Monday, 28 October 2013

All around the house is the jet-black night

All around the house is the jet-black night
It stares through the window-pane; It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light, 
and it moves with the moving flame.

Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,with the breath of the Bogie in my hair;
And all round the candle the crooked shadows come and go marching along up the stair.

The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp, the shadow of the child that goes to bed - all the wicked shadows coming, tramp, tramp, tramp, with the black night overhead.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Featured Books; 

Carbonel by Sleigh Barbara published by Max Parrish in 1966. Carbonel is a Royal cat - and you had better not forget it! He makes it clear to Rosemary and John that they must find the missing steeple hat and cauldron before they can undo the magic spell. And that's just where the trouble, and the fun, begins! Carbonel is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Meg up the Creek by Helen Nicoll with illustrations by Jan Pienkowski, 2002. Meg, Mog and Owl head off in a canoe on a hunting trip, but it doesn’t take long for things to go wrong. First, they forget to tie up the canoe, then they can’t find anything to eat, and to make matters worse they can’t light a fire. Meg resorts to using one of her spells, managing to conjure up a Chinese dragon who lights the fire, provides them with food and flies them all safely home. Now sold, thanks for looking.

Nesta the little witch by Angela McAllister, 1990. At the School for Spells, garbled spells yield ridiculous results so would-be witches must master many things. The only student to show any promise is little Nesta but her cleverness earns the jealous of her teachers, Windbag Wartnose and Morag the Hag.  As the two cackle in the shadows they are gobbled up by a monster (a student project gone awry).  Nesta releases the teachers and helps them clean up, but not without a warning – next time she just might make a mistake “too big for a little witch to fix. Now sold, thanks for looking.

Tog the Ribber or Granny's Tale by Paul Coltman with illustrations by Gillian McClure published in 1985.  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. 

Pumpkin and Beanpole by Anita McEwen, 1996. Lift the flaps and help Pumpkin and Beanpole unwrap their surprise birthday presents. 

The Bewitched Broomsticks and other stories by Charles Duncan illustrated by A. E. Kennedy published by Faber and Faber in 1947. Nine stories including; The bewitched broomsticks, The clock that made faces, The house with laughing eyes, and Simon in the land of shadows.

Happy Halloween!

Our two little granddaughters waiting for daddy to come home from work. 

Don't open the door daddy, a baby witch is waiting to scare you!

Trick or Treat?
Update July 2016: All the books featured are now sold. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I do still blog here at March of Time Books and always appreciate your visit. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Joan in Flowerland by Margaret W. Tarrant

“Do you ever wonder where the colour goes to when the flowers die? The fairies help ’emselves to it.” 

Mr. Digswell from Joan in Flowerland

Moon Daisies

Rose Hips



Water Lilies

Hare's Foot Clover

Lady's Slipper

Dandy Puffs

Foxglove Hat Shop


Mr. Digswell tells Joan he has seen fairies “about the garden in the evening; when it's all quiet-like, but it's out in the meadow where you'll find 'em, for they loves the wild flowers best." With that Joan and her rough-haired puppy, Wiggles, head to the meadow to see if they can find them - and of course, they do!

Joan in Flowerland by Margaret W. Tarrant and Lewis Dutton first edition published by Frederick Warne in 1935. 

The little fairy on the front cover hints at something special but I was still unprepared for quite so many delights. There are fairies and elves galore in the 16 colour plates and 27 line drawings. Even the blue and white endpapers are decorated with fairies and elves. This really is a Flower Fairy Delight! 

I'm struggling to decide which of the illustrations I like best. Moon Daisies, Water Lilies and Lady’s Slipper are high on my list, but I also like Rose hips and Honeysuckle and…

Can you pick just one?

Joan in Flowerland is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

All the Fun of the (book) Fair and a Bird called Ted!

I spent Friday afternoon at a book fair. There were amazing books on offer but worryingly most were beyond my price range. Gone are the days when I could visit a prestigious fair and leave with several bags of books. It may just be that my income has gone down over the last few years, but I really don’t think that is the case. The problem is that prices have gone up and up, and rare books are getting harder to find. Many of the best books are now in private collections thereby pushing up the prices of available copies. That’s not to say I couldn't afford anything, of course I could, but not the books my heart desired.

I've wanted to update my copy of Five on Kirrin Island again for some time. I have a 1st edition with a dust jacket, but the jacket is chipped, and the pages have yellowed, not unusually for a book printed nearly 66 years ago. But, I would like a nicer copy. With that in mind I began my dash around the tables. Half way around I spied the book of my dreams – a pristine copy of Five on Kirrin Island Again. I stopped. I looked. I probably drooled a little! My hand went to my cheque book – but hang on a second – how much???   £950.00 No Way! The disappointment was crushing! The bookseller and I had a nice chat, and I bought three other books from her – but the one I really wanted was the one that got away.

I had that exact book on my bookshelf when I was a little girl! Why didn't I keep it? Why didn't I take better care of it? I have only myself to blame.  It’s true mum threw the jacket out when it got tatty and later gave the book away, but I still have only myself to blame. I got married, I moved away. I took my record collection and my matchbox collection, but I left the books on the bookshelf. They had always lived there, and I assumed they always would, but mum wanted to turn my bedroom into a nice spare room for visitors. I am almost certain there would have been a 'phone call to ask if I wanted my books, and I'm equally sure I would have said something like “why are you bothering me with this?” So I have only myself to blame.

Despite being unable to afford the Enid Blyton or a beautiful first edition copy of the lion, the witch and the wardrobe, I had a thoroughly good time. I love days spent with books and book people it recharges my batteries and reminds me of why I love my job so much.

So that was Friday...

On Saturday morning I received this postcard sent from Holland by my lovely friend the children's book author Nicole De Cock.

Nicole sent the card with a message saying she bought it from the Bakkerij Museum and liked it so much that she got one for herself and one for me! How sweet was that?

So the moral of this story is, books (although one of the loves of my life) are just possessions, what matters most is family and friends. 

Thank you for reminding me about the important things in life Nicole. And thank you to all my lovely blogging friends, my life would be much poorer without you.

Just as I was finishing this post I received the following email;

Hi I started collecting Eileen Soper china after seeing your lovely collection (see post here). I thought you might like to see Ted my orphan bird. He loves flying around the kitchen and always lands on my best china. Kind regards Janet

I was tickled pink to see the photograph of Ted and Janet's lovely collection. When I asked if I could share the picture and email, Janet  not only agreed but also sent some more photographs and another email; 

I am so glad that you like Ted. He is a Great Tit but has never grown properly. He has lived with us since he was just out of the nest. Next door found him, and they know that I take in injured birds. I'm not sure what happened to him. I don't know if his mother pushed him out of the nest early or the dog's next door got him. We have some pictures of him on the first day we got him which I will find and send you.

I didn’t think he would survive, but he has lived with us for over two years now. He even comes on holiday with us in the camper van. We go to Barra in the Outer Hebrides, and he is fine apart from cattle grids which he complains at. He doesn't like to be woken up too early either. His flying is a lot better, and he loves the kitchen, but if he can't find anywhere to land it’s always on top of my head and then he tries to pull out my hair.

He lives on ground beef mixed with hard-boiled egg yolk. That's another thing that makes him moody if he has run out of meat. He also has suet with insects in it and dried mealworms. In the summer, I try to get him leaves with greenfly on. Apart from meat, he loves cucumber; he eats the soft inside and then carries it around for most of the day.  He has a big cage on the breakfast bar where we all eat and sit and he is so much a part of everyday life. 

I just loved reading about Ted, especially about his holidays in the camper van. He must be quite the celebrity when he arrives on site. When I thanked Janet for letting me use the emails and photographs, I told her the story of an owl we picked up off the road one frosty winter night. The owl survived and spent some time flying around the house chased by our two King Charles Cavaliers before Terry had the presence of mind to open the front door and let it out. Janet then sent another email about some of the other birds she looks after;

I once found a gull at the side of the road put it in the car and came home and told my husband that there was a dead seagull in the car. He was less than impressed when he found out it had come around. It stayed in the shower overnight and was released the next day but not before it had given him a couple of bites.

We had a baby owl fall down the chimney one summer. The children woke us at three in the morning to say there was a baby owl in the chimney grate in their bedroom. Luckily, their room was at the top of the house so it had not fallen far. We came downstairs and opened the front door, and off it flew. It was years ago, and no one had mobiles with cameras then so we never got a picture. 

I have an African Grey parrot, cockatiel, finch, budgies and a canary that all need looking after. I also have a hen that I found with 11 chicks on a small piece of land just up the road from our house. I now have her and the chicks safely in a cage with a run. Plenty of work trying to keep them warm, especially yesterday. We live at the top of a hill, and the wind was terrible, so cold. I managed to wrap a tarpaulin around the run, and they were fine. Not the right time of the year for chicks but she is a good mum, so I will try to help her

Ted with a parrot feather and some very pretty nursery china

I think Janet is nothing short of an angel, thank goodness, there are such lovely people in the world.  Janet I know you are busy right now, but one of these days you should write this all down. I'm sure you would have a best-seller on your hands if you did.

The very first picture of Ted

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Doll Who Came Alive By Enys Tregarthen Part II

If you remember my post from last week, you may recall I ended at the point where Jyd and Jane ran away from home. Lots of you left comments (thank you!) but Eve over at the Desert Rocks and Stephanie from the Secret Files of Fairday Morrow said they would like to know the ending. So without further ado….

Before the angry woman can say another word, Jyd and Jane are out of the house and away….. 

A few miles along the road Jyd and Jane are met by three tiny knights dressed in silver armour riding on milk-white horses no larger than half-grown rabbits. The first of the three knights springs from his steed and kneeling in front of the doll, begins to sing “To Mistress Jane, I bend my knee; the fairest of the fair is she!” With that the knight places Jane upon his horse and leaping up behind her rides away.

Jyd is determined to rescue Jane and setting off on foot runs through the woods and along a stream and eventually arrives at a vast heap of boulders placed high on the downs overlooking the sea.

Jyd is just in time to see the knights and Jane enter the boulders and disappear. The sun is setting, and the sky is aflame with splendour. Every granite rock and every little pool of water is reflecting the glory. But Jyd sees none of it for her heart is filled with woe at the loss of her doll, and her eyes are blinded with tears. Darkness comes, and Jyd falls into a deep sleep.  She sleeps for a long time but eventually wakes and finds herself looking into the eyes of a small familiar person whose red coat is as bright as the sunrise.

Jane tells Jyd the knights took her to a world full of small people where she met the King and Queen and spent her time sweeping the dust from the sky. But however do ‘ee get up to the sky?” asked Jyd in great wonderment.  “On a beast of flight” replied Jane, “a fairy creature not easy to describe”  

“It’s a lovely country with beautiful parks full of teeny-tiny deer and horses and beast of flight and all sorts of wonderful things. There are woods with fairy trees where teeny-tiny birds sing all day long in the branches, and there are streams that make music like the birds.”

Jyd thinks here heart will break as she knows Jane will never want to give up such joys to live with her again. “Could I go back with you to the world of the small people? I would be their willing servant, wash an’ scrub, an’ do all their work.” 

To this Jane replies “The Little Folk have no need of servants.” “But I'm not going back, my dear, even though the Dinky Folk wanted me and gave me this broom to ride away on. They think a live doll is the most wonderful thing in the world next to –“  “Next to what?” asks Jyd. “Jyd Trewerry who loved her and loved her till she was alive like herself! But I’d rather live in Cornwall with you and be happy as the day is long than in the world of small people without you.”

In the previous post, I mentioned the title of the first book written by Enys Tregarthen under her other pen-name of Nellie Cornwall. I said the title was Daddy Longlegs but have since discovered the correct title is Daddy Longlegs and his White Heath Flower. The illustration on the left is the front cover of a later edition published around 1915. 

Sharon from Sharon’s sunlit memories remembers another book called Daddy Longlegs set in America. Does anyone else remember it?  The only one I can think of was written by Jean Webster, but I'm not sure if it was set in America.  I have a vague memory of an orphanage or maybe a college?

The Doll who came alive sold very quickly and is now in the safe hands of a collector of children’s books. There could be no better place, and I'm sure Jyd and Jane will live happily ever after!

Selling books is often a solitary occupation but thanks to blogging I've met lots of wonderful knowledgeable friendly people. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to call in and comment.  In the words of my niece …You Guys Are Awesome!  

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Famous Five and other Newly listed Books

My end of summer sale went really well so now it’s time to start replenishing the shelves. This is a quick preview of some of the newly listed items. 

I thought I would start with this collection of Famous Five books by Enid Blyton because they look so good on the shelf. They are from the 1950s and 60s with dust jacket art by Eileen Soper. 

I learnt to read with Janet and John, and now they’re back! Off to Play is a 1st of the new edition complete with the wraparound band. Published by Summersdale Publishers in 2007. No previous ownership marks, pages and illustrations bright. This classic early reader provides a trip down memory lane and a reading treasure to share with the children of today. 

Teddy Bear Coalman paperback edition published by Picture Puffins in 1985. Teddy Bear Coalman spends his day delivering coal on his cart, drawn by his horse that goes clippity-clop, clippity-clop!
Teddy Bear Coalman is now sold, thank you for your interest. 

Clever Bill by William Nicholson When Bill Davis gets left behind during the packing of Mary's suitcase, he decides to find his own way to Auntie's house. Hardback book with dust jacket published in 1999. Scarce. Clever Bill is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Tiddalick the Frog by Susan Nunes illustrated by Ju-Hong Chen. Long ago in the Dreamtime, there lived a gigantic frog called Tiddalick. He was so big his shadow turned day into night, so powerful his voice drowned the thunder, so heavy that a single hop shook the ground for miles around. One-day, Tiddalick drank all the fresh water in the world… Tiddalick the Frog is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Dean's A.B.C of Wild Flowers published in 1963. Colour illustrations on each page. Verses by Margaret Barr - A is for Arum, called Cuckoo Pint too; the spots on its leaves are a purplish blue. F is for Foxglove, so stately and tall, its pink flowers are seen by hedge and by wall. Dean's A.B.C of Wild Flowers is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Bertie's Escapade by Kenneth Grahame with illustrations by Ernest H Shepard. Bertie the bold black pig is roused by the church bells. It’s nearly Christmas, and the sound of the bells encourages Bertie and his friends Peter and Benjie the rabbits to try a little Carol singing. However, as Peter doesn't know many Christmas Carols and Benjie can’t sing they don’t do very well. The situation isn't improved when the owner of the first house they visit sets the dogs on them! Bertie's escapade is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Scarce early copy of Jack and Nancy written and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Picture Puffin edition published in 1974.  Jack and Nancy often listened to sailors' tales of exciting far-away places where parrots lived, and it was always hot. They longed to go and see for themselves, and one wet and windy day, when they were out with a very big umbrella...they did! Jack and Nancy is now sold, thank you for your interest.

The Happy Lion and the Bear by Louise Fatio with illustrations by Roger Duvoisin published by The Bodley Head in 1975. The happy lion and the bear is now sold, thank you for your interest.

The Pet Lamb by Johanna Spyri author of Heidi translated by M. E. Calthrop with coloured frontispiece and line drawings by Michael Ross. First edition. Eight stories, including the pet lamb, Toni the wood carver, Basti and Franz Eli, Mona the goatherd and Granny's golden rule. The Pet Lamb is now sold, thank you for your interest.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick preview. Thanks for calling in,

Update July 2016; March House Books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I'm still here at my blog, and I'm happy you are too!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Doll who Came Alive - the story of a Dutch Doll in Cornwall

Written by Enys Tregarthen, edited by Elizabeth Yates and illustrated by Nora S. Unwin.

Jyd Trewerry is a little orphan girl living with her stepmother in a small harbour town in the west of Cornwall.  One bright spring morning a sailor comes to town. Under his arm is a present for his niece but unable to find her, he gives the present and a silver penny to Jyd.

Jyd opens the parcel and inside is a wooden doll with bright-red cheeks, black hair, and blue eyes. It is a very superior doll, beautifully made, and though not the usual kind known in England, Jyd thinks it the most wonderful doll she has ever seen.

"You tender dear, you elegant!" Jyd cries. "You are the beautifullest dollie I ever saw. I'm fine an' glad you belong to me. I'll love 'ee, dear, an' I'll love 'ee till you're alive like me." So saying, she hugs the doll and hugs it, kisses it and kisses it, and holds it close to her heart.

"I'll love 'ee, my lovely, forever and a day," Jyd croons over and over to the doll. One October morning, when the sky is a radiant blue and the sparrows are hopping cheerfully about in the gutter, the doll blinks its eyes and smiles. Jyd and Jane (for that is the dollies name) soon became the best of friends. Jane learns to walk and run and play games and soon wants to see more of the world.

Jyd thinks it would be wonderful to see more of the world, but first she must carry out the sailors wishes and use the silver penny to buy a new dress for the dolly. Leaving the doll at home she takes the coin from its hiding place and goes off to buy a frock. She stops to ask an old lady where the best dolls clothes can be found. “Little ladies get their dolls’ clothes made by Miss Orange Nankelly, who lives in the corner house in Trewindle Street,” replies the woman. “But I don’t know if she will condescend to make anything for a poor child like you.” 

"Perhaps she will when I tell her 'tis for a live doll an' that I've got a silver penny to pay for 'un." 

While Jyd is helping Jane try on the new clothes her stepmother rushes in and shouts “I came half an hour agone to find a bewitched doll sitting in my chair. Now I have come to order ‘ee to put her in the fire. I won’t have a bewitched doll in my house!”

Before the angry woman can say another word, Jyd and Jane are out of the house and away. 
This is where the adventure begins, but if I tell you any more I will spoil it ...


... I can tell you it does have a happy ending!

This is such a pretty book - even the endpapers are adorable!

The British author and folklorist Enys Tregarthen (1851–1923) wrote children's stories based on legends of her native Cornwall. Born Nellie Sloggett on Dec. 29, 1851, in the tiny fishing village of Padstow, Cornwall, she suffered a devastating spinal illness at age 17 and was paralysed for the rest of her life. As a small girl, she loved to hear stories and legends, and began to write them down and tell them to the children who often came to visit her. This eventually led to the writing and publication of her first book, Daddy Longlegs under the pen-name Nellie Cornwall.  Later, she began to collect and recorded stories about the Cornish pixies and published much of her works in this category under her other pen-name of Enys Tregarthen.

The doll who came alive may well have been written in the late 1800s, but its first publication date is believed to be 1942. Elizabeth Yates, an American author, took on the job of sorting through Nellie’s papers and yellowing manuscripts, which is how this particularly story came to be published posthumously. 

The version shown here is a newer edition published in 1972.

Padstow Harbour, Cornwall, England

The Doll who came alive is now sold, thank you for your interest. 
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