Tuesday, 7 February 2012

...what the 'Dickens'?

Happy Birthday to Charles Dickens then!  I'm sure he'd be delighted that Prince Charles & Camilla were sharing a cup of Rosie Lee to celebrate him being so old.

I feel like I have a small affinity with Charles (...Dickens, not the Royal one!) as my Dad has the full collection of his books and I grew up looking at the beautiful old tomes all covered in dust...it didn't occur to me that I might actually pluck one of the shelf and read one. They didn't sound as exciting as my Nancy Drew adventures or latest copy of Blue Jeans. I don't recall covering his stories in English at school either although I was in more productions of A Christmas Carol than I care to remember (never a decent part..bah humbug!)  I always thought I should read them as it would've been a few extra points at pub quizzes if I knew who Mrs Havisham or Peggotty were.

I then spent a couple of years at college in Broadstairs and everywhere you looked were Dickens related places...mainly the pubs where I spent most of my time, The Charles Dickens & Fagins to name a few.  There was a Museum there too along with Bleak House but they weren't really on the schedule in those carefree days.  So we were both predominantly from Kent...always a soft spot for people from the same county as me!

And now, nearly a grown up, I am finally reading my first Dickens novel, David Copperfield...inspired by the BBC's adaptation of Great Expectations, which I loved, I suggested it to the Book Club girlies and they went along with it. I can't deny there were a few groans when everyone’s Amazon deliveries arrived to find that it was 700+ pages of the smallest print!  I was going to borrow Dad's dusty old copy but was snowed off at the weekend so downloaded it for free on iBooks and have got stuck in.  What a surprise to find out that it is really fun to read, not hard going at all...a bit disconcerting reading it on my iPod as only on p261 of 3893 mind!  I have also learnt what a 'caul' is ("I was born with a caul, which was advertised for sale, in the newspapers, at the low price of fifteen guineas") so I reckon that could be a help in a Pub Quiz too (I don't actually do Pub Quizzes but if I did...!). Tip...if you google what a 'caul' is, don't do google images...yikes!

Having watched Sue Perkins 'Mrs Dickens' at Christmas, it transpires that he was actually a bit of a rogue and pretty awful to his wife (understatement) but I can't deny, he wrote some fab stories and I will definitely dust off a few more of my Dad's collection in the future.

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