Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Glimpse of Childhood Past

Once upon a time, I was a child. Yes, I know, dear reader, this might be hard to understand and perceive. Having been born in the wilds of Wales, I found learning the English language to be very difficult. My mother decided that maybe I should read some of Enid Blyton’s excellent Secret Seven or Famous Five books. Unfortunately, these books merely confused me more. She would write, “Where are you?” she cried. I could not understand why ‘she’ was crying! As I seemed to spend many childhood days in a sick-bed, my Mother decided to try me with Enid Blyton’s Noddy Books. These books gave me a new grasp at learning English. I seem to recall that Noddy performed a great service to the village by getting rid of the bad Golliwogs, and was rewarded with a red and yellow car. Ostensibly, he offered a taxi service.

He used to drive his car, constantly using the horn “Parp, parp”. His best friend was Big Ears – no, not Prince Charles. Big Ears was a wise, bearded brownie who lived in a toadstool house at the edge of the woods, and rode a red bicycle. Big Ears was very clever – I suspect he still is, thus making him completely unlike Prince Charles. Sometimes, Noddy and Big Ears would ride together in the car. They would drive to Big Ears’ house, and have a spot of supper. As it was often late, Noddy would sleep in Big Ears’ house, sharing the same bed. (More in a moment.)

Another of Noddy’s friends was Mr. Plod, the local policeman – officially Police Constable (P.C. Plod). To this day, the word “plod” is a (somewhat derogatory) term for a Policeman in the UK.

These delightful books (with drawings) appeared from 1949 onwards, and are prized possessions today. I have no idea what happened to my collection, but I know that I acquired many of them until Book 13. I believe that several attempts have been made at making a TV series, but the Golliwogs have gone – the concept was considered racist. Dolls with black faces that were always naughty is a definitely a no-no in today’s world.

An eminent Professor/Expert/Psychologist suggested that children should not read these books as the relationship between Big Ears and Noddy was obviously a gay one. My comment (apart from the fact that Professors/Experts et al are more often than not, just plain idiots) is that when the delightful Miss Blyton wrote these books, the word gay meant a happy, joyous situation. Indeed, the use of the word in its modern sense did not appear until well after her death.

Why do people try to take away/sour our childhood memories? Answers on a postcard. please.

Here endeth today's lesson.