What a lot of people don’t know is that I was taught by a real, live Hobbit.
I truly mean it. No joke.
My tutor at college, Margaret Ann Bell, who died very recently, used to work for Oxford University Press in her youth. She met many famous authors. One of them was JRR Tolkien. She needed to top up her very meagre salary, so she offered to be Tolkien’s char-lady. She kept the Tolkien home clean, in her manner, and in his garden was a Mimosa bush. Margaret used to cut Mimosa for the house, and Tolkien (who I think was a bit sweet on her!) gave her the nickname Mimosa as a consequence.
Margaret’s maiden name at the time was Bunce. Tolkien said later that he would commemorate Margaret in a ‘book’ he was writing.
Now if you check out the list of Frodo and Bilbo’s relatives in Lord of the Rings, you’ll find a great aunt (?) of Frodo’s listed. She’s called Mimosa Bunce.
Hence, I was taught by a real Hobbit. Something I’m rather proud of.
(And no, she was quite tall and didn’t have hairy feet )