Three Things Thursday: Winning a Book, A Literary Conversation with a Blogging Friend, Jeeves & Wooster

Three Things Thursday is a  weekly tribute to being grateful for the good things in life. This tradition was  started by Emily of Nerd in the Brain and is currently hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.  

First, a book I won from Stafford County Master Gardener Association. This was a thrill on many levels, and could probably be used for all three things. Who doesn’t like to win a prize? Who doesn’t like to win a book? And, this particular book—Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlin–is perfect for my part sun/part shade/part ledge, quite small yard. Anyway, many thanks Stafford Master Gardner Association! Such a treat to get the book.

But, there are other things to be grateful for, especially a recent conversation—via the Internet—I had with one of my blogging friends, Sandra from Wild Daffodil. Sandra wrote a post called “Fiction,” where she described Norah Pulling’s Miss Richards’ Mouse, a book from childhood that both scared and fascinated her.  As I enjoy reading children’s books every bit as much as I enjoy books for adults, I decided to see if Miss Richards’ Mouse was available in our library system. Unfortunately, it isn’t, but on doing further research I discovered that the illustrator, Susan Einzig, also illustrated Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philipa Pearce. I just happen to own Tom’s Midnight Garden, and it is one of my favorites, a lovely fantasy that involves time travel. As my own novel Maya and the Book of Everything illustrates, time travel is a subject I am particularly keen on. Anyway, how wonderful to have a literary conversation with a blogging friend. And Sandra, you might be interested in knowing that the illustrations in Tom’s Midnight Garden are nowhere near as dark as they are for Miss Richards’ Mouse.

Speaking of dark…when it comes to television shows and movies, my tastes can be a little dark. Clif and I just whipped through The Walking Dead, and I have a weakness for dystopian fiction. However,  I occasionally need a bit of humor and light to add some zing and fun to my life, and this brings me to my third thing to be grateful for: The television series Jeeves & Wooster, based on novels by P.G. Wodehouse. I had watched Jeeves & Wooster when it first came out in the 1990s, and I wondered if the series had stood the test of time. I was able to get the complete series via interlibrary loan, and readers, I am happy to report Jeeves & Wooster is still very funny. Stephen Fry, as the all knowing, very controlling butler Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie, as the dimwitted but endearing aristocrat Bertie Wooster, are the perfect team. Jeeves is the straight man, Wooster is the wild guy, and the show skips along with impeccable timing as Jeeves rescues Bertie from one scrape after another. The dialogue is so fast and funny that at times Clif and I actually laugh out loud. Besides, where else are you going to hear the farewell, “Tootle pip”?

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47 thoughts on “Three Things Thursday: Winning a Book, A Literary Conversation with a Blogging Friend, Jeeves & Wooster”

  1. I’m so happy and excited to be part of your post – I would love to sit down with a cuppa and have a good old chin-wag with you about all the things going round in my thoughts after reading this post….. so …. I’m going to take a little time to organise what I want to say because it is all bubbling away like crazy and my happy 5/6/7/8 year old inner-child is bouncing around like a balloon with the air escaping at the moment……… Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ❤

    1. Same here! I’m sorry we live so far apart. I’m really looking forward to reading what you have to say. Hooray, hooray for children’s literature.

      1. Hi Laurie, I have calmed down – just a little! Your interest sparked mine and I needed to find out more about Susan Einzig. Did you see this – her Obit: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/jan/05/susan-einzig-obituary
        Her life itself is worthy of a film script and her creative life fascinates me even more – an extract from the Obituary: “After the war she began to receive illustration commissions. “There was an upsurge in work and no one to do it,” she told me. “I didn’t feel that I could do it either but I was on the crest of a wave of optimism.” Her first commission, in 1945, came from Noel Carrington and his Transatlantic Arts publishing venture. Norah Pulling’s Mary Belinda and the Ten Aunts was illustrated by drawing directly on to lithographic plates for each of six colours. Carrington had pioneered the use of this process, known as autolithography, using it with his hugely successful Picture Puffin series. Einzig recalled the sense of privilege that she felt as she was sent to the special “artists’ room” at Cowell’s printers in Ipswich, where a team of skilled lithographers were put at her disposal in the production of this charming little book.”
        I’m wondering if she was asked to make her illustrations more generally appealing than the Miss Richard’s Mouse days, which I think was published about 12 years before ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’. If so, a shame, I’d love to see where that style would have taken her.
        Oh gosh I could go on! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! ❤

      2. Thank you so much for sending me that link about Susan Einzig. What a life story! It could have easily been over way too soon. Thank goodness she escaped the death camps. As for her style…hard to say. There was some mention her style evolved over time, so perhaps that’s what happened. Also, “Tom’s Midnight Garden” is a gentle story, and perhaps the illustrations were more in keeping with Phillipa Pearce’s tone. Have you read it? If not, I highly recommend it. And thank you for starting this conversation via your blog. Finally, I was struck by “I didn’t feel that I could do it either…” I think artists of all stripes feel this way about their creative endeavors.

      3. Refugees need our care!!! Yes, as you say – it could all have been over and we would not be having these wonderful conversations – how many other talents and delights were destroyed and are still being destroyed today – unbearable to think about! Wonderful that here we are celebrating the positive!

      4. So true on many, many levels. In fact, I’ve been so down since our last election and also with all the vitriol coming from our highest office that I felt like I needed to focus on the positive or I would make myself sick. Literally. My blogging friends—especially you—are a ray of sunshine, much, much needed.

  2. Such fun three things and the gardening book looks wonderful! When we lived in Cumbria one woman always said ‘tootle-pip’ and none of us knew what it meant – and now we do!😃💜

  3. What ho, young Graves! That looks like a spiffy tome on the subject of non-horizontal gardening. Anyway, time for me to be off, the evening revelry beckons. Keep eating the lobster, it’s good for the jolly old grey matter and is surely the key to winning a whole library of books 😉

  4. Oh Laurie! I wanted to find out a bit more about Noel Carrington, the publisher – WOW! so much goodness appears when you Google and Google Image him! This trail led me to this site which I thought you might be interested in:https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection
    Which is about the Centre for Children’s books, which I never knew existed! I’m going to contact them ………… eeeeek! exciting!

  5. I think I am so excited because it is rare for me to come across someone as interested as I am in this sort of thing and its links to our collective childhood pasts; making these connections and going deeper. Just love it! ❤

    1. Oh, yes! I can never get too much of this sort of talk. Also, Melissa mentioned “Miss Hickory,” another delightful book. It was published in 1946.

      1. Yes, after Melissa mentioned ‘Miss Hickory’ I looked it up and have ordered a copy! It hasn’t arrived yet but … soon! I’m so looking forward to reading it to my grandchildren – I was having a lovely fantasy today about setting up a session at our local library of Grannies reading pre 1960s books to whom-so-ever would like to listen- I probably haven’t the time but I might just mention it to the lovely lady who runs it and see if it ‘has legs’. It is only a small library.

  6. A new book, and about gardening no less, always makes me happy. And I love the idea of setting aside time to be thankful for the good things in life. It’s easy to neglect them, distracted by the things that upset us.

    1. So true! That’s why I became a part of Three Things Thursday. Since November, I have been in such an uproar about what’s going on in this country that I decided I need to count my blessings on a regular basis.

  7. Noel Carrington founded Puffin, which is part of Penguin books – I’ve emailed them to see if it is ok for me to make a copy of Miss Richards’ Mouse – I’ll do it by taking photos of each page. I’d like to make a copy for each of my grandchildren (8 of them) at least – and maybe a few more if anyone else would like one – anyway – I’ll see what they say.

    1. I had to look up Noel Carrington to see if he was related to the artist Dora Carrington, part of Virginia Woolf’s crowd. He was her brother. And my, didn’t he live a long life! What a delight where this conversation about “Miss Richards’ Mouse” has led us. Book talk is the best kind of talk. Good luck with your project. Keep me posted. Maybe even a picture of the pictures?

      1. Yes, I saw that too – but have not had time to delve further. Love that lot!!! I will enjoy finding out more later.
        I’ve been to Charleston Farmhouse (here is a link to my post about it: https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/charleston-farmhouse/ ) where they all gathered for their Bohemian parties – amazing that ‘Miss Richards’ could lead us down these paths of discovery, she was a good teacher! – our exchanges feel a little bit like the film ’84, Charing Cross Road’ although all happening in double time.
        Book talk definitely is the best kind of talk!!! ❤ 😉
        I will definitely keep you posted.

      2. Yes, yes! “84 Charing Cross Road” for the Internet age. A good lesson. Even though the technology might change, the desire for literary connection does not.

        Beautiful house, beautiful gardens. It is truly amazing where “Miss Richards” has taken us. Love it! Do keep me posted.

      3. Yes, please! I’d never heard of “Gloomsbuyry.” Just looked it up, and it sounds like so much fun.

  8. My tastes also tend to be a bit dark in both literature and TV. For humor, I tend toward the extremely silly. Jeeves and Wooster is good, but Monty Python is even better.

    1. It really is! As for finding kindred spirits via the Internet…I never dreamed it would happen like this. So very, very grateful. Thank you, universe, indeed!

  9. I have enjoyed reading this post and all the comments so much, Laurie. I would have been very pleased with the gardening book if I had won it and Jeeves and Wooster (and all of Wodehouse’s books) give me immense pleasure and are a haven of fun for times when I need a bit of a laugh. I own the complete set of DVDs of the 1990 series and these are the replacement of the complete set of video tapes I bought straight after the series was finished.
    I was especially pleased to read your conversation with Wild Daffodil. I am a children’s book enthusiast and have a large collection of wonderful stories and picture books. I was pleased to see you mention ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ as it is one of my favourites too. My copy doesn’t have the same cover as yours but the illustrations inside the book are by Susan Einzig. The time travel element in ‘Maya’ really appealed to me and reminded me of all the books I enjoy most of all e.g. those by Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising Sequence) and Jenny Nimmo (The Snow Spider Trilogy) to name just two authors.

    1. Clare, your comment nearly made me spin with joy. There is a whole world of those of us who love children’s books. Isn’t it grand how the Internet connects us? And, it’s funny how blogs will draw us in for one reason, and then we find many other reasons—children’s books!—to connect with those blogs. Love Susan Cooper AND Jenny Nimmo. I whipped through the Charlie Bone series the way I would go through a box of chocolates. I haven’t read The Snow Spider Trilogy, but will be looking it up very soon. Keep those suggestions coming. So glad to read you have large collection of children’s books. As for Wooster & Jeeves…I have been thinking that I would like to add the complete series to my DVD collection.

      1. I haven’t read all of the Charlie Bone series – I must do something about that! I love these connections too. It is tempting to follow them all up and immerse oneself in a community of lovely people who enhance our lives not only by liking what we like but also criticizing books/ideas (in an educated and intelligent way) we previously thought could not be faulted. I don’t have the time to immerse unfortunately – real life just gets in the way.

      2. I know just what you mean, Clare. I belong to a terrific book group that discusses books in just the way you described. Unfortunately, life does get in the way of me reading the book and going to the discussion. But I go when I can, and I always come away with some insight about the book we’ve read.

  10. Now, I must look for those books! ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ sounds like a must for the children’s book shelf…with a new granddaughter on the way, you know! One of my favorite chapter books I remember reading to my own kids and loving and which also involved time travel was ‘ The Last Of The Really Great Wangdoodles’ by Julie Andrews. Fun, fun, fun! Happy summer, Laurie!

    1. I’m rereading “Tom’s Midnight Garden.” Such a good book! Oh, what a good time you will have choosing books for your granddaughter and then reading to her. Read on!

  11. This post really inspired so many wonderful comments and I saw lots of connections being made! I’d love to see Charleston house and Wooster and Jeeves is great fun. I still own the series on video. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie go on to do many things (House is most well known and even a jazz concert on PBS) but they will always be the drone and valet to me. A perfect pairing and I do love Aunt Agatha! Thanks for such fun and thoughtful sharing on a Thursday.💜

    1. Thanks so much, Betsy! Fry and Laurie are a treasure, aren’t they? A perfect pairing, as you noted. I did not know about the jazz concert on PBS. I’ll look it up. Oh, yes! Aunt Agatha. Tootle pip!

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