Friday, November 15, 2019

The Book of How?

Having talked about annuals earlier this week, I thought I'd take another trip down memory lane and take a brief look at another variation on the format.  The Daily Mail Book of How? was a one-off variation on theme, being a sixties spin off from the popular children's TV series.  The copy I had was inherited from older siblings and a source of fascination throughout my childhood.  It was essentially a series of articles, all starting 'How...' which either imparted odd facts, or described how to make stuff, conduct experiments with household items or perform tricks.  None of them seemed very likely, (although 'How a Ha-Ha is an invisible barrier' turned out to be true - a 'Ha-Ha' being a type of sunken wall which can keep cattle out of a garden while not obstructing the view). 

I don't recall all the details of the 'How to' items, but one which stuck in my mind involved turning old vinyl records into flower pots - it involved heating them in an oven.  Strangely enough, my older sister wouldn't let me try it with any of her Beatles' albums.  Another involved 'How to tear a telephone directory in half'.  Again, it involved baking it an oven.  Needless to say, my mother wouldn't let me put the yellow pages in her electric cooker.  While I spent hours poring over the book, the only 'How to' article I ever put into practice was making a miniature rocking horse from two paper plates stuck together, (I think they were left over from my sister's wedding).  I've often thought about obtaining another copy and seeing if, as an adult, I could pout any of those articles into practice.  But, looking at prices online, it seems that the book is in danger of becoming 'collectible' and commanding ridiculous prices.  Which, sadly, seems to be the way with these things.

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