Friday, 12 November 2010

The Idyllic Life of Milly-Molly-Mandy

After enjoying the day-before-yesterday's historical trip down memory lane with RJ Unstead, I was reminded of another set of books that induce a warm and fuzzy, nostalgic feeling.

The Milly-Molly- Mandy stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley, were published from 1925 onwards, first in the Christian Science Monitor, then as books in their own right. 

 I am sad to admit that I never read any of these as a child, only discovering their charms when I began reading them to a very small Miss U-t-B.  They are such delightful, sweet stories about a bygone age, and each chapter is a story in itself and the perfect length for a bedtime story.

The perfect little English village!  Joyce Lankester Brisley was born in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.  Wonder if Milly-Molly-Mandy's village was based on somewhere nearby?

Setting off for a picnic with a little-friend-Susan.  This was the sort of freedom I had as a child, and I wish all children these days could have too!  

In another story, Milly-Molly-Mandy wakes up early when her parents are still asleep and creeps out of her 'cot-bed' in the corner of the room, gets dressed and goes for a walk in the fields nearby (stopping off on the way to wash her face in the brook!), finds little-friend Susan, then Billy Blunt, then another little boy all out for early morning strolls and  then they all pick mushrooms for the little boy to sell to Mr Smale the grocer.  I remember Miss U-t-B being so charmed by this story that I thought she'd take off by early one morning in search of adventure!  She still laughs when she recalls my warnings not to do so!

I don't think Milly-Molly-Mandy is the only one who wishes for a shop like that!

This story is about when M-M-M  goes for tea with Jilly and Miss Muggins and falls in love with the crazy patchwork tea cosy.

She then sets about gathering bits and pieces to make one herself - some red satin given to her by Miss Muggins, a bit of green ribbon from Muvver's 'piece-bag', a skein of black silk which she bought with the penny Farver gave her for sweets, some velvet from Grandma's dress alterations, some coloured cord bought for her by Grandpa,  a length of lavender ribbon cast aside by Aunty when retrimming her hat, and a blue and yellow spotted tie that Uncle didn't like . A girl after my own heart!

Finally,  she presented it to Muvver.

In this story,  if I remember rightly, Uncle creates this lovely den and fits it out with all kinds of attic finds - very thrifty!

And in this one, poor little M-M-M gets locked in her room by accident and, after failing to attract attention by shouting out of the window, makes use of the time by crochet-ing a bonnet for little-friend-Susan's baby sister, Doris.  What a clever little girl - I still can't crochet anything useful!

Milly-Molly-Mandy - a life of simple pleasures!

1 comment:

  1. These books are delightful and I really enjoyed them as a child, then all over again when I read them to my daughters when they were little. I used to study the map and the lovely illustrations, soaking up all the detail. Thank you for a lovely trip down memory lane!
    Caroline x