I have decided to read the entire World of Peter Rabbit in one go. With obvious comfort breaks for food, sleep and family interaction. I think that reading all little twenty three tomes in order is definitely the route to the richest Beatrix Potter experience. For example, if you read The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle before The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, because you carelessly skipped from 3 to 5, then you will not know why Peter Rabbit's jacket has shrunk and might be tempted to blame this erroneously on the impeccable Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, nor will you know why old Mrs Rabbit's red cotton pocket-handkerchief smells of onions when in fact she deals only in knitting, herbs, rosemary tea and rabbit-tobacco "(which is what we call lavender.)"
However I am going to start my Potter Log with Little Tome 5, The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. For reasons that were delightful indeed, today was more than the perfect time to be reading the washer woman's story.
Last night we climbed Brackenrigg, and a nasty old time of it we had. The ferns and bracken were above our heads, though luckily Prince Charming was lofty enough to see a way forward! No possible purpose could we find for the jungle, other than to provide nourishment for bugs more sustainable than our blood. Yet when Lucie arrives at Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's door she sees the "clothes-props cut from bracken stems". Maybe I'll venture back over the fence tomorrow when I will have done some laundry of my own!
This afternoon we leafed through the Mountain Rescue Team's annual report, and saw that one of their call-outs last February had been to the search for a missing child. All it stated was that there had been no injuries, so we chose to deduce that all had ended happily. This was, however, what immediately sprang to mind when "Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her short legs would carry her". I wonder if contemporary readers shook their heads in disdain and asked where Lucie's parents had been, or maybe reminisced about the days when they took off into the hills for days at an end with only an apple in their pocket, aged eight.
The best bit for me was at the very end where Potter notes for potentially incredulous readers that she has "seen that door into the back of the hills called Cat Bells", as Catbells is just exactly where we spent lunchtime today, with an hour or so either side. It is a lovely hill to climb; Wainwright described it as "a place beloved", and it is. It must have some of Potter's magic for sure. We got out of the car to put on our boots, and driving into the space right next to us was one of our oldest friends. Our adventure in the Land of Beatrix Potter continues x