Seeing your own absurdity

Seeing your own absurdity

Elizabeth Goudge is, in my view, one of the best children’s writers of all time, and I discovered her as a so-called grown-up. Her writing is full of wisdom wrapped in wit and wryness. Here is a fresh consideration of the value of reading fairy tales – to allow you to...
A box of mysteries

A box of mysteries

A novel reason for taking fairy tales seriously. Beyond their charm and imagination, they have an added bonus of reminding us that the universe is jam-packed full of things beyond our ken.  Keeps you humble. “And don’t you dare to disparage fairy tales. A fairy tale,...
Ribbons blue

Ribbons blue

There are many fine details in this lovely book, and the young girl finds signals of invisible hands arranging thoughtful, apt surprises. Her curiosity leads her to uncover who is behind them. And ‘delphinium-blue’, a lovely hue, redolent of a cottage garden or the...
Moonacre Manor

Moonacre Manor

This white horse flits in and out of the eponymous story: like the moon, illuminating when visible, but otherwise elusive.  The moon is a recurring element in this magical tale – with the heroine, Maria Merryweather, being nominated as the latest in a long line of...
Briars and birds

Briars and birds

Trying to think what species of birds would yield a rainbow of wings, in England.  Robins, blue-tits and finches, perhaps. ‘But when she looked again there was nothing to be seen except the tangled briars and all the lovely little birds with their rainbow-coloured...
Tangled tales

Tangled tales

The rose garden of Moonacre has an arbour and heart-shaped rose-beds.  And if that sounds a little over top, wait till you get to the geraniums: wall to wall pink, though this divides two of the main female characters as one of them loathes pink as much as the other...
Marmaduke’s realm

Marmaduke’s realm

The kitchen is the domain of Marmaduke Scarlet, together with the stone-vaulted larder where he stashes his culinary supplies.  This is a dream kitchen perfect for tea and toast on a winter’s day.  However, not a place to hang out if you’re watching your figure. And...
Wind-twisted pines

Wind-twisted pines

This reminds me of hardy, gnarled little trees seen on wind-blasted hilltops in England, shaped by and leaning with the prevailing gusts.   And here’s a forgotten word: ‘tussock’. ‘The beeches and oak-trees and bushes of golden gorse giving place to solitary groups of...
Architecture that shouts for joy

Architecture that shouts for joy

A beautiful description of a church, capturing a soaring, up-swooping roof, and the exhilaration it can bring to the onlooker. ‘Arches that sprang upwards like a shout of joy to meet the grand upward curve of the vaulted roof.’ Source: Elizabeth Goudge, The Little...

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