A Journey with Books 1999-2019

Dunedin 029 celebrated their 20th anniversary by going out for dinner (attended by five of the original members and the group's founder, who joined them from Waikanae!). Current convenor Beryl Jones wrote this story, recapping 75 books from the 200 that the group has read during its two decades. Enjoy her wonderfully inventive tale:

"I was Born on a Blue Day, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, A Daughter of Persia.

My parents were Conrad and Eleanor. Conrad by reputation had led A Scandalous Life as the Bookseller of Kabul, the original Book Thief in fact, while Eleanor had become increasingly The Captive Wife.

My recollections of my Age of Innocence include Riding the Bus with my Sisters, those Remarkable Creatures, Emma and Cleo while sipping Cider with Rosie.

At bedtime Mother would enchant me with Tales from Moomin Valley followed by a request "Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs". Yes in her I knew The Love of a Good Woman.

I well remember our gardener, Mr Pip, our cook, Mrs Cook (!) and the housekeeper Mrs Dalloway.

Nancy Wake was my beloved nanny who promised to Never Let Me Go. Her best piece of advice to me was Never Have Your Dog Stuffed! This was as a result of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time resulting in mother pleading "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight".

There's no doubt I was a curious child with a regular habit of asking The 10 o'clock Question. I was captivated by The Elegance of the Hedgehog, determined to learn The Exclusive Language of Ducks as well as being intent on Digging to America . The Shrimp and the Anemone both fascinated me as did Ammonites and Leaping Fish.

One of Nanny's favourite stories was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, that One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window consequently appearing on Mr Rosenblum's List. Amazingly, he went on to become The Conductor and Cellist of Sarajevo. His story almost rivalled The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Talk about Parallel Lives!

Later in life, When I Lived in Modern Times, I made a name for myself as The World's Strongest Librarian! Sadly, inflated by Pride and Prejudice, I set out on a journey taking The Last Train to Zola Verde accompanied by the Madonnas of Leningrad. Despite contracting Tulip Fever we reached The Secret River, passing The Piano Shop on the Left Bank on the way. We had to take care to avoid Stasiland, home of The Blind Assassin, The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Finally , having glimpsed The Last Rhinos and met up with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind we reached the World Beneath on The Small Island where Snow was Falling on Cedars over Wuthering Heights. All along our route we had experienced The Kindness of Strangers through The Language of Flowers.

It was then I Heard the Owl Call My Name. It was time to return. Inevitably it was A Long Way Home. I meandered On Chesil Beach then took A Passage to India witnessing the Light Between Oceans. On reaching dry land I passed through The Forest Unseen with its enchanting Garden of Evening Mists. It was a relief to reach my Room with a View overlooking The Purple Hibiscus and hearing the familiar Birdsong.

As I Lay Dying I gave instructions for the Burial Rites to be observed and received Billie's Kiss. I felt as though during my life I had experienced The Seven Lives of Lady Barker! Despite the obvious onset of early Alzheimers I was Still Alice. As the Earth Turned Silver, my spirit like a Bright Star crossed A Thousand Hills to Heaven."

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Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
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