Monday, September 7, 2009

Time for tea, girls

Well, Dad loved the card I am happy to report, and the sherry and sultana cupcakes morphed into a sherry, sultana and chocolate cake which I'm afraid I don't have a photo of because it was gobbled up by those assembled - which is perhaps better proof of the pudding than a photo!

Over the weekend, I discovered the novels of Elsie J. Oxenham. Do you know her? She wrote about 90 novels for young adults up to her death in 1960 and she still has quite a following, including a number of local chapters of 'Abbey Girls' here (some of her best known books focussed on a group of girls living near the ruins of an abbey). Yesterday I was delighted to find Strangers at the Abbey in amongst some old op-shop books I'd bought months ago with a view to selling them online, and I can't wait to get started on it. I read We're in the Sixth! by Carol Ann Pearce last year, another novel set at a girls' school, and I am about to finish its sequel, St Kelvern's Launches Out. I find the ordered, sensible world of these English girls' boarding schools to be a very soothing place to immerse myself in - though I am absolutely sure their real-life counterparts are nothing like them! - and I am keen on any book which makes regular mention of stopping for tea and cake. In my mind's eye, I imagine a place peopled by friendly, straightforward characters like Samantha Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) in Foyle's War!

I also love the fact that there are people out there that are so passionate about these books that they form clubs around them. Are there any Barbara Pym fans out there who would be interested in doing the same?

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