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Lashings and lashings of nostalgia

The reopening of our lovely library has given me the perfect excuse to read a few well-loved books that I don’t own (or do but they are up in my parent’s attic). So for the past few days I have been revisiting Enid Blyton’s The Castle of Adventure (MacMillan).

My library copy of The Castle of Adventure

Personally I have always though that the Enid Blyton cliches such as “lashings and lashings of ginger beer” etc… were a little unfair. They were certainly not the most prominent memories I had of reading her books. I always seem to remember, excitement, adventure, magic, tension, bravery, friendship, absent parents, smugglers, caves, castles, loyal and unusual pets – you get the picture. However, re-reading as an adult, I’ve discovered an awful lot of ginger beer and tins of peaches in my book!

My favourite example in The Castle of Adventure was after Jack and Philip have helped Bill Smugs and his gang capture a couple of baddies and they are sitting in a secret underground room waiting for a terrible storm to pass. They decide they are hungry tuck into some of the food that the baddies had been storing for themselves. So from pages 141 and 142:

“Jack and Philip examined the tins. They chose one tin of spice meat, one tin of tongue and two of peaches.”

The boys feasted on ginger beer and lemonade, both of which were there too.”

Isn’t it a wonderful coincidence that the bad guys happened to have all the same kinds of foods that the boys themselves would normally picnic on (apart from biscuits of course). Can you imagine seeing “one tin of tongue” as something to feast on in a children’s book these days? Food and drink is so important in kid’s books and noticeably and often absent in adult titles that it his wonderful but hungry work rereading.

Throughout the book I still wondered the same wonder that I had as a child though. When and where do these children who drunk so much lemonade and ginger beer, go to the toilet? Philip was trapped in a coat of armour for a whole day for goodness sake!

So for those of you who like a bit of nostalgia, take a look at these lovely old cover images from Enid Blyton’s Adventure series. The Enid Blyton society is also a great place to see more of these.

Lashings and lashings of wonderful covers

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