Antonia Forest fans: your favourite parts or lines?

(114 Posts)
TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 21-Jan-13 09:54:36

Inspired by posting near MirandaWest....

I often think of Nick's pondering in End of Term that 'it was queer and difficult being friends with someone who disliked one so much; at least, she supposed they were friends, and she supposed it was dislike, though neither seemed quite the right word.'

And for some reason, the description of Edwin Dodd in The Ready Made Family as 'an old, old man with three tiny, tiny tots'.


seeker Mon 28-Jan-13 18:18:01

I like the line about Lawrie not really believing that anyone except her actually had feelings. But I can't remember the exact words.

And the description about people going hunting- some being aware of a nervous system and some being in a blue funk.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 18:24:41

I think - from memory - that Lawrie was remembering someone (Rowan?) saying (in FL) 'Ann has feelings, same as you' and just completely discounting it. But then she ponders it again in End of Term when her leg gets hurt before the Very Important netball match and wonders if not being in the team really had mattered to Nick.....I think.

I love the bit in TAT when most of the girls drift away because Nick and Miranda would still be there to tell it in an hour but Star Trek, once gone, would be Lost Forever.

I love all the Gondaling. And I must admit, I adore the Colebridge Festival mainly because it sort of matches elements of my own childhood and, now, continuing life - the music competitions anyway. I still know all the words of 'Fear no more'.

Linked to Seeker's one - Peter having a blue funk with the diving, and then realising that even if he does do dead man's drop it won't make it any easier the next time. That resonates quite strongly with me, too.....

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 18:51:54

Hurrah! grin

Nicola is not used to discussing other people's feelings, Lawrie remains unconvinced that anyone but herself really has any - genius.

I first read Peter's Room at about 14, and I'm afraid I skipped all the gondalling until a lot later. But I did like it when Peter said 'how much' on being told of the name 'Malise'. I love the Bronte chat in that book: 'everyone went around calling her 'dear gentle Anne' in rather a despising sort of way'.

Least convincing, I always found, was Tim and Miranda composing the song in TAT, and realising that the line 'to celebrate your birth' would scan and rhyme exactly with
Blessed child of holy mother
Israel's come newly born to earth
Hear us sing, oh infant like none other...

('what it wants is 'happy birthday to you, only put rather differently'; 'put very differently, with Me Auntie sat there doing her devotional bit')

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 18:58:04

Actually, that completely convinces me, but that's probably cos I do music. grin

The whole Malise thing is very sad. Poor Peter - it's Lt Foley all over again.

Something else that always makes me sad - Marie Dodd. That poor poor girl. sad

Have you read the GGB publishing authorised continuation novel (the name of which escapes me right now)? I enjoyed it.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 19:03:36

Spring Term? But natch! grin

And yes, Marie - 'not enough of a person to die'. sad

And I can believe Tim and Miranda could invent a very creditable tune and lyrics, but the way the creative process is described, with the very fortuitous line at the end, never quite convinces.

SugarInThePetrol Tue 29-Jan-13 08:38:56

I've name changed, not because of this thread, but I've swapped authorial horses for a while. ;) I found Tim to be a very annoying character. Serious Issues, that one, I think.

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 10:11:30

Oh, Tim! She is pretty ghastly- but so real! Do you remember when Rowan was speculating about what it would be like when she was Head Girl? After they didn't have enough money to buy Miss Cromwell a bunch of flowers, so got her a buttonhole instead?

I have only read Autumn term, as the books are impossible to get hold of for a reasonable price, loved it and would love to read more, but how to access them!?

Sorry for the tangent there!

SugarInThePetrol Tue 29-Jan-13 11:05:45

Tim would never be head girl though. It would obviously be Nick. Or, if Keith had removed the broom from her arse, Miranda. Keith wouldn't have made her niece head girl it would have looked dreadful.

There are aspects of Tim that I like but I don't like the way she is with Lawrie. And the fact that Miranda (and Esther too) doesn't like her speaks volumes.

SugarInThePetrol Tue 29-Jan-13 11:07:26

Wombling - girls gone by has reprinted several of them in the past and they have a list of dealers who might still carry their reprints - google girls gone by publishing (I'm on a phone and I'm not the best at manipulating it so can't give a link, sorry)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:09:18

I bet it would be Esther - character building and all that!

Spero Tue 29-Jan-13 11:09:31

Rowan's line "my grief will be controllable" that has been my catch phrase now for 30 years.

Thanks sugar, will try that, anyone have a recommendation for the best one to get next?

SugarInThePetrol Tue 29-Jan-13 11:19:21

I need to rethink this new name! shock I didn't consider the obvious short form.

Back in a mo.

Oh, just checked them out - they are all out of print again, such a shame. Will have to save up for the expensive ones. Just tried the library too, no luck there either!

DeWe Tue 29-Jan-13 11:24:33

Nick would never be head girl. The head very clearly didn't like her at all. She probably would be sports' captain though.

I think Miranda would be head girl and make a very good one.

I'd have liked to see Ann as head girl, would have been nice to see her being really good at it too.

I liked the meal Nick has with Miranda's dad when Miranda is performing in the Tempest. It's just a glimpse of Miranda's home life which is great to see.

Tim and Lawrie are both irritating in different ways. I think Tim is deliberately irritating, whereas Lawrie is just spoilt. Very telling in Ready Made Family when she expects that going to bed in tears will mean that what she wants will happen (over the horse). They both think they're a bit above the rest for various reasons, and expect everyone to do what they want.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:25:32

Ah. That's better.

Wombling - there is a section on their website for dealers who hold old stock. peacock books, from memory, is one such. Try them. In the past I have bought GGB type books (not Marlow ones, I had all of them from my youth, but several Lorna Hills) from the various dealers they list. They tend to be run by enthusiasts, like us, rather than, you now, profiteers. But there is a market and there is a fairly inelastic supply so that does influence the price.

When I was a kid and a young adult some of my happiest times were ranging round the countryside scouring 2nd hand bookshops for this sort of thing. It's a shame that the Internet has transformed 'booking', really. But on the other hand it does often make it a lot easier. If less entertaining.

My big hope is that GGB will release e copies of their back catalogue, especially the ones they have no intention of ever reprinting.

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 11:26:42

I have a horrible feeling that Kingscote would never have a Jewish Head-girl. I think Miss Keith would have made a spectacularly badly judged choice- can't think who for the moment.....

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:28:16

Keith doesn't like Nick but the other staff do. And Keith might not be around by the time Nick gets to 6th form (although Keith not being around would mean that Miranda would qualify which would be Better. In every way. Because I think she'd like to be head girl. And she deserves to be. And it would really piss off the nasty girls).

tryingtoleave Tue 29-Jan-13 11:29:40

I love Janice Scott, and the way she holds herself aloof and wouldn't volunteer to weed the drive. I don't like Patrick though - think he is a bit of a dumper. First he dumps Peter for Nicola and then Nicola for Ginty.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:30:30

Seeker - as things stand, no. There's clearly more than a little anti semitism going on. But It seems to stem mainly from Keith. If she popped off the twig.....also, let's face it, it might make financial sense to make Miranda head given the whole thing about the pool. And the fact that she has no sibs so Keith would need to maximize returns before she left....

Who would be a terrible terrible choice? Meg.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:30:42

Or Lawrie, shed be even worse.

tryingtoleave Tue 29-Jan-13 11:31:26

The way time moves in the books it might have been acceptable to have a Jewish head girl by the end...

tryingtoleave Tue 29-Jan-13 11:32:32

Esther - to build confidence. Rowan said they liked to do things like that.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:32:37

I don't think Patrick dumped Peter. Not for Nick, not for Gin. Things were a bit dodgy for a little while but they resolved them at the diving competition. Patrick had his head turned by Evil!Gin but it was turned back again by RUn Away Home. Which was nice.

tryingtoleave Tue 29-Jan-13 11:35:06

No, Peter expected to hang out with Patrick at the beginning of falconers lure. He was the one who had been friends with patrick before. He was surprised and hurt when he wasn't invited along.

tryingtoleave Tue 29-Jan-13 11:38:32

I would have liked to have had a dd called Phoebe and call her Fob, but dh was not so keen.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 11:41:02

But that's not Patrick's fault. 5 years is a long time when you're that age. And nick was just being his falconry slave at that point. Peter should have gone round the first night if he wanted to be friends again - but he didn't. I really like peter - prob my favourite of all of them - but he's a bit rubbish at the whole social thing isn't he? (Until Selby anyway).

Russians, thank you, I did obsess about tracking all the Marlow books down last year, but am currently job hunting, so no spare cash for lots of expensive books right now! I wish I had them all from childhood, but although an avid reader as a child, we moved countries twice, and all books were ruthlessly culled by my parents!

I have become an avid hoarder of children's books now, and constantly scour secondhand bookshops for them, building up a collection for my DD meWould love them to be made available as e books!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:41:47

It could be Pippin! Doesn't Nick tell her so in TAT?

Patrick is a bit of a one, yes. I like him much better in EOT, but his behaviour to Ginty and Claudie and NIck is all a bit dodgy.

Oh yes, and whenever I think of 'A Little Princess' I always think of Miranda's haste to the conclusion when Sandra Grigg is re-telling the story: 'so when did Daddy turn up not dead after all with the Rajah's diamond, then?'

DeWe Tue 29-Jan-13 11:43:56

I think Patrick with Gin was more Gin's doing. She was very much out to get her sticky paws on him.

Not quite sure why, she wanted him. I'd have thought someone more adventurous than him would have suited her, or someone much older (although that avenue had been used with Karen). I could see her more chasing desperately fluttering her eyelashes after someone coming back with Giles. Say trying to persuade him to take her to a ball on board ship, and climbing out of the bedroom window because she knew her mum and Giles wouldn't approve type of thing.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:48:24

DeWe, if only there'd been two or three more books, I could well imagine that happening!

I think Patrick bonded with Ginty over Gondal, didn't he - which Nick absolutely hated. There's a telling bit at the end of Peter's Room, where Nick pulls a Charlotte Bronte and abandons it, and Patrick says something like, Charlotte Bronte was an absolute heel. By which, in typically subtle Forest fashion, we understand that his feelings for Nick have become suddenly a lot cooler.

Also Ginty looked fit in the Doris dress at Merrick's hoolie, of course.

jeee Tue 29-Jan-13 11:55:14

I was always a bit confused about the whole Nick needing to leave the school scenario. Okay, fair enough, they could no longer afford the school fees. But would any parent have been so blatantly unfair as to suggest that one twin should leave the school? And nobody, even Nick, seemed to think this - she was upset about having to leave the school, distraught even, but she wasn't angry. It struck me as so unrealistic that I didn't actually enjoy The Cricket Term.

I loved the nativity in the cathedral, though.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:02:36

Yes, and having just bought a load of unnecessary horses only four months earlier, too!

And Kingscote was hardly helping Lawrie to stop being such a baby anyway, was it?

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:05:14

I think actually that what Lawrie really needs is to be away from Nick. And possibly the rest of her family too (except Peter who bizarrely she seems OK with).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:48

And Tim....

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 12:09:46

No such thing as an unnecessary horse!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:10:42

Well, if there was such a thing as an unnecessary horse wink, that horse would be Chocbar!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:13:02

Would be funny, too, if that had happened and it turned out that Kingscote's tendency to spend Maths lessons discussing the diaspora and English lessons doing hawking meant Nick failed the 11+, and rather than going to Colebridge Grammar as Pam so confidently assumes, she ended up at Colebridge Sec Mod with the chair-throwing hordes....

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 12:17:00

Oh, I reckon Catkin was the unnecessary one- if anyone deserved a gee it was the poor downtrodden Mrs Marlow!

MirandaWest Tue 29-Jan-13 12:18:14

I have inspired a thread grin

I have also been LawrieMarlow and LoisSanger and possibly Ginty. And maybe a few others....

I also think I have an extra copy of Attic Term - that one's near the end womblingalong but if you would like to have it let me know.

Did anyone else try and read the Thuggery affair and fail? My grief is probably controllable it has to be said but I still feel a little bad about it.

Think I might need to have a read all the way through (I do love GGBP for having allowed this to happen smile)

DeWe Tue 29-Jan-13 12:18:40

Yes, I agree with jee over the Nick needing to leave. Why not Ginty? Or both twins, I sort of understand with Ann that it was a bit late. Lawrie might have actually been better at a less academic school that she didn't have her sisters to baby her.
Or both twins leaving or maybe saying Lawrie had been offered a place at a preforming arts and so they'd both be leaving. Although maybe she'd have hated a performing arts because she'd have found she was middle of the range and not the genius she thought.
And they had just had both karen (although she had scholarships) and Rowen leave the school, so there was no real reason why they suddenly found themselves short of money.
I also think most private schools would have come to some sort of arrangement anyway. After all, they could have said if we don't do it for one, then we don't for them all, and then they'd be 3 fees down.

And I didn't get why she didn't tell Miranda either. Yes, she didn't want Lawrie to know, but I think she would have told Miranda, particularly when she got upset. You can imagine Miranda coming out with some schemes, and I think it would have been much worse to tell her on the last day.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:20:31

The Thuggery Affair is brilliant! shock You must read it.

lucky I didn't choose KinkyMobster as my new username clearly at least one aficionado wouldn't have got it wink grin

MirandaWest Tue 29-Jan-13 12:20:52

I do love how time is wonderfully elastic - it just moves on while the characters don't age. Did confuse me a little when I first read some of them. When I was younger Autumn Term, Cricket Term and Attic Term were the only ones I could find. Was very excited when I got a copy of End of Term for the first time smile

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:21:18

Oh no - Mrs Marlow does bugger all, all day long! She can't even take her child for a bloody haircut!

Farm needs running but Dad and big bro in Navy - let the sporty one give up school and do it! MOney situation a bit dodgy - sell the jewels and buy a horse! Mrs Bertie ill and can't do the cooking? Not to worry, another daughter has half term and can cater for all of us! Money really really short now as have used all savings for horse - take the most sensible child out of private school and leave the rest there! Mrs Bertie can't cope with 'the rough'? Get another maid in!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:23:20

Oh The Thuggery Affair is incredibly daft! 'Don't you see? Junkie - in their language - means drug addict!'

And when Patrick says 'that's where you're so very, very wrong' to Jukie - it's another phrase I like to use, but my god how did that boy not get his block knocked off quite frequently?

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:09

Patrick is the best argument against only children I have met since Violet Elizabeth Bott.......

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:39

.... and Tim Keith?

Viviennemary Tue 29-Jan-13 12:26:29

I'm not exactly a fan so I'll probably be slated. grin I don't think some of the characters sound very nice people. Saying that the books are very well written. I've only read two or three and bits of others and that was quite a long time ago.

That business in one of the school term books I think it was Autumn Term where there was a row over a desk. I thought the other girl (Marie or Maria?)was in the right. And I think she later became ill and died and they all felt guilty they hadn't been nicer to her. That was quite a strange event for a children's story.

jeee Tue 29-Jan-13 12:27:15

I keep checking Amazon, in the folorn hope that her books will one day be available as e-books. Frankly, I think their out-of-print status is a a conspiracy to keep the resale value of tatty paperbacks spectacularly high.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:30:47

Of course it's daft! Many of them are! That's the charm. grin

Everything I know about pigeon fancying I learned from the Thuggery Affair (I know nothing about pigeon fancying)

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:32:27

@Vivienne Many of them aren't very nice. Even the stars aren't very nice, some of the time. And actually - I don't think hardly any of the kids felt guilty about Marie. sad

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:32:52

Can you imagine the AIBU?

Hi all, am new to MN being from a non-specific but definitely pre-internet era and need advice but don't want to start a whole private/state debate.

We are very hard up as a result of me buying a horse and giving our large Hampstead house to some Tory mates we'd forgotten about the credit crunch and can no longer afford to send dds 3,4, 5 and 6 to boarding school. WIBU to remove dd6, who is 13 and very bright, but leave the others there? DD is undiagnosed but definitely on some sort of spectrum (does not believe other people have emotions etc), but has been put on the G&T register for performing arts, so think she would be best where she is. DD3 very well-behaved and likely to choose hard life for self, while dd4 a bit of a flibbertigibbet so also best at boarding school. WIBU to take dd6 out, and also should I tell her before or after this is a fait accompli?

Response 1: OP, do you work outside the home? My advice is to get a part-time job and see if you can cover fees that way

2, OP, I can't understand why you have so many children if you can't afford them? I would have loved three children, but had to cut my coat according to my cloth.

3, It is certainly best for a child to be in private school and my advice is to choose a career now which will allow them all to remain in one, but not boarding as it will mess them up. Have you looked at Habs or CLC? Pick a career which will enable you to send them there, perhaps.

Viviennemary Tue 29-Jan-13 12:36:12

You're right only a couple of them did. And they had to write to her parents. I thought that was really sad and not nice at all. Reminder - Must not take schoolgirl fiction too seriously!

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:36:30

DD5 surely? Nick is the older twin....

Imagine the AIBU for when Karen came home from Oxford to tell them about Edwin.....grin

Ace aibu!

Vivienne, you are right, many are not very nice! But that is life isn't it, not everyone is nice and however not nice some characters are, they are very true to life!

Another who loves the time frame.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 12:41:03

You're right - she says she's the 7th child in RMF, doesn't she?

Another dodgy bit of parenting, I remember, when daddy says about sorting the Guides thing, that they shouldn't rake it up now 'and anyway, the twins wouldn't want you to, would you Nicky?'.

No wonder Lawrie has problems!

MirandaWest, wow, <excited>, I'd love your spare Attic Term, will PM you, thank you so much!

MirandaWest Tue 29-Jan-13 12:57:49

Am hoping I do definitely have it now - am pretty sure I've seen it lurking somewhere....

DeWe Tue 29-Jan-13 13:13:07

I think that some aren't very nice (Ginty, Lois, Lawrie, Tim) and don't get reformed by one term at said school actually adds to the realism.

I don't think Marie is very nice actually, and don't think she had the right over the desk. If I remember rightly, they had their own set desks and Marie came down early to swap the desks round so Nick didn't have that one. Not that she specifically wanted it, but more she didn't want Nick to have it. Add to that how she lied over the guides thing, which certainly added to Nick and Lawrie being in a lot of trouble-and it could have been considerably worse. She was written as a weak character, but not a nice weak one really.

The form chose to write to her parents, not that they were told to, and Nick says that she's not sure they should, but it would have been a good idea if they'd liked her. And I get exactly what she means there.

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 13:48:22

I do have to work very hard at ignoring the undercurrent of classism in the books- not to mention the private/state school debate!

Yes, but it's just a product if it's time isn't it?

I try very hard to model myself on Rowan, but probably more of a Lawrie!! And I need a mrs bertie!

Would quite like to marry Commander Marlow, so deliciously decisive, well dressed, well paid and absent!

notcitrus Tue 29-Jan-13 16:49:21

I got the 4 school stories in paperback just as I went to boarding school in the 80s. I loved the way the characters weren't all good or all bad, some of the teachers were partisan or nasty, and the endings weren't all neat and tidy. And you could be a main character (Lawrie) while still being scared of stuff. (I can't light gas. It bangs at me....Oh Lawrie, said someone exasperatedly, but did it for her, which was what Ann or Redmond or ... did too.)

I know quite a few cases where one sister ended up leaving the boarding school, often involuntarily, though the twins I knew wanted to be separated for 6th form. Was most entertaining when identical twin 2 came to visit. But certain oil companies would pay full boarding fees for all children but if parent was sent back to the UK, they wouldn't even pay up to the end of that year.

Ebay often has the other school stories - it's the holiday ones that are hard to find. What year does Peter's Room take part in? I remember being surprised by the lack of comparison with Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe if DnD had been based on Gondal rather than Lord of the Rings, it wouldn't have been linked to Satanism etc. Though given how Gondal ended in PR, might not have helped!

Viviennemary Tue 29-Jan-13 16:52:40

No I don't agree about the desks. It was sneaky to get the desk early I thought. That annoyed me quite a bit. Doesn't take much. grin

But as for the Edwin business. What mother wouldn't hit the roof if their daughter announced she was getting married to someone with three children and leaving Oxford. Was it not her first term and she was only 18. And then all moving back in with her parents. Imagine the AIBU. I'd have liked a sister like Anne doing everything for me. But alas I am an only one.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 18:43:27

It was her first year. Not her first term. It happened around Easter, or just before....the girls were all at home because the school had closed early due to plague. Peter wasn't back yet though. He arrived a few days later.

It was ever so well done though. When Nick realises that Edwin didn't actually WANT to marry Karen, or love her, even, was just so very sad.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 19:01:30

Yes, the train journey is beautifully done. Lacrimae sunt rerum?

For there are tears of things?

To be asked sarcastically what that meant?

Whats your favourite? Yes to our being so ssssss when nick realises about edwin and kay (prob not so sad as when kay twigged though). Also very adult theme for children s book.

Anyone read the players boy and sequel? Re read it recently and, blimey, can't believe that was set reading at age 11!

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 29-Jan-13 19:23:09

Nit - indeed. sad

Silent - Kay knew and didn't care. That was why she was forcing the wedding through. Kay, Gin and Lawrie - three of a kind. Although Lawrie has some redeeming features and wasn't a lost cause I don't think.....

mrsfox Tue 29-Jan-13 20:02:58

Love this thread! I had the four school stories as a teenager and read them into rags. I never managed to find any of the holiday ones at sensible prices and am now hugely tantalised by all the snippets talked about on here. Which is the one where Edwin appears? I may have to splash out...

In answer to the OP, I have masses of favourite bits, but for some reason one that stays with me is Janice's reference to not being 'an unpaid spy' despite being a prefect (when Lois wants to report Nick and Lawrie for swapping in the netball match) - so much more realistic than the Chalet School, although I did also love those books. <has spent far too much of life reading school stories>

Oooh, chalet school! Me too! Af far better written though.

notcitrus Tue 29-Jan-13 21:01:36

Have finally read some uncut Chalet School, and the first 30 odd really are fairly good, if you think of them as the travel programmes of the day. And then there's the move to Switzerland and she loses it and everyone ends up related to someone else and gets moulded into a proper CS Girl within one book.

Fun, but Forest could do complex and convincing characters so much better.

Agreed. Ooh, someone on chalet school bulletin board did THE most amazing fanfic crossover with af and cs. it had Ann and the twins in it and was brilliant!

mrsfox Tue 29-Jan-13 22:09:27

Love the idea of an AF and CS crossover! And definitely agree that the AF books are far better written and characterised.

Tanith Tue 29-Jan-13 22:38:54

So many times, I read a description in AF's books and knew exactly what she meant.
I knew just how Lois felt in the Guide hut when the light diminished down to the single piece of paper on the table; I knew how Nick felt, sitting in the stable after the hunt, too tired to even move, yet I've never ridden a horse in my life. That whole hunting chapter is genius, as is the chapter describing the Nativity in the Cathedral.

They are so well written, and so demanding. AF really does deserve to be better known than she is.
I loved the Elizabethan books, too.

I understand the reason for the long gap between books is because she would rewrite them again and again. It really does show.

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 23:39:51

Dd read them all when she was about 11- and the number of times we've used bits to discuss various teenage angsts! And she's re reading them at 17 because she's doing philosophy of religion, and all the catholic stuff is making sense to her now.

Tanith Tue 29-Jan-13 23:44:15

Oh, and I love tracking down all the obscure book references, too. It's like a potted guide to English Literature.

IKWYM MrsFox about being tantalised by the stories you haven't read.

The prices for some of the books are steep even on e bay, but some are reasonable.

MooncupGoddess Wed 30-Jan-13 01:17:42

I spotted this thread this morning and have been longing to contribute to it all day!

I always think of Kingscote when singing See Amid the Winter's Snow ('Lo, the tender lamb appears/Promised from eternal years'). Or when I read The Lykewake Dirge and imagine Nicola and Patrick reciting it as they ride home in the dark.

Antonia Forest is amazing at depicting emotional and aesthetic development - like when Nick doesn't get Persuasion at the beginning of The Ready-Made Family, but starts to understand it by the end. Esther is terribly believable with her nerves and tendency to flunk things... as is ruthless Tim. I always remember the bit when Ginty makes a would-be funny comment about Karen now being 'just a missus' and realises she has misjudged the tone, and will wake up in the middle of the night kicking the sheets in shame for years afterwards. And when Ginty gets irrationally terrified that Monica has died after her accident, so makes Nicola ring up Monica's parents instead (hence the Conduct Mark).

As a Sayers obsessive I also love it when Nicola and Edwin bond over Lord Peter v. the Brotherhood, and both simultaneously realise the other one maybe isn't so bad after all.

deleted203 Wed 30-Jan-13 01:48:58

I, too, have found myself saying dryly for years, 'My grief would be controllable'. It's such a fantastic, Rowan thing to say.

I loved all the bits where Edwin was sending snippets of the old farm logs to Nick - loved the history of it and the tantalising glipses of Elizabethan life. Also loved the descriptions of the Nativity in the Cathedral and the various plays.

Tanith Wed 30-Jan-13 07:06:21

Did anyone else notice that the paragraph opening the Cathedral nativity is almost identical to the one closing it? I didn't for years blush
It's a bit like that Coleridge poem she describes when Tim and Miranda are composing their carol ("here we sing", "now we have sung").

notcitrus Wed 30-Jan-13 13:50:36

I loved the bit where they wonder who wrote the Nativity Play and AF mentions that the girl had moved to Canada, would be.very surprised to hear her play was still being performed, 'and to tell the truth, not more than momentarily interested'. Much more realistic than the prospect of turning into simpering alumnae.

And Lawrie's shock that there are more than a few freaks like Ann who actually still believe in God etc - I had a similar surprise around her age. I tend to sympathise with Lawrie, surrounded by all these super-competent females, and loved AF's intro to Traitor when it's explained 'Nicola must go visiting' so Lawrie can actually do stuff for the plot.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 30-Jan-13 13:54:41

I think you mean Thuggery? All Lawrie does in traitor is get knocked over by a bus (which really upset me the first time I read it - the edition I had was illustrated and the picture of poor run over Lawrie looked very sad).

Lawrie is very good in the Thuggery Affair. She's nicer and more likeable and just.....BETTER....when she is away from all the girls who baby her and pander to her, and instead left to the tender mercies of Peter and Patrick who most decidedly do not. The Sophia Lawrence episode is especially entertaining. Although god knows what film she and Red Ted were seeing.

notcitrus Wed 30-Jan-13 14:42:37

You're right, it must be Thuggery - only one without Nicola. I think GGP used the same intro for all the books?

Spero Wed 30-Jan-13 14:46:47

sowornout - I thought I was the only one!

how many woman are out there right now using MY phrase? An awful lot, judging from this thread, I had no idea there were so many fans.

I had the whole set of books as a child, lost them all in a house move, PLUS a letter from AF herself thanking me and my friend for sending her a carved elephant in a bean - I think Patrick gave Ginty one?

I have just got Autumn Term off Amazon but all the others seem too difficult to get. It is so sad. Those books are the only things I regret losing from my childhood. I would love to re read them all now.

deleted203 Wed 30-Jan-13 15:55:41

Ah! Sadly 'Autumn Term' is the only one I have a spare copy of, spero!. Would anyone like it? If you pm me with your address I'll post it to you. (First come, first served folks).

(Don't suppose anyone's got a spare copy of 'The Thuggery Affair', have they? It's the only one I've never read).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 30-Jan-13 17:29:14

I never noticed that about the cathedral service! Is that the chapter that ends with something about the ultimate solitude of god? Deep stuff!

I also like it in that chapter where they can see that if you were very young, you might really think Miranda was a real angel, come to reenact the story again. Oh and Dr Herrick telling Nicola to sing 'once' with regret. I always think of that when I hear that carol.

seeker Wed 30-Jan-13 17:48:21

My ds sang Once In Royal David's City" the Christmas before last- and I tried the "with regret" thing on him- I think he thought I was touched.

Remember when Laurie refused to believe that Jesus was a Jew?

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Esther, too. Very difficult to be like her among all those hearty types. Maybe Patrick and Esther could get together in the future......

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 30-Jan-13 17:57:27

I always regret it when I'm singing OIRDC because it is such a dirge and it has about 32 verses. Still - better than While Shepherds watched I suppose. Whereas I adore See amid. Clearly I would not have fitted in well at Kingscote.

Esther was very very good at netball and cricket, remember - so she did have something in common with the rest of them.

DeWe Thu 31-Jan-13 09:58:01

While Shepherds watched is much better if you sing it either to the tune of O for 1000 tongues to sing, or the original tune, which most people know better as "Ilkley Moor Bar Tat".

I liked Esther too, lots of sympathy for her.

seeker Thu 31-Jan-13 11:16:12

Any of you- particularly the musicos, read Cathedral Wednesday by William Mayne? I know he's been airbrushed out of children's literature, but it really is a lovely book.

MooncupGoddess Thu 31-Jan-13 12:07:02

Yes, I loved William Mayne's chorister books, especially A Swarm in May. They have a proper realistic oddness to them, if that makes sense. But hard to reread knowing what Mayne was...

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 31-Jan-13 17:10:24

Seeker - no I haven't but I will attempt to obtain a copy now! Thanks. smile

seeker Thu 31-Jan-13 17:11:50

I got dd a second hand copy on Abe just before Christmas for a couple of quid. Do read it and tell me what you think. I love it.

MirandaWest Thu 31-Jan-13 18:17:52

I have read other William Mayne books - he wrote one called No More School which I love.
Will look out for some others.

hels71 Sun 03-Feb-13 18:37:07

I tried to convince the soloist in my school choir about singing Once In Royal with regret...she looked at me as though I was mad......
I love AF books...but did not discover them until I was an adult.
That bit about the ultimate solitude of God alwayssends a gentle shiver down my spine..
(oh and the children in my school do sing While shepherds to the tune of Ilkley Moor!)

deleted203 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:24:36

Going back to TheOriginals thoughts on Mrs Marlow, I have often wondered what she did all day. Anyone got any suggestions? As far as I can see:-

Father is away all the time, all DCs at boarding school. Mrs Bertie does the cooking, (and Doris does 'the rough'), Rowan runs the bloody farm. What does Mrs M do?

I imagine she is bored stupid. Can't see her drifting about flower arranging. She doesn't appear to ever actually ride - apart from appearing in a sidesaddle habit to hunt on one occasion (good going, Mrs M! Didn't feel the need to do any gentle hacking first or get oneself back in practice - just get on a horse for the first time in years and go out hunting). Patrick's mother is away in London most of the time - and they never strike you as 'bosom buddies' anyway, so no one around Trennels to 'lunch' with'. She doesn't appear to have any friends, any interests, any hobbies. Do we think she chain smokes and drinks gin all day? (Staring out of the window and thinking about her ravaged womb). The woman seems to have given birth to 8 children in fairly rapid succession and then done bugger all for the rest of her days. She shows no interest in the farm, the accounts, her children, the house, her husband or anything else, frankly.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 14-Feb-13 17:15:42

And yet appears continually stressed and at the end of her last tether! You're right.

Ok, books in Marlow world I haven't read: The Greengage Summer, the Aeneid, Brat Ferrar (nevererdovit), the prince and the Pauper, any Wimsey, Hornblower, Persuasion. blush

Have read: Faerie Queen, The Princess and the Goblin, Little Princess, The Tempest (which I was teaching last semester and made them close read 'I'd've people else this isle with Calibans', laughing inwardly; Macbeth, all Brontes and Gaskell's 'Life'.

deleted203 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:32:45

Brat Farrar's a crime novel by Josephine Tey. I've read it. Brat Farrar poses as Patrick Ashby, the heir to an estate who had disappeared many years earlier. He is identical to the current heir (Patrick's twin, Simon) and is persuaded by a 'friend' of the family to pretend to be the heir, whilst this friend coaches him in the details he needs. They will share the money. Quite readable, if still in print.

I've also read 'The Greengage Summer' which is Rumer Godden, and 'The Prince and the Pauper', Hornblower, Persuasion and I think I've read a Wimsey nook.

Haven't read, The Faerie Queen, the Aeneid, The Princess and the Goblin (don't think), Little Princess. But I've read all yer others!

I can't remember which books it was that Nicola took back that were on the 'banned' list but I do remember being struck with horror that anyone would have such a list! I read 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' at about 15 (to my Grandmother's horror) and was struck by the fact that my own Ma (English teacher) took the view that people should be allowed to read anything they wanted and make their own mind up. (Jolly liberal of her...and I was mostly bored by Lady C, TBH). I was pretty stunned by the mildness of the books that Kingscote considered 'unsuitable' - couldn't imagine why anyone would ban them. (I'd have let Lawrie stamp about 'peopling this isle with Calibans' clearly grin).

deleted203 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:33:57

Sorry! (That was, of course, a Wimsey BOOK. Not a ruddy nook!)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 14-Feb-13 22:50:03

Thank you! I've always wondered about Brat Ferrar!

Also read the Hobbit, forgot that one.

DeWe Fri 15-Feb-13 09:18:23

Brat Farrar was dramatised by the BBC back in the 80s I think. I have a very old copy that belonged to my granny. It was one of mum's favourite books. Also like Franchise Affair and The Daughter of Time (about Richard III) by her. I think Nick would have like the latter anyway.

MooncupGoddess Fri 15-Feb-13 21:02:50

You haven't mentioned The Mask of Apollo! That's the one on the banned list, on account of including (fairly discreet) references to gay sex.

deleted203 Fri 15-Feb-13 23:38:02

Oh! The Mask of Apollo. Was that what it was? Hmm...not read it (might do now grin). As I said, I was shock that anyone would ban certain books, particularly as they sounded fine to me. I could absolutely empathise with Nick that there was no way she was leaving behind a book that she was halfway through and having to wait until the end of term to finish it off! (I'd have been smuggling no end through. Weren't they allowed ONE ruddy book to take back, or something ridiculous?)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Feb-13 11:44:01

Oh yes, I mentioned it on another thread actually! Limiited 'because Nico liked men better than women'!

thaliablogs Tue 19-Feb-13 00:03:26

I totally loved mask of apollo and read it much too young. I remember not getting it the first time I read attic term, what did they all mean, it just seemed so normal to me that nico liked men better than women.

So hard to choose a favourite bit, but the scene and the phrase that come back to me time and time again, is the scene where patrick and nicola are riding back from colebridge in the dark, and nicola says poetry in her head; the rulers of the darkness of this world. The emotion it evokes so perfectly, without ever saying it explicitly, the nightmare of unrequited love as a teenager.

I do love these books!

thaliablogs Tue 19-Feb-13 00:04:57

PS has anyone got a link to that fake AIBU thread from late last year w all the fictional characters on it? That was genius (and loved mrs marlow above).

I figure mrs marlow was busy doing Good Works in the village, not to mention having to go off and be with grandmama and auntie molly on a regular basis. Paying the bills?

elkiedee Mon 04-Mar-13 14:02:47

It's a long time since I read them so must reread, but am really posting on this thread to make it easier to find again.

thewhistler Wed 20-Mar-13 22:58:44

Loving this thread.

My absolutely best bits are
- the cathedral nativity, OIRDC with regret, the awful French grandmother, and the description of Miranda being cast in stone
-the wonderful moment when everyone but Nick misreads the exam paper and the class asks the teacher if she can explain to home, and she says yes, she can tell their parents that they did bot pay attention in class and were too stupid to read the instructions
- the description of the cricket match, as good as Sayers in Murder Must Advertise
-cocoa being weak, strong or navy
-ginty's dress being transformed
-the entire hunting episode
-the magnificent debunking of Emily Bronte, where it says something like " if she didn't want you to like someone she made them kill puppies"
-the hilarious letter from Patrick's school sacking him. The sanctimonious tone is absolutely spot on .

I didn't have all if them but gave away those I did have.

I like Rowan. She didn't want to be a farmer but had to be.

As for Mrs M, she would have
Written to her children and husband
Done stuff in the village eg visiting, church flowers
Done quite a lot of the gardening prob most of the weeding
Supervised the staff and sorted out the menus
Paid the bills and done the shopping ( no supermarkets) or ordered the shopping
Done the accounts
Had to go to lunches and teas, some political, some charitable eg WRVS
Dropped in on the tenants/wives

I completely agree that their financial planning is odd.

I love Miranda's father.

Esther wrings my heart. Poor neglected child.

SunnyPath Tue 28-May-13 17:56:45

Read this thread a while ago. Yesterday I finally got round to rereading Autumn Term which I must have read for the first (and only) time about 30 years ago. good. Best line - 'Shrieks of silent mirth' from Ginty. Made me laugh out loud (unusual!). Will now reread Cricket Term and End of Term.

Thought - if Nicola was 12 in 1948, she'd be 76 or 77 now. Goodness.

I also reread A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively over the weekend which was set in 1975, and I thought how dated that seemed, compared to AF which was remarkably undated.

sassytheFIRST Tue 28-May-13 18:12:56

My love of the Tempest was sparked by AF - after I'd read the book I got The Tempest off the shelf and read it straight through. Love the line where Tim is trying to design costumes and says she can't decide what Ariel should wear

"if it was a boy, you'd put him in briefer than briefs and dab him with glitter. But I don't think Keith would wear that for you and Lawrie". And then they get the giggles about the Head wearing aforesaid outfit to please nick and Lawrie.

Also "I am not my colleague's keeper"casts by their dour form tutor - I use this a great deal with my students tho they never get it

ParkerTheThief Tue 28-May-13 19:16:11

One of my favourite parts is the description of the snow starting at the end of End of Term when Nicola and Miranda are about to go and face the consequences after the service.

Also, earlier in the same book there's the bit where Miranda has been suggested as a spare candle angel and Miss Kempe and Cromwell consider the alternative options

In their minds' eye they saw the individuals who now sat, a bored and restless group, at the back of the Minster: the stupid, the inattentive, the uninterested, the willing-but-incompetent – not one face came to mind as belonging to a person able to be pitchforked at the twelfth -hour, into an unrehearsed part and make a workmanlike job of it.

nennypops Sun 02-Jun-13 11:52:37

I never understood cricket till I read the cricket term. Not that it's ever been an advantage to me, but it always niggled me that I didn't understand what the hell was going on. Now, if only girls' schools did rugby, AF might have helped me understand that as well.

The bit that always sticks with me is when someone (Rowan?) is musing in relation to Lois that she wonders how she makes it all right with herself when she is being a total heel. It's something I think about regularly at work: I deal with trying to get vulnerable people the help they're entitled to from local councils, and I regularly wonder how some of their people sleep at night knowing that, because of their efforts, a child is out on the streets in mid January. Perhaps Lois, with her magnificent lack of conscience, went on to work in a council housing department.

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