The BBC saved the best of the holiday programmes for this afternoon: the delightful Frederick Ashton ballet, Tales of Beatrix Potter.
I have loved Beatrix Potter all my life. One of my earliest memories from nursery school is of being allowed to play with the little wooden figures of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and the rest of the characters, which sat beside the books on Mrs Pendlebury's special shelf. One had to have been very good to win this privilege.
I loved and indeed, still love, to handle the books; what an inspiration to make them such a perfect size for little hands. The illustrations are wonderful and the stories are perfect for children and adults. I enjoyed having them read to me when I was small, then being able to read them for myself; I never tired of reading them to my own children and guess what my first purchase was when I knew the first grandchild was on the way!
The complete works are here, waiting to be read and perhaps I'll let a really good grandchild look at my Beswick figures of Pigling Bland, Pig-Wig, Aunt Pettitoes and Little Pig Robinson.
The ballet represents the characters perfectly and the costumes are amazing. Our video of the 1971 film has been worn out so I hope there is a DVD available to replace it, but there is nothing quite like the live ballet. I couldn't get to Covent Garden and I'm not sure they would have let me in without a child in tow, but sitting in my armchair with the remains of the Christmas chocolates was a satisfactory second best. Thank you BBC, my licence fee was well spent.
I always wondered if my own little ballerina might be Jemima Puddleduck one day, although Hunca Munca might have been more in character! I think this photo was taken at the last exam before she gave up classical ballet for modern dance. Oh well, a mother can dream.... perhaps the grandchild will .....