I know I’ve said this before but one of the many things I love about Twitter is how just a quick tweet from someone else can lead you to something completely new, sort of like a collective consciousness. Today, a writer I follow, James Moran was going on about the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, now I didn’t even know there was an original. Anyway, I rented it from iTunes for a grand total of 99p and settled down on my bed tonight and watched it on my iPhone and it was a great movie. Made in 1974, it follows the hijacking of a New York subway train, it’s just like all great 1970s movies, great music and slick dialogue you couldn’t quite get away with in a script today I think. It was full of hard bitten New Yorkers with great one liners. The New York subway system doesn’t seemed to have changed much either, it looked exactly the same as I remember it from a holiday in 2001! Anyway, if you want to see a great heist movie with class you won’t go far wrong with this original, although I’m still looking forward to the new version!
Ripping Things to Do by Jane Brocket, is the almost sister publication to her earlier book, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, both look at past children’s literature, in the case of the latter, food featuring in children’s books and it’s become a valuable recipe book in our household. In the case of Ripping Things to Do, it is more, as the title suggests, about ‘things to do’. Once again, as in Cherry Cake, Jane Brocket goes over the more ‘old-fashioned’ children’s literature in fine, exquisite detail, almost as good as re-reading the books themselves (or discovering new ones), it makes you really want to go camping (oh that’s funny, I am), climb a tree or in my very specific case, make toffee (can’t get away from food, me). Brocket has divided her book principally by seasons and lists suitable seasonal reading at the beginning of each season’s section accompanied by some suitable seasonal activity, there are also more general sections about finding books to read, cheering up an un-well person, for example. Brocket is hampered by the fact that obviously a great deal of the adventures that children got up to in books past, they can’t go and do now and she seems to relay on either a large amount of space in your home and/or easy access to the countryside with a willing adult, for a lot of the activities, personally for my family we live in a tiny flat, so much as my kids for example, like making dens (which they do, it didn’t take me reading a book to suggest that to them, or me to suggest that to them at all, they thought of it themselves), I can’t, as Brocket suggests, leave the den up overnight for continued game playing the next day and as much as it would be wonderful for my kids to go and hide themselves away in some underused part of our home like an attic, well, like I say, we live in a flat. There’s also at least one selection of ideas missing in my mind, more paper crafts (there is a nod towards them in how to make a string of paper dolls, which I may get round to doing with Girl Lacer and a paper fortune teller), I had brought this book (although I was going to anyway) in the vague hope that there may be some paper folding activities, like how to make a paper pirate’s hat or a really decent paper aeroplane, maybe paper pirate hats and paper aeroplanes don’t feature much in children’s literature, but currently in my house there is much call for paper pirate hats and paper aeroplanes and I’m still a little clueless. I also think a lot of the ideas are great if the kid thinks them up for themselves, but I suspect a lot of kids, if faced with an adult, armed with this book, suggesting getting on their dressing gowns and playing detective or setting up a post office, might think the idea was a bit lame, whereas, like I say, if they thought it up for themselves . . .
Don’t get me wrong, it is still a lovely book, but I think this really is one for reminiscing adults and of not great practical value for at least urban families living in small houses, however I do think my kids are probably still a little young for some of the book’s ideas, so I’ll be leaving this book, with it’s kid attractive cover and nice illustrations, on easily reachable bookshelves for the next three years or so, in the hope that when Girl Lacer turns eight and she’s read some of the books that Brocket has talked about, it might prompt her to give her some ideas. Until then, well I have two of the internet – CBeebies generation on my hands.
With a rare burst of good weather, we decided to have a practice run with the tent today. Now our back garden is too small (it isn’t actually, it’s just taken up in most part by a large grotty patio), so we put it up in our front garden. And I am pleased to report that all the bits are there and appear to work (we brought the family tent pack from Millets, as far as I know still sold out online but they had quite a few still in my local store).
So, we’ve all had a go in the tent and had a lie down and I am getting rather unbelievably excited, I’ve never been camping before, so I may hate it, but I don’t think so, the chance to lie under ‘canvas’, so close to nature, I sound so cheesy! Plus of course it’ll be our first proper holiday in 6 years! And we’ve chosen a campsite close to the sea in a town where I spent a very idyllic five years of childhood and I haven’t been back for a long time. So, a lot to look forward to!