This one was a hot fudge sundae-banana split. A few days of silly, sweet bliss.
Some context: As I doodle away with work at my computer, I listen to audio books (Bibliophiles – don’t judge me. A book is a book is a book. E, Audio, Paper or Hardback. I’ll take what I can get OK?)
Sometimes, I try to be very diligent, brave and educational with my listening. It’s an exhausting habit… So a couple of months ago, I niavely thought, “I should listen to Augustine’s City of God!”. In one go. No other books. No other listening. Just 850 pages of theology in a monotone voice.
Gee aren’t I brilliant. That ranks up there as way #107 to die of old age really, really quickly. (Don’t get me wrong though – in a geeky sort of way, I actually love it! Just not taken all in one dose…) At around book XIV I began to question the wisdom of my commitment.
And then Julie Andrew’s started singing in my head, ”Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!”.
So I went back to my audio book app and downloaded the fluffiest book I could find. With a large selection of A.A. Milne pieces, that was far too easy – I settled for his 1917 work, Once On A Time. Some of you may be scratching your heads at his name, he doesn’t get half enough credit for his literary contributions. The man gave us Winnie-the-Pooh. He was a genius. If you only associate Winnie-the-Pooh with Disney, drop everything, rush to the nearest library, and grab it. Now. And please don’t hold me responsible if you die from warm happy feelings and laughter. It is poignant and desperately funny.
But back to the books I chose – Once On A Time. Written as a ‘re-telling’ of an old Medieval Chronicler’s tale, Sir Roger Scurvylegs, (Princess Bride anyone?) it tells the brief story of the war between the kingdoms of Euralia and Borodia, and the attempts of the Countess Belvane to usurp the throne of Euralia. Your basic simple fairytale. Or not. You have an evil countess who is anything but evil (her primary vice being an over-fondness for flinging money to poor villagers, and needing to control the throne to fund her addiction) a bad king who is anything but bad, a good prince who is anything but good, and a wise fatherly king who is anything but wise.
The characters are delightfully real and tangible, in such a fantastic, magical setting. The dialog is witty and hysterical – one particular highlight being a conversation between two kings, both trying to convince the other they are actually swineherds.
Like I said, a hot fudge sundae-banana split. And it worked too – a bit of sugar each day helped me dig through the next five books of City of God!
So, Doctor’s orders… If you’re having a rough day, I prescribe a few chapters of A.A. Milne, to be taken with a cup of tea and a smile, twice daily…