I've been meaning to come back to my blog for ages!!  Life, books, television and domestica get in the way and I haven't been on here even though I'd planned to blog this photo some time ago.  So, having refreshed the look of the blog, back to it:

When I was but knee-high to a tabby cat, my parents had the most wonderful atlas.  It was huge!  It was a good 60 cm high by 30 cm or more across and quite thick. That's not just me looking back at it through the eyes of a child, although I  remember having looked at it when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  I know that because we lugged it around various RAF stations until (a) it was falling to bits and (b) it was given to me when I left home (which is how I know it really was that size).  I eventually binned it when it had totally disintegrated. 

I really do wish that I'd kept some of the pages but the actual atlas was fairly much obsolete by then, and that was before - for example - the break up of the USSR!  That's another thing - when we were growing up, countries felt eternal and absolute.  Who knew just how ephemeral they are and how quickly local and world events can split them apart?

After the atlas proper, though, there were other equally interesting pages.   I remember a page about precious stones, with (natch!) pictures of a diamond, a ruby, an emerald and a sapphire and another page about semi-precious stones.  I also remember seeing another page with a sentence or two about puddingstone and a good photo to illustrate it.  I don't know why, but the term is one of those things that stuck with me from my childhood.  Perhaps it just sounded incongruous?  To the geologically-minded this is Hertfordshire puddingstone, a specific conglomerate; the 'plums' in the pudding are flint and the 'pudding' they are in is a finer matrix of sand and silica cement.  To me it's also a trip down memory lane.


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