Book Boats and Rabbit Holes

. Disney

Slim Paley PhotoAs

As an only child for almost six years, so by some accounts a wee bit “indulged”,  of all my possessions, my books were my most prized.  Well, my books and perhaps my Barbie’s Lady Guinevere costume and castle.  Though I could never figure out why when I would dress Ken up as Sir Lancelot he would always end up in Allan’s bedroom in the castle the next morning…but I digress.  I remember so palpably the soaring pleasure my books gave me, both of a tactile nature and most of all, the places they allowed me to visit from the safe confines of my room.  My favourite game was “Book Boat” in which I gathered every single book from all the shelves and nooks of my room and piled the ENTIRE lot on the bed. Surrounded by mountains of Carroll, Blyton, C.S. Lewis, et al, I would make believe I was stranded on a desert island, like my beloved Swiss Family Robinson. I felt so content and safe on my “floating library” . I would dream of papering the walls of my tree house with pages from my books and imagine subsisting on conch and abalone like the girl in The Island of The Blue Dolphins.  I remember playing this for hours on end, dare I admit years…and I can still see the covers of so many of these books in my mind’s eye. If I could hold them now, with my eyes closed, I venture I’d be able to match the scents to many of the titles.

photo from

One of my all time favourites  was “Alice In Wonderland

 My parents had bought me a special edition, with a binding of light blue linen. The text was on parchment paper in Lewis Carroll’s own handwriting. Of course being just a little girl, I believed it to be Carroll’s original handwriting in MY book, which made it feel so special (Yes, I was an early reader, but no brain surgeon!)

It might even have been this very book that spawned my life long love of books, not to mention black and white checkerboard floors and pocket watches.  I memorized the poem “Father William”  finding it so funny and whiled away countless hours imagining how I would decorate my subterranean hideaway at the bottom of a rabbit hole.  Of course even earlier I was guilty of doing the same thing with Pooh’s house and I believe Noddy’s car got a bit of a nail polish paint job once (as did the coffee table) when my parents were napping.

All this, I suppose is to say I do hope that Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, with all it’s 2010  3-D bells and whistles, will be equally as enchanting for children today as that little cloth covered, black and white, “hand-written” version was for me all those years ago.  We’ve been seeing the floridly coloured stills of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter on every possible surface imaginable for months now- one friend funnily suggested that he looks frighteningly like Madonna and almost as creepy as he did in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  Still, I like Johnny Depp and I root for it to be MAGICAL for the sake of all the little “Book Boaters” in the world.

Slim Paley Photo…………..PAINTING THE ROSES RED!!!!!!!!

Galliano Couture…………….What I’d wear if I were The Queen!!



For my underground lair I’d use these poofs from John Lewis, London

Photo from

And my shoes would be these by Mai Lamore; 18kt gold heel, hand dyed silk rose petals and a bee  made of gold, onyx & agate. $27,945.  

 That’s $27,945.00.

 Feeling a little better about your shoe purchases this month?  Be my guest to share this post with all your husbands.


A charming little video of the original 1903 film of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

OU are old, Father William,” the young man said,“And your hair has become very white;And yet you incessantly stand on your head–Do you think, at your age, it is right?”“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,“I feared it might injure the brain;But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,Why, I do it again and again.”~

(First verse of Father William)

Vladimir Clavijo-Telepnev..

Annie Leibowitz

Vladimir Clavijo-Telepnev


.Any favourite book memories you would like to share??

Oh, and Happy Oscars Everyone!!





  1. One of your best posts yet. No TV allowed at my house so books were my world: A Little Princess, Mandy, The Secret Garden et al. So funny about Barbie. I had a Dawn doll (no boy toy, though) and Kiddles. Remember those?!? This post is sure to set off a wave of nostalgia. Beautiful vignette of all the Alice and Wonderland clips and clothing. Did you see the Tim Burton Retrospective at MOMA? Thank you for writing.

  2. I always feel a bit like Alice when I click on ‘Slim’ and drop into her ‘Wonderland’ blog. I never, ever know where Slim will take me.

  3. Looks like Alice has ventured into your garden, Slim!
    Reading about your childhood, your love of books, memorizing poems…the quiet…made me wistful. The sense of silence and your own private interior world made me yearn for finding that in my busy life.

  4. What a beautiful blog. I, like Dabbsie, cannot wait to see where you will take us. Always a wonderful journey with words, your photography, and wit. Today’s photos again stunning. I agree, somehow imagine you could wear that gown.
    Happy awards in your home also.

  5. LOVED this post!

    Here is a poem I memorized as a child. For me, as for you Slim, the toys were books, but the sentiments were the same as the child in the poem.

    The Land of Counterpane

    When I was sick and lay a-bed,
    I had two pillows at my head,
    And all my toys beside me lay,
    To keep me happy all the day.

    And sometimes for an hour or so
    I watched my leaden soldiers go,
    With different uniforms and drills,
    Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

    And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
    All up and down among the sheets;
    Or brought my trees and houses out,
    And planted cities all about.

    I was the giant great and still
    That sits upon the pillow-hill,
    And sees before him, dale and plain,
    The pleasant land of counterpane.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  6. I just lent my copy to a friend who hadn’t read it. Even though it is a paperback it has the original Sir John Tenniell drawings which to me are as fantastic (in every sense) as the writing. “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimbel in the waves…”!

  7. Loving this post! I could not live without books. I have an “Alice…” blue linen also,published in 1923, rescued from my mother’s one-room schoolhouse in western Kansas. I treasure it. My dream is to have a collection of first editions of favorites. I remember sitting in my school library, reading “Old Yeller” with tears streaming down my face. “Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “The Trumpet of the Swans” by E.B. White were favorites too! I adored all my Nancy Drew mysteries as well.

  8. I loved your sentiments and pictures. Books have literally saved my life! No pun intended. Your beautiful blog (that’s such an unfortunate sounding word!) reminded me of this poem…

    The Call of Love

    Each moment from all sides rushes to us the call to love.
    We are running to contemplate its vast green field.
    Do you want to come with us?
    This is not the time to stay at home,
    but to go out and give yourself to the rose garden.
    The dawn of joy has arisen,
    and this is the moment of vision.

    – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

  9. Father William…yes for sheer delight…but what of the cautionary tale of befriending those who “wept like anything to see such quantities of sand?”

  10. i have an astigmatism in one eye and i have to wear glasses. my eyes have been bothering me lately. yesterday, i saw alice in wonderland in a 3d imax theater. i don’t know if that was such a good idea. my eyes hurt, my head hurt, and by the end, my neck hurt, and it still does today.
    firstly, let me say that all the acting was superb. all of them gave stellar performances. the movie is visually stunning, natch. wouldn’t expect anything less and tim burton certainly delivers, especially in the queen of the red court. it is turned more of a horror movie a la tim burton which may have been expected but for me this was overkill. maybe it’s because i was an english major but it made me long for the original story. the original story of a girl lost in a strange world with scary creatures and a queen who puts her on trial who decrees, “off with her head!” is frightening enough”.
    i find it presumptuous that the writers feel they can improve lewis carroll’s story. they try to impose a trite be your own person story over whatever else is going on. there is far too much going on. there’s like twelve battles a second. it’s kind of a hot mess. it kind of gave me a headache. i just wanted it all to stop. i couldn’t even enjoy the art because there was so much noise and fighting going on. i really missed lewis carroll’s wordplay, one of the most humorous parts of alice in wonderland. it’s also a comedy of manners. that’s not there at all. basically, anything subtle is gone and anything that is like a pirates of the caribbean is in with some trite women’s lib story clumsily stuck on for good measure.
    a visual spectacle for sure. a thrill ride. some great moments/performances. helena bonam carter’s red queen’s pretty great as are the dresses/costumes generally. but not anywhere close to as charming as the original alice -not an ounce.

  11. The first fantastic book I ever held in my hands as a child was The Water Babies. It was exquisitely illustrated with detailed engravings of sea monsters , water fairies and plump cherubins. I did not read at the time. Has anyone any idea where I could procure a copy? Thanks so much.

    • I too had a most BEAUTIFUL edition of The Water Babies with sumptuous color plates on thick glossy stock- I remember it so vividly. I’m sure it’s why, even though I was such a girly girl, I loved to catch frogs and play for hours on end at the “frog pond” in the ravine behind our home. It was a magical place (except for when I got leeches stuck to my legs)

    • Hello, Euva

      ‘The Water Babies’ was published in 1863 by English author Charles Kingsley. There have been many, many different editions with various illustrators. You can find a lot of copies available on Amazon or A brick and mortar bookstore, with a good children’s section, most certainly will have a copy, or will be able to order you one.
      I hope this helps.


  12. I too was a big reader as a child and still am. Although now I find that my shipments from Amazon are piling up on my nightstand due to the chaos of having a toddler (and now a newborn!) or worse, getting sucked into some dumb reality show…… It is a good thing I am in a book club so at least I have committed to reading a book a month so I can attend the monthly gathering to discuss “The Bachelor”, I mean, the book!

    My fav’s as a child: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Als0 by Silverstein were his book of poems, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic.”

    I was big into anything by Judy Blume (“Freckle Juice” and “The Superfudge Series” send me right back to the 80’s) and Beverly Cleary (I wanted to be Ramona Quimby).

    Loved the “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and of course the C.S. Lewis series “The Chronicles of Narnia”.

    • Congratulations on your newborn!!!
      I think perhaps my husband should join your “Book Club” as he is an expert commentator on “The Bachelor” .

Would love to hear from you!