Do you have a mental list of favourite smells and feels... I do. When I win the lottery I will have fresh sheets every day and should I take an afternoon nap, then the staff will iron them before I step inside that evening...I might have won money but I am still eco-friendly. But there is another smell and feel which outstrips this... it's a new book.
Just close your eyes, feel the weight of the book in your hands, hear the crack of the spine and then the smell of the fresh unsullied pages. Yet even better than this appeal to your senses is the dance that the printed letters will lead your imagination through.
So can you guess what is exercising my rant zone... my local council are threatening to close some of our local libraries. You might remember how I told you all a couple of years ago about my love of libraries, how I have never lived more than 10 mins away from one.
Libraries are so important, they are the door in the back of the wardrobe that gave me access to my own personal Narnia... through books, I have travelled the world, I know the Venetian canals like the back of my hand through the Donna Leon and the investigations of Commisario Brunetti, I learnt my way through American Law courtesy of Harper Lee and John Grisham, never said I was discerning, did I? I am an expert on romance, thanks to Katie Fforde and Jojo Moyes... and RF Delderfield, Mazo de la Roche and Tolstoy.
The library was and is, alongside Radio 4, my university... it has taught me and made me what I am. Our librarians no longer check in our books, but ask them a question from internet access to who else writes like Roddy Doyle and they are there in an instant, stretching your imagination. Who else would listen to small children bursting to impart what had happened to Angelina Ballerina, or why dinosaurs had died out and why Roald Dahl is really the bestest writer in the whole wide world and that they will never read anyone else. Yet now, these experts are being de-skilled by stealth, softened up for redundancies... but we need them... we really do need them. But this is not about us, it is about future generations, libraries are an inheritance we must pass on... if you don't believe me, read about what the library means to my little friend Camille and her mum.
Just imagine how tough it must be for the people working in the libraries, nip in, if you can and tell them that you will be supporting them, sign petitions, make a fuss, people need to know that you want to keep them.
So if you live in Leigh-on-sea, Southend-on-sea, Westcliff-on-sea and so on, lobby your local councillors, tell your MP that this is not good enough... we need our libraries, and right now, your library needs you!