Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Sea of Adventure and Another Candle on my Birth Year Cake

The Birth Year Reading Challenge  is proving more difficult than I Imagined, and the fault is entirely mine! "I’m just going to pop out and find forty books written by Enid Blyton in 1948" sounded OK when I said it. That was three months ago and how many have I found? None, nil, nada, zero, not one! I've found plenty of reprints, oodles of paperbacks, and some hardbacks without dust jackets but that's not what I’m looking for. I'm trying to find hardback first editions with dust jackets. It's not a lot to ask is it? 😉 If I had heaps of cash I could probably buy most of them online, but I don't have that kind of money, and besides it would spoil the excitement.
Enid Blyton all eight books in the Adventure Series
All eight books in the adventure series
It's lucky I had two of the books on my shelves when I joined the challenge otherwise I would have nothing to write about. Today I'm going to share The Sea of Adventure, which is the second of the two books already on my shelf. The other one is Five Go Off to Camp which you can read about here



There are eight books in The Adventure Series, and they all feature the same four children: Philip, Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann, along with several adults and a pet parrot by the name of Kiki. 

Enid Blyton The Sea of Adventure


In The Sea of Adventure Philip, Dinah, Jack and Lucy-Ann are recovering from a nasty bout of measles when their mother is also taken ill. Unable to look after the children she decides they must go on holiday. When the planned trip falls through the four children are horribly disappointed. However, that quickly changes when Bill Smugs turns up in the middle of the night. Hearing that Bill needs to go into hiding for a while, they persuade him to take them bird-watching in the remote islands north of Scotland. Naturally enough the children stumble upon a sinister plot and when Bill disappears, the children are left to try to find and out what is going on and also rescue Bill.

Enid Blyton never fails to pack excitement and mystery into her stories, and once again I was not disappointed.  You do have to suspend belief from time from time. For instance, why would anyone allow four children to go off on holiday with someone who needs to go into hiding? The children (and a parrot) provide a good smoke screen for Bill, but it could all have ended disastrously!  I read these books as a child and not once did I consider how implausible some of the plots are. I’m older and maybe even a little wiser now so I read from a different perspective, but it doesn’t spoil my enjoyment.




Enid Blyton The Sea of Adventure
Enid Blyton
The Sea of Adventure
1st Edition
Published by Macmillan in 1948
Hardback with Dust Jacket
Illustrations by Stuart Tresilian
321 pages

There are eight original books in the Adventure Series written between 1944 and 1955. They are: The Island of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure, The Valley of Adventure, The Sea of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure, The Ship of Adventure, The Circus of Adventure and the River of Adventure. I’m lucky enough to have them all in my collection.



According to Collecting Children’s Books (Diamond Publishing Group - third edition 2007) Enid Byton is the most successful British children’s author of the twentieth century. Born: Enid Mary Blyton in London on 11th August 1897, and spent her childhood in the suburb of Beckenham. After school, studied to be a kindergarten teacher, at the same time submitting verses and stories to various magazines, including Teachers’ World. Her first book, a volume of poems entitled Child Whispers, was published in 1922, and was followed by The Enid Blyton Book of Fairies (1924), Sunny Stories for Little Folk (1926), and countless other works. Best known for the ‘Famous Five' (1942 onwards), and ‘Secret Seven’ (1949 onwards) series, and the phenomenally popular ‘Noddy’ books (1949 onwards). Died: 1968. 


Have you ever set yourself an impossible task?  Would you keep going or admit defeat?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terry and I had the pleasure of Meeting Willy Wine last week. Lots of you know Willie from the comments he leaves around the web, but if you are yet to make his acquaintance why not pay a visit to his blog. After a couple of cups of coffee and lots of laughter we said goodbye to Willie and went on to a Vintage Fair at the Corn Exchange in Blandford;


Needles to say I came home with a couple of vintage books which I will tell you about in a future post.











This image is from Vintage in the Town at Facebook - click the link for more details



I just want to end by thanking Willie for the fun, and for this amazing card which I couldn’t wait to share with you all. Thanks Willie!


63 comments:

  1. I was very surprised after reading and loving her books to learn that Enid Blyton wasn't a supportive and caring mother.
    I have indeed seen Willie's comment around the blogosphere, and have been privileged to see some of the video clips he has shared. How lucky you were to meet him - and it looked like a truly wonderful day.

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    1. I’ve read that too, but I wouldn't like to say how true it is. She certainly put a lot of time and effort into writing so perhaps that was part of the problem. It’s a shame she is not around to put her side of the story.
      We’ve talked about it on and off for a couple of years so meeting Willie at last was a real treat.

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  2. Barbara, I absolutely love this post and thoroughly enjoyed your photos! And what a lovely card from Willie! :)

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    1. Hello Linda, I didn’t even know you could get cards like that – trust Willie to find just the right thing. Glad you enjoyed the post and photos.

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  3. Meeting Me! Goodness! You wait till you get
    the 'Bill' Barbara...! HeHe! :)))).

    It's amazing how some of Blyton's books have
    increased in value...like many things l suppose!
    Come to think of it...l must be worth a few bob by
    now! :). And..l do have my own 'Dust~Jacket'.

    And, l have some well known books from my year....
    1) The Diary Of a Young Girl..Anne Frank.
    2) Doctor Faustus..Thomas Mann.
    3) Streetcar Named Desire..Tennesee Williams.

    And, finally..NEVER give up on any task, no
    matter how BIG or small...Grab it by the throat,
    and, see it through...
    "When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

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    1. Haha Willie you could start charging appearance fees – you would make a fortune. Your ‘dust jacket’ is pink and of exceptionally fine cloth, and you were born in a very good year if those three books are anything to go by!

      You do find the BEST poems Willie. I'm going to remember that one and quote it often. :-)

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    2. I was just having a lazy half hour, lemon tea
      and all...And, found these 10 facts about Enid
      Blyton....

      1. Enid Blyton was born in East Dulwich in 1897.
      2. She was a head girl at her school.
      3. She used to write her books using a typewriter sat on her lap. She claimed to never plan anything, but simply let her imagination run wild...
      4. Blyton was able to write 10,000 words a day.
      5. She used to use the pen~name Mary Pollock.
      6. She wrote over 600 children's books during her lifetime.
      7. Her books have sold over 600 million copies.
      8. Her first poem - 'Have You?' - was published in Nash's Magazine in 1918.
      9. Blyton's stories tended to fall in one of three categories: adventure (Famous Five); boarding school (The Naughtiest Girl); and magical fantasy (The Magic Faraway Tree).
      10. Enid Blyton was played by Helena Bonham Carter in a 2009 film about her life.

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    3. Thanks for that Willie. I’ve seen photographs of her with a typewriter on her lap but how she managed to write 10,000 words a day is beyond me. I’ve still not seen the film with Helena Bonham Carter. I really must rectify that.
      Sorry it took a while to reply to your comment, we spent the day in Salisbury, lunch etc., and then on to the theatre. Jolly nice it was too (that’s me speaking in my best Enid Blyton voice).

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  4. This is the first I'd heard of this challenge. It sounds very interesting! I love vintage books and have a few of my own. I checked and there were a number published in my book year - Horton Hears a Who!, The Little Red Hen, and a few by Enid Blyton, which, sorry to say, I had never heard of. I enjoyed your post!

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    1. Hello Janet,
      It’s the first time I’ve joined the challenge, and I’m enjoying it but if I do it again I will make it a little easier for myself. There is a lot more about it over at the Hotchpot café here https://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/birth-year-reading-challenge-2017.html You don’t have to stick with children’s books just anything published in the year of your birth.

      I think Enid Blyton was a particularly British phenomenon which would explain why you’ve not come across her before. Her books are all being published again at the moment with ‘politically incorrect’ content removed, which is a shame in some ways but probably makes them more suitable for the times. I love Horton Hears a Who but only heard about it many years after it was first published.

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  5. What a fabulous collection of book covers in these treasures. They're gorgeous. And I have to have to say that the vintage market had me gaping with all the wonderful treasures. I'm not sure I could contain myself!

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    1. Hello Jeanie, it was a lovely fair, and I had a great deal of trouble to keep any money in my purse! Books and pretty things are always a temptation for me.

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  6. Love this post! Do not give up, dear Barbara! You never know when you will stumble upon a Treasure Trove... Meeting Willie sounds a real treat. The photos from the Blandford Vintage Fair are making me feel very nostalgic... Sending you a big hug and cheering you on in your quest!

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    1. Thank you so much Colleen, it is a bit dispiriting, but I will keep trying. Gone are the days when books like this were easily found, these days they are only readily available online. It’s a shame you don’t live closer as you would have enjoyed the fair and meeting Willie. Thank you for the hug I’m sending one right back to you.

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    2. I used to love going to Blandford!I was fascinated by the Cornmarket and of course i found many books to buy. I am so enjoying the posts you exchange with Willie!! Perhaps someday I will revisit my old haunts from my bookselling days. We must have crossed paths or just missed each other over the years.You always inspire me to appreciate my collection of books-and sometimes add to it! I really need to search for a nicer copy of Lorna Doone...

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    3. Hello Colleen, we moved here twenty years ago so if you were around then it’s likely our paths would have crossed. Do you remember the auction in Blandford? It used to be a wonderful hunting ground, and much of my original stock came from there. They closed down a few years ago, but the bookshop in the high street is still going strong. They sell a lot of new books these days, and the place has been smartened up. I so much preferred it when there were boxes and piles of old books, they still have a few, but they are shelved now (mores the pity).
      I really hope you do revisit. It would be wonderful to meet you, and we might be able to get Willie to join is.
      Good luck with your search I do hope you find a nice copy.

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  7. Barbara, this is a beautiful post! I love and adore everything about it! I have never read or heard of this series that you posted about but I will definitely keep my eyes open when I am garage sale browsing this summer :)
    Love the Vintage Fair photos! Now that's my idea of heaven!
    I try never to give up on a project but I might push it to the back burner for a time.
    Have a wonderful day 🌞

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    1. It is really kind of you to say so Jan, thank you. I LOVE garage sales and hope to visit a few this summer. I might have to give up looking when winter comes but not until then – watch this space and thanks for coming over. Hugs Barbara

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  8. Okay, now I'm going to have to look into Enid Blyton. I'm not familiar with her, but it sounds like she's worthy of a look-see. I have quite a few books on my kindle by Edith Nesbit so I'd like to add some Blyton. Love the covers and illustrations in her books!

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    1. Hello Bish, The Famous Five books are my favorites closely followed by the Adventure series. I think you will enjoy them, but you need to be prepared for some outdated ideas in the original stories. The newly printed ones have been sanitized, but I’m old-fashioned and like to read them as Enid Blyton intended.

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  9. I always loved Enid Blyton as a kid, and later, when I was teaching, my pupils loved them just as much. Have a great day, hugs, Valerie

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    1. It’s always nice to meet a fellow fan! Hugs back, Barbara

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  10. Glad you got to spend some time with a blogger buddy.
    I'm sure you could drop some serious cash buying the books online. Hope you manage to find more.

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    1. Hi Alex, it was a fun get together.
      Very serious cash I fear.
      Thanks for coming over, Barbara

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  11. Hi Barbara, sounds like you've had another grand adventure! Your vintage pictures are so much fun to see and I love how you chose to review "The Sea of Adventure." When you first introduced me to Enid, this particular title was the one I added to my 'to read' list (I've just realized I should add it on Goodreads, too, to make sure I don't forget). Anyways, I've enjoyed learning more about the series and I really like how you photographed the books against the seaside scenes. Another great post! :)

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    1. Hi Marcia, to be honest I really struggled with this post. I quickly ran out of things to say and kept chopping bits out and adding other bits in. Your encouragement is always appreciated but never more than this week, thank you.

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  12. Reading your blog post took me back to my youth ... I used to read, and read the Enid Blyton books, I had book shelves full of them ... just wish I had kept them.
    What is so lovely is the grand-children now enjoy her stories.
    Magic!

    Pleased you were able to spend time with a fellow blogger.

    All the best Jan

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    1. So did I Jan and I didn’t keep mine either, which I so regret. It’s fun trying to find them again but also rather costly. :)
      I hope you are having a lovely week, Barbara

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  13. Hello Barbara, WoW !!! LUcky you ... getting to meet Willie in person!! How wonderful. I would love to have been at your table sharing in the friendship & the laughter. That is a beautiful card he has gifted you for sure. And that Vintage Fair looked amazing too ... I can spy lots of things I think might've come home with me. Have a great week Barbara.

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    1. What a shame you couldn’t come too Julie, it was a lot of fun, and the fair was lovely. Willie tells me there is another fair in September – you just need to hop on a flight. :-)

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  14. I believe I read the Sea of Adventure by Enid Blyton as a child. I got it out of the library. I loved it and it made me want to go to Great Briton. I sometimes get comments from adults about my books, that they are unbelievable as who would let their children go off alone like that. But I enjoyed reading books like that myself and so do today's kids. How believable is a child wizard capable of defeating someone bent on destroying the world?? Books should be a tad unbelievable to be entertaining. So great you got to meet Willie. I am sure he is as much fun in person as on the page.

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    1. I had never looked at it like that Darlene, but you are absolutely right. I’ve read two of your books (so far) and really enjoyed them both and part of the reason for that is because the children do go off on their own. Reading your books is rather like returning to my childhood only the children in your stories have better adventures than I did!

      It was lovely to meet Willie and not be disappointed. He is hilariously funny, ever so slightly naughty but with a really kind heart, just as you would expect.

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  15. Dearest Barbara, HELLO!!!!!! First of all, I could spend all summer just reading and perusing every single book you share, and that darling display with the seaside....it makes me want to plunge into summer NOW! That would be a great challenge indeed, to read what books were published in 1958, for me, but to find them, that's the trick!

    Wishing you a brilliant week. Spring has come your way yet?

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    1. Hello Anita, thank you as always for your very sweet words. We’ve had March winds followed by very few April showers and now masses of May flowers, so I can safely say spring has arrived and summer can’t be far away.

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  16. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when you met Willie!

    I've been up to Scotland to do a couple of school visits and I'm pleased to say that many of the children I spoke to read Enid Blyton, so the books are still popular.

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    1. I know what you mean about being a fly on the wall, but it would have been more fun had you joined us for coffee. :-)

      It’s amazing how Enid Blyton’s popularity has endured considering the number of people who knock her writing. Her books have been endlessly sanitised, but the essence of the stories remains.

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  17. Oh you got to meet Willie! That had to be a fun meeting.
    Wishing you luck on your book hunt. They'll probably turn up at an unexpected time and place.

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    1. It was brilliant fun Sandra! I hope you are right about the books turning up. It does sometimes happen so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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  18. I admit to almost signing up for this challenge but had thought it might prove more difficult than it first appeared. Good luck with your search.

    Oh my goodness, just what I could do with. Tired of being even more confined to the house than I previously, Mr T has promised me fish n chips at the seaside and a visit to my favourite craft market. In the meantime I'll browse through the goodies you feature here.

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    1. Thanks Tracy. I made it unnecessarily difficult by deciding to stick with books by one author and then deciding I wanted to find 1st editions, so it rather serves me right.
      Fish and chips at the seaside will be perfect, enjoy and have fun at the craft market.

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  19. Hey! I am new at your blog (: I am following you now(;
    I hope you can visit mine and follow me back (; Have a good day!

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  20. That's very kind of you, thank you. I will be over for a visit very soon. Barbara

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  21. Dear Barbara,

    There is something so lovely about old books and I have some of my mothers old books when she was young.
    I used to love reading all the old Enid Blyton books.
    Many thanks for the kind visit and note you left me.
    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Hello Carolyn, it must be lovely to have some of your mother’s old books. There is something very special about books handed down through a family.
      Thanks for coming over, have a lovely weekend and enjoy your holiday.
      Hugs, Barbara

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    2. Thanks for sharing about all these book!

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    3. My pleasure Nasreen, thanks for taking a look.

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  22. Oh, wow! Lovely old books! I love going through old books if I find some.

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    1. Me too, I love the feel of them in my hands.

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  23. Wait. The mom gets sick and sends her kids off on holiday? What a wonderful idea! And purely fictional. Love the illustrations on these older books.

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    1. It made me laugh when I read it, not only did she send the kids away she also had a friend move in to look after her. They knew how to do things right back then!
      Mind you my mum would have been amused by it too. She had three kids to bring up and never once sent us away or had anyone to look after them or her so yes purely fiction.

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  24. I remember those adventure books and I used to love the parrot in it. You are lucky to have at least the two first editions. I can imagine they would not be easy to find. Love this post of yours. How lovely that you got to go to the vintage fair. It looks like a fair I would never want to leave there seem to be so many interesting things. Look forward to seeing your new books that you bought.

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    1. Hi Shashi, I’m sure you would have loved the fair! The vintage material, ribbons, buttons, etc., were so pretty and would probably be useful for your doll making. I like looking at all those things, but I mostly search for vintage postcards and old books. Actually, I just like going irrespective of if I buy anything or not. It’s my kind of heaven!

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  25. I love the photos from the vintage fair. And that first photo of the Blyton books, with the ocean backdrop... (I have a dream of living in some maritime community one day - not sure if it's practical to work towards it, but it's something I keep in the back of my head.) The Birth Year challenge sounds interesting but I can see how it's tough. Thank you for sharing the books you have found so far.

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    1. It’s always good to have something to aim for, keep dreaming about the maritime community, and one day you will find yourself there. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thanks for taking the time to come over.

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  26. What a nice review! This sounds like a fun book as long as you don't engage the logical side of your brain too much . . . and can skim over those implausibilities and simply enjoy the story. That's kind of how I feel about vintage goods, too: they always have a few bumps and bruises, but I just try not to look too closely while concentrating on the positive.

    Thanks for saying such nice things about the Birth Year Reading Challenge. We do have fun with it, although your ambitious goal may be taking some of the sheer fun away (I hope not too much of that!).

    Your candle is shining brightly, and my apologies for the delay in lighting it. We were traveling and I fell behind on my updates. Thanks for your patience.

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    1. I hope you had a fun time on your travels, maybe you will blog about it?

      Thank you for lighting my candle! You are quite right about bumps and bruises on vintage things – I’ve got a few of those myself. :)

      I am having enormous fun with the challenge, and I’m sure I will find one or two of the books on my list.


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  27. How nice that you got to meet a blog friend! That sounds like such fun and the rest of the day looks like it was interesting too.

    Your challenge does sound difficult. Wishing you have an amazing find soon that helps you along with it. :)

    A student recently asked me for The Faraway Tree because their brother read it and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don't have it in my school library, but I told them I would look for a copy or that I would try to buy a copy online. :)

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    1. Hi Stephanie,

      It was a lovely day and meeting Willie was a lot of fun.

      Re The Faraway Tree you are bound to find copies of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series at abe books (www.abebooks.com).

      There are three main titles in the series

      The Enchanted Wood
      The Magic Faraway Tree
      The Folk of the Faraway

      They is also a one off picture book called

      Up the Faraway Tree

      All of them have been republished many times, in both hardback and softback.

      Good luck with your search, Barbara

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  28. I love the card from Willie! How nice to meet someone from blog land! I love the vintage fair! Good luck with the books! They look great! Big Hugs!

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    1. I'm so chuffed with the card but had no idea they were even available. Willie said there was only one in the shop, which is a shame because I would have bought them for all my blogging friends.

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  29. Hello my dear Barbara,

    Ah, our beloved Enid. :) What would we have become without her stories as company in childhood? I read Stephanie's comment up there about one of her students requesting for a Faraway Tree book and am thrilled. I hope the Enid tradition lives on, or someone in the TV industry decides to create a series of one of her series one day. (Though I am also curious how children of this generation would find Enid's stories, our times and needs being so different.)

    Glad to hear you and Terry met up with Willie. I've enjoyed his funny comments and hope he is doing very well! Well done on more triumphs at the Vintage Fair.

    By the way, Barbara, the painting of the sea and beach huts behind your Enid Blyton books is gorgeous.

    Stay well, and I'll visit again soon. (I love your blog. It's perfectly you. Just like you are perfectly you.)

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  30. Oh, so nice you met your blogger friend - Willie, always leaves long and great comments...Well done!
    Actually, I'm meeting this June, two blogger friends who are visiting Geneva (I'm so excited).
    Barbara, thank you for sharing such a lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed your photos!

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    1. I’m sure you will have fun with your blogging friends. I was so excited to meet Willie and really enjoyed it. His comments are always the highlight of my day and he is JUST the same when you meet him. Hugs Barbara

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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