I’m going to take a stroll down memory lane here, to explain to you how I came to possess one of my favorite treasures. In 1993, we moved to Zambia for what we hoped would be years of missionary service, but which ended up being just for 18 months.
Upon our arrival, we inherited a few barrels of possessions that had been left behind by family friends. One of the barrels was full of old books, some of which were real treasures, like an original version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales–rather horrific compared to the sanitized versions I had heard as a kid! There was also a little book that caught my interest. It was a travel book about various journeys the author had undertaken in his homeland of Great Britain. Having been raised in a former British colony, I am an unapologetic anglophile, so I settled in for some enjoyable reading.
It was a charmingly dated account, written in the 1930s as I recall. My problem was that most of the places he wrote about were unfamiliar to me, and not big enough to be included on your average map of Britain. I hate not being able to picture where things are, so when a British friend of mine was getting ready to go for a brief visit home, I gave her some money and asked her to please buy a detailed map of Britain for me.
She exceeded my expectations by bringing me this:
A nice thick road atlas of Britain, with individual pages on a scale of 3 miles to 1 inch! I was so, so happy! I got out my little travel book and searched out all the places on the map. My enjoyment of the book was increased immeasurably once I had the map to refer to. I have referred to my treasured road atlas many times in the intervening years. I keep it where I can easily access it. So helpful if you read classic British literature.
Which brings me to this week. A couple of days ago, I started reading Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, about the travels he went on throughout Britain before moving back to the USA in the mid-90s. Once again, I hauled out my atlas and have been following his travels with great interest on my detailed maps. To my amusement, many of the place names he uses are totally made up–but they’re no stranger than some of the actual place names. For instance, a quick glance over a couple of pages yielded the following places: Herodsfoot, Spriddles, Boohay, Ipplepen, Dippertown, Quoditch, Clapworthy, and Lower Sharpnose Point.
Yes, I know I could probably look up the places in the book on Google Maps–but I really prefer the real atlas. I can follow his travels from town to town and see what route he must have taken. Having my atlas is adding tremendously to my enjoyment of this book.
Of course, it’s not as if I did nothing but read all day. Jasper and I continued our floundering with geometry. This afternoon I took Lucy out to get her birthday present–a new pair of jeans. And this evening Jasper and I went to the bee meeting for the first time in months because the speakers were a couple that I know slightly. The husband has designed and manufactured an absolutely brilliant beehive stand that keeps ants out of your hive. If you keep bees, you should check them out:
Also, Walter fixed the van.