Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Wind in the Willows

"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—" 

One of the most delightful books I have ever read is the annotated Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Graham. What a story teller! All of the characters are mischievous and heaps of fun, but Rat and Toad are my favorites—Toad because he is a natural bon vivant, and Ratty because he's a die hard epicurean. Just listen to this—Rat description of a typical lunch for a boating excursion on the river ...

The rat fetched a wicker picnic basket... "What's inside?""There's cold chicken inside," said Rat, "cold-tongue-cold-ham-cold-beef-pickled-onions-salad-french-bread-cress-and-widge-spotted-meat-ginger-beer-lemonade — "Oh stop!" cried Mole in ecstasy. "This is too much!""Do you think so?" said Rat, seriously. "It's only what I always take on these little outings."

Is that not fabulous? This book is best enjoyed out of doors, if possible—languishing on the grass or in a hammock on a lazy summer's day—and preferably with and ice cold ginger-beer-lemonade.

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