Saturday, 25 February 2017

Home & Companion and Family Journal: March 21st, 1953

Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines
Home & Companion and Family Journal March 1953.

Given the choice, I would always pick books over magazines but just now and again a vintage periodical catches my attention. I could hardly fail to notice this one considering the size and colour of the headline. My first thought was I wonder who Gilbert Harding is quickly followed by, and I wonder what he has to say about Woman. The answer is nothing very good.   

He begins by saying: 
Gilbert Harding
Gilbert Harding

The first thing that no man likes about a woman is what no man likes about another man – a tendency to be bossy, to have a fatal inclination to be always in the right, and a constitutional inability to apologise. On the other hand, one might say at the other end of the scale, is the goo-goo clinging type who always wants someone else to make up her mind for her; that is, if she has a mind to be made up.

Those are two extremes, and if there weren’t plenty of admirable women in the middle we should have ceased to exist long ago. But even among those who are neither too bossy nor too helpless there are faults and failings, which make their society unrewarding and their appearance unsatisfactory. Why do so many women disfigure their hands by painting their nails bright red as though they were assistants in a post-mortem room? It has always been a mystery to me why women with beautiful hands are not just content with clean nails. When the paint begins to wear off and the nails are dirty! I need say no more. 

Please don’t!  

I have never understood why it is necessary for women to paint their lips. The lipstick they apply makes the cigarette ends, which they persist in smoking, repulsive and daubs the rims of the cups out of which they drink, and the glasses, too. These nasty cosmetic habits are bad enough, but when done in public they become outrageous.


Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines

Tiring of the subject of appearance, he turns to education:

I regret and resent the presence of women in men’s Universities, particularly those of Cambridge and of Oxford. Now what made women ever want to go to either of them? The only explanation is that they know they are in the majority, and that some of them must remain “on the shelf.” Therefore, the cry is: “Catch your man young, before his defences are up.” In fact, they go to the Universities, not primarily in search of learning, but to get husbands from among the young male undergraduates. Why should they screech, and hiss round the calm courts and quads of Cambridge and Oxford making themselves look ridiculous in academic dress, which was designed by men for men. I don’t think women have any idea how silly they look in mortar boards

Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines


Having had so much to say he ends the article by lamenting his lack of a wife! 

Although it is now too late to change it, I have never been really happy about being a bachelor. But I do think that if, when I was younger, I had had the good fortune to meet an unpainted lady with clean hands who did not talk with a cigarette in her mouth (and who did not want to be a judge or a governor-general, a bishop or a doctor), things might have been different. Let it be clearly understood that no one with a mother like mine could ever be a woman hater, and after all, I am only saying what I don’t like about women. The things that I do like would call for a whole issue of the magazine itself.

Those women (and there are so many of them) who can cook, can listen, can understand and do things without being asked – and very often without being thanked – are, after all, still in the majority. So if you have been made angry by what has gone before, put yourself in this latter bracket and we can all purr together like old cats. 

According to Wikipedia Harding was notorious for his irascibility and was at one time characterised in the tabloid press as the rudest man in Britain. His fame sprang from an inability to suffer fools gladly, and many 1950s TV viewers watched What’s My Line? less for the quiz elements than for the chance of a live Harding outburst. An incident on an early broadcast started this trend when Harding became annoyed with a rather self-satisfied contestant. He broke the genteel civility of 1950s BBC Television by telling the contestant that he was getting bored with him. The tabloids lapped this up, and the show became compulsive viewing.

I’m sure you will have an opinion on Mr. Harding’s views so please go ahead and tell me what you think.  


If you are interested in vintage magazines you might like these previous posts; 
Lilliput Magazines


Lucy from Loose and Leafy left a comment with a link to a fascinating article, in case you miss it this is the link Gilbert Harding and another interesting link shared by Willie TV star famed for rudeness dies

Monday, 20 February 2017

Vintage Books from my Bookshelf: The High Hills a Brambly Hedge Story

Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge.

The High Hills Jill Barklem

It was the end of autumn, and the Voles in the High Hills were busy preparing for winter.  Gathering supplies in rocky terrain is no easy job and when they find their winter quilts eaten by moths, it’s the last straw. When Mr. Apple down in Brambly Hedge hears of their plight, he mounts a relief operation, and soon the weavers get busy making new blankets. Mr. Apple and a small party of mice plan to deliver the blankets before the really cold weather sets in, but when Wilfred Toadflax hears about it, he is eager to go along.  Wilfred is convinced there’s gold to be found in the High Hills, and he intends to be the one to discover it.

Lily and Flax were already hard at work

Lily and Flax were already hard at work when Wilfred arrived.
"Can I help Too?" asked Wilfred.  "That's kind of you, but not
just now," said Lily. "Why don't you find yourself a book?"
Wilfred went over to the bookcase. On a shelf, tucked between 
volumes on dye stuffs and weaves, he found a thick book 
called Daring Explores of Old Hedge Days. 

Wilfred sat entranced. The whirr of the spinning wheel
became the swish of eagles' wings, the clatter of the loom,
the sound of falling rock, and the drops of rain on window,
jewels from some forgotten cave. Could there be gold
in the hills beyond Brambly Hedge, he wondered.


The first part of the journey was easy.
Along the hedge, past Crabapple Cottage,
the Store Stump and Old Oak Palace. 


They walked through the  afternoon.By tea-time, it was
getting dark and cold. At last they saw a tiny light shining from
beneath an old hawthorn tree.  "Here we are," said
Mr. Apple. "Knock on the door, Wilfred". 



The following morning Wilfred begged to explore. 
Flax and Lily had to get back to work, but Mr. Apple
agreed he and Wilfred could stay a while. 


Mr. Apple watched as Wilfred pulled himself
up onto a narrow ledge and began scraping at the
rocks. "Don't be silly, Wilfred.  That's not gold.
Comedown at once." But Wilfred was stuck.
"Wait there" said Mr. Apple as he began to climb
the steep rocks.  The ledge was narrow and now an 
ominous mist was rising from the valley.


Mr. Apple was worried; he had no idea where they were,
and it looked as though they might have to spend the night
on the mountain. The next morning they were woken by the
sun shining. "It's a beautiful day," called Wilfred, peering
over the ledge, "and I can see a path down the mountain."




Soon Wilfred and Mr. Apple were back at home.
As Wilfred was telling them all about their adventures
Primrose Woodmouse asked if they found any gold.
 "No, only this silly old dust," said Wilfred. Flex and
Lily gasped. "Wilfred!" That's not dust. That's ....


The High Hills a Brambly Hedge Story by Jill Barklem Published by Collins in 1986.

One of a series of books recounting the adventures of the mice of Brambly Hedge. Others are The Secret Staircase, Spring, Summer, Sea Story, Autumn, Winter and Poppy’s Babies.


I love the illustrations in these books.  Do you like them? Have you read any of the stories?

Monday, 13 February 2017

All You Need is Love


Image Pinterest


Image Pinterest


Don't forget you still have time to spread the love ...


Get the details here

We sent Valentine cards to our grandsons when they were small, now it’s the turn of our granddaughters, only this year we sent books as well. It’s very easy to spread the joy of reading. A book left in a waiting room, a surprise in the post. It doesn’t take much. My Godmother never failed to send a book on my birthday and at Christmas, some were way beyond my reading ability but if anything it encouraged me to try harder. My dad also loved books and he and I enjoyed nothing more than browsing second-hand bookshops. Now it’s my turn to spread the love.

Speaking of love and grandchildren it must be time for an update. Our granddaughter Zoe was six in January and is already into her second school year. Her little sister Lilly doesn't start school until January 2018, but in the meantime she is loving kindergarten. As most of you know our son, daughter-in-law, and two little granddaughters live in Australia, while our two grandsons are in England. I recently shared some photographs of our grandsons, and today I'm sharing a few of our granddaughters. I hope you enjoy them. 

Zoe Christmas Day 2016 


and on her 6th birthday in January 2017 – can you spot the difference?  


 Lilly at the beach January 2017


and at kindergarten a few days later. 


In case you are wondering this is how her painting turned out.

I’m sure you can guess what it is but to give you a hint the small purple spots are snow, and the larger one is a present. 

Always remember there is enough love in each of our hearts to heal the world. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Birth Year Reading Challenge 2017 - Another Slice


This is the second of my Birth Year Reading Challenge posts. To read more about the challenge, please visit J. G. at the Hotchpot CafĂ©. I’ve changed the rules a little by concentrating on books by Enid Blyton. She was a prolific and successful writer, which is how she came to have forty books published in the year of my birth. Last week, I shared twenty books published in 1948, and today I’m sharing the rest.

The Boy with the Loaves and Fishes and The Little Girl at Capernaum were both published by the Lutterworth Press one in May and the other in November 1948. The illustrations are by Elsie Walker.


The Saucy Jane Family (Caravan Family No. 2) was also published by the Lutterworth Press in 1948, colour frontis by Ruth Gervis. This story was originally serialised in Playways Magazine in 1946.

The Saucy Jane Family Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton Readers No. 7 published in April 1948 with illustrations by Eileen Soper. 

Enid Blyton Readers No. 7

Just Time for a Story published my Macmillan in October 1948. I've shared the dust jacketed edition because I love the Eileen Soper artwork. This, however, may not be a 1st edition because according to a bibliography of Enid Blyton’s work, the original publication didn't have a dust jacket. Apparently, there were 23,000 copies printed in that first edition which just shows the popularity of Enid Blyton at the time. 

Enid Blyton Just time for a story

The Sea of Adventure published by Macmillan in May 1948. The dust jacket illustration is by Stuart Tresilian. This is one of the three books already in my collection, so I don't need to look for this one.  

The sea of adventure Enid Blyton

The Mystery of the Hidden House (Find-Outers Mystery No. 6).  Published by Methuen in November 1948. I sold dozens of copies of this during my years as a bookseller, now I'm kicking myself for not keeping one! 

the mystery of the hidden house Enid Blyton

The Third Year at Malory Towers published by Methuen in October 1948. Dust jacket illustration by Stanley Lloyd.

Third Year at Malory Towers Enid Blyton

Come to the Circus published by George Newnes, July 1948

Come to the circus Enid Blyton

I've seen copies of Josie, Click and Bun but not More About Josie, Click and Bun so this one might prove hard to find. Published by George Newnes in February 1948.  Story told in pictures with illustrations by Dorothy M. Wheeler. 

More about Josie, Click and Bun Enid Blyton

Let's Have a Story and We Want a Story both published by H. A. & W. L. Pitkin in 1948.

Enid Blyton Let’s have a story and We want a story

My Enid Blyton Brer Rabbit Book published by Purnell with illustrations by Grace Lodge.

Enid Blyton Brer Rabbit

The Third Holiday Book, published by Sampson Low, Marston in October 1948. I do love these books and will be happy to add this one to my collection. Many well-known illustrators contributed pictures, including Helen Jacobs, Mary Kendal Lee, Grace Lodge, Eileen Soper and Hilda Boswell.

The third holiday book Enid Blyton

The Adventures of Pip and More Adventures of Pip, both published by Sampson Low, Marston. These might also be tricky to find as I've only ever seen copies without the dust jackets. 

Enid Blyton The adventures of Pip and more adventures of Pip

Tales After Tea Published in November 1948 by T. Werner Laurie. The pretty dust jacket is by Eileen A Soper.

Tales after tea Enid Blyton

I could leave the next three out because they are activity books rather than story books. However, they were published in the ‘right’ year, and I rather like them, so I will try to find them. The publishers didn’t miss a trick when it came to exploiting the popularity of Enid Blyton, and it appears their ploy is still working. The titles are: Enid Blyton's Road Safety Colouring Book, Enid Blyton's Merry Christmas Cards for you to colour and Enid Blyton's Birthday Cards Colouring Book.        

Enid Blyton Activity books 1948


Sunny Stories Calendar 1948. I really should leave this one out. It's not a book and it must have been published in 1947 but I like it and this is my list – right? I will probably have the devils own job trying to find it but when was a challenge ever supposed to be easy. đŸ˜‰ I might have to resort to the Internet to find it but not until I’ve exhausted all other avenues. 

Sunny Stories Calendar 1948 Enid Blyton

I finished typing the above paragraph and then went to eBay with no real hope of one being available. Would you believe it, there is one for sale at £125.00 (US$156)? Um, I won’t be buying that then. It may be sold or no longer available when you read this, but if you want to take a look the item number is 192069080028.

View details here

Having assembled my list, I’m now hoping to find a first edition copy of each book. Some are readily available online, but as I’m on a limited budget, I hope to find them in second-hand book shops, charity shops, flea markets and the like. If I’m successful I will let you know in a future post or posts. If you don’t hear another word, you will know I’ve failed miserably. Wish me luck!



Monday, 30 January 2017

Birth Year Reading Challenge 2017 - Part One

Have you heard about The Birth Year Reading Challenge? The idea is to read and comment on books published in the year you were born. It's hosted by the Hotchpot Café if you would like more information, rules, etc., please click on the link at the end of this post.


It’s an interesting challenge but in an effort to stay true to my blog, I’m going to focus on children’s books. Then to make it a tad more difficult, I’m going to concentrate on children's books by a single author. When I started thinking about this, I realised I would need to find a prolific writer to make the challenge worthwhile. So who had a large number of books published in … gulp … 1948? As far as I’m concerned there is just one contender and that’s Enid Blyton.  

A quartet of Enid Blyton's? Well how else did she write so many stories?

I realised Enid Blyton had written a lot of books but had no idea just how many. So far, I’ve identified forty published in 1948 but there could be more. I have three of them already, which leaves thirty seven to find.  Remember the books are close to seventy years old so it could take some time, but it will be an interesting project. I could simplify things by buying later reprints, but I much prefer the original editions so those are the ones I'm going to look for.


The purpose of this post and the one to follow next week is to list all forty books and add images where possible. The majority of the images are from an illustrated bibliography by Tony Summerfield. Others are from The Enid Blyton Society Website, and three are from books in my collection.


Enid Blyton Nature Series Jinky and the birds
There are four books in this the Nature Series each in a uniform edition with tan, brown, green and black on cream covers.

Book 1 Jinky and the birds
Book 2 Jinky and the animals
Book 3 Jinky and the flowers
Book 4 Jinky and the insects  

These were all in 1948 by E. J. Arnold & Son. Phyllis Denton provided the illustrations. Each book contains four short stories. In Book one the stories are Jinky and the birds, Jinky makes a nest, all kinds of eggs and Jinky helps with the bird-babies.


Enid Blyton How do you do Mary Mouse

The original How do you do Mary Mouse published in August 1948 sported a yellow and red cover as pictured above, later reprints were more colourful so I might see if I can find both versions.  

Enid Blyton How do you do Mary Mouse

Secret of the Old Mill (Janet and Peter Book no. 2) published in September 1948 with illustrations by Eileen Soper. This was published by Brockhampton Press as were the above books and the three that follow. 

Enid Blyton Secret of the old mill


Enid Blyton The red-spotted handkerchief
The Red-Spotted Handkerchief and other stories, published in April 1948. The book contains ten stories, which previously appeared in Sunny Stories a children’s magazine published by George Newnes. Sunny Stories began life as Sunny Stories for Little Folk in 1926 and was both written and edited by Enid Blyton. I thought about excluding this as the stories were written in earlier years, but as the challenge is to find books published in my birth year it had to be included. Besides I would really like to read it, and it would look nice on my shelf!


The cover on this next book really appeals to me, and I very much hope I can find it. Tales of the Twins (The Nursery Series No. 1) illustrated with 12 colour plates by Eileen A Soper. Published October, 1948. 

Enid Blyton Tales of the twins

They Ran Away Together (Nursery Series No. 2) Once again published in October 1948 but this time the illustrations are by Jeanne Farrar. I realise this cover could be offensive to some people but please remember it was published in 1948, and no offence is intended.

Enid Blyton They ran away together

Three books from the Old Thatch Series, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 each of these are new editions published in June 1948 by J. Coker. The cover illustrations are by Mary Smith.  

Enid Blyton  Old Thatch Series,

A fourth book published by J. Coker in 1948 Tales of Old Thatch, with a pretty cover illustration by Mary Smith. 

Enid Blyton Tales of Old Thatch

I would love to add a dust jacketed copy of Six Cousins of Mistletoe Farm to my collection and would be willing to pay a little more for this one.  It was published by Evans Brothers in November 1948, and the jacket illustration is by Peter Beigel.



Now For a Story published by Harold Hill contains seventeen stories from Sunny Stories Magazine. Cover illustration by Frank Varty. 


Five Go Off to Camp published in October 1948 by Hodder & Stoughton. Eileen Soper provided the dust jacket illustrations and the eight two-colour illustrations inside.  This is one of the three books already in my collection. 


Nature Tales and Jolly Tales from the Old Thatch Series both published in April 1948 by W. & A. K. Johnston. 


My Enid Blyton Book No. 1 published by Latimer House with 14 stories originally published in The Red Pixie Book. Dust jacket illustration by  Grace Lodge.


Mister Icy Cold published by the Shakespeare Head Press (Basil Blackwell).  I didn’t find a single copy of this during my years as a book dealer I don't know if that is because it's scarce, or if I was just unlucky.



So there you have it. Quite a challenge I think you will agree. It’s possible I could buy many of these online but as funds are limited, I’m going to try to source them locally where prices might be lower. Besides it’s more of a challenge that way, and I do love a bargain.  If I have any luck in locating any/all of them, I will let you know in a future post or posts.

If you would like more details about The Birth Year Reading Challenge, please pay a visit to the Hotchpot Café.



In next weeks post I will share another twenty books written by Enid Blyton and published in 1948. 
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