This Bookseller’s Breakfast celebrates lions; in particular stone lions.
Frank J Manheim’s book Lion Hunting in London is a family favourite. Bianca and cousin Toni flying from Venice to London on a winged stone lion from St Mark’s square is a joy. If you are taking your children to Venice, read them this first. The Edward Ardizzone illustrations make the magic real and authentic.
It would be impossible to talk about lions in literature without mentioning Aslan. The Narnia stories of C S Lewis propped me up over a three month stay in hospital when I was six. My father came each night to read another two chapters – secretly I was way ahead of him but I was happy to fall asleep listening to a second reading. This is my own copy from that time and lacks its back cover through constant re-reading.
There are stone statues in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Animals and creatures are turned to stone by the Witch’s wand and, as her winter fades, Aslan restores them to flesh by breathing over them. I love books which feature these transformations. When you grow up in a big city you spend many hours day dreaming about statues turning into giant people or majestic animals. It must be connected to our pagan past. I think we all secretly want our statues to live.
The food part is a fruit platter with this summer’s cherries and organic kiwis which I think are well worth the price. I have cut and toasted the croissant. This is the way we were served them in Gran Canaria in a cafe overlooking the beach. Strong hot tea make this a breakfast of champions. The breakfast is for Daniel, the oldest of my three brothers, who had been thrown to the lions many times but remains unscathed.