Friday, 30 August 2013


... But what's holding the pages in my book?

We've just got back from a week in Sunny Portugal and, really, my head is still there. 

I know for sure my body isn't, however.  It's been busy doing a hundredweight of washing a day and refusing to fit into most of my clothes since it got back. 

But back to Portugal.  Man it was HOT! 
One day the temperature in our Hire Car read 46 actual degrees - although it did 'cool down' to a frosty 42 degrees by the time we'd driven for about 20 minutes. The English tabloids would have gleefully emblazoned 'Phew! What a scorcher!' on the front pages every day. 
And maybe the Portuguese ones did too - I can't read Portuguese so I wouldn't know.

Anyway, I believe I have established that it was hot.  Now here's a thing -

Do they make book glue differently these days?

Bear with me, dear reader, for this is not as random as it may at first seem.

We had a few Hot Weather Holidays when we were youngsters - Tunisia, Crete, ... actually that was it; but very nice they were too.  And very hot.  We took many books along with us on these fortnight-long vacations and not only did they survive the journey, the sun cream and the heat, some of them remain in my possession to this day - some 30 years later.  Okay, that's depressing.  Moving on.

Two years ago, on our last holiday, my brand new copy of The Godfather performed its own version of Autumn by gradually dropping each leaf out of the cover.  I was most bemused.  
On my return to Blighty I mentioned it to my local bookseller, who said knowingly,

'Ah yes.  That will be the sun.  'Tis the enemy of the book.'

'I rather think it may the glue', was my retort. ' 'Tis rubbish.' 

But (perhaps because I didn't actually say it out loud) he would brook no argument and scuttled back to his ISBN Numbers.

And this year the same bloomin' thing happened again!

Day 1 of my 2013 holiday and I sat in the sunshine with my brand-new-bought-for-the-occasion copy of Mark Haddon's 'The Red House' and, one by one, out flew the pages. 

I got a feeling that Mr W thought it was my fault. 

It was when, looking over the top of his own - pristine - holiday book, he said,

'I think it's your fault.'

For literally moments I puzzled over this. What could I possibly be doing differently?  Is it the way I hold my book?  Don't think so.  Is my breath so noxious it literally removes books from its binding? Surely I would have had other hints by now?

None the wiser, I retreated to the cool of the villa, bugged the kids for a bit, and then looked through the collection of books left behind by previous holiday-makers.

'Ha!' I laughed, when I spotted a copy of none other than Mark Haddon's "The Red House".

And 'Double Ha!' when, on retrieving it from the shelf, it was clear that the pages had leapt out of this one too!

Sooooo, not me after all!  Not my rough-handling or indeed anything I had done. 
'Hurrah!  Success! Victory!' I cried, as I made for my camera to take Photographic Evidence of this most thrilling discovery.

'Whatyoudoing?' enquired Random Offspring.

'Taking a picture for my blog!'  I replied, 'This will make a great post!'

Random Offspring placed a hand on my shoulder and, with a look of pained pity etched on its young face, said ...


Well okay, maybe not great ... But at least I now know that it is not my handling methods that is to blame for the destruction of these books.  It is - without any shadow of doubt - the inferior, shoddy and, frankly, weedy glue.

I feel so much better.

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