Thursday, 11 February 2016

Books from my Bookshelf - Potter Pinner Meadow by Mollie Kaye

Potter Pinner Meadow is a recent addition to my bookshelf found at the Oxfam Bookshop in Shaftsbury, Dorset. I was lucky enough to buy this and a second book by the same author for just a few pounds. I've uncovered a few hidden gems from this charity shop so if you are ever in the area, it might be worth calling in.

  Gold Hill, Shaftsbury

Dating back to the Saxon era and boasting amazing views of the Blackmore Vale Shaftsbury itself is well worth a visit. Gold Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town famous for its picturesque appearance. You may well recognise it as the setting for a film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd, and advertisements for Morrisons and Hovis bread.

Filmed more than 40 years ago the Hovis advert is now one of the most famous scenes in British TV history.  Image: Mail Online

Anyway, I digress;

Potter Pinner Meadow by Mollie Kaye with decorations by Margaret Tempest Published in 1937 by Collins, London.

Mollie Kaye also known as M. M. Kaye is best known for her immensely popular novel The Far Pavilions. I’ve added some factual information about her and the illustrator Margaret Tempest at the end of this post.

Potter Pinner Meadow was a very select neighbourhood and only the VERY BEST people had their houses there. Aloysius Pricklewig J.P. lived in a roomy hollow under a bank. Mr. Pricklewig was a hedgehog. His bristles were always coming through his coats, so he continually had to darn them or to order new ones.

Mr. Pricklewig was by no means the only inhabitant of that very select neighbourhood.  The Whiskertips, a family of aristocratic field mice owned a smart apartment on the sunny side of the hawthorn hedge.  Mrs. Beatrice Brownwing, the speckled thrush occupied a cosy nest, while Timothy Tidmarsh the Dormouse lived in a small but cosy house among the roots of the big Elm tree. 

The fly in the ointment came in the guise of Farmer Wraggs and his dog Tatters. Farmer Wraggs had a sour face, a mouth that turned down at the corners and a fringe of sandy whiskers. He also had a habit of poking around among the tree roots and slashing at the hedges with his stout hickory stick while Tatters growled and barked.   

Whenever Farmer Wraggs came stumping up the meadow everyone locked their doors and pulled down the blinds. Even Mr. Pricklewig put out a Not - At - Home sign and closed the shutters when farmer Wraggs was about. However, there was one person who didn't mind at all because he was nearly always fast asleep in his bed. 

While Timothy Tidmarsh slept the rest of the inhabitants of Potter Pinner Meadow attended an Indignation Meeting to complain about the state of affairs. Wonderful plans were discussed, and long speeches were made beginning with “Tatters Must Go” but all Timothy ever said was “SSSNOORE”. 

One fine spring evening Timothy woke from his afternoon nap put on his second best coat, and set off to buy his supper. When he arrived at the shop it was full of customers all complaining about Mr. Waggs. Not wishing to get involved Timothy decided to enjoy a little snooze. “That Dormouse has no public spirit said Mrs. Beatrice Brownwing. I was telling him only yesterday how dreadfully I have been disturbed by that farmer person and would you believe it all he said was I don’t see much of him myself!”

When Timothy woke up he was rather bored by all the talk of farmers and dogs, so taking up his basket he started off for home.  He was hardly more than half-way up the meadow when he heard sounds of barking. He stood still and listened.  The barking seemed to come from the direction of the big elm tree. Continuing with caution he was faced with a dreadful scene! For where there had been a cosy home for a dormouse, there was nothing but a broken mess of bits and pieces. Of Timothy's beautiful furniture and his comfortable four-poster bed there was not a trace.  

Timothy put his pocket hankie over his nose and wept most bitterly. The sounds of his woe were so loud that everyone in Potter Pinner Meadow came hurrying to see whatever was wrong. At first, they all said "I told you so" and "serve you right," but afterwards they were sorry.  That night Timothy slept on Mr. Pricklewig's sofa and the next morning all the inhabitants of Potter Pinner Meadow, including Timothy attended another Indignation Meeting.

This time it was decided that Timothy should make his way to Black Bramble Wood and consult Old Madam Mole. It was already afternoon by the time Timothy came in sight of the wood the sky was cloudy and dark, and a cold wind was rustling through the grass. Black Bramble Wood looked damp and dark and dangerous. Timothy shivered in his shoes and wished he was snug in his comfortable bed, but when he remembered he no longer had a comfortable bed it made him so angry he got quite brave.

Old Madam Mole rocked backwards and forwards in her rocking chair and began to think.  “Fetch me the little green bottle from the cupboard” she said.  “The next time you see Farmer Wraggs, empty the contents over him.  Be careful not to miss and remember the effect only lasts for one day.” 

Back at Potter Pinner Meadow, Timothy and his friends were busy building him a new home when a young rabbit came dashing down the meadow crying “He’s coming!” quick as a flash Mrs. Brownwing circled high above Farmer Wraggs and sprinkled the magic potion over him.  At once, he began to shrink and grow smaller and smaller until eventually he turned into a frog!  Tatters began barking at his former master. “Down, Tatters, down!” cried Farmer Wraggs but “croak, croak, croak” meant nothing to Tatters who kept on barking. The poor farmer became so frightened he jumped high into the air and landed in a bed of nettles.

As soon as Tatters went away the animals began to lecture Farmer Wraggs on his disgraceful behaviour. He was made to spend the day mending Timothy Tidmarsh’s broken china. He was also forced to darn Mr. Pricklewig’s coats and iron his waistcoats.  It didn’t take long for Farmer Wraggs to promise to mend his ways, and that was exactly what he did.  


M.M. Kaye, (born Aug. 21, 1908, Simla, India—died Jan. 29, 2004, Lavenham, Suffolk, Eng.), British writer and illustrator who captured life in India and Afghanistan during the Raj in her immensely popular novel The Far Pavilions (1978). The daughter of a British civil servant working in India, Kaye spent her early childhood there. She was sent to boarding school in England at age 10. After graduating from art school in England, she found work as an illustrator and soon began to write. She married a British army officer in 1945. Before achieving worldwide success with The Far Pavilions she wrote a number of children’s books (as Mollie Kaye), several detective and historical novels and three volumes of autobiography. [Encyclopaedia Britannica.]

M. M. Kaye dedication from Potter Pinner Meadow.

Margaret Mary Tempest, (May 15, 1892, Ipswich, Suffolk, Eng. – died 1982, Ipswich, Suffolk, Eng.),  British writer and illustrator attended Ipswich Art School and later moved to London to study at the Westminster School of art from which she graduated in the summer of 1914. She went on to the Royal Drawing School but was already planning the formation of a society of women illustrators with twenty other talented girls from the School of Art. Between 1919 and 1939 they put on annual exhibitions and ran a successful business, selling their work and producing commercial material including Christmas cards. She began illustrating Little Grey Rabbit books in 1929 and continued to do so into the 1960s, by which time 34 titles had appeared. [I’ve included images of all the Little Grey Rabbit books in three previous posts – here, here and here] Margaret also wrote and illustrated children's books of her own, with characters called Curley Cobbler and Pinkie Mouse. She illustrated books by M. M. Kaye, Rosalind Vallance, Elizabeth Laird, and many other authors. She also found time to design postcards for the Medici Galleries. Between the wars she lived in London during the week, and apart from her illustration work she taught drawing to the children of most of the aristocratic houses in London. In 1939 Margaret returned to the Ipswich area and  married her cousin, Sir Grimwood Mears, a former Chief of Justice in Allahabad, in 1951. Sir Grimwood died in 1963 at the age of 93. Margaret died in 1982 aged 90 and by then she had become afflicted with Parkinson's Disease and could no longer draw. [The Ipswich Society.]

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Around the world in forty two days.

The title of this post might be a slight exaggeration but Karen, Steven and the girls did travel from Australia to England via Dubai before visiting France then back for a whirlwind tour of England and a return trip to Australia all in the space of forty two days. I realise they didn't exactly go around the world, but they certainly crossed it a couple of times.

We have hundreds of photographs so choosing the ones to share is proving difficult, but I hope you enjoy this selection. If you would like to see more, please visit my previous post.

Paris - Karen, Zoe, Steven and Lilly

Lilly's pose was entirely spontaneous, but I wonder if the inspiration came from her favourite Disney film.

Queen Elsa starring in a Frozen Sing Along at Disneyland Paris. Notice anything familiar in the pose?  

 Zoe had difficulty remembering the name of the Eiffel Tower but pointing first at her eye and then her tummy (Eye Full!!) did the trick. 

These two photographs make me smile, I love the way Lilly is copying her daddy with a sad and happy face. 

Is it just me or does anyone else think Lilly looks a little like Audrey Hepburn?  
Lilly on the left Audrey Ruston (Hepburn) on the right

As Zoe gets taller, I get shorter!

From Paris, it was back to London.

Karen and I enjoy a glass of champagne as we walk around a Christmas market alongside the River Thames.

We stayed at a hotel close to the London Eye, but the girls were more impressed with the playground (London Eye in the background)
Steven and Lilly

Zoe having fun

Why are playgrounds made for big people when I'm only little?

London by night

Fortnum and Mason all decked out for Christmas

Back at home and Zoe is very excited to see 'Postman Pat’ pulling up outside. The girls are more used to seeing the postman arriving on a motorbike.

 An Australia Post Postie
(Flickr: Vanessa Pike-Russell via News)

On the move again…this time it’s off to a hotel in Basingstoke to join more of our family.

L to R;  My sister Sue with her husband Brian and daughter Jackie, me with our two grandsons Kip and Tris from our son's first marriage, Terry, Karen, Paula (my niece and Sue's daughter) holding Zoe, Steven, Jean and Fred (my husband's parents), Dave (Paula's husband) and Lilly in the front. 

Our two little granddaughters treated us all to a surprise performance - don't they look adorable in their tutus. 

Lilly on Christmas morning

Zoe with her half-brothers Kip and Tris, the boys returned to England from Australia a few years ago so this was an emotional reunion.

Zoe and Kip getting to know one another again.

Steven taking Nanny for a spin around the dance floor.

With the excitement of Christmas behind us it was time to return home. 
Now I understand why adult colouring books are so popular there is something very therapeutic about getting out the paints and crayons. I loved ‘colouring in’ with the girls and also enjoyed sticker books and magic painting, something I hadn't done since our grandsons were small.  

We were delighted to see this little chap while out walking.

We couldn't be with Zoe on her actual birthday, so we had an unbirthday birthday tea a few days before they returned to Australia. Happy fifth birthday Zoe. 

Love and happy smiles...

Thursday, 28 January 2016

I’m back!!

Happy New Year everyone!  

Karen, Steven and the girls arrived from Australia on the 6th December, and life took on a different pace. We enjoyed a trip to Disneyland Paris, a few days in London, Christmas in a hotel with more of the family, a pantomime, numerous days out plus lots of time for simply catching up. Our son and daughter-in-law haven't changed a bit in the two years since we last saw them (Malaysia 2013), but the girls have changed a great deal. Zoe was five on the 21st of this month and will be going to school soon. Lilly will be four in May, and they both appeared very grown up in comparison to when we last saw them. 

Thanks to my hubby Terry and daughter-in-law Karen we have hundreds of photographs. Picking the ‘best’ is proving difficult, but I hope these and those in my next post will give you a flavour of the fun times we shared.

Knowing how arduous the journey from Australia to England can be we decided to stay close to home for the first few days.
Visiting Sherborne Abbey. The Abbey has featured on my blog in previous post (The filming of Far from the madding crowd) here  and (A Royal Visit) here .

Inside the Abbey
Back row L to R Terry, Karen, me, Steven. Front row L to R Zoe and Lilly

Zoe so loved the Christmas tree in the Abbey she had to give it a kiss!

The sun came out to greet our visitors, but rain is never far away in England much to the delight of two little girls from Australia. 

This and the previous photograph were taken on the site of the old railway line that used to run through Henstridge. As you can see the girls were beginning to feel the cold so it was time to hurry home and warm up.

 A couple of days later and time for a trip to the City of Bath, it's getting colder now but the family are suitably dressed.  Shame I didn't think to wear a hat it was pretty nippy around the ears.

Karen & Steven enjoyed a little light shopping. I don't think they intended the bags to be in the photo but Terry and I decided to keep hold of them – you can never be too careful! :-)

A Few days later it was time to catch the train to Disneyland, Paris. We spent four days at Disneyland and a further day in Paris.

We boarded the train at St. Pancras and it wasn't long before Zoe and Lilly made friends with a little girl called Delilah. The three girls spent almost the entire journey together. I'm enjoying all the attention especially the hug from Lilly.

Disneyland, Paris.

More holiday photos next week.

Feeling very sad when the family left I decided a little Joanne Harris would be the perfect pick me up and Gentlemen & Players didn't let me down! In the words of Anne Marie over at Beetles, Bikes and Books  ... a very dark tale of events centred around a boys' elite Grammar School. Strange things happening relating to an event 13 years or so ago. I love trying to work out who dunnit! but I admit to being stumped. There's always something you miss in a book like this. If you're a Joanne Harris fan and haven't read this - do so

Did you enter the Joules Design a Welly Competition? If you did you might be interested to see the winning design...

The boots will be on sale at later this year. To find out more visit Joules Facebook Page. The winner was a lady by the name of Andrea it would be nice to think she read about the competition on my blog! 

Thanks for your visit I hope to catch up with all my lovely blogging friends very soon.

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