For most children the best part of the day is bedtime, all bathed and warm, snuggled down in bed listening to a story being read in that most comforting and well loved voice. Most people, no matter how old they are will still have a favourite book or story that means so much to them.
My childhood was filled with stories of the Pokey puppy who ate so much strawberry shortcake that he couldn’t get through the gap in the fence, and ship’s cats and fireside cats.. But most of all, my most perfect memory is of a little cat called Nicholas Thomas. he was very naughty and always getting into scrapes. He was black and white and wore little white wellingtons and lived with his father and mother Mr Thomas Thomas and Mrs Tilly Thomas. He had a pet mouse called Adolphus who said ‘squee’.
His adventures with the selfish star children and Sedonica spider were wonderful and to a very small child rather thrilling. He was, like me a rather wilful small creature he wanted to do everything ‘there and then and right away’…. Especially if he had a winking bright new shilling to spend..
My book was already old when mum was reading it first to me, then my brother and sister. I can’t remember it even having a cover it was so well used. For years I didn’t know who even wrote the stories, small children have no interest in authors after all.
A few years ago I did some research and found out the author was a woman named Kitty Styles but without knowing the title of my particular book I couldn’t get any further and so gave up.
Sitting talking to mum yesterday talk got round to books and Nicholas Thomas in particular so once again I had a look to see what I could find. Mum was as excited as me. She said she loved bedtime with us too, loved reading to us and especially loved Nicholas Thomas. The search threw up quite a few options but like me she couldn’t remember the exact name of the book. The frustrating thing is so many book sellers might show the cover and wax lyrical over the spine but the inside is coyly hidden.
Then tonight wandering around Ebay I actually found books open for viewing and there it was my own Holy Grail, Nicholas Thomas and the selfish star children! I had found my book. I am so excited perhaps far more excited than a grown woman should be but by buying this book I will receive so much more than a faded elderly book, I will once again hold in my hands the tangible solid manifestation of my precious memories.
I cannot wait to read it to my grandchildren, giving them the same perfect warm memories as my mum did my brother, sister and I so many years ago.