Saturday, 30 April 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When you ask someone their favourite Enid Blyton school story, two times out of three they will name In the Fifth at Malory Towers (1950). There's a magic to it, even coming right near the end of a popular series.
The girls are putting on a school pantomime, and there is drama offstage more than off. Vain competition for the role of Cinderella between the fluffy Gwendoline Mary and her even more ghastly mirror image Maureen; clashes of power between the uncooperative but brilliant Alicia and the hard, domineering Head of Form Moira; and protagonist Darrell desperately trying to hold things together and make a success of the play she and the musical Irene have created.
And then there are the anonymous hate letters Moira keeps receiving...
It all comes together beautifully. Moira, with her twisted relationship with her younger sister, and her clinging, self-sacrificing yet vaguely scary friend Catherine, are wonderful additions to the crew. The intensity is high, the atmosphere vicious and suspicious, and only meek Mary Lou and tomboyish Bill really seem completely apart from all the spite and power playing.
Glorious, glorious stuff. And the knowledge that Darrell will triumph beautifully in the name of friendship and hard work keeps it all from being too dark.
And of course, darling Mam'zelle Dupont plays the most marvellous trick on her bad, bad girls.
Hold it Darrell, while we slip away. It is your own great moment. There'll never be another quite like it
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Sunday, 10 April 2016
Light Intensity Shower Rain, 18°C
School Story Haul
From a visit to the Oxfam bookshop, a glorious haul. Particularly pleased with the two 1920s Dorothea M. Pocock books, but my favourite title has to be Penelope’s Prefects.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Broken Clouds, 20°C
# They look so innocent
We rescued a bird today. At least I hope so. A tiny, fluffy baby noisy mynah.
It shrieked frantically and hid under my chair while I grabbed the cats and struggled until I had them shut in the toilet.
My little boy was confused and anxious when I kept asking him to bring a spoon, or coin, or anything to lock the door, while Cherry and Pippy tried frantically to force themselves out to find their prey. He even resorted to his ultimate three year old anxiety, “I’m just going to wriggle.”
In the end, though, my brave boy brought my bag, and I used a coin to lock the door.
The little bird was motionless under my chair, it’s yellow beak open, and I thought the pathetic ball of fluff was already dead. When I gathered it up in a tea towel, I could see the towel tremble with its little heartbeat. So I carried it in one hand, held my boy’s hand with the other, and went to find a bush at the edge of a nearby vineyard.
When I unwrapped the little bird, it looked at us with bright, wary black eyes, and tried to burrow back into the tea towel. I gently tipped it out and it hopped further into cover, no longer in shock or feigning death.
“It looks so happy! It’s so cute!” said the little boy.
Maybe it will die anyway. I have no way of telling how hurt the little baby was. Maybe it is too easy prey. But we did our best for the poor, foolish thing that ventured into our yard. Usually only magpies and piping shrikes come in, to deliberately tease and taunt.
The cat beasts are sulking.