Friday, 3 January 2014




I remembered Hansel and Gretel! the little gingerbread house with the witch, found when they were lost in the woods - I loved the story as a child and read it to myself a lot but I would change the end - the book had Arthur Rackham illustrations - he's my favourite childhood illustrator - he captures a sinister undertone in all his work.  As a child I secretly wanted my then only brother and I to re-enact the story and couldn't think of anything more wonderful than creeping into the woods, getting lost and finding the old witch in her magical house.  We weren't afraid of witches of course, we had plenty of those in our own family (our mother dabbled with the occult and our grandmother maintained an aura of mystery and authority over us with her 'invisible seeing eye'! it would be out of the frying pan into the fire for us!).  Imagine re-creating the gingerbread house in the woods with stained glass windows and iced roof -  it would be the most magical place to live.  My plan was that  the witch would teach us her skills and we would catch small animals to go in the oven so we were spared.  I wished it so much it was almost real!



One of my blogging friends, Karen, picked up on a comment I made and emailed me this picture - how kind is that?

My grandfather (probably bored with the same old stories) would start a story and then encourage us to make our own middle and end!  He was a good artist but couldn't do Hansel and Gretel pictures, however, he knew that I would busy myself for hours if he asked me to finish the story and left his box of pastels and crayons out.  He designed buildings so had the most enormous draftsmans table with paper sheets the size of dining tables!  how I loved to draw on those sheets.

I think stories that capture our imagination when we are children stay with us and are part of who we are - did you have a favourite childhood book that took you away to fairyland?  perhaps you're a secret Cinderella, Red Riding Hood or Alice in Wonderland?

15 comments:

  1. My books were very horse based and I also loved Mrs Pepperpot! No one book was my favourite though. I think your Grandad was clever and helped you develop your imaginations which is no bad thing and something I think children these days have very little of! Xxx

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    1. Hello Lyn - National Velvet? Black Beauty?! ... If they had My Little Pony when we were girls I expect the world would have been a much prettier place!

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  2. I so agree with you about Hansel and Gretel - and Arthur Rackham. I've posted about him a lot, adore his work and always know it when I see it, even in unexpected places. Alice is a favourite of mine because growing up in a suburban town I so longed to live in an English village and have a mad tea party. x

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    1. Maybe you should join the next blogland Mad Hatters Tea Party, I will try and find you a link.

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  3. Oops, forgot to say that I love your 'to do' list! We share some aspirations - like this one :' Own a wardrobe of entirely purple/lilac clothes' x

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  4. On of our favourites was Jason and the Argonauts. Odd but it was an illustrated book our dad bought us. We too love Rackhams' work. We think your grandfather was very clever making you buy into the stories.
    Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. What about Molly? 101 Dalmations? Lassie? yes grandad probably was clever like that - he was also good at sharing his guiness with me because I was skinny and looked like I needed iron(?!) oh and long walks along the canal finding little snail shells in the clear water, evening walks at dusk watching owls swoop - happy days!

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  5. Hi Betty, one story that captured me when young was The snow queen. I think it was all the snow and ice looking magical in the book i had. I just watched a fantastic version of the film this Christmas, did you see it? How fascinating to hear about your mother and grandmother,I would love to hear more :)
    Hope you have a lovely weekend Betty,love juliexxx

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    1. Oh yes, the Snow Queen - I do like the baddies in the stories too, don't you - I never wanted to be a goodie!

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  6. I liked Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak. The wild things did scare me but I loved the illustration of Max sailing off on his adventure..that's what I like doing, even now.

    Sft x

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    1. That's clearly where you got your travel bug SFT! I reckon you could write your own travel books now!

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  7. I loved the Hansel and Gretel story too and I imagined dropping bread crumbs in the wood so I could find my way back home I had no sense of direction and always needed someone to show me the way home.
    That was so very long ago I don't even know who the author was. I was only interested in the storey.

    Have a lovely weekend.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  8. I have no sense of direction to this day - but I'm glad as it means I get to have lots of unexpected adventures Julia!

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  9. Hello Betty, I have no idea how I got to your blog as I got myself into one of the blog surfing sessions that take you off Narnia style through a laptop screen and into other worlds. But what a lovely place to find myself. I've only had a quick 'spoach' so far but intend to dig and delve into all your nooks and crannies. If you hear ooh'ing and ahhh'ing, it's just me....Gail

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  10. Hello Gail, I was just reading up on snowdrop medicinal properties and then your comment popped up - perhaps there are snowdrops in Narnia? How lovely that you chanced by - similar to you, I did a similar jump through portal thing this morning and found myself in all kinds of strange places, it's a bit like time travel! I might be transported to your blog, who knows.... Betty

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