When I were a lass *Hovis Music* ... I remember, we weren't spoiled as kids. We had gifts at Christmases and Birthdays and so the treats in between were really special to my brother and I. I was a bookworm as a child, I still am to an extent, but back then I would choose reading above anything, playing with toys, watching TV, playing outside. As a result, my Mother bought me the hardback range of Enid Blyton's books. I think she bought me one a month, and I would so look forward to receiving those books. Vicariously, I flew on a magic rocking chair to far away lands. I lived on a farm. I was a performer in the circus. The fact these books had been written in the 1930's and 1940's did little to dampen my spirit. I loved my books. The Famous Five books and Secret Seven books I would pick up with my pocket money at Coffee Mornings that were all the rage in the 1980's.
I remember hearing some vague discussion some years back about Enid's books being 'politically corrected' and re-edited and tampered with. I was mildly cross, wondering to myself if anything was sacred anymore. I didn't get the full story...
After passing the books down to my cousin, on the premise they were looked after and returned to me, my Mother gave me the set of books. The children's curiosity in this large pile of new, unread books grew. A spark was lit in me, as I remembered my absolute favourites of the books - and what better way to re-read kids literature again than - to a kid? That was decided. All three children on the bottom bunk, gathered round, snug in their pyjamas, ready to make a start on 'The Enchanted Wood'. I could still remember Moonface and his slippery slip slide from his house to the bottom of the tree, Silky the fairy with the long golden hair. Watsisname. The quite deaf Saucepan Man. And of course, the Angry Pixie. As if it was yesterday. A time of innocence and wonder... I picture myself reading to my three angelic, pyjamaed angels, cheeks rosy, eyes wide as I relay these magical tales to them, stretching their imaginations to the limit, knowing that they too wished, as I did once, that they had a magical tree, with different lands on the top every few days, and that they could go too.
Anyone know where I'm leading with this tale yet?
I'm barely into the story and the peals of laughter start. From the moment I introduce Jo, Bessie and Fanny to the children. USA - are you sniggering? Well if you are, I can tell you that UK over there, with her hands over her face shaking her head - she ain't laughing! UK is mortified. Because it might be slang for 'butt' where you're from, but where I'm from? It's a slang term for a lady's... nether regions. Vagina. Is everyone cringing from the same hymn sheet? Good.
I press on, unabashed. I tried for ten minutes, ten whole minutes, to get past this issue. In the end, they were crying with mirth, I was crying with frustration.
Child 2- 'Mum? Why did they call her that name? It's a swear word.'
Me - 'It's not a swear word, it's slang for... you know... girls... twinkles (our family name of choice for... you know... fannies).
Child 3 - 'Still, it's not nice really, the author should have given more thought to it.' (You think?)
The only small mercy was, that I didn't get past this issue for their cousin to be introduced in the sequel. This is their cousin DICK, by the way. That would have been seven shades of fun! Seemingly now, Jo, Bessie and Fanny are now Jo, Beth and Frannie - and cousin Dick? He's now Rick. I think I may need to invest in a later reprint...
Frazzled Shell - out!