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Charlot's Musings. No.1. Book Nostalgia...
Welcome to my first Newsletter. Yay!!!

...It has dropped metaphorically through your letterbox. It has arrived a little late. Some might say with a second class stamp on it. But nevertheless, it has made it. Will it be worth it? "No!" I hear from the balcony. Get on with it! Alright already. It's musings, not a manifesto. But I do like a good musing. In fact, if I could get through life just musing mostly, I would. Truth be told.

I would like to thank those faithful peeps on Twitter who like my pics and ask me things. So I thought I'd start a newsletter to talk a little bit about my musings in case of interest, and perhaps we can share our reflections together. Plus other newsletters will have stuff on writing if that's more your bag. They will be clearly labelled 'Charlot's Writings'. So you can skip ahead and delete my 
musings, if you are not 'amused' by them. 

This one is 'Charlot's Musings No1... Book Nostagia', and we are kicking off with the first books we ever chose or bought.

Not first books which were read to us. The first books read out loud to me which still hold fond memories include titles such as 'Winnie the Pooh', 'Just William', and 'Wind in the Willows'. My Mother did all the voices and she was just the best reader-out-loud in the whole world!

No, let’s talk about first books that we chose. We can all remember the first records we chose or bought ourselves, right? I was just a tot when I got my Father to buy me a vinyl single by Laurel and Hardy. I make no excuses and stand by this if you dare to listen to the link above of 'The Trail of the Lonesome Pine'... My music purchasing choices have all been downhill since then, probably...
But what about the early books? Let’s celebrate those for a minute. Of course, I can remember books which people advised me to read when I was a teenager, like 'The Catcher in the Rye', 'Of Mice and Men', and 'Animal Farm'. The list goes on of great and obvious choices, but I’m not talking about the famous classics. I'm talking about going back even further, into the annals of our minds to the books that shaped our early years... 

The first book I ever chose, and I still have it to this day is called 'Cats' (photo below). I wish I had the link to big up the book, but sadly out of print I fear.
'CATS' published by Collins. General Editor David Stephen.
All well and good, I hear you say. That means nothing to me. A book on cats? For crying out loud. Ah yes, but on my bookshelf, this is one big bit of book nostalgia from my early years. 

My Father took me to WH Smith a few days before my eighth birthday to choose my own present for starters. Now grown up enough to make choices I wasn't going to waste the opportunity. I perused the aisles of pencil cases, rubbers in the shape of beach balls and colouring pens – those packets with fifty different colours were very popular at the time. Tempting as they were, it was the book aisles that drew me in. I flicked through flimsier titles, joke books, colouring books.  But they could not sustain my imagination. I was nearly eight and it was still untamed.

Finally, after a lot of leafing over pages and scouring the shelves there it was, tall and very glossy. At the time it had a cover sleeve with exactly the same photo behind it on the hardback (this has long gone). It had a lot of photographs. I was not about to buy 'War and Peace' just yet. I lifted it up. It was heavy. It was bigger than I’d ever seen before. Four times the size of your average novel. My arms were straining just holding it (there was only one copy, I wasn't putting it down under any circumstances should some other sneaky mitts grab it while I wasn't looking).

This book has so many special memories for me. I have bought and given away so many hundreds of books in my life so far. But this book has never left my home. Just recently I took it down from its safe corner and turned the pages. And immediately the memories came flooding back.

And I know I was eight, as my Father had signed it ‘Happy eighth birthday with love Mum and Dad xxxx' 
I chose 'Cats' partly because there were so many pages about lions. I read that a fully grown adult male will stand up to three feet tall and have a body eight feet in length, plus two or three feet of tail. I was just on the four feet height around that time.

I must have looked at the photographs above countless times that they have entered my psyche, like the one above of the beautiful tiger and the lion from the back cover.

I won't lie, at the time I was also hooked on a Saturday morning television show, called Daktari, about an animal hospital in Africa. As a young girl, I thought Clarence the cross-eyed lion in this programme was the best thing in the world.

Now I am against animals being used in entertainment for obvious reasons. But my eight-year-old self dreamt of having my own lion and walking to the corner shop to take the R Whites lemonade bottle back to get the deposit refund and use it to buy black jacks, fruit salads, sherbet in a bag and fruit pips. All with Clarence mark two by my side.

In 'Cats', there was a myriad of big cat possibilities to share adventures with (in my imagination). Panthers, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs. From its text, I learned which continent each big cat called home, what it ate and its hunting habits. It expanded my mind and my imagination. When I was in my twenties, while in Africa I did get to meet an orphaned Cheetah and gave it a stroke behind the ears. Never forget that.

So...... I’d like to know, what was your first book? Send me a photo on Twitter and I will retweet. I would love to know. 

Thank you for reading.
Peace and Love, Charlot

My next Newsletter will be a Q&A, so do send any questions you have to me on Twitter or via the website if you like to add any. I'll do my best to answer.

And if for any reason you haven't subscribed but are somehow reading this, then follow the link on the website above and you too can join the 'Charlot's Musers Club'. Oh yes, more to come... when I've mused on it a little...
Copyright © 2018  Charlot King. Published by Beautiful Day Cambridge Ltd. All rights reserved.

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115 Milton Rd, Cambridge CB4 1XE

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