[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
>digging.]

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.

Minnow





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