Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tiger Lady

Monday, 25 April

My Darling E

'A waste of ink and paper' you used to say about the Telegraph's colour supplement each  Saturday.  

And, generally, that's still the case.

This week though one article was worth the read.

It was a profile of Judith Kerr.  She's the lady who wrote the lovely story, 'The Tiger who Came to Tea' over 40 years ago.  Drew the illustrations as well, the article reminded me.  

She followed that up with a series about 'Mog, the Forgetful Cat.' 

Even though there were 17 books in all it's a set of storied I am not familiar with.

It was 'The Tiger who Came to Tea' that was a big hit with Charlotte and Adrian back then.

Remember how it was always one of the ones regularly requested at bedtime - especially with the inevitable side-order for 'funny voices'.

Well, you'll be delighted to know it is still a popular read with our 'next' generation at bedtime - and I'm sure it will still be required reading when Harriet and Felix are a little older.

It appears a stage version of 'Tiger' will open in London this summer.


Suppose a straight-forward read - even with the benefit of 'funny voices' - is less appealing to  today's little ones, who are more sophisticated and have access to a wealth of wonderful and imaginative animated stories on television.

(Just wish - as I'm sure you do - that that choice was around when A was going through his long 'no-sleep' period.)

Judith Kerr is now 86 and still writing and drawing.

Her latest book, Mr Henry, features overweight cats and a tiger who drinks from the tea pot.  It is about an old lady who goes off on fantasy adventures with her dead husband.  They hunt lions, ride dinosaurs and chat with the Sphinx. 

She lost her husband, Tom, in October 2006, leaving her bereft.

'The book isn't about Tom and me,' she says.

'It's anyone who has been happily married. We had a special time but a life can be quite ordinary and the best thing in the world.

We had such fun doing the things we did, bringing up the children.  He always thought of the titles of my books.
The four years before he died were difficult.

He had heart troubles and suffered a number of small strokes. There were times when a lack of blood to the brain meant he could not think properly.

But, in some ways, you love someone more when they need you.

I remember telling his specialist that I didn't know whether to remember him before or after he was ill.

The specialist said 'both'. 

If you've been very happy, it stays with you.'

That's so true.

I miss the good times - and the 'bad' days too.

They weren't much fun but at least we were together. 

But, above all, I so miss you.

Will love you

Trevor xxx