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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'.


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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'!

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?)

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.

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.

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

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

Also read the Hobbit, forgot that one.

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

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

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).

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 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.

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!)

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.

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.

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

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

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...

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.

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.

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.

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