Monday, 15 February 2016


A million years ago, in 1966 or '67, my older brother and myself
each received a Christmas present of a book from a literature-loving
aunt and uncle.  My brother got KIDNAPPED (and I often wished he
would be), and I was given TREASURE ISLAND, both written by
R. L. STEVENSON.  I can't remember if I read it at the time or
not, but I did so ten years later and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Well, strictly speaking, that's not quite true.  The one I read wasn't
the original festive gift from years before (which had disappeared
into limbo at some indeterminate stage), but a replacement  I bought
a decade later from a local bookshop on recognizing the cover and
being instantly transported back in time to my childhood.

The cover reminded me of the back garden of the house I'd lived
in when I received my earlier printing of this classic.  That was likely
because of the garden having a wooden fence similar to that shown on
the dustjacket, although ours was held together by wire.  To this day,
whenever I look at that illustration, in my mind's eye I'm once again
gazing through my old bedroom window at the garden below.

The back garden from my bedroom window

Anyway, to bore you with further tedious and unnecessary detail,
unlike my original copy, the replacement carried no dustjacket.  The
cover was just like an annual, applied straight onto the boards.  When I
revisited the house nigh on twenty years after leaving it, one of several
items I took with me (to 'reconnect' to my past, as it were) was the re-
placement edition of Treasure Island.  So now the book not only
reminds me of my former home, it's actually been in it.
Some years ago, in the OXFAM shop in Glasgow's Byres Road,
I managed to re-obtain a dustjacketed edition published in the same
year as my original book.  It sits alongside my brother's copy of Kid-
napped (which, happily, survived).  However, whether it's the '60s
or '70s version, there's just something about that cover which sings
to me of an earlier, more innocent time so many years ago.


B Smith said...

Is that back garden still there? It gets mentioned so often, I reckon they'll put a blue plaque there after you've shuffled off this mortal coil :-)

Kid said...

Oh, they'll do that in every house I've ever lived in, BS, for sure. For the garden's current state, read the post entitled 'Gardens of the Mind'. It's fairly recent.

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