December: ‘This, as you know is the month when two good things happen. The term ends and Christmas comes.’
In the last year of his life Roald Dahl wrote a diary of the changing seasons, intertwined with memories from his youth and spiky observations of the world around him. My Year is a fine testament to an amazing literary life. Illustrated with some of Quentin Blake’s most evocative watercolours, it stands as one of my favourite works from their partnership. I’m not sure why it’s not better known.
Dahl begins by praising children who send him their own hand made cards and chiding parents who issue a ‘colour photograph of the senders standing proudly somewhere or other surrounded by their offspring. You can be half blinded by the self satisfaction shining out of their faces.’
We then get a guide to the birds in Dahl’s garden, which like everything in…
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