Growing up with Enid Blyton

My colleague and I got to talking about Harry Potter today, which segued naturally into memories of Enid Blyton. After the usual back-and-forth about whether Malory Towers and The Twins at St. Clare were superior reading to The Famous Five (he said so; I profess a complete lack of interest in any of the boarding school stories), he pointed out the top three things in Enid Blyton books that mystified him as a child:
  • What's lacrosse?
  • What's a scone?
  • What does it feel like to sleep on heather?
I too wondered about the heather, but for me, the really big mystery was: what's ginger beer? And it wasn't so easy to come by in Singapore in the '80s, so despite my mother's best efforts and memories of it from her childhood, it wasn't till I was way past my Enid Blyton-reading years that I finally got to taste it. I think I still drink it mostly out of sentimental fancy than for the actual taste.

However, despite my colleague having studied in England and my having tramped through Lake District country on my own, neither of us have ever slept on heather. That mystery remains.


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At 7/14/2005 11:55 am , Blogger ampulets said...

yes yes, i remember eating my first scone in UK and seeing someone college walk across the college lawn with a lacrosse stick. ginger beer i had in singapore lah, not so sua ku as you! but you are right about heather...what heather? isn't that just the name of some 80s movie with christian slater?

At 7/14/2005 12:32 pm , Blogger Jac said...

Enid blytons are great meal time books...

At 7/14/2005 2:07 pm , Blogger Elia Diodati said...

Very nostalgic.

At 7/14/2005 2:30 pm , Blogger tscd said...

Heather grows in prickly bushes on the hillsides. It's purple and it smells wonderful. I think people used to stuff their pillows with it. At least, I hope they stuff their pillows with it 'cos sleeping in prickly bushes is not my idea of comfort.

At 7/14/2005 8:21 pm , Blogger Ondine said...

Add to the list...
-Midnight feasts
-Tongue sandwiches
-Half Term holidays

At 7/14/2005 9:44 pm , Blogger JellyGirl said...

Ah Enid Blyton and her oh-so-English picnics. For me, the food item that I could never figure out was blancmange. How do you pronounce it? What does it taste like? The image I summoned up in my mind was mango pudding. Hehe.

At 7/14/2005 10:51 pm , Blogger NARDAC said...

I read all the Adventurous Four, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I also really enjoyed the Naughtiest Girl, and had a crush on Julian.

on my list:

And I always wanted to know if they really did run around in shorts all the time. It certainly seemed so.

At 7/15/2005 1:09 am , Blogger Abigael said...

I also want to add!

- Treacle
- "Box your ears"
- Golliwogs

At 7/15/2005 9:30 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Heather --- I think they always used to line the ground with it before they slept on it. But also the title of a really excellent '80s movie with Christian Slater, yes :)

Tongue sandwiches --- Sound kinkier than they should ;)

Blancmange & treacle --- I still don't know what these taste like, though I vaguely know what they are.

Golliwogs --- These I knew because those politically incorrect book covers of the '70s always had the relevant illustrations. And then there were those news articles in the '90s, I think, saying how the books ought to be edited to be more PC.

From Teachers, I've now picked up a new British turn-of-phrase: "to get things sorted" --- which isn't quite in the same intimidating category as "box your ears", but appeals more to an adult as a euphemism for all the vague administrative "work" we have to do.

At 7/15/2005 10:59 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...


At 7/16/2005 6:45 am , Blogger tscd said...

A school term in the UK lasts half a year, followed by an end-of-term holiday which is about a month long. Half term holiday is a week break in the middle of term.

At 7/17/2005 12:03 pm , Blogger Tym said...

"Clotted cream" never crossed my vocabulary till today.

tscd --- You're quite the font of Anglo-info! Can I please hire you as my consultant on all thing of the British Isles?

At 7/18/2005 4:57 am , Blogger tscd said...

It's what happens when you're married to a Brit.

And clotted cream is cream that is so thick and gooey that it's practically jam (hence 'clotted').

At 2/19/2007 8:19 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a long shot but I am going to try anyway. As a child I remember reading a story about a Goblin or a pixie who had to visit the King on his way he fell and grazed his knees to cover up the tear in his breeches he stuck to leaves on his knees,, I never knew what happened in the end as someone had torn the pages of the old book. Can someone help please I am 36 years old and still want to find out the ending!!!!!


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