Grimble and Grimble at Xmas online

One of my favorite English kids' books is Grimble (and the sequel, Grimble at Christmas), by Clement Freud, who is Sigmund Freud's grandson. The books are part of the English kids-lit tradition of stories about grownups who act so goddamned weird as to be essentially surreal. Anyway, I've turned up the full text of both Grimble and Grimble at Christmas online, along with scans of the original illustrations.

This is a story about a boy called Grimble who was about ten. You may think it is silly to say someone is about ten, but Grimble had rather odd parents who were very vague and seldom got anything completely right.

For instance, he did not have his birthday on a fixed day like other children: every now and then his father and mother would buy a cake, put some candles on top of it, and say, 'Congratulations Grimble. Today you are about seven', or, 'Yesterday you were about eight and a half but the cake shop was closed.' Of course there were disadvantages to having parents like that – like being called Grimble which made everyone say,' What is your real name?' and he had to say,' My real name is Grimble.'

Grimble's father was something to do with going away, and his mother was a housewife by profession who liked to be with her husband whenever possible. Grimble went to school. Usually, when he left home in the morning, his parents were still asleep and there would be a note at the bottom of the stairs saying, enclosed please find ten p. for your breakfast. As lop is not very nourishing he used to take the money to a shop and get a glass of ginger beer, some broken pieces of meringue and a slice of streaky bacon. And at school he got lunch; that was the orderly part of his life. Shepherd's pie or sausages and mashed potatoes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; and on Fridays, fish fingers. This was followed by chocolate spodge -which is a mixture between chocolate sponge and chocolate sludge, and does not taste of anything very much except custard – which the school cook poured over everything.