Every evening, to brush away the tension of the day’s demands, deadlines and dashing about, I used to read a chapter of an Enid Blyton book to my young son. As I read, the day melted into the past and the story became real. I felt like I was 12 years old again, curled up under my sheets with a torch, not wanting to put the book down and go to sleep.
In Enid Blyton’s books, the children’s adventures are always outside in the fresh summer air, in a cave or down a tunnel. The days are always punctuated with scrumptious picnics of hard-boiled eggs, a slice of cold pie, fresh lemonade and great slabs of home-made fruit cake for afters, followed by a snooze. Hoorah!
One of the things I like about Enid Blyton’s stories is her use of the word “queer”. The word’s meaning has quickly evolved since she wrote her books, so when it is used in its old form, it seems rather quaint. “How queer!” exclaimed Jack. “What a queer little house”, remarked Lucy-Ann.
It’s a shame nobody under the age of 70 says “queer” in that context any more. Poor quirky Q, it is the least used letter in the English language and makes few enough appearances in our vocabulary as it is. So if the Queen quaked and quacked during a quiz, I imagine the letter Q would be quite pleased.