Monday, 13 March 2017

Five Go Off to Camp

Five go off to camp Enid Blyton

I first encountered these stories more than sixty years ago and have revisited them many times since. This time I’m reading Five Go Off to Camp as part of the Birth Year Reading Challenge 2017. 

The Famous Five - Julian, Dick, George (Georgina), Anne and Timmy the dog have entertained countless children over the years. Their exploits began in Five on a Treasure Island in 1942 and continued through twenty one full-length adventures and numerous short stories.

With a plentiful supply of ginger-beer, the Famous Five have outwitted thieves and smugglers, explored castles, caves and secret passages and even discovered hidden treasure.

In this story, they find themselves on the trail of a ghost train... 


On a camping trip with an absent-minded school teacher the five are left to roam the
Five go off to camp Enid Blyton Spook trains
Spook trains? Whatever are they asked Jock.
moors more or less unsupervised. The holiday has hardly begun when the friends stumble across an abandoned railway yard looked after by an old watchman by the name of Wooden Leg Sam. It’s Sam who tells them about the 'Spook Trains' which haunt the rails and tunnels in the dead of night.

Close to the rail yard is a farm where the five buy bread, milk and countless other goodies.  It’s not long before they make friends with a boy named Jock, who lives on the farm with his mother and stepfather. Jock and his mother know nothing about the trains but when Jock’s stepfather overhears them talking, he becomes agitated telling them to stay away from the tunnels, or they might "never come back"  

Naturally, staying away is the last thing they intend to do and a few nights later Julian, Dick and Jock make their way to the yard. In daylight, none of them really believe there are 'Spook Trains' but as the sun sinks and long shadows start creeping across the hills they are not so sure.

Enid Blyton Five go off to camp
Look at that, old derelict lines said Julian
Finding nothing of interest in the darkened yard, they follow the line towards the tunnels, and its then things begin to happen. First, a far-off rumbling noise issues from the tunnel, followed by a loud clanking. Its darker than night in the tunnel and by now the boys are clutching one another fearful of what is about to happen. They don’t have long to wait as the noise grows thunderous and out from the tunnel comes something huge and black, which passes quickly and is gone...


Should the children follow the tracks into the tunnel, and if they do will they solve the mystery? Are they dealing with ghost trains or something else entirely?

As a child I wanted to be one of the Famous Five. Who wouldn’t want to be out on the moors with a teacher who is more interested in insects than his young charges?  That kind of freedom almost guarantees another adventure, which is of course exactly what the author intended!

A lot of the language is old fashioned, but I have no problem with that. Sadly, I was always ten steps ahead of the plot, but that is only to be expected considering the number of times I’ve read it. How I wish I could travel back in time and read it again as if for the first time.

Enid Blyton once described herself as a reporter, an interpreter and the viewer of a private cinema screen inside her head. This might go some way toward explaining her vast outpouring of words. Many people complain her books are formulaic and of course that’s true, but it could be why children find them so appealing. Her adventure stories are exciting from beginning to end thus ensuring lots of children (including me) continued to read long after their bedtime. I was forever promising my parents I would turn the light off as soon as I finished the chapter. Which of course I did, but it didn’t stop me hiding the book under the covers and reading by torchlight.







Enid Blyton
Five Go Off to Camp
1st Edition
Published August, 1948 (the month and year of my birth)
Hardback with Dust Jacket
192 Pages









Enid Blyton intended to finish the series with book six (Five on Kirrin Island Again) but with her readers begging for more she obliged by writing another fifteen adventures.  Here they are in date order. 

Five On a Treasure Island (1942)
Five Go Adventuring Again (1943)
Five Run Away Together (1944)
Five Go To Smuggler's Top (1945)
Five Go Off in a Caravan (1946)
Five On Kirrin Island Again (1947)
Five Go Off to Camp (1948)
Five Get Into Trouble (1949)
Five Fall Into Adventure (1950)
Five On a Hike Together (1951)
Five Have a Wonderful Time (1952)
Five Go Down to the Sea (1953)
Five Go to Mystery Moor (1954)
Five Have Plenty of Fun (1955)
Five On a Secret Trail (1956)
Five Go to Billycock Hill (1957)
Five Get Into a Fix (1958)
Five on Finniston Farm (1960)
Five Go to Demon's Rocks (1961)
Five Have a Mystery to Solve (1962)
Five Are Together Again (1963)



I had masses of freedom when I was growing up, but I also had to abide by a set of rules as stipulated by my parents. It seems to me different rules apply in stories created by Enid Blyton, actually there are no rules, which is why I love them so.

Did you have the freedom to roam when you were growing up or was life very different for you?


62 comments:

  1. Freedom to roam, when growing up....???
    My Mum kept me in an 8ft square cage, for
    the first 10yrs of my life...!!!
    I was extremely dangerous and very good
    looking! HeHe! :).

    Well...as of all other books in my life,
    l've never read any famous five! But! But!
    I have seen the film and ALL the TV series.
    2 series and 26 episodes...back in 1990.
    So, l have'nt miss much!

    Seriously though...Being Sicilian, l had a
    different upbringing than most! A tight knit
    family was very important...Sicilian families
    are very close! So, we did'nt roam about as
    such...! Especially up a tunnel, with a train
    coming the other way...We may strap someone to
    the rails...and let a train come the other way!
    HeHe! Bless! Once a Sicilian...Always a Sicilian! :).

    This may be of some interest.......
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36369366

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Willie, you are such a tonic! I was feeling sorry for myself this morning. It finally feels as if spring has arrived, and I go and catch a cold – but no matter, I read your comment and suddenly felt much better. Is strapping people to rails allowed in Sicily then or is it something you do in the privacy of your own home??!!! (It’s OK I know you are referring to the Mafia, but I couldn’t resist)

      Thanks for the link I loved the idea of these new books but having read a couple I was disappointed. The biggest problem is they are just not funny they need someone like David Walliams to write them. I’ve not seen Five go mad in Dorset but with Jennifer, Dawn and Adrian Edmondson, it should be brilliant.

      Delete
    2. Ah! Yes! David Walliams...Brilliant...!
      If you get a chance, get to see.......
      'Gangsta Granny'...from his best selling
      book of the same name..it runs for 65mins,
      and stars..Julia McKenzie, Joanne Lumley,
      Miranda Hart, and David himself..it's great,
      not to be missed! :).

      Five go mad in Dorset..Yes! Brilliant! Just
      think, they could have one book for each county!
      Though..Five go mad in Yorkshire, does'nt sound
      quite right...Oh! I don't know though...! :).

      Delete
    3. Thanks Willie I will look out for that.

      'Appen Five go larking about in Yorkshire might sound better.

      Delete
  2. You cannot beat Enid Blyton and Famous Five, Secret Seven and Noddy! Its all in the writing! I have introduced our eldest grand-daughter to the O'Clock Stories and she loves them.

    A friend and I use to pack a lunch and go out on a bikes for the day but I and she had to be home at a certain time.

    Julie xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Julie, I couldn’t agree more, and I don’t care what the anti Enid Blyton brigade has to say!
      I always had to be home at a certain time – just before dark and in time for my tea. It might have been different for me because we lived on a farm and my dad and the other workers were never far away. I might not be able to see them, but I could usually hear the tractors and get to them if need be. I often broke off from a game so that I could ride in the tractor cab with dad, a couple of turns around the field, and I would be off again. Happy days and happy memories. xxx

      Delete
  3. Oh the illustrations, so honest and emanating a perspective much more innocent than today. LOVE all your choices, Barbara!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Anita, and I love your comments. Have a wonderful week. x

      Delete
  4. For some reason, I've never heard of this series. I wonder if my parents ever read them, although they might've been too old at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enid Blyton books seem to have been a particularly British phenomenon hardly making a dent on your side of the pond. It might be because L. Frank Baum (Wizard of Oz) was already so popular there just wasn’t room for dear old Enid.

      This article http://www.lostinthepond.com/2014/01/how-britains-most-beloved-writer-enid.html#.WMarjjvyjDc explains it far better than I can.

      Delete
  5. How I loved all those famous five stories! Thanks for the nice reminder of happy adventures in childhood. Hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy times indeed Valerie and somehow the memories never fade – or at least, not yet! x :)

      Delete
  6. I never read this series. But what child wouldn't want to read about a ghost train. And your synopsis really piqued my interest.
    Have a great one, Barbara.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You too Sandra, and thanks for visiting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just the idea of a ghost train sends shivers down my spine! Loved the illustrations. They are perfect 40s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen Soper did the illustrations the are perfectly suited to the stories and I've always loved them.

      Delete
  9. Dear Barbara - I had never heard of this series of books but I am sure I read something on Enid Blyton before. Think one of my blogging buddies mentioned her some time ago. These look like a wonderful set of books. I grew up with rules but as long as I reported in to my parents...didn't have a curfew as such. I generally was home by 11:00 p.m. - so that was a good thing :) Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie, the stories are really well-known in the UK but less so in other parts of the world. Growing up with them, I tend to think everyone knows them but of course that is not the case at all.
      The advent of the mobile phone must have made it so much easier to report in with parents, there was no such thing when I was a girl – it was a telephone box or nothing at all. :)

      Delete
  10. I love the vintage books, Barbara! Wonderful book and lovely illustrations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed them Linda. x

      Delete
  11. Barbara the series of stories of the five seems to me very familiar. Indeed, when I spent my summer vacation in the Basque Country. At four o'clock we were (our band of girls) all back at my aunt's house to see the adventures of the five on television. I wonder if this TV series is not based on the book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite possibly, there was a series on British TV in the 1990s,

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Famous_Five_(1990s_TV_series)

      and a much earlier one in the 70s

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Famous_Five_(1970s_TV_series)


      Delete
    2. Thank you very for your reply, Barbara. Have a great day :)

      Delete
  12. I am reading Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. It was written in 1868 so it is very vintage. (But not in my birth year, I might add)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1868? My you are looking well. :-) I’ve just been reading about Hans Brinker on Google it looks lovely I must try to find a copy.

      Delete
  13. These books sound like grand adventures. Old time illustrations are basic and sketchy yet so perfect for showing emotion, action, and what's important in each scene. They probably expanded our imaginations better than some of today's detailed pictures. I have many fun memories of roaming all over the neighborhood and beyond during my childhood, so much freedom back then. Hope your cold goes away very quickly, Barbara!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Marcia, I’ve always felt the illustrations play a huge part in these stories, but then I’m a fan of the artist Eileen Soper. You might remember I did a post about Paragon nursery china which featured some of her designs.

      http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/eileen-soper-nursery-china-part-two.html

      She also wrote and illustrated her own children’s books and was a founder member of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

      Your memories of roaming around your neighbour sound very much like my own. I will always treasure those memories and count myself very lucky.

      Thank you for your kind wishes. I'm still feeling sorry for myself, but it is only a cold, and I will be as right as rain soon. I hope your week is going well. :)

      Delete
  14. Not only did I adore Enid Blyton's books when young (I particularly liked the 'Adventure' series - The Castle of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure etc. which included Kiki the parrot) but they had a major influence on my own writing.

    The Famous Five are reasonably well-known here in Germany, where they are called 'The Five Friends.' Dick's name had to be changed, but maybe not for the reason that you might think if you have a smutty mind! :) In Germany, 'dick' means fat. I can't remember what he ended up being called. Maybe just Richard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue, I’ve included The Sea of Adventure as one of the books in my ‘birth year challenge’ so I will be sharing it soon. I can definitely see how the stories might have had an influence on your writing. Speaking of which how is the sequel to Trouble in Teutonia going?

      Of course, I don’t have a smutty mind – well not much of one anyway :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for asking, Barbara. Slowly, but it's getting there!

      Delete
    3. Excellent, you are very welcome to share it on my blog once it’s finished. (If you would like to)

      Delete
  15. Hi Barbara, I hope you are over that cold by now or at least feeling much better. I haven't read any of Enid Blyton's stories but am seriously tempted to start by the way you enthuse about them. As for roaming free as a child, does going rabbiting with three dogs ( one continually barking ) and a piglet count? John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning John, I am so ‘over the cold’ but still feeling dreadful. It must be man flu! :-)

      That absolutely counts John! For anyone reading this and wondering about John’s mention of rabbiting, dogs and a piglet, please visit this post on my ‘family blog’

      http://flitneyfamily.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/as-i-recall-pitchcott-continued-by-john.html

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the link Barbara.
      As for man flu..........I think it was the Wright brothers who started all that. Back then it was spelt differently though as in Man flew!.......Ho! Hum!!
      Seriously I wish you well ASAP. J.

      Delete
    3. Ho Hum indeed! :)
      Thanks for the good wishes x

      Delete
  16. I hadn't heard of the challenge or these books until now. Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Theresa, there is still time to join in pop over to the Hotchpot Café to ‘read all about it’.

      http://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/birth-year-reading-challenge-2017.html

      Delete
  17. I had rules growing up, but I also had a lot of freedom to play outside and explore the world. I am so thankful I grew up at a time when kids played in the woods, rode bikes, climbed trees, and spent most of the time not in school- outside.

    I have not read any of Enid's books. But, I have long had them on my list since I first heard about them here. One of my students was reading one two years ago and told me I could borrow it after they were done- but they never brought it to me. I will have to see about borrowing them from a library. :) Sounds like the books were lots of fun to read.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn’t agree more Stephanie. I’m sure I would have spent hours on the Internet had it been available when I was growing up but just think of all the things I would have missed. If you are anything like me the bike riding, tree climbing days will never fade from your memory.

      I hope you find one or two Blyton books at your library and also hope you enjoy them.

      Delete
  18. A wonderful, wonderful post.

    I do love The Famous Five ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Yvonne, you do say the nicest things. x

      Delete
  19. LOVE the Famous Five! I never get tired of re-reading them. I had a very free childhood- very little supervision at all. I am thankful that I grew up at a time when it was much safer to go about on a bicycle or walking alone. I loved to ride my bicycle to the library and then to the park to read. I always had a blanket and some snacks in my basket, and I could spend the whole day reading or just watching the clouds. I am sorry so many children do not have free time -and books rather than electronics. This is a wonderful post, Barbara! I wish I had been a member of the Famous Five...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Dear Colleen, I recognise your childhood days because they sound just like my own. The only difference is the library came in a van. My memory tells me it visited our village once a week, but I had always finished my book and was eager for another so it was probably once a month. Mum would sift through all the Mills and Boon romances looking for one she hadn’t read while I checked out the children’s books on the lower shelves. Then I would dash off to the fields to find a warm, dry spot or perhaps climb a tree (book in hand), before settling down to read. On wet days I would sit in one of the barns or if really damp and cold I would retreat to my bedroom. They were very solitary days, but I was never lonely. What a shame we didn’t live closer have started our own club and called it the ‘Famous Two’ :)

      Delete
  20. Ah, simpler times. I had quite a bit of freedom growing up, thank goodness, allowed to roam the neighborhood with my friends, spend hours at the barn before and after horseback riding, and ride my bicycle around town. But I was never half as mature as these kids from the 40's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello J. G, your comment made me smile. I was born in the 40s, but it didn’t make me mature. I think perhaps Enid Blyton was projecting her own maturity on them. :)

      Delete
  21. You know, I find the title a little uninspiring, even though I think the story line is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Crystal you are quite right but such was the power of Enid Blyton it didn’t really matter. It’s a story about the Famous Five. They go camping. They will have an adventure. Her name on the cover was enough to ensure the books sold. Think JK Rowling and Harry Potter and you will have some idea of the appeal of these books back then.

      Delete
  22. Barbara, this was my elder sister's favourite Enid Blyton series. It was above my reading level at that time so I couldn't make sense of it, but my sister ate up book after book of the Famous Five! (There was a meddlesome copper somewhere, wasn't there?)

    I didn't have a lot of freedom to roam when I was little. Had I been born 5-10 years earlier, I might have. My parents had to move from their village (think Little Orchid's village if you can remember) into flats on the year I was born. Not too much space to roam safely, and they were also the cautious kind of parents. We didn't wander out of their sight much. How different from the Famous Five, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello Claudine, I wonder if you are thinking of Mr. Goon. He is probably the best known policeman in the Enid Blyton books (apart from Mr. Plod in the Noddy books). Mr. Goon appeared in the Five Find-Outers series along with Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip, Bets (the children) and a dog called Buster. There were fifteen books in the series, including The mystery of the invisible thief, The mystery of the missing necklace and The mystery of the burnt cottage. Do any of those mean anything to you? It’s easy to mix up the Five Find-Outers with The Famous Five, Enid Blyton was never very inventive with titles.
    I do remember Little Orchid’s village, actually it must be time to read your book again. I loved it the first time. I can understand why your parents would be cautious in the circumstances it must have been such an upheaval for them. It’s much harder to let children roam these days, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
    Have a lovely week. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, yes, I think you're right about Mr. Goon and the Five Find-Outers (I did assume they were the Famous Five)! And yes, she wasn't very inventive with titles lol.

      I hope if you have friends or family in London, that they be safe and well. Sending love to you and Terry during this scary time. xoxo C.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much Claudine, all well here.

      We have tickets for the Houses of Parliament in May, afternoon tea and a look around inside. We booked it a couple of months ago and have always wanted to go, this won’t stop us. It will probably be the safest place on the planet for the next few months, and if not, we will go anyway – terrorists can’t be allowed to win.
      Stay safe dear friend.

      Delete
  24. I've just caught up with this blog post, Barbara, and I love it! When I was about nine years old my mother let me go out for the day with the 'grown-up girl across the road' who was all of fourteen. We would take a picnic and sit in the bough of a nearby oak tree - such happy memories. No wonder today's parents can't imagine such freedom...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Marilyn,

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. I loved hearing your memories those really were the BEST days of our lives.

      Delete
  25. Oh my! Enid Blyton and the Famous Five! It brought back so many happy memories for me! I used to exist on this series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Nasreen, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the memories.

      Delete
  26. Not only did I have freedom, I had a huge territory to explore. Our house was on the edge of a large neighborhood with a lake and woods on the other side. It was the ideal situation for bike rides, hikes, and other adventures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds wonderful Tamara and much like my own childhood, although we had a pond rather than a lake. There were all kinds of stories about the pond and one that really stays with me was a tale of a man and woman losing their way and driving their horse and cart into the pond. It’s said their bodies are still in the silt at the bottom of the pond. I've never been sure if my dad told me that in an effort to keep me away from the water – if he did I’m afraid he failed because I spent weeks looking for that horse and cart!

      Delete
  27. I was an avid reader of Enid Blyton books and I think I have read all the famous five books. I had the freedom of roaming all over the place where I lived. It was a sleepy little hill station in those days and I could almost imagine all these adventures happening to me, with the lake on one side and the jungle and the mountains on the other side. Whole of the countryside used to turn magical soon after the rains. Little streams happily gurgling down and little ponds would spring up in most unlikely places where we would go fishing and bring home tadpoles thinking they were fish😀

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such lovely memories Shashi thank you for sharing them. It sounds as though you had a wonderful childhood. Your mention of tadpoles reminded me of days spent sitting by the side of a pond watching an entire universe under the water. We were so lucky to experience these things first hand.

      Delete
    2. Yes they were such innocent and child safe times.

      Delete
  28. My favourite series as a child. I especially liked George. She was a rebel, just like I wanted, but was never brave enough to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I modelled myself on George, right down to the curly hair, in my head I was her! I’m quite sure I failed miserably, but I tried – right? :)

      Delete

I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...