Catspaw

Catspaw

Seems to be a type of wind, quite distinct from the more common term of ‘cat’s paw’ which refers to someone used to do someone else’s dirty work.   In Arthur Ransome, however, I found: ‘There was very little wind, though now and again a catspaw hurrying from the south...
Roger

Roger

‘A Roger is the Norfolk name for a sudden squall which makes a loud hissing noise as it comes sweeping over the reeds.’ Source: Arthur Ransome, Coot Club (London: Jonathan Cape, 2009 (1934)), p....
A blank map

A blank map

‘You’ll start with a blank map, that doesn’t do more than show roughly what’s water and what isn’t.’ What a metaphor!   Doesn’t that describe so many of the journeys we begin?  The book even includes a black ink sketched version of this rudimentary map, allowing...
Sea-boot rough

Sea-boot rough

Winter sea hoarseness and tight-swallowing soreness. ‘My throat’s as rough as the inside of a sea-boot.’ Source: Arthur Ransome, Secret Water (London: Vintage, 2014 (1939)), p....
Battering-ram power

Battering-ram power

Nancy is a character with battering-ram energy in all she does, exuberantly seeking opportunities to go to ‘war’ with her friends and family. A warm-hearted warrior tomboy. ‘Nancy … gave Susan a look as powerful as a battering ram.’ Source: Arthur Ransome,...
Memory of a mistake

Memory of a mistake

That awful dawning when you emerge from innocent sleep and remember something you didn’t do right, and dismay fills the pit of your belly like a cloud billowing in a balloon. ‘There was sunlight outside. Yet he woke with a queer feeling of gloom. It was like waking on...
Flapping not floundering

Flapping not floundering

Living pancakes, flapping not floundering. ‘He emptied the bucket into the creek, and the two little flounders flapped away, like pancakes come to life.’ Source: Arthur Ransome, Secret Water (London: Vintage, 2014 (1939)), p....

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