PBOTD 29th May 2014: Monica Dickens - Dora at Follyfoot

For quite a few months now I've been able to hide the awful truth: those books I couldn't put my hands on were there, somewhere, on the shelves. It was just that I hadn't yet got round to reorganising them after our two house moves last year.

Heinemann 1972, 1st edn pb
(which appeared simultaneously with the hb)
Well, I have now had to haul my head out of the sand. My copy of Dora at Follyfoot, which I bought when it first came out in 1972 has gone AWOL. It is not there. It is not hiding behind the Pullein-Thompsons, it has not joined the massed ranks of Riding Magazine. It has gone. Sadly it is not alone.

Heinemann 1972, 1st edn hb
 I think it possibly fell victim to the great purge which we did of our books before move number two. We'd got rid of boxes of books - great car loads - before move number one, but we still had 100 boxes of books which came with us. I've never worked out quite how many we'd have had if not for purge number one, and I don't want to. Jamming them all in after move number one was quite hard enough.

Heinemann 1998
The whole experience did spur us on to do another major prune. It's different moving house in your twenties: you have all those years stretching before you in which to read, and of course you'll get round to reading Ulysses, some day. And Balzac. When you're 50, it's a bit different. We went through the books with increasing ruthlessness.

Mammoth 1992
Sadly, we were a little over-enthusiastic. Dora wasn't the only thing to vanish. The second volume of the Game of Thrones series went AWOL as well, and that wasn't even mine, it was my son's. I have since replaced that.

Andersen, 2011

It would be good to report that the shelves are still pristine and beautiful, but they're not. New books are creeping in, one by one, despite my firm resolve to use the library. There is no hope. And I really don't want to have to move house again in order to get the library under control.

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More on Monica Dickens
The Follyfoot site - a brilliant resource for all things Follyfoot


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