Supercool Sherlock and memories of books…

I’m not sure when or how I came to be introduced to Sherlock Holmes. All I remember is that I was ‘a lot younger’ (so this could mean anything between the ages of 13 and 23!) but I can remember sitting on my parents’ old bed with some snacks beside me – chocolate, if I was lucky – and being utterly absorbed by this huge book which had all the novels and stories of Sherlock Holmes within. I would read on and on, never even noticing that it had become dark outside…

Something really clicked with me the other day when I read that my friend (and fellow small press owner, Susan Last) wrote that she was a voracious reader as a child. I suddenly realized that those would be the exact words to describe myself as a child as well.

I can clearly remember the two heaving shelves of books in my bedroom. They were above my bed and I couldn’t help but worry sometimes that the shelves would collapse and all the books would break my bones! (They didn’t, of course.) I remember also the trips to our tiny local library. It was only ever myself and the librarian in there. Ah, the peace and quiet! (That’ll really mean something to mothers of young children!). The library in town was much bigger and noisier, but it had a greater selection of books – it was a good place to pick up new reads, and the periodic raids of my big sister’s book shelves always yielded interesting results (I mainly went by the look of the book covers then). I have memories too of going into the bookshop in town and treating myself to a new book (I would go straight for the Wordsworth Classics section back then because I knew I could buy a new book for a mere £1. They even sometimes had them reduced to 50p!). This was treasure indeed…

I wasn’t aware, at the time, of other people reading Sherlock Holmes. I kind of guessed that it wasn’t a ‘cool’ book, because, well, Sherlock Holmes went around wearing a deerstalker hat and it was all set a long time ago. The fact that I knew a few bits of trivia about Sherlock Holmes was helpful though – particularly in pub quizzes!

Sherlock book and Radio Times
Sherlock book and Radio Times

I couldn’t have guessed then that x number of years on Sherlock would be cool. Not just cool, but supercool, and no doubt a huge part of that is down to the casting, but I still think it’s worth mentioning that at the heart of this successful series is Conan Doyle’s masterful storytelling. After watching the latest episode I am inspired – again – by the power of story, and the rich possibilities therein.

Benedict Cumberbatch by Marija Smits
Benedict Cumberbatch by Marija Smits

P.S. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy drawing the above handsome face (oh those eyes!) but what I’m most pleased about is the fact that I managed to accomplish this at all. My drawing time seems to have diminished of late and I managed to do this in 20 minute bursts (once a week) while I sat beside the local swimming pool as my daughter splashed away, busy with her lesson. I’m very pleased to say that she can now swim a full 5 metres which makes me very proud!

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