absolute rock, rang from the first hospital to say he had to go to a second hospital to have his wound stitched by a plastic surgeon. Then Desmond told me he had to be admitted. It was now I asked the important question. ‘Will you be all right?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I’ve got my book.’
It was one in the morning before Steve got back to our little cabin in the woods. By that time I had got through quite a lot of my comfort-read which I had put in the case at the last minute. Both me and Desmond got through our tough time with the aid of something good to read.
But who remembers to put a book in their pocket while they’re bleeding half to death?
Reader, I married him.