Monday, 24 June 2013

I Spy ...

I love vintage I-Spy books and recently found this lovely ‘Wild Flowers’ edition from the 1950s so I couldn't resist sharing its contents in a post today.

The introduction page is quite charming and the idea, that if you get 1000 or 1500 points for 'I-Spying' wild flowers, you get to be a botanist AND win a feather, is very generous!  I must say I had to look up the phrase “Odhu ntinggo” which apparently was a greeting used by I-Spy members in the 50s and 60s and translates to “Good hunting”!

Normally, when collecting vintage books, experts advise that it's better to look for books that have no writing or scribble on, but for me, I had to have this little I-Spy book just because it DID have writing in it.  I remember I-Spy books from my childhood during long car journeys with my four siblings, but really they only lasted one car journey before the novelty wore off.  So I had to admire the diligence of the owner of this I-Spy book with many entries and sightings extending over a two year period from 1956 and 1958.  What's really endearing is that the entries were obviously written in pencil first then penned over in their neatest handwriting. Sometimes there are even false alarms where the pencil writing has had to be rubbed out!


The little flower descriptions are great and even touch on teaching children about seasonality by stating the time of year to see the flowers. The joy of vintage items is the history they hold and how they are so of their time. Like this page on the Rose-Bay Willow Herb, “You will find it, too, on bombed sites, especially in London”. I think this I-Spyer was restricted to Clacton-On-Sea, obviously the place to see wild flowers!

So working in the garden today, I felt sure I could award myself  20 points for the foxglove ...

and 16 for the field poppy.

And what did this young botanist from the 1950s get in total? 373 points, so not quite a botanist and just short of a claim to a feather!

Odhu ntiggo to all!

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