Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 27 July 2013
The curse of Pooh
That church in the post before last, has a little area set aside for selling second-hand books, and a few days ago I went in and bought a copy of Christopher Milne's (Christopher Robin of A.A. Milne and Pooh fame) autobiography.
I am about half way through it, and the revelations therein do not hold any real surprises for me. He was a lonely and somewhat isolated only child, closer to his nanny than to his actual mother. Rather than spend a lot of time playing with his son, A.A. spent hours writing about a fictional childhood, and Shepard illustrated them using his own son as more of a model than Christopher Robin himself.
By sheer coincidence, the day after I bought that book, Radio 4 featured an afternoon play based on the life of Christopher Milne, and many of the incidents and facts were taken straight from the autobiography.
What a curse that stuffed toy bear had on the life of the adult Christopher, and what a mildly cursed childhood he had as a result of his mother - who was not used to having her will thwarted - dressing him as the girl which she insisted on giving birth to. The writing of this book seemed to be more of a cathartic exercise for Christopher than one willingly done in thanks to a talented father. After it was published, all he had to do when confronted by the thousands of his father's admirers who came from all over the world to seek him out, was to refer them to his book which would answer all of the intrusive questions - but maybe not in the way they might have liked.
As he was supposed to have said to E.R. Shepard as an adult in later years, "In that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing - damn him!"