There is no doubt that my most common lifelong literary companion is Lord of the Rings. Since I first started to read it in 1962 I have read it at least twice a year, every year since. Quite a while ago now I discovered the audiobook version on Limewire and spent many nights downloading it in bits and assembling it.
I have read or listened to the tale up mountains, in caves, in boats, aeroplanes and in a canoe. It has been a companion when I have been troubled and a celebration when I have been happy.
Tonight was one of its stranger outings. We have been having trouble with the surface of our Main Hall here in Coota. It has developed a very slippery finish and has caused much problem as a playing surface. We’ve had our contract cleaners onto it and they have gone over it with various preparations to no avail. Tomorrow is a big interschool basketball tournament and the crunch was well and truly here.
I dragged out of my brain our old standby at Ballet Oz for getting rosen off the floor – Coca Cola. Well it worked but now we had to get rid of the coke-rosen mixture. So yesterday two washes with hot water. Today one more then a spray of the entire floor with a surface cleaner and another mop-off. It seemed to have worked.
Its a lonely business mopping especially at night.
When I started the process Boromir was fighting for his life against the Uruk-hai and as the bucket trundled up and down the hall the orcs were slain, Pippin and Merry met Treebeard and Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas met Gandalf – returned from the dead. Theoden was delivered from sorcery, there was a great battle at Helms Deep.
As I ernestly sprayed Nifti, Saraman fell, Pippin and Gandalf rode to Minas Tirith.
As I finished the final mop Aragorn and his companions had survived the Paths of the Dead and Merry and the King approached Dun Harrow. Pippin was awaiting Seige.
What might have been a long wearying, tedious business was a time of satisfaction and adventure. There is no book like Lord of the Rings and no writer like Tolkein. The closest we have been able to muster is Alan Garner.
I am once again grateful for my best of literary friends.