I was cleaning up the children's bookcase the other day and came across my old Rupert annuals. Some of the cartoons I haven't looked at for 48 years, egad, and a strange, soft, upwelling of little-girl memories quite overcame me. As I looked at the pictures, especially the backgrounds, I realised why I always feel so 'at home' in Europe. It is the soft rounded hills, the little lanes, the shape and size of the houses, the snow-at-Christmas, the copses and oaks and robins and larks, the urban streets sandwiched with semi-detached houses and so on. I met these daily through my formative years in Rupert, Enid Blyton, Giles magazines, Punch cartoons, Ronald Searle, Andy Capp, Beatrix Potter, I Spy, Twizzle, The Bobsey Twins, Black Beauty, Peter Pan and Wendy, the Amelia Anne stories, and my favourite: Milly Mollie Mandy, (because she always had a map in the front of her books).
Tony was posting today about his memories of growing up with Charlie Brown and Snoopy and how kids today want superheroes, aliens and Hellboy, whoever he is.
Something's lost, I think. Innocence? Childhoodedness? Or am I just getting old and everything in the past is getting rosier and rosier.
Go away and play your Grand Theft Auto IV, son and leave me here in the hammock reading old Rupert annuals.