Saturday, 15 September 2012

Holidays again! What bliss!!!

Dear Anne,

Holidays again! What bliss!!! It doesn't seem possible that Christmas is here again already. This time in three days we shall probably be feeling full up of Christmas dinner and deciding that we shall never look a piece of Christmas Pudding in the face again. What a boring letter!  Did you see the film on B.B.C at 3.25 Saturday afternoon?

I have now got all my Christmas presents and am left with the sum of 1/2d + 1 1/2d stamp which will go on this letter to you leaving me with a ha'penny. What a daft word ha'penny is! I don't even know how you spell it. I got so fed up with Dad's Christmas present problem that I asked mummy to get it for me as she knows what he wants. She rolled home with a pair of braces! They're not too bad but they've got the most ghastly pattern on them that you ever saw.

On Thursday we set off for Manchester and stay there until 31st Dec. I don't have much news at the moment so please write soon. Merry Christmas Gillian.

Found in:

The adventures of the wishing-chair by Enid Blyton is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Does anyone remember ha’pennies? I’ve got a box full of old coins in the loft many of them are ha'pennies, but my favourites are the threepenny bits with the Tudor portcullis design, and the pretty little farthings decorated with a Wren. (With thanks to Percy for pointing out my mistake - see comments)

What about shove-ha’penny does anyone remember playing it? Christmas was always my favourite time of the year.  That’s when the shove-ha-penny board, the card games and the roulette wheel would be taken out of the cupboard, and we would all sit down to play. Sometimes we used matchsticks for money, but as we got older, we were allowed to use the ‘real’ thing! Being the smallest I nearly always lost, but it didn’t matter, the joy of being with the ‘grown ups’ outweighed any upset at losing my pocket money.


  1. This has to be your best yet!(Oh! Sorry, hello Barbara). What a cracking read, you took me back to so many christmas's past. Ha'penny, yes! Shove-ha'penny, been there done that! Over eating at christmas.....seems I never learn! Now coinage...Could never understand why half-a-crown was never called a tiara! Now, if I may make so bold as I have no old coins as proof, I question your choice of bird on the farthing. Was it not the Wren as that was/is the smallest british bird (give or take a Goldcrest or two) so apt for the smallest coin. [I will stand or sit to be corrected! {Gently}]. Seriously a lovely read, how or what inspires you so?

  2. Hello Percy, Absolutely! Wren not Robin, I’m going to change the post right now. I should have got the coins out of the loft first.
    Thanks for making me laugh – a tiara indeed!

  3. Never really got over my dislike of old coins after swallowing the sixpence in the Christmas cake when I was seven. The coming back out part wasn't pleasant either.
    A lovely post as usual.

  4. Guess who's blushing! Your'e so kind. Again, what is your secret to such fascinating writing? Whatever I could use some..........

  5. Oh Roger, what a shame! My mum used to wrap the sixpences in a big ‘wodge’ of greaseproof paper, disgusting if eaten but harder to swallow & easier to pass!

  6. Now I’m blushing! I wish I could agree with you about the fascinating writing – but I know for a fact you are just being kind! I do get a bit carried away with things and probably embarrass myself with the number of mistakes made, but if you and other people are enjoying it, then I guess that’s all that really matters.

  7. What a fun letter! And yes, I do vaguely remember ha'pennies. Whenever my dad brought me to England to visit his family, I was given some money for spending. I remember that a nice bag of licorice all-sorts didn't cost a whole lot at the Woolworth's in Newport, Isle of Wight back then. And I stil have my Churchill half crown.

    I don't remember shove-ha'penny, but I do remember playing Casino for matchsticks as a young child. Memories - aren't they great. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us.

  8. What a cute letter (the scary thing is that Christmas really will be upon us before we know it!)

    Seeing this book made me think of one again I've been curious to try to find - I'm not sure if it was Enid Blyton but from my recollection it is her kind of story - a group of children find a kind of pavilion (like a folly I think) in a forest/or in a wooded area on an island. My recollection if it is so woolly but I can remember loving the story - does it ring any bells with you?

  9. I love the letter that you found. It is so magical to find these treasures in books! I have always heard of ha'pennies, but don't think I have ever seen one. The game you played with them sounds so fun!

  10. I agree, the letter was adorable! Like Jess, I've always heard of ha'pennies (or read about them in books, same for farthings) but haven't seen one. It's unfair that the youngest often lost at games (my youngest sister did, too) but I love how you enjoyed your Christmas playing games and using matchsticks as stakes.

    And oh, THE wishing chair ~ wings sprouting and flapping whenever an adventure called. My sisters, cousins and I had so much fun pretending our grandpa's old rocking chair was the magical chair.

  11. What a sweet, sweet letter! We just don't write like that anymore. As for ha'pennies, I never played the game, but I remember a song with that in it.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing that Alex, Woolworth’s and licorice all-sorts – sounds like the perfect memory to me!

  13. So cute-the letter about Christmas in The Wishing Chair. Perfect.
    ...and if you haven't got a ha'penny well God Bless you!

  14. Hello Sharon, it certainly sounds as though it could be an Enid Blyton. The problem is so many of her stories revolve around children, woods and follies. One that springs to mind is the mystery of the hidden house. The story revolves around Mr. Goon's nephew, Ern, who disappears on the road to "Harry's Folly." I think Harry’s folly is located in Bourne Woods. Does any of that ring any bells?

    I hate to say this but Christmas really is just around the corner! Not that I don’t like Christmas, I do, but there is just so much to do before then!

  15. Hello Jess, I enjoy finding letters, inscriptions or anything else (other than insects!). I think it adds a whole layer of history. It’s also really nice to be able to share them.

  16. Hello Claudine, I’m giving my age away talking about ha’pennies and farthings! They are lovely memories, though so I don’t really mind.
    I can just imagine you all playing a game involving your grandpa’s old rocking chair – what fun that must have been.

  17. Hello Donna, I remember a song about pennies from heaven but not one about ha’pennies. I am going to have to think about that. Thanks so much for your comment.

  18. Of course, that must be the rhyme/song Donna was referring to, God Bless you for refreshing my memory!

    Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat.
    Please to put a penny in the old man's hat;
    If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do,
    If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

  19. Hi Barbara. Well that was another mundane monday! Well almost as its gone 2230 now. You certainly stirred some memories for folk with that letter. The book looks interesting too with such an intiguing title.
    I know a Christmas story all about geese getting fat. But us is having turkey so us won't have none of that............Ho Hum

  20. Hello,

    Dropped in from Blogging Books Forum. I've followed you via GFC. While browsing your site I had a virtual flashback! Enid Blyton books and the Someone poem! OMG! I recited that poem no less than 11 times as a child and I never met an Enid Blyton book that I didn't love. Too bad when I moved to the USA at 13, they weren't to be found over here.

    Fabulous site. Keep up the great work!


  21. Hi Percy, it’s a great book with a lovely story, but it’s sold now, so I won’t be able to finish reading it!
    I’m not sure what we will be having for Christmas lunch, but I do know it will be a beach barbeque – so probably fish!

  22. Hello Dee, thanks so much for visiting and following. I love the someone poem and Enid Blyton! How sad that you couldn’t get the books once you moved to the US, I grew up reading Enid Blyton and would have been heartbroken.
    Thanks for your lovely comment, Barbara.
    PS I've followed you back.


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Barbara xx