You're capable of this:
You're also capable of this:
I don't understand.
Images via CNN and The Guardian/Niyi Fote/via Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
For nearly fifty years I've had the faint memory of a book encountered during the very start of my schooldays, but about which I could say almost nothing at all. The book had some creatures on the cover which were somewhat reminiscent of Moomins, but it was not a Moomin book. (When I first heard of the Moomin stories, I felt that my quest was ended, only to realise that it was not the case). All I could recall with any clarity was that there was something in the book about small creatures who were easily squashed, which is really not much to go on, and not necessarily the sort of thing one wants to be Googling.
It turns out that the book in question is this one:
It was published in Australia in 1967. Presumably a British edition was available at the same time, or at least by 1971 or 1972, when I most likely encountered it.
From the Wikipedia entry:
Gumbles are the most friendly and cheerful creatures in the bush and can be squashed into any shape without being hurt, although when flattened or "spanked" out completely they cannot regain their own shapes without help. They are hopeless when they get the giggles.
I would still be searching for this book were it not for a question on this week's edition of Only Connect, which mentioned the word Bottersnike and made enough of a connection to have me rushing to the computer. Such is serendipity.
I am delighted to have squared this circle and will be seeking a suitably old paperback copy of the book in question.
Today marks the anniversary of the 1952 Harrow and Wealdstone accident, Britain's worst peacetime railway incident, resulting in the loss of 112 lives.
A remarkable side-story of that day, but one which deserves wider exposure, was the involvement in the rescue effort of Abbie Sweetwine, an African-American nurse stationed at a nearby USAF station. Sweetwine's interventions undoubtedly saved many lives, but beyond that she left a lasting legacy in the use of triage practises to assess the severity of the wounded, and determine the best treatment options for those who had yet to be taken to hospital.
You can read a little more about Sweetwine here:
As far as I am aware there is no biography about Abbie Sweetwine - surely an omission that needs rectifying.