Enid Blyton in June
Something amusing happened to me when I was in London the other day. I was walking along by myself, looking into the shop windows when I noticed a boy in a green jersey just behind me. I moved on, looked into another window, and crossed the road. Dear me, after a minute or two I noticed Green Jersey again! And when I set off once more, there was Green Jersey behind me as usual! So I stopped and said, "Do you want to speak to me?" And Green Jersey said, "Well — I'm just trying to see that badge you've got on the handle of your handbag — is it the Famous Five badge? I couldn't quite see." I said, "Yes — here it is! Why — do you belong too?" Green Jersey said yes, he did, but he had forgotten to pin it to his clean jersey that morning. Then he took a deep breath and said, "You must be Enid Blyton." I agreed that I must be, whereupon Green Jersey produced a tiny autograph book, and said, "I never thought I should ever spot your F.F. badge, but I always carried my autograph book in case!" Well, Peter Green Jersey, I hope you are reading this — it was exciting for both of us, wasn't it?
In the field the poppies red
Then evening came, serene and cool,
"Let's bathe in moonlight cold and sweet!"
And there you'll find them, spoilt and torn,
It is strange that he [the swift] is so like the swallows, isn't it? and yet belongs to quite a different family. But, you see, he lives the same aerial life as they do, and so he has grown like them. Birds that live on insects which they catch whilst on the wing need long, pointed wings for speed, a streamer-like tail, and a small beak with a wide gape for catching insects. They do not need strong feet for walking, hopping, running or perching — and therefore the feet of all the four birds you have heard of [barn swallows, house martins, sand martins and swifts] are weakly, and indeed, in the case of the swift, almost useless. The swift's feet are no more than hooks! There is no backward-pointing toe as other birds have, but all the toes point forward, so that the swift has great difficulty in balancing itself when on the ground.
However, it has no need to use its feet, for all the day long it is on the wing, quite tireless. It is marvellous to watch it in flight; it wheels here and there, it darts to the side to take a flying insect, it soars upward, it shoots forward, it races by so fast that we hardly see it go! It is master of the air, and some people say that it even sleeps on the wing! But for a few hours each night it hangs itself up by its hook-like feet and rests its wings in sleep — then at the earliest glimmer of dawn it is off again, strong and tireless, screaming with joy and delight.
The other girls were splashing about, getting into position for the race. Mary-Lou threw a penny into the water and Darrell dived for it.
She brought it up in triumph. "Throw another, Mary-Lou!" she cried. Splash! In went another penny. Darrell dived again, thinking that now was the time to pretend to be in difficulties. She came up, gasping.
"Help! Help!" she cried. "I've got cramp! Quick, Mary-Lou, the life-belt, the life-belt! Help, help!"
She threw her arms about and struggled, letting herself sink under a little. Mary-Lou stared, absolutely petrified. Alicia nudged Betty.
"Just what I thought," she said in a low voice. "Too much of a ninny even to get the life-belt!"
In the month of June everyone enjoyed the hay-making. Even Melisande so far forgot herself as to get thoroughly hot and untidy, as she threw the hay into the air and squealed with laughter.
"It smells good," she said, sniffing hard.
Susan looked at her.
"I didn't think you liked any farm smells," she said in surprise. "You always turn up your nose at them."
"Oh, don't keep reminding me of all the things I say and do," said Melisande, who found Susan's blunt tongue very trying at times. "There are some farm smells I like very much—the smell of the warm fresh milk, for instance, and this new-mown hay. Heavenly!"
"Would you like scent made of the smell of hay?" asked Susan, who never could understand Melisande's liking for perfume. "Now, I shouldn't mind at all having a bottle of hay perfume. I'd put some on my hanky all the year round to remind me of hay-making time."