[DWJ] Splatchers and Ransome was Re: branding books (was What are you reading?)

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Nov 5 13:24:18 EST 2009

>> Me and Otter:
>>>> I thought Jesus boots was simply a clever way of saying "sandals".
>>> Well, I've seen them, though it's been 40 years or more.  They
>>> were fairly big, like big snowshoes, and thick and had slanty
>>> bits on the bottoms to make directional travel possible.  They
>>> were made of something relatively light, though I'm not sure
>>> what that would have been.  They were _not_ easy to use.
>> I don't think they sound it; but then, nor are splatchers.
>> Wouldn't a boat be simply, well *simpler*?
>Of course it would.

Mayge they are more fun, though, especially for spectators.  Though there
is little to beat watching an amateur in a coracle...

>>> And, courtesy of Google, I now know what a splatcher is.
>> They are an important part of *Secret Water*, and the reason that
>> Mastodon
>> is so called.
>> In their case a boat would be of no use whatever as a substitute.
>Well, I thought I'd read all of the Swallows and Amazons books, but
>I don't remember *Secret Water*, even after reading a small plot
>synopsis in Wikipedia.  Maybe I need to revisit them.  [Well, some
>of them -- I was deeply annoyed by a couple and _slightly_
>annoyed by most of them, because of all the camping out they
>did without ever making any sanitary arrangements.  I camped
>out myself quite a bit in my youth and sanitary arrangements
>tended to loom large, particularly if you had to do much

Very few books for children mention sanitary arrangements, when one thinks
of it.  Come to that, most books for adults don't either.  Sex, yes, food,
yes, matters lavatorial?  Not much.

I don't think it would have been possible for a children's book in the
1930s to have digging latrines as part of the camping in it -- and their
existance would have made the pretence that Swallowdale was unoccupied hard
to sustain!  Not to mention all those interminable bicycle rides the Famous
Five went on: if one or other of them had had to stop and dive for the
bushes all the time, it wouldn't'arf have broken up the narrative.  And
when Elinor is confined to a chair in the library by the idiot dog, in
Heyer, she is bored to tears but doesn't need a pee during the several
hours she has to sit there.

The thing that irritated me about the S&A books was that almost every
speech had to note who said it: said Susan, John said, Titty said, said
Roger, all over every page.  Sometimes someone exclaimed or shouted or
whispered instead, and it was a blessed relief when they did.


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