There are some things that just instantly remind me of my own childhood. The smell of waxed jackets (which my Dad always wore), 'Soul Limbo' (the cricket theme tune which followed Playschool on BBC children's TV during the 1980s) and the Happy Families series of books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Then there are others which, not having been thought about for more than 20 years, sometimes reach up and slap me in the face.
I took T to see the doctor. In fact I needed to go too, so I'd booked a double appointment. T sorted, it was my turn. I put him down on the floor and he raced across the room and tried to pull the needle out of the old fashioned doctor's scales. After I'd retrieved him twice, the doc pulled a box of toys and books from under his table. And there it was, my childhood, hard-backed, dog-eared and just as I remembered it.
The book was the Ladybird A-Z and I had to make a real effort to concentrate on the doctor's questions. I didn't want to talk about my ovaries, I wanted to sit and slurp down the detail of the book just as I remembered it, the apple, the elephant, the rabbit! This was one of my first books, well-loved and eventually (sacrilege!) cut up to make a collage of some sort when I was old enough to know all of my letters, thank you very much.
And so I found myself in my doctor's surgery wondering how I might be able to steal this book, just slip it in my (massive) changing bag and make a speedy exit. I knew I wouldn't. The book belonged to Doc's own children, the grown-up ones he's always telling me about, but I wanted to, I really wanted to. A piece of my childhood I'd completely forgotten about, a chance meeting with a now 'rare' book. I took my prescription, a deep breath and promised myself I'd check on ebay when I got home.