Sunday, 12 June 2016

Books from my Bookshelf - Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales

This week I'm sharing another treasure from my bookshelf. When I found this almost twenty years ago it was in a very sorry state which might explain how it ended up in a charity shop. Thankfully, none of the colour plates were missing but the covers had suffered dreadfully. Covered in grime, falling apart and completely unloved I doubted it could be restored, but I needn't have worried because the book binder did an excellent job, and the book has smiled down from my bookshelf ever since! It still shows some signs of its previous history, which is perfectly fine with me. 

Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales
First published in 1913
Publisher Constable, London
Illustrations W. Heath Robinson

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Heath Robinson
The Peasant's wife at the door of her cottage reading her hymn book. 
(The Wild Swans)

Books from my Bookshelf Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales
Yes! I will go with thee, said Tommelise, and she seated herself on the birds' back. 

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
We will bring him two little ones, a brother and a sister.
(The Storks)

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson

The seventeen fairy tales are; The Marsh King’s Daughter, Tommelise, The Snow Queen, Elfin-Mount, The Little Mermaid, The Storks, The Nightingale, The Wild Swans, The Real Princess, The Red Shoes, The emperor’s New Clothes, The Swineherd, The Fling Trunk, The Leaping Match, The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweeper, The Ugly Duckling and The Naughty Boy.

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
She stood at the door and begged for a piece of barley-corn

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
Then began the Nightingale to sing
(The Nightingale)

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
Round and round they went, such whirling and twirling 

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
Suddenly a large Raven hopped upon the snow in front of her. 
(The Snow Queen)

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
"He did not come to woo her," he said "he had only come to hear the wisdom of the Princess"
(The Snow Queen)

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
The bud opened into a full blown flower, in the middle of which was a beautiful child
(The Marsh King's Daughter)

Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson
She put the statue in her garden
(The Little Mermaid)

All the images shared here are from my copy of Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales. This is just a small selection from the seventeen colour plates and more than eighty black-and-white drawings.

The Book Reader below is via Archive.Org, clicking on the link will take you to a larger more detailed version. Source:, Public Domain (Digitizing Sponsor: New York Public Library)

 Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales with illustrations by W. Heath Robinson:

Source:,Public Domain (Digitizing Sponsor: New York Public Library)

I'm going to be taking a short blogging break in a day or two, but I hope to visit all your blogs before then. I will be back at the end of July.  Thank you to everyone who visits me here, if not for you there would be no March of Time Books.

Me off on my blogging break with Terry in hot pursuit!
Hans Andersen Fairy Tales Illustrated by W Heath Robinson

I leave you with this tiny posy from my garden. I wish I could share the wonderful aromas of Lilly of the Valley, Thyme, Daisy, Saxifraga, Veronica and Forget-me-not.  I know some of you don’t like to see cut flowers, but I promise it did no harm to the plants, and they will come back bigger and better next year.

Much love, see you soon. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Aunt Rose a Guest Post by Brian Moses

Aunt Rose lived in a cottage in the Kent countryside. Just her house, the house next door, a farm down the lane, and then nothing till the village, a mile and a half away. She was a small, stoutish elderly lady and I used to stay with her for a holiday. it was a great place for a young boy. There were woods to play in where camps could be built. There were trees to climb and fields to run through. But there was one big disadvantage. Aunt Rose talked non-stop, mostly about things like knitting and jam making, things I wasn't the least bit interested in.

Aunt Rose could have talked for England. She was an Olympic winner in non-stop chat and everyone knew about her. The postman would draw up in his van. I could see him looking into Aunt Rose’s garden to see if she was about. Then when he thought she was nowhere around, he’d leave the safety of his van and scoot up the garden path. He’d push letters through the letter box and be half way to his van before she appeared. Then she’d call to him, ask him to do something for her, some little thing, anything, to keep him from getting back to his van.

Every time I stayed with Aunt Rose, there’d be a morning, when we’d wake up to find that cows had invaded her garden. The cows from the field next door had shouldered their way through a weakness in the hedge and were busily munching on her cabbages and lettuces. I’d be upstairs, looking out of my bedroom window when the door downstairs would open and little Aunt Rose in her dressing gown would appear with a tea towel in her hand. Then she’d hurtle down the garden towards the cows flapping the tea towel till it cracked like a whip. She’d bring this down on the backs of the cows but they didn't seem to feel a thing. They were far too interested in her home grown vegetables. For a few minutes she’d yell like crazy and slap down her tea towel on each cow in turn, but nothing stopped them. Next she would come back to the house and carry on alternately muttering and yelling while she got dressed and left the house to walk down the lane and tell the farmer to remove his cows from her garden. She had no phone so she couldn't ring him but it did seem strange to me that the slapping with the tea towel was a ritual that had to be attempted before she’d go and fetch the farmer.

By far the very worst thing about staying with Aunt Rose was her outdoor toilet. It was really just a wooden box in a shed. Inside the box was a bucket.  A round hole had been cut into the top of the box and there you had to sit until what was needed to be done had been done. For someone used to an indoor bathroom with a flushing toilet this was all too primitive for me. Occasionally it crossed my mind that someone had to empty the contents of the bucket when it got too full but I quickly moved away from that thought. All I knew was that it sure wasn't going to be me!

Equally worrying were the spiders. As I sat in the shed I was aware that all around me, hanging from corners and crevices, there were spider webs. And where there were webs, there had to be spiders! I wasn't terrified of spiders, but I wasn't too fond of the larger ones. In the semi-darkness I convinced myself that there were eyes watching me, small pinpricks of red in the gloom. Worse still were the ones behind me, the ones I couldn't see and who were probably ganging up and planning a mass bungee jump the next time I entered their territory.

At night, of course, the house was locked up. There was no way to get to the toilet outside, even if I was brave enough to risk it. There was, however, a pot beneath the bed - a 'po', as Aunt Rose called it, or a ‘gazunder’ (because it goes under the bed!) If I woke in the night and knew I couldn't get back to sleep unless I had a pee, that was where it had to be done. I hated it. I’d be desperately hoping that I could get back to sleep without using it, but many times I couldn't. And there it had to sit, beneath the bed, for the rest of the night. I was then supposed to carry the pot and its contents down Aunt Rose’s  narrow, twisty staircase and out to the toilet in the shed. No way was I going to do that! I knew what would happen when I tried to get down her stairs one-handed. I would be sure to slip and the contents of the pot would cascade all over me. There had to be a better solution.

So every morning when I woke, I opened my bedroom window, grabbed the pot and emptied its contents onto the flower bed beneath. I wasn't doing anything wrong, just following on from all those people in history who used to do the same thing. But they had emptied theirs out into the street and often over some unfortunate passer by. At least all I was doing was watering the flowers. “Strange,” Aunt Rose remarked one particularly dry summer, “Those delphiniums under your window are looking very healthy.” I'm sure she knew what I was doing, but for once she kept quiet!

Keeping clear of Paradise Street Brian Moses
Aunt Rose is an extract from Keeping Clear of Paradise Street; A Seaside Childhood in the 1950s by Brian Moses. Brian has published over 200 books for children and teachers and has been a professional children’s poet for 28 years.

He wrote this his childhood memoir in response to questions asked by the children during school visits.  He would tell them;

When I was a boy we only had black and white television, and that only had two channels: BBC and ITV. If we wanted to change channels we had to get up out of our seats as there were no remotes. We had no computers, no mobile phones, no Internet, no Playstations, No Xboxes, no X Factor, no DVDs, no iPods, no shopping malls, no pizzas, no MacDonalds... How did we survive?

If you would like to connect with Brian, please visit him at If you are interested in purchasing any of his books you will find all the necessary information on the website.

Brian hopes Keeping Clear of Paradise Street will be a crossover book in that adults who had their childhoods in the 1950s and ‘60s will enjoy the memories and find something to spark their own memories.

It certainly sparked memories for me. I read the extract and responded to Brian as follows;
The cows in the garden had me spluttering into my morning cup of tea – I remember it so well!  Only with me, it was my mum, tea towel in hand shouting and hollering as the cows trampled her prize Dahlias. We lived right next to the Dutch barn and cow sheds, so she only had to run to the yard (assuming the men were not all away in the fields) but even so, those cows could cause some damage!

If you enjoyed this post and would like to leave a comment about your own childhood memories or anything else, please do.  Your comments are always welcome.  

I received no financial compensation for sharing the above post and have no material connection to the brands or products mentioned.  

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