Some water damage. A little plastic cup full of soapy water routinely toppled onto this hundred year-old Welsh hymnal. I think the damage suits it though. Mother if you're reading this sorry.
I hit my nose on a beam that first evening and I think I also look better now as a result of the damage. The scar draws one's eye away from the chin. "And and Bee" also got wet (shown above) and I love And and Bee. They're out of print now, I'm pretty sure. The page above makes them look creepy. They're not. They simply met this GIRL on a BOAT bound for ASIA, and later they will meet a fairy in a STAR while standing in a QUEUE by the ROAD who helps them catch a TRAM, gives them each a VEST and sneaks them into someone's back YARD just in time for XMAS. Which reminds me, it snowed this morning, what a kick!
Anyway, here are the rules for the Books of Soap: "Bag checks in operation. Only one visitor allowed in at any time [only the display case is illuminated, the walls covered in mirrors that are cracked but not smashed, and you have a torch]. Certain volumes may be handled [beneath strips of processed chicken - that and the soap were my nods to the Trinum Magicum] Simply ask an attendant. Every visitor must be accompanied by an attendant [so me]. Please do not mark these books. Goggles to be worn at all times ['The place is a bit of a tip.' 'But I can't see anything.' 'That's why we ask you wear them. Because it's a bit of a tip.'] Attendants to be blindfolded [so take my soapy hand and lead me out]." And once out you were asked if you'd like to go back in without the goggles - If you'd kept them on, this treat was your reward and if you hadn't, this not being a treat was your punishment. Only half said yes... And the last book:
"Simon, did you write this?" shouted David R from behind the soapy goggles while I stumbled into the leg of a chair.
"It looks like it was made by a child, with access to a typewriter."
"What's it say?"
" 'But then Sam Spaghetti, Picky Pear and Quarrelsome Cucumber slid into the whale's tummy because they were swallowed... and I expect you can guess what happened then!'
That's quite an optimistic expectation."