Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chapter One: The River Bank

This is just a small thank you to today's episode of The Book Show for rekindling my childhood love affair with Kenneth Grahame's classic The Wind in the Willows. Deserving of particular mention is the charming illustrations by Ernest S. Shepard in the earlier editions. Although as an adult I can readily understand the social underpinnings of the idealised age in which the book was written, I would much rather remember the characters of Mole, Ratty and even Mr. Badger for their depicted pastoral lives, living in a domestic tranquility unhampered from interference from the outside world. To me, there is nothing more whimsical than row boat rides down stream, new friends sharing sandwiches and a lovely new home for an old mole.

`This has been a wonderful day!' said Mole, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. `Do you know, I`ve never been in a boat before in all my life.'

`What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a--you never--well I--what have you been doing, then?'

`Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing----'

`Look ahead, Rat!' cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

`--about in boats--or WITH boats,' the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. `In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?'


  1. Oh this makes me so nostalgic! Toad was my favourite, he was such a wonderfully eccentric character... I used to adore wind in the willows, I know it's not quite the same as reading it but I went to the extreme of collecting some of the little claymation videos, tehe.

  2. Oh that's awesome! So glad this made you remember as well x


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