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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Me, Enid Blyton and Lashings of Ginger Ale

 As a child, I read lots of Enid Blyton. Nowhere near all of her books, of course - I think she wrote about 600! I didn't even read all her series - I never read any Secret Seven, for example. Some of the Five Findouters and Dog books, of which I have fond memories, as they were funnier than the better-known Famous Five and I liked Fatty, the young Sherlock Holmes who led the group, unlike Julian, who irritated me even then. I even liked the dog better. Timmy, George's dog, didn't do much beyond woof enthusiastically, while Fatty's dog, Buster, a small terrier, was always nipping at the heels of Mr Goon, the local policeman. And that's another thing - for a woman writing such classist, sexist, racist stuff, she seemed to have little respect for the police; Mr Goon(notice the name?) is a buffoon and even in the Noddy stories, Mr Policeman had better get out of the way when Noddy is driving! 

All the same, as a child I loved them, even while I was wishing Anne would thump Julian one day. They were my introduction to crime fiction, which I read to this day, as a Sister In Crime.

And there was the food. Slabs of chocolate. Delicious sandwiches. Hard boiled eggs. An apple. Lashings of ginger ale! 

So when I am spending a day in the outdoors, as today, when my school is having its annual athletics carnival, I simply have to have at least some of Enid Blyton's picnic items in my lunch. No ginger ale, I forgot to buy any. But there is always, always, a hard boiled egg and an apple and a "slab" of chocolate though today's is just an Aero Bar. There's a bit of Mum's birthday cake. My sandwich is a fresh roll with smoked trout and olive flavoured hummus, something none of Blyton's heroes would even have heard of. But hey, you have to have something adult to celebrate the day!


Satima Flavell said...

Were it not for Enid Blyton I would not be a writer now. When I was only about seven, I used to tell people that I wanted to be 'a children's authoress, like Enid Blyton'. I love the Famous Five and the 'Adventure' books as well. For several years after I began to write, my work had strong similarities to Blyton's - a lot of adverbs, for example - and I had to work hard to update my style.

There's a 'Fifteen influencers' writers meme doing the rounds on Facebook, and when I get around to doing it, EB with be first on the list.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Now you mention it, some of my early work was very Blyton- influenced. Nothing that ever got published, though. :-)

Satima Flavell said...

No, it's funny how writing fashions change, isn't it? These days my hero-writers are Joe Abercrombie and Margo Lanagan, because of their skillful handling to the deep third POV. I'd love to emulate them, but haven't developed the ability to do so yet!

UrbanDragon said...

Times have certainly changed. These days you have to look at Japanese anime to find kids getting into such dangerous situations as the Famous 5 did without adult supervision. Only the somewhat insane characters are as arrogant as Julian, though.