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Arthur Ransome - Coot Club, The Big Six, etc.

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Arthur Ransome - Coot Club, The Big Six, etc.

Postby Broadbeans » 18 Dec 2006, 02:05

Any fans of Coot Club or The Big Six - the two Arthur Ransome books set on the Norfolk Broads? I prefer them to the Swallows & Amazons, not least because they feature real locations you can visit! Johnny :D
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Postby Mollybob » 18 Dec 2006, 13:10

My favourites are Winter Holiday, Pigeon Post and the Picts and the Martyrs.
I thought the locations were real in all the books, but perhaps I was just deluding myself :?
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Postby dsr » 28 Dec 2006, 01:55

The Lake District ones are mostly real places, but a mixture of Coniston and Windermere. The Norfolk Broads books are (I think) accurate, including We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea; Secret Water is more than accurate, it is exact, can't remember the place name but I could look it up if you're interested. The Scotland, Far East, and South Seas books are mostly invented, as far as I know.
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Susie » 15 Jun 2008, 23:21

I just got the coot club, and Swallows & amazon from the charity shop. It was most enjoyable. I also enjoyed the dvd of it.
What else did Arther Ransome write?
"Coots forever!
and ever"
There is always something else new to learn.
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Kate Mary » 16 Jun 2008, 06:31

Hi Susie,
I am an Arthur Ransome fan too, there are 12 Swallows and Amazons books in the series, although in some titles neither the Swallows or the Amazons appear. The full series is:

Swallows and Amazons
Swallowdale
Peter Duck
Winter Holiday
Coot Club
Pigeon Post
We didn't mean to go to sea
Secret Water
The Big Six
Missee Lee
The Picts and the Martyrs
Great Northern

They are all still in print and inexpensive second-hand copies are readily available.
The Big Six is a direct sequel to Coot Club and is well worth hunting down a copy as it is a great detective story. My own favourite is Winter Holiday, a Lake District story with a snowy setting, it is tightly plotted and a near perfect children's adventure story.
Which DVD did you mean? The Swallows and Amazons film is very good, but I like the BBC ones of Coot Club and The Big Six, which was confusingly titled 'Swallows and Amazons Forever!'
If you have just discovered Arthur Ransome you have some wonderful treats in store.
Enjoy.

Kate.
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Susie » 16 Jun 2008, 13:41

Thanks Kate Mary I'm off to the library to get them all! Gosh I didn't realise he wrote so many, but I'm glad he did!
I have watched the same as you the BBC one. I actually watched the other dvd first titled Swallows and Amazons set in 1929 where nothing much happens, but it's so lovely to watch.
Then I watched the BBC one, and after that I saw the book in the charity shop, and bought it. After watching the BBC one I felt I must go sailing, or rowing. In fact I nearly convinced my parents to get a house boat for the holiday, but at last minute they said "NO!" :roll: 8)
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby RDMorrell » 21 Jun 2008, 13:45

Also worth acquiring (although it's out of print now and hard to find) is Coots in the North and Other Stories, published by Red Fox. It contains the unfinished 13th novel, which was apparently doing to being the Swallows and Amazons together with the Coot Club, and some other short stories that Arthur Ransome wrote. Unfortunately, Ransome didn't get that far along with Coots in the North before he died. Still, if you have the opportunity to get hold of a copy, especially if it's not too dear, don't pass it up!
Best Regards

ROWAN M.

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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Kate Mary » 22 Jun 2008, 06:32

I left 'Coots in the North' off the list as it is just an unfinished fragment and very expensive second-hand, worth reading if you can get a copy but be warned it is very short. A couple of chapters exist of a second unfinished story, it bears the working title of 'Their Own Story' and explains the mystery of why Peter Duck is referred to in "Swallowdale" before he appears in "Peter Duck". This fragment is published in "Arthur Ransome and Captain Flint's Trunk" by Christina Hardyment, this book is still in print and second-hand copies don't cost the earth! It is worth checking out if you love the Swallows and Amazons stories.

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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 02 Aug 2008, 08:41

I somehow missed out on Arthur Ransome as a child and, until very recently, the only Arthur Ransome book I'd read was his beautifully-written Old Peter's Russian Tales. But the other week my daughter and I went to see a stage version of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, performed by the Eastern Angles, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had meant to read the book beforehand but unfortunately had little time for reading and had only got as far as Chapter 3. I found the play gripping though, and it was fun to finish the book afterwards and compare it with the stage version. The last few chapters were rather drawn out, once the main excitement was over, but otherwise it was a good read. The "sailing lingo" took a bit of getting used to, with sentences like, "We'll have to jibe...Got to get the mainsheet in first. And there'll be the backstay to set up and the other one to cast off before the boom comes over...Never mind about the jib till afterwards." Luckily, Arthur Ransome's simple but charming illustrations included one of a boat with the parts labelled! I quickly warmed to the main child characters (John, Susan, Titty and Roger) and their friend Jim - they reminded me in some ways of Blyton's various adventurers - and chuckled at the sentence, "Everybody had thought well of the tomato soup and agreed with Roger that nobody who had not tried would believe how much nicer sausage rolls tasted in a ship's cabin than when eaten anywhere else." I'm sure Lucy-Ann and co. would have argued that they'd taste so much nicer out of doors!

The children set off on a voyage and Jim insists that if the boat (the Goblin) gets into trouble, they mustn't accept help from anyone except an official "pilot," the reason being that anyone who saves a boat from being wrecked can put in a claim for salvage and demand a third of the value of the boat. I was wondering whether that was true back in 1937 when the book was written, and whether it still holds true today?

Also, wouldn't visiting a foreign country without passports have caused trouble? It isn't even mentioned in the book and doesn't appear to worry anyone.

My copy of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a 1993 Red Fox paperback and I'd be interested to know whether Ransome's books have been updated in the same way as Enid Blyton's? I also have the first four "Swallows and Amazons" titles in Puffin paperbacks.

Anita
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Bannerman65 » 02 Aug 2008, 09:05

The only books here, that I haven't read, are Winter Holiday, Coot Club, and Pigeon Post. The books I still need to buy, are Winter Holiday, Coot Club, Pigeon Post, and Missee Lee.
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Kate Mary » 02 Aug 2008, 21:36

Arthur Ransome's books (he being a 'classic' author!) are unaltered, they are even still in print in original hardback editions with dustjackets more or less the same as when they were first printed. I remember the dreaded N-word appears in "Peter Duck" and "The Big Six", not referring to black people but black pearls and photographic negatives. I would be interested to know if these references have been edited out, anyone got a very recent edition?

The play of "We didn't mean to go to sea" sounds very interesting, Anita. It must have tricky to do on the stage. This is considered to be the best of the series, but it is my least favourite, I think this is because they are facing real danger, it is too real. Have you read "Winter Holiday" yet? I love that one!

I also love "Old Peter's Russian Tales", Ransome uses such simple but beautiful language, try his other collection of fairy tales "The War of the Birds and the Beasts" one story in particular in that book 'The Little Cattle' sends shivers down my spine, not because it it scary but just because of Ransome's glorious use of language.

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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 03 Aug 2008, 07:16

Kate Mary wrote:The play of "We didn't mean to go to sea" sounds very interesting, Anita. It must have tricky to do on the stage. This is considered to be the best of the series, but it is my least favourite, I think this is because they are facing real danger, it is too real. Have you read "Winter Holiday" yet? I love that one!


We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea was cleverly staged, I thought. The "stage" consisted of a specially-designed boat with a sail, tiller, ropes and several decks. At both ends of the boat, and some distance from it, sail-shaped screens were set up. At appropriate points in the story, the screens would show rough waves, buoys, etc. Lighting, sound effects and music added to the atmosphere. The audience sat on both sides of the boat, yet things were managed so that we never felt we were "missing" any of the action. The "children" were played by adults but that was fine as they were all very convincing in their parts. I've seen the same thing done (ie adults playing children) in a marvellous production of Tom's Midnight Garden. In fact, there were only four people in the cast of We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea which meant that each of them had to double up as a second character - Jim, Mother, Father and a pilot. That caused some amusement when Roger went "down below to look at the mechanics" and didn't reappear for hours, while the actor who played him transformed into Jim. Several times during his absence my daughter whispered to me, "What about Roger?!" When Susan washed up the cups after they (supposedly all five of them) had had a drink, my daughter whispered, "There are only four cups!" I glanced round but nobody seemed to find it funny except us!

I found it exciting that the danger seemed so "real," but then I wasn't familiar with the characters - I hadn't got to know them over the course of several books and didn't realise that this story differed from the norm.

Winter Holiday is one of the titles I've got and I intend to read it eventually, but I've now started Swallows and Amazons. Strangely, the young sister of John and co. (too young to share their adventures) was called Bridget in We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, but she's called Vicky in Swallows and Amazons. :?

Kate Mary wrote:I also love "Old Peter's Russian Tales", Ransome uses such simple but beautiful language, try his other collection of fairy tales "The War of the Birds and the Beasts" one story in particular in that book 'The Little Cattle' sends shivers down my spine, not because it it scary but just because of Ransome's glorious use of language.


Thanks, Kate. I'll have to look out for that.

Anita
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Bannerman65 » 03 Aug 2008, 14:58

I've never read Old Peter's Russion Tales, unfortunately. What's the book about?
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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Kate Mary » 03 Aug 2008, 17:11

The youngest Walker is called Bridget, but is nick-named Vicky in "Swallows and Amazons" because she resembles Queen Victoria in old age, she resumes her real name in later books but she is only a peripheral character in most of the books, but she does have a major role in "Secret Water".

"Old Peter's Russian Tales" is a collection of Russian fairy tales which Peter tells to his grandchildren Vanya and Maroosia in his hut in the great forest where the snow lies deep. In between the stories there are cosy scenes with Vladimir the cat and Bayan the wolf-dog sleeping by the fire, descriptions of making tea in the samovar and cooking on the stove. The tales include well known ones like Baba Yaga and The Firebird as well as lots of others. It is a charming book well worth seeking out, I sure you would enjoy it Bannerman

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Re: Coot Club and The Big Six!

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 03 Aug 2008, 17:45

Kate Mary wrote:The youngest Walker is called Bridget, but is nick-named Vicky in "Swallows and Amazons" because she resembles Queen Victoria in old age...


Poor child! :lol: Cheers, Kate.
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