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Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Rob Houghton » 20 Apr 2017, 21:54

Its interesting that Enid's daffodils were all out on April 7th - I think most of ours had finished by then! I have yet to hear a cuckoo this year, or see a swallow. We don't often hear cuckoos here for some reason, but do here them on walks in near-by countryside. Not sure why we don't hear them locally, as there are woods etc just at the back of the house.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Kate Mary » 26 Apr 2017, 10:00

I'm not sure I would have known what 'wishes and woggies' were if Enid hadn't told us. I've never heard of heard of frogs and toads kept in an aquarium before, a vivarium perhaps but not in an aquarium. It must have been a combination of the two. The phrase 'like a little image' gave me a jolt. I recall my grandmother using it, usually when telling me off ("Don't just sit/stand there like an image"). I think it must be an old word for statue. I haven't heard it again or even remembered it until now.

A lovely uncollected poem this week The First Swallow, happily rescued from obscurity by being republished on this website. The letters are a joy as always.

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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Daisy » 26 Apr 2017, 10:37

'Wishes and woggies' was Gillian's effort to say 'fishes and froggies' but it was as well it was explained to the readers. I too had not heard "image" used in the way Enid does here, and would have said "statue".
I love the swallow poem too.
I wonder if chocoalte back then was suitable to feed to dogs? We hear of it quite often in books from that era, but nowadays we are told chocolate for humans is not only not suitable to feed to animals, but can be positively harmful.
'Tis loving and giving that makes life worth living.

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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 26 Apr 2017, 14:25

Cocoa beans contain a chemical called theobromine and that's what poisons dogs if they eat too much chocolate. I'm guessing that chocolate was more expensive in Enid Blyton's day so people rarely gave their dogs more than a lick or a nibble. If Bobs was having an egg a day, surely it must have been around the same size as what would nowadays be called a Mini Egg (hopefully with no sugar coating). Or maybe Enid was exaggerating to entertain her readers. Even if she wasn't aware of the theobromine problem, she must have realised that chocolate wasn't good for a dog's teeth.

I've come across the word "images" meaning "statues" (especially religious statues) in quite a few older books, including Enid Blyton's Adventure of the Strange Ruby.

The poem 'The First Swallow' is lovely, particularly the final lines:

"I bring you the summer, for when I come
Skies are blue and the big bees hum.
This is my home, and here I will stay
Till the winds of autumn send me away."

Thanks for adding the letters every week, Tony! They make for fascinating reading.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Moonraker » 26 Apr 2017, 17:21

Anita Bensoussane wrote:I've come across the word "images" meaning "statues" (especially religious statues) in quite a few older books, including Enid Blyton's Adventure of the Strange Ruby.


Yes, definitely mentioned in the Bible - images referring to statues:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God (Exodus 20 vv 4-5 KJB)


I can remember wonder about 'graven images' as a child! Makes you wonder why churches (especially RC) are full of these 'images'!
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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Rob Houghton » 26 Apr 2017, 18:02

It sounds like Enid's tortoise was a lot like the one I had as a child. he belonged to my neighbour, but kept wandering off - so in the end she asked my mom if I wanted him, as he was always in our garden. I had it about five years, but in that time he escaped twice. The first time he was gone all winter and turned up about 10 doors away, in someone's shed! the second time, he never came back. :( Maybe one day he'll turn up again!! :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Courtenay » 26 Apr 2017, 20:31

I'm guessing Enid simply wasn't aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs in large quantities — I'd certainly never heard that it was when I was little (not that I would have ever shared any chocolate of mine with a dog!! :twisted: ). Anita might be right, too, that if chocolate was more expensive in those days, Enid wouldn't really have been giving any more than a little to Bobs. A dog can certainly eat one or two small pieces of chocolate and be OK, but there can be serious problems if they eat a larger amount. That happened once to a friend's dog — she got into a whole box of chocolates while the family were out and became so ill that the vet said he couldn't have saved her if she'd been left much longer.

Anyway, lovely letters as always — I always enjoy these every week as well, and I especially love the swallow poem. We have swallows in Australia as well (native ones, but very similar to British swallows) and I've always loved looking out for them, with their shiny blue backs and red faces, when they start appearing again — around November, in our case! :wink: I don't think they fly as far away when they migrate as swallows here do, though, as our climate isn't as cold. I'm not sure where they do go, but probably just further north in Australia or south-east Asia. I remember being very impressed when I read Enid's stories of Pip the Pixie, at how his swallow friends flew all the way to Africa and back!
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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 03 May 2017, 07:56

http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/blyt ... perid=1055

Jolly letters as always - and three little puzzles. Like Enid, I always think that the trees "never look so green at any time as they do in May" and I marvel at how neat some birds' nests look even though birds rely mainly on their beaks. I chuckled at Enid's comment that "I don't feel I should do nearly so well with my nose!" Bobs' description of Bimbo being alternately "as round and as fat as a barrel" and "as thin as can be" amused me too.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Kate Mary » 03 May 2017, 08:46

I wonder if the new goldfish was a koi carp? It sounds as if could be. Bought from Harrods probably. A nice trio of puzzles, the second and third I got at once but the first took a minute or two. I'm still enjoying the Round The Year column, I've had the book for ages but never got round to reading it all the way through, reading the chapters as they appear in TW is a good way of doing it I think.
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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Courtenay » 03 May 2017, 08:48

Yes, lovely letters. Enid's comments about the robin's nest reminded me of a couple of short stories she wrote that I read when I was little. One was about a girl who makes a little nest herself as the birds do, and then finds that the robins use her nest that she made after their own is torn apart. (It was included in the later version of At Seaside Cottage that has extra stories in it — I see it was titled Julia's Nest there, but originally Annabel's Nest, so I guess it's not such a new thing for editors to change names in Blyton stories to something more fashionable...)

The other one I can think of is another Pip the Pixie story, A Beak is as Good as Fingers!, in which a robin shows Pip how to build a nest for himself and — similarly to the other story — he gives her his nest when she finds her own destroyed. Obviously Enid always had a thing about robins' nests! :D I've never seen one myself yet, but would love to. (When I was little, we used to watch the Willie Wagtails — little black-and-white Australian flycatchers — nesting in a tree by our fence and raising their babies, so that would remind me of Enid's stories about birds and their nests too.)

Bobs' comments about Bimbo and about Gillian watering Sandy are funny as always. I didn't find the three word puzzles too hard, but thought the second one's opening line is a bit alarming if taken literally: "I'm a poor lost cat — behead me, please..." :shock: :shock: :wink: Gosh, and there I was thinking Enid taught us to always be kind to animals!! :lol: :P
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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Kate Mary » 10 May 2017, 20:05

A grand letter this week. What an honour for ten children to accompany the Princess Royal to the Hospital for Sick Children. Reading in another thread about the article in the Dorset magazine which trots out the same old negative stories about Enid wouldn't it be a refreshing change if a journalist did some research and wrote about her charities and her using the TW column to get children to save silver paper or join the pug-pups etc. Sorry, rant over. An amusing story about the farm horses causing a power cut too, I hope the farmer gave them another rubbing post.

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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 12 May 2017, 17:59

Yes, it's very interesting to read about the charity work and about children being given the chance to meet Princess Mary. These letters really do transport us to a bygone time for a moment.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 17 May 2017, 07:36

http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/blyt ... perid=1057

This week we hear about Enid's newly-hatched chicks (she doesn't shy away from telling her readers about a sad thing that happened amid the happier news) and about schools buying glass tanks to make aquariums. I wonder how many primary schools still have nature study on the curriculum. I think it helps children respect and appreciate the natural world and feel for the plants and creatures around them if they learn their names and gain some understanding of their lives and characteristics.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Courtenay » 17 May 2017, 08:05

Yes, it is lovely to read Enid's encouragement for schools to keep an aquarium — I'm sure her ideas inspired many children to understand and appreciate the natural world more deeply and perhaps even to go on to have careers in environmental science when they were older. Had to laugh at this, though:

Some of you tell me that you cannot get enough little creatures to stock your aquarium — well, ask your mother to let you look carefully through the water-cress when she buys some for your tea. You will find all sorts of little creatures there before it is washed.


Gosh, how times and our tolerance have changed — these days probably 90% of us buy our salad greens all pre-washed and pre-packaged, and I can imagine people absolutely freaking out and attacking the supermarkets and declaring it a food safety crisis if they found any "little creatures" in their watercress!! :shock: :lol:
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Re: Enid Blyton's Weekly Letters in Teachers World

Postby Kate Mary » 17 May 2017, 08:27

It's interesting that old wireless accumulators could be reused as aquarium tanks. Recycling is not a new idea. The thought of stocking it from the critters washed out from the watercress for the salad made me smile too. I think I'd have a fit if I found enough wildlife in my salad to stock an aquarium!
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