Monday, 31 October 2011

Three things you didn’t know about Winnie the Pooh

The original teddy crossed the Atlantic after the Second World War where he became a book-touring celebrity, eventually inspiring Disney to make him an international film star. He never returned and now receives about 750,000 visitors a year at his adopted home in the New York Public Library, where he lives in a bullet-proof glass case!

The forest, where Pooh lived, is based on Ashdown Forest, near Hartfield, East Sussex, close to where the Milnes lived. It has its own Five (not Four) Hundred Acre Wood, and although much of the area is now privately owned, a local shop sells maps of the walk to Poohsticks Bridge, where you can still play the game of racing floating sticks through the arches according to the strict rules. In the ‘sport’ of Poohsticks, competitors drop sticks into a stream from a bridge and then wait to see whose stick will float across the finish line first. This game was played for real by Christopher Robin it was also played by Pooh and his friends in the book The House At Pooh Corner.


Pooh’s friend Tigger’s favourite food was extract of malt, which Kanga gives to Roo as medicine in the books. Spoonfuls of the thick syrup, a by-product of brewing, were given to school children every morning just after the Second World War to build them up after food rationing.



Winnie the Pooh was 90 this year – Happy Birthday Pooh (maybe that's four things you didn't know?)

If we have any Winnie The Pooh books in stock you will find them at March House Books

Are you a Winnie the Pooh fan?

Thanks for calling in.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Five on Kirrin Island again or a day at Corfe Castle

We recently enjoyed spending time with our family from Australia. Our daughter-in-law is Australian so we wanted to show her some of the lovely places in England and one such place is Corfe Castle, popularly believed to be the inspiration behind Kirrin Castle in the Famous Five books written by Enid Blyton.

Enid Blyton first visited Dorset in 1931 and quickly fell in love with the area. She made regular visits to Swanage where, in the 1950s, she bought the old Isle of Purbeck Golf Club featured in Five Have a Mystery to Solve. She and her husband later acquired Manor Farm at Stourton Caundle, near Sturminster Newton (just up the road from where we live) where Five on Finniston Farm is set.




We hadn't visited Corfe for several years so imagine our surprise and delight when we happened across the lovely Ginger Pop Shop - a tiny shop bursting with Enid Blyton books and memorabilia. Situated next to the Post Office in the village square the shop has a wonderful view of the castle from its window.  We may well have walked right past the shop (on our way to a pub lunch) if it hadn't been for the ‘Wishing Chair’ sitting outside the shop – what a brilliant piece of advertising – whoever thought of it should be congratulated!  Next to the chair is a stack of Enid Blyton paperbacks – how could we not stop and go in?  Once inside we were not disappointed, there are so many lovely things to see including books, toys, games, jigsaws and (of course) Ginger Beer. Check the website for details of opening times.


We picked a beautiful sunny day in October for our visit and suitably refreshed we set out to walk around the castle.  Corfe is managed by the National Trust - this from their website - a favourite haunt for adults and children alike, you can’t fail to be captivated by these romantic castle ruins with breathtaking views. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner. Feel history come to life and see the wildlife that has set up home in these fascinating castle ruins.

The only thing we didn’t see was much wildlife, probably because several school parties arrived at the same time as us, but if you visit between February and May you might be lucky enough to see the Ravens.

The photograph on the left shows four of the "infamous five!" exploring the castle ruins (I took the photo). I'm not sure Georgina would approve of so many visitors to her castle - this from Five on Kirrin Island Again -

Everyone knew about the little island off Kirrin Bay that belonged to George. Kirrin Island was a tiny place with an old ruined castle in the middle of it: the home of rabbits and gulls and jackdaws. It had underground dungeons, in which George and her cousins had had one or two amazing adventures. It had once belonged to George's mother, and she had given it to George - and George was very fierce where her precious Kirrin Island was concerned! It was hers. Nobody else must live there, or even land there without her permission.  
Sorry George but we will be back!


We have several Enid Blyton books in stock including some from the Famous Five series here

Thanks for calling in.



Friday, 28 October 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part thirteen


Help to keep young children from road dangers. Lovely old bookmark published by the Royal Society for the prevention of accidents, Terminal House, Grosvenor Gardens, London.

I used to have one of these but had forgotten all about it until this one turned up in Worrals on the war-path by W. E. Johns
Worrals on the war-path is now sold, thank you for your interest.



I wonder if they were given out in schools, do you remember them?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!

Published in 1968 these Camberwick Green books were produced as spin offs from the children’s animated TV series of the same name.

First aired in January 1966 each episode began with the words;

Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?

The very first episode featured Peter Hazel the Postman emerging from the music box. Over the course of the series the other twelve characters emerged from the same music box.



Finding the books reminded me of watching Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley with my son when he was a little boy. I was surprised to find I could still remember the names of the Trumpton Fire Brigade (Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!)

Do you remember Micky Murphy the baker, Windy Miller, PC McGarry and Mr Crockett the garage owner? And what about Mr Dagenham the salesman in his red sports car and Mr Robinson the window cleaner?

If you are interested in finding out more a visit to The Trumptonshire website is a good place to start.

The books featured in this post are now sold, but we do have other TV related items here
or browse our entire stock at  March House Books

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Update - Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway tree found!

You may remember a previous post concerning a 'little door' and how it reminded me of Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway tree. (See the original post here). The door was created by local artist Simon Sinkinson in remembrance of ten people who left their mark on the Larmer Tree gardens.  Several people left comments on the original post (thank you) and then last week I received an email from Simon with a link to his lovely Tinydoors website.

The illustration on the left shows another of Simon's tiny doors.This quote is from the website; As you amble through woods keep your eyes peeled for signs of tiny life - a little wooden wheelbarrow filled with acorns or a tiny napkin left after a fairy tea! 


Helen from PogosPlaceBooks sent a link to Urban Fairies where there are lots more little doors (thank you Helen) and a friend in Holland sent this photograph of a little house she found while out walking her dog.



I had no idea there were so many tiny doors waiting to be discovered!

How about you - do you have fairies at the bottom of your garden? Or have you ever found a tiny door?




The Magic Faraway tree is now sold, thank you for your interest.
View other Enid Blyton books here 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Six spooky stories to scare you silly!

A spooktacular selection of scary books!


Sir Marmaduke Baldwin is not a very good ghost and, when he suddenly appears in the middle of a wood, Bobby Brewster thinks he looks far too jolly to be frightening. But a large white sheet, a spell that doesn't quite work, and two terrified criminals prove Bobby quite wrong!
The silly silly ghost; Story told by H. E. Todd illustrations by Val Biro. Published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1990.




A young boy is spooked right out of his skin when the old woman with the black cat catches him spying on her. She takes him into her home and demands that he help with the household chores. Her house is so full of creepy treasures that the boy starts imagining midnight gatherings of witches and spooks. Beautifully illustrated picture book with the story told in rhyme. 
Witch Watch; Story told by Paul Coltman illustrations by Gillian McClure. Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in 1989.
Our copy is signed by both the author and the illustrator.
Witch Watch is now sold thank you for your interest.


Two cousins spending the night in a tent in the garden decide to play the ‘scare yourself to sleep’ game. They take turns telling the scariest stories – from flying cats, to dustbin goblins and invisible men.  It all ends happily with one little girl falling fast asleep and the other little girl enjoying a midnight feast with her brother. 
Scare yourself to sleep; Story told by Rose Impey illustrations by Moira Kemp. Published by Ragged Bears in 1988.





Wizzil the witch is bored so she turns herself into a housefly and sets off to Frimp Farm to cause a little trouble. Wizzil; Story told by William Steig with illustrations by Quentin Blake. Published by Bloomsbury in 2000.
The worst witch, the worst witch strikes again and a bad spell for the worst witch - three stories in one book. Adventures of the worst witch; Story told and illustrated by Jill Murphy. Published by Viking in 1994. Wizzil and The adventures of the worst witch are now sold thank you for your interest.



Last but certainly not least a poem relating the events of a frightening evening when Granny, as a young girl, was chased by Tog the Ribber's vengeful ghost. Each picture shows a new stage in the child's panic, only partly relieved when she crosses the Fozzle ditch and frees herself from her pursuer.
Tog the ribber; Poem by Paul Coltman illustrated by Gillian McClure. Published by Andre Deutsch in 1985.
This copy of Tog the ribber is now sold, but we do have a second copy in stock - full details here

These are six of my scary favourites – do you have a favourite? 

Monday, 24 October 2011

I’m back!
Thanks to everyone who visited and left comments while I was away.

The house feels very empty now that my son and family have returned to Australia but I have lots of ideas for the blog and can’t wait to get started. It will take me a couple of days to get back into the swing of things but I hope to catch up with you all very soon.

The illustration on the left is from Joys and mysteries of childhood by Sulamith Wulfing a German artist and illustrator (1901 - 1989).

Monday, 3 October 2011




Hello, thanks for calling in. I won't be around very much over the next three weeks as my son and his family are visiting from Australia. I will be back around the 24th October and hope to see you then. 

Please feel free to leave comments or follow and I will catch up with you when I get back.

The picture on the left is from The Insect fairies written by Marion St. John Webb with illustrations by Margaret Tarrant I hope you like it. 

Book of the Week - Ann Jupp and the paper house; Marion St. John Webb


Ann Jupp's a little girl I know, she isn't very nice, 'cos everything I say I've done - she's always done it twice.
An' everything I say I've got, she's got - an' more, you see. I've seven uncles - she's got twelve, an' three more aunts than me.
We both c'llect tickets from the trams, an' her lot's more than mine. She's got more steps to her front door - I've eight, an' she's got nine.
We scrambled through a holly-bush, an' Ann got scratched to-day, an' I got scratched. "I'm scratched the most!" Of course I heard her say.
An' scratches hurt...but I don't care, 'cos now we've counted up, an' she's got six, an' I've got ten...I've four more than Ann Jupp!

I've drawed a little paper house, an' Mother's cut it out. I've drawed it with a chimley-pot, an' windows all about. I've drawed the paper people that will live inside, you see, an' little paper cups an' plates for them to have their tea.

But I have drawed the paper man too big - he's drefful tall - an' now that Mother's cut him out he won't fit in at all. His legs are in the parlour, but his face comes up so high his chin is on the chimley-pot - he's lookin' at the sky.

I wish that Aunt Priscilla could have growed as tall as that. Then when she comes to tea, an' stands upon the parlour mat, her head would be out on the roof, an' so she couldn't see an' frown when I am droppin' crumbs, an' shake her head at me.


Ann Jupp and the paper house are just two of the poems in The Littlest one's third book by Marion St. John Webb. There are several other poems including Jane and Emily Jane, fairy things, the little path I found and the London policeman. The illustrations are by Margaret W Tarrant and the book was published by George Harrap in 1928. The books in this series are getting harder to find and as this one came into stock recently I thought I would share it with you.


Marion St. John Adcock (Wood) was the elder daughter of Arthur St. John Adcock the distinguished poet and bookman. Her first book, The Littlest One, published in 1914, was enormously successful, as were her 'Mr Papingay' books. When Marion and her younger sister Almey were young they had lots of  imaginary friends - there was Minnie and Teddi Hope, Tarramina - who always wore white gloves,  Mr. Ponkin and his wife and children,  the mysterious Lady in Green who left a green finger-mark on everyone she touched, stupid Mr. Bell, and arrogant Lady Frampton who made a hobby of cutting bits off other ladies dresses! ... Read More
This book is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Autumn at Barrington Court – a bumper crop of apples and books!



According to the Royal Horticultural Society the unusually early colour on trees such as maples, hazels, liquidambar and laburnum is a response to drier soils left over from the spring. Apples and pears are ripening several weeks early, and wild fruits such as hawthorn are also ahead of schedule. Having visited Barrington Court earlier this week I think it’s fair to say autumn has definitely arrived.




The National Trust acquired Barrington Court in 1907 when it was little more than a derelict shell. It was the first major house the trust purchased and the project was almost too ambitious for such a fledgling organisation. It was leased to the Lyle family who provided the means and the vision to create the estate and the Gertrude Jekyll inspired gardens that exist today.




The house was built from locally quarried Ham Stone over a period of 22 years commencing around 1538 by the newly promoted Earl of Bridgewater. By the time the Earl died in 1548, he had fallen from grace and was bankrupt. The house then passed to William Clifton, followed by the Strode family. From around 1745 the property passed through many hands but not much in the way of records remain. 



More recently the property was used as a showroom for reproduction furniture but at the end of 2008 the rooms were emptied and now hold nothing but memories.



Echoes of the past may haunt Barrington Court but the stone-walled kitchen garden still produces a variety of wonderful fruits and vegetables, the old farm buildings host a pottery and woodcarver and the orchards provide apples for cider and apple juice.  The restaurants serve delicious meals and probably the best bit of all is a barn full of second-hand books!  Barrington Court is my idea of heaven.




A post by Claudine at Carry Us Off Books inspired me to go out and enjoy the autumn  -

If there’s Autumn in Singapore, I would enjoy watching leaves turn yellow and red; I would enjoy taking a walk in the crisp cool morning air; I would have the most fun watching stray cats attack falling leaves or leap into a stack of fallen ones. What about you guys? What is it that you and your children love about Autumn? Please tell me more, so I can better picture it in my head.

How about you?  Are you enjoying the autumn?


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