Tag Archives: enid blyton

Liebster Award

Phil: Thanks to Realm of the Goddess for awarding us the Liebster Award. It’s always nice to be recognised, although Candice is a bit disappointed that there is no Hollywood ceremony to attend as she has bought a new frock. I haven’t bought a new frock but I did get my hair cut which is nearly the same thing. (Candice – Phil I’m sure you’d look lovely in a frock!)

Anyway, as part of the deal, we have to answer some random questions, so over hot drinks and warm laptops, we had a go.

Why did you start blogging?

Candice – Phil told me we had to. To be honest I wasn’t very into blogs when we started but he wouldn’t shut up about it.

Phil – I started blogging back in the late 90’s when it was just starting to take off and have run a couple of blogs for my hobbies, so one for Nolanparker seemed the natural thing to do. The discipline of having to produce words regularly is useful for anyone who aspires to write and we need something to stop us just sitting around and eating cake.

If you could come back as anyone else, who would it be and why?

Candice – Hmmm, not sure. I don’t think I’ve ever really wanted to be anyone else.

Phil – I’d quite like to be King I suppose. Would I get to behead people who annoy me?

Candice – Like who?

Phil – BMW drivers mainly. And people who play music out of their phone on the bus.

Who did you most want to be like as a child?

Candice – No one specific. I had pop star posters on my bedroom wall but I never wanted to be any of them. Snog them possibly. What I wanted to be was an actor or writer, some sort of performer but definitely me.

Phil – Peter from Enid Blyton‘s Secret Seven stories. I remember him being quite clever and being good at disguises. With hindsight, there was a lot of Sherlock Holmes in him, another character I’ve always admired.

Who is your favourite character from a book?

Candice – I read a lot of books and so my favorite character tends to be someone from whatever I’m reading at the moment. Perhaps that makes me a bit fickle!

Phil – Edward The Blue Engine from the Thomas the Tank engine stories.

What do you like to write about?

Candice – Strong female characters. The genre doesn’t matter so much but the lead will have a lot of me, or at least a lot of who I might like to be, in her. It’s escapism really – putting yourself in different situations and seeing what happens.

Phil – I’m really not fussy. Since we started writing fiction seriously I’ve had a go at genres that I’d never considered such as chick-lit and horror. This means going and reading some examples and that’s been good fun. I tend to start with a story and have no idea where it’s going to end up anyway.

What country would you most like to visit?

Candice – Thailand or China. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been before to experience something different.  I always like to come back from a holiday feeling like I’ve learned something not just sat reading a book. Of course there are places where I feel I’ve only scratched the surface like America or Mexico so those would be good too. Wherever it is, there needs to be some nice beaches to so the tan can be topped up.

Phil – I’ve always fancied America by train. Coast to coast and back again, perhaps with a loop through Canada. Trouble is, I hate flying so I want to cross the wet bits on a boat. Mind you, I’ve always wanted to see Moscow, although I suspect a lot of the old Communist stuff has gone so North Korea perhaps? I don’t need a beach though.

What kind of music do you enjoy the most?

Candice – Indie stuff. Foo fighters (Dave Grohl – Yum), Ed Sheeran, Bastille. Maybe a bit of R’n’B/dance on a night out too.

Phil – Anything but R’n’B/dance please. I’m listening to a lot of Bellowhead at the moment with Thea Gilmore and Golgol Bordello in the mix. And some Wombles, because I look like Wellington.

Do you like the feeling of holding a book in your hands or do you prefer e-readers?

Candice – No contest, a proper book.

Phil – Me too. I can see the point of e-readers I suppose but nothing beats the feel of a book, especially an old one.

During which part of the day are you most productive?

Candice – The afternoon. I tend to get a slow start in the morning because I can’t focus.

Phil – I need something to focus on. If I have to get something done then I’m fine. Otherwise I can faff around and achieve nothing, If I’m excited about a project I’ll disappear into it and time doesn’t matter.

If you could have any superpower, which would it be?

Candice – Time travel. I’d like to visit myself when younger tell myself school is not as bad as I think it is. Finding out next week’s lottery numbers would be nice too!

Phil – Invisibility.

Candice – Who said that?

How did you feel when you were nominated for this award?

Candice – It’s really nice to be acknowledged. You can write all this stuff and wonder if there is anyone else reading it. Getting a “Like” or even an award makes it seem worthwhile.

Phil – Like most bloggers, you wonder if anyone reads your stuff and more importantly, whether anyone likes it. Getting an award is nice recognition that we’re doing something right. Thanks very much.

 ————————–

Notes on the Liebster Award: The origins of this award seem lot in the mists of time. The general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or
dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers (or less than 3000 according to some rules). Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to 5 more blogs. Or maybe 11.

Basically, it’s a positive pyramid scheme where bloggers pass on the award to other bloggers in the hope of a bit of coverage. One day, every blog will have a Liebster award. In the meantime, we’ll take it because it IS really nice that someone has read our stuff and enjoyed it. Sometimes, a warm glow is worth more than awards, even if you can’t wear a posh dress to it.

2 Comments

Filed under Candice, Interviews, Phil

A Personal History of Libraries

Whitnash LibraryPhil: My first library was unsurprisingly the one nearest where I lived.

Whitnash Library wasn’t always in black and white but in recent years, the original late 60s building has been extended a couple of times. They’ve moved the entrance around the side too. This photo shows it as I remember. Nothing special but important to me.

It was where I attained my first library card. Not one of your fancy modern computer readable jobbies – a little yellow wallet about an inch wide that the librarian would fill with the ticket from the book I was borrowing. It would then be placed in a drawer, the book stamped with a return date and off I would go for some serious reading.

It was here that I borrowed my first book on railways, “Model Trains, Railroads in the making“. More importantly, it supplied me with every Famous Five and Secret Seven story that Enid Blyton ever wrote. I remember being allowed to go on my own to the library, which was handy as children were only allowed a single ticket. Adults got 3 green tickets as they could be trusted to keep more books at home. It didn’t matter, I could work my way through the shelves one volume at a time. The most important thing was the choice was mine. An adult didn’t need to help, I learned to look at the covers and decide if I wanted to read the contents. Sometimes I would borrow a book more than once and re-read it if nothing else appealed to me.

Leamington Library

Leamington Spa Library

Later on, my Mum used to take me to the big library in town. This was a real revelation – the children’s section was nearly as big as the entire building in Whitnash.

I think I started with most of the “Marmaduke the lorry” stories writen by Eizabeth Chapman. A bit like the Rev W Awdry’s Railway series, these centred on an old lorry called Marmaduke who, along with his driver, had adventures. Nothing earth shattering but pleasant enough for a child.

It was here that I first dipped my toe into science fiction with Patrick Moore’s “Mission to Mars” series. Since he was of a scientific bent, as well as enjoying the stories, I learnt a bit. For example, I was introduced to the idea of muscle wasting because astronauts who had lived on Mars for a long while wouldn’t be able to stand Earth gravity. In one of the books, it was suggested that the base be shut down and so those unfortunates who lived there would have to live the rest of their lives on a space station. OK, not rocket science (pun intended) but when you are eight, quite something to take in. Even tougher was trying to pronounce Woomera – these were British spacemen so they launched from our fields in Australia. I didn’t understand exactly what an empire or commonwealth was until this point.

After a couple of years, there was the inevitable frustration that my reading had advanced beyond the children’s section. Young adult fiction didn’t exist but my Mum let me use one of her tickets (she had 5, I had 3) for books from the grown-up shelves.

Leamington Library

Leamington Library Today

The library still exists but has moved around the corner to the Pump rooms into the old swimming baths. They’ve taken out the water and replaced it with books. The old changing rooms have gone too, I won’t miss them as they were horrible.

Anyway, I still drop in from time to time. The number of books has been reduced, although you can still order them from stock elsewhere in the county. I’ve had the Writers & Artists yearbook out a couple of times. The reference section is still pretty good and you can read quite a selection of current magazines for free. There are banks of computers and people to help you make best use of them. There’s also someone I once interviewed for a job in there but I hope he doesn’t remember me as he didn’t get it.

Occasionally I drop in for the atmosphere. You can go into town, wander into the library just to sit and read. I like that. It’s a good place to work if concentration matters or I simply need to be somewhere different.

What I like even more is that there are books to borrow for free. And events to get youngsters interested in reading. And staff who want you to read – they change the display of books regularly so you are encouraged to discover something new. It was because of this that I read Michael Rosen’s moving book “Carrying the Elephant” about the death of his son. It caught my eye and I read it sat in a comfy chair in a corner. I’d never have seen it otherwise. More recently, I picked up my first Stephen King from the shelves.

All the libraries allowed me to read. It’s not like I come from a home where there were no books, far from it. No matter how many books we had, I could always read more. My parents didn’t need to try to keep up with my voracious appetite for reading, it was there for free. I could experiment – if I didn’t like a book, there was always another. I was proud of my library card and certainly gave it a good workout.

This post was inspired by John Scalzi’s Personal History of Libraries.

His post was inspired by the news that Horrible Histories author Terry Deary thinks libraries should be shut down. I think Terry Deary is an idiot.

5 Comments

Filed under Books, Phil