If you've read my drains saga you'll guess that books and reading haven't been high on the priority list for the last few days. Though what we've had to put up with has been minor compared to the disasters that can happen, it's amazing how a small thing such as lack of the basic domestic facilities we usually take for granted can absorb so much time and attention and throw everything out of kilter.
Anyway, providing a welcome distraction from anxieties about 'the black lagoon' at our back door has been Joan Bodger's How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books. A page or two at bedtime, following this American family's late-1950s journey round Britain visiting literary locations, has been soothing reading, and while I'm not far in yet I am enjoying the period portrait of the country it offers and marvelling at the Bodgers' encyclopedic knowledge of children's literature.
I've just flicked ahead for a quick look at the chapter in which the Bodgers come to Edinburgh on the trail of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I see that mention is made of the Stevenson family's being urged to move for the good of RLS's health because of their home's "exposed position and poor drains" - they were living at the time in our street!