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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I may not have finished a book since 1996 (apart from the 'Perfect Interview' manual which landed me my current job), but I always knew that eventually someone would encourage me back into reading. Of course, when I say 'encourage', I mean 'nag'. And when I say 'someone', I mean Amelie.

I don’t know what’s happened to the girl in the last few weeks, but since turning one, she’s become the world’s biggest devourer of books. In some cases I mean that quite literally (she’s taken entire chunks out of Messy Baby's spine) but when she’s not gnawing on a hardback, she’s constantly shoving a book in your face and moaning. The rest of her toys barely get a look in. Although somehow she still finds time to climb on the coffee table.

But that aside, she spends her days fetching books from the shelf, the toybox, and the floor where she left them, then holding them up to anyone within walking distance, and threatening to cry unless you read them to her. Repeatedly. She's getting through more books than a speed-reader on speed.

KnackeredSo I now spend my lunch breaks dashing out of clinics across Sussex, heading for the nearest charity shops, and clearing them out of baby books. I bought a second volume of Messy Baby's adventures in Crawley yesterday, as well as 'Surprise for Horse', an intriguing tale of mystery, the moral of which appears to be that horses get old and useless, and tractors are much better. I've read it three times now and I still don't get it.

But all this literature has inspired me on to great things. I spent all afternoon today in a library. No, really. More than five months after starting life as a retinal screener, I've finally received my portfolio for the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (that link's for people with a high boredom threshold). I've been given two years to complete it, although ideally they'd like me to do it in eighteen months. By which time Amelie should be reading to herself. So with no clinics today, I decided to go and investigate the hospital library after lunch.

And boy, am I glad I did. Frankly I'm never going back to the office again. That library has everything I need: silence, a copy of 'Diabetes for Dummies', and thirty computers connected to the internet. I was in hog heaven. On top of that, it's open until 8pm and is a sixty second walk from my flat. I can write my blog posts in peace, and return home after Amelie's gone to bed. It'll be like being single again.

Which is obviously a bad thing. I was actually home at five, and reading stories by ten past.