A Dog in a Million: My Life with Connie
by Hazel Carter
Hazel Carter's home-help tidies the house, does the washing and helps with the cooking, and the only payment she requires is a nice big bowl of dog food at dinner time ...
When Hazel was debilitated with crippling back problems, she found herself unable to look after the house so she used her skills as an animal behaviourist to teach Connie, her seven-month-old Newfoundland, how to do the work instead. Connie picks out items of dirty clothing from the laundry basket and places them inside the washing machine. When the washing cycle is over, Connie transfers the clean clothes to the tumble dryer. Hazel could leave Connie to complete the entire task unsupervised - if only Connie understood that dark colours must not be washed with whites. Connie also works in the garden, brings in the shopping and is happy to do anything from carefully carrying a basket of eggs to pulling Hazel along in a boat. 'At one stage all I could do was lie in bed and Connie would bring me a toy from her toy box for me to throw as I lay there. She quickly learnt that to have a game she must first bring her toy to me, a very valuable lesson. My idea was to keep her occupied and mentally stimulated while helping me at the same time.'
Underlying the story of this remarkable dog is a remarkable relationship with a remarkable woman: Hazel Carter. For almost thirty years she has been helping owners to understand and cure their dogs' behavioural problems with patience, gentleness and kindness.
A Handbook on Good Manners for Children: De Civilitate Morum Puerilium Libellus
When did you last tell your children to put their hand over their mouth when they yawn? When did you last suggest that when they are introduced to someone they should shake hands firmly and look them in the eye? Do you suggest that they should wait until everyone is served before they eat rather than hoover up the best bit for themselves? Do you demand that your young daughter dress decorously lest she elicit outraged looks? Do you think that the children of today have disgraceful manners? Unlike, of course, when you were young ... Well, that's certainly what Erasmus of Rotterdam thought in 1530 when he published De Civilitate Morum Puerilium: A Handbook on Good Manners for Children. He felt that learning good manners was crucial to a child's upbringing, and that the uncouth and ill-disciplined behaviour around him demanded a new kind of book. After all, as William of Wykeham memorably said in the 1350s, 'Manners maketh man'.
A Handbook on Good Manners for Children is considered to be the first treatise in Western Europe on the moral and practical education of children. It was a massive bestseller - indeed the biggest-selling book of the sixteenth century - going into 130 editions over 300 years and being translated into 22 languages within ten years of its publication. In it, Erasmus concerns himself with matters such as how to dress, how to behave at table, how to converse with one's elders and contemporaries, how to address the opposite sex and much else.
For example: Table Manners
'It's just as rude to lick greasy fingers as it is to wipe them on your clothing, Use a cloth or napkin instead.'
'Some people, no sooner than they've sat down, immediately stick their hands into the dishes of food. This is the manner of wolves.'
'Making a raucous noise or shrieking intentionally when you sneeze, or showing off by carrying on sneezing on purpose, is very ill-mannered.'
'To fidget around in your seat, and to settle first on one buttock and then the next, gives the impression that you are repeatedly farting, or trying to fart.'
The advice is as relevant today as it was 500 years ago.
A Point of View
by Lisa Jardine
'I want to use the moment as a springboard for some big ideas. I want to use the past and present to stimulate and challenge the listener and seduce them into thinking differently.' Lisa Jardine
Provocative and inspirational, Lisa Jardine is one of our pre-eminent thinkers. A leading academic, Lisa is a polymath who embraces both the arts and the sciences with equal passion and has that rare gift of being able to make her subject and her thinking accessible to a mainstream audience. A Point of View is a collection of the hugely popular and critically-acclaimed talks that Lisa has given on Radio 4 in 'A Point of View' on Sunday mornings, replacing Alistair Cooke's 'Letter From America'.
Drawings by Nick Wadley.
Aled Jones' Favourite Christmas Carols
by Aled Jones
The perfect gift for Christmas, this book includes all your favourite carols brought vividly to life with Aled's personal reminiscences of singing them and thoughts on why each is so special. Accompanied by the history of the words and music, and for nine of the carols the sheet music for piano.
Includes: 'Away in a Manger', 'Come All Ye Faithful', 'In the Bleak Midwinter', 'Angel Gabriel', 'O Come Emmanuel', 'Hark the Herald Angels', 'Silent Night', 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem', 'Little Drummer Boy', 'Joy to the World', 'Deck the Halls', 'Ding Dong Merrily', 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen', 'Once In Royal David's City', 'The First Noel', 'While Shepherds Watched', 'Coventry Carol', 'Calypso Carol', 'Still, Still, Still', 'Do You Hear What I Hear?', 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Mary's Boy Child', 'Holy Night', 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas', 'The Little Road To Bethlehem', 'Mary Had a Baby', 'Little Donkey'.
Aled Jones' Forty Favourite Hymns
by Aled Jones
Here is Aled Jones' selection of his favourite hymns, ranked from number one through to forty. From Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer to Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and Shine Jesus Shine, each is accompanied by the history of its words and music.
Aled brings the hymns to vivid life with his own reminiscences of performing them and thoughts on why each is such a winner, and he garners the experiences of today's great singers and composers.
Written with grace, humour and real personal insight, this is a collection that will be enjoyed across the land.