Showing posts from August, 2012

The 1980s and the Pony Book

By the 1980s, the number of old titles being re-published in paperback obscured the fact that the number of new titles published had plummeted: only half as many were printed in the 1980s as in the 1960s. 
This was the decade that saw the publication of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse (1982), though it made little impact at the time. The new authors who appeared in the 1980s tended to produce the standard pony adventure that had been so popular over the preceding decades. Jo Furminger carried on her Blackbirds series, the adventures of a group of children and their ponies, and her daughter Justine Furminger contributed two books of her own: Bobbie Takes the Reins (1981) and Bobbie's Sponsored Ride (1982). Wendy Douthwaite wrote about girls and their ponies.

And what of existing authors? Patricia Leitch finished off her Jinny series, with the last volume,Running Wild, appearing in 1988.  The Pullein-Thompsons were all still writing. Christine mostly stuck to adventure, adding new ti…

Morning walks

Apologies for yet more silence.... this was caused by my very wise decision to put the camera battery recharger somewhere safe. And then not being able to remember where the somewhere safe was. As I have an awful lot of old book stock I want to shift, I've been husbanding the battery power for photographing books, though did do a quick sortie because I wanted to photograph the crows.

And where was the sensible place where I had stored the battery charger? The shoe cleaning box. There are two conclusions you can draw from this:

1. I do not clean my shoes very often (and neither does anyone else in the family, come to that.)

2. I inhabit an odd parallel universe where the shoe cleaning box counts as a sensible storage option for a battery charger. Unfortunately I do not inhabit that universe all the time.

Wednesday 29th August

Friday 31st August
Long shadows. And ploughing.

Pony books in the 1970s

The number of new pony books published in the 1970s was half that of the 1960s.  Plenty of titles were still appearing, but many of them were reprints. The Jill books appeared in a new guise with covers by W D Underwood.  Pullein-Thompson titles appeared on a regular basis, towards the end of the decade with a new feature: the photographic cover.  Changing the cover was a quick and easy way to make a book appear up to date, even if it had originally seen the light of day in the 1940s. The quality of the covers was variable: some took little notice of the actual content, and there were plenty that although intended to reflect the story, were awkwardly posed.

Of those new books which did appear, many were pony adventures.  Perhaps this was in response to a generation more likely to watch  fast-moving adventures on television than read a book. Even authors like the Pullein-Thompsons moved away from the instructional model of story, and began to write adventure stories.  Josephine Pullein…

Review: Belinda Raply - Phantom, One Last Chance

Belinda Rapley:  Phantom, One Last Chance (The Pony Detectives)
Templar Publishing, 2012, £4.99
Kindle, £3.55

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book

Has fantasy flapped its way out of the pony book world? It's been a while since a new series popped up with unicorns or magical ponies. Maybe the way is set now for a return to pony-based adventure, like Belinda Rapley's Pony Detectives series. It's a series of eminently readable pony books, based on a small yard where all the girls are friends. Phantom, One Last Chance, is the fourth of the series, all of which have been issued this year. Charlie has outgrown her little bay pony, Pirate, and she has a new horse on loan, Phantom. Things had been going well with Phantom: so well in fact that she'd competed on him. Matters have taken a nose dive, however. Phantom's not engaging with Charlie, and she's certainly not engaging with him. Neither of them trust each other, and if truth be told, Charlie…

Morning walks, 21st, 22nd August 2012

The planning committee met to decide Barwoods' planning application for the field, and it was rejected. The expectation is that Barwoods will appeal. So, for the moment at least, our walk is safe.

21st August

22nd August

Interview: Maggie Dana

I'm delighted to welcome Maggie Dana to the interview spot. Maggie is the author of the excellent Timber Ridge Riders series, which she's re-issuing, and re-writing. She has some fascinating things to say about the process of updating books, and the differences in readers now and when she originally wrote the books. Book three, Riding for the Stars, is now out, and Maggie's working on book four.

Can you tell me something about where you were born and brought up?

I was born in Harrow and brought up in Uxbridge, about 20 miles west of London. This was in the 1950s and our neighbourhood was still fairly rural with a dairy farm across the street (thankfully, it’s still there) and plenty of space between houses. My father owned a small fencing company, and after I’d persuaded him to buy me a pony (I was almost 12 and had been begging him for 5 years) he fenced in our back paddock and built a run-in shed for Smokey, a black New Forest who loved to drink tea and eat custard. Ther…

Morning walks, August 2012

Another series of catch up posts. 
9th August Before I went away, harvest hadn't happened.

10th August Whoever lighted this fire at the edge of the field was lucky the ground was still sodden. We weren't so lucky a couple of years ago when someone started a fire in our field and we lost the whole of the top two acres. It's supposed to be re-generating as a flower-rich meadow, and the fire put it back several years.

 And the church clock is now finished!

17th August Harvest.

20th August

Bales that you could lug along by yourself are a thing of the past. Dog obligingly trotted by this one so I could get the scale.

There's still a few lone, unharvested, plants at the edge of the field.

I love these great, leaning, towers. Temporary architecture.