News from Across the Pond

Potted Potter The Reduced Shakespeare company apparently managed to get all seven Harry Potter books performed in under an hour...I knew all she needed was good editor.

Of particular interest to fans of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books (think Roxeboxen for older readers, but with sailboats and pirates and explorers in the Lake District of England instead of desert)--Fidra Books is republishing The Far Distant Oxus by Pamela Whitlock and Katharine Hull (ponies and ancient Persia on the moors of Devon). Pamela and Katharine co-wrote their book in their teens, and sent it off to Ransome, whom they admired greatly. He in turn took it his publisher, and there you go. I much prefer the Swallows and Amazons books, but The Far Distant Oxus has its charms, especially for those who like pony books.

A different, more crime-fightingly exciting series was The Famous Five, by Enid Blyton. I read them all (and there are many of them), and am still peeved that my mother saw fit to dispose of them when I was 11. From The Times, August 28, 2007, comes this eyebrow-raising news:

"For two decades they patrolled the English seaside during school holidays, instilling fear into smugglers, kidnappers and spies, but in 1963 the Famous Five had their final adventure.

The fates of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy, arguably the most formidable upper middle class crime-fighting squad assembled, have been open to speculation ever since.

But now the mystery is at last about to be laid to rest with a new television series. The characters are scheduled to return to the screen as middle-aged men and women in a drama authorised by Enid Blyton’s estate."

It reminds me of an article that came out in the late 70s in which a middle aged Nancy Drew is interviewed. I remember my parents reading it with great enjoyment--"Oh no, not tea," says Nancy at one point. "Tea stains my teeth."

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