Saturday, 1 December 2012

When the Wolves Were Running

We are now at the time of waiting for the arrival of Christmas - we have started to read The Box of Delights (John Masefield 1935) as we do every year at this time. At some stage during advent we will watch the wonderful 1984 BBC TV adaptation. We usually time the last episode with Christmas Eve - a fully stoked fire, large pot of tea with muffins and crumpets galore.

Both of the Masefield Kay Harker adventures (The Midnight Folk 1927 and The Box of Delights) would firmly be on my desert island book list. I have not read any book that has transported me to other places as these two books have done - the joy of sharing it with my own children is just as exciting as the day I was given a copy at school.

As it happens the BBC Radio 4 programme A Good Read featured The Box of Delights this last week. Presenter Harriett Gilbert was joined by soon to be TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady and medical historian Ruth Richardson to discuss their favourite paperbacks. You can listen again here, but do not be put off by O'Grady's grumpish review.

Sara Ogilvie - Box of Delights Folio Society Edition
There will be more snippets from this delightful book over this advent period for which I offer no apology. If you watch the BBC TV adaptation, parts of it were filmed at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. When Kay and the Jones children sail their boat and are spotted by Abner Browns gang it is only feet away from one of my very first wild carp fishing pitches! As a young lad I was driven to Eastnor on a regular basis to fish off the dam wall and had many an adventure of my own in the grounds of that magnificent castle. If only the wolves were running then.     

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