Enid Blyton was my go-to read when I was a young girl, I can remember running down to the mobile library on a Tuesday after school, handing in my books from last week and then desperately searching the shelves for an Enid Blyton book that I hadn’t read before. Sometimes my luck was in and there was a new Famous Five or Secret Seven book and I would gleefully take it up to the librarian for stamping out.
But back at home, my own bookshelves were groaning under the weight of her books, books that I read again and again, books that took me to lands that only existed in Enid’s mind and when I read them, mine too – I longed to visit the Faraway Tree in the Enchanted Wood, wished I could sit in the Wishing Chair and laughed at the antics of Mr. Twiddle.
These days, young children wish they could go to Hogwarts, but when I was young I wanted to go to St. Clares and Malory Towers, to be Darrell Rivers’ best friend.
In her peak output, Enid Blyton would write 50 books a year, she began writing after breakfast with her portable typewriter on her knee and her favourite red Moroccan shawl nearby, she would have a short dinner break and then continue writing until about five o’clock, by which time she would have produced around 8,000 words. She once described her writing technique:
"I shut my eyes for a few minutes, I make my mind a blank and wait - and then, as clearly as I would see real children, my characters stand before me in my mind's eye … the first sentence comes straight into my mind, I don't have to think of it - I don't have to think of anything."
I cannot recall what happened to my bookshelves full of her books, but about two years ago I was visiting a National Trust house with my husband and went for a wander in their secondhand book shop. I came across Five On A Treasure Island and Mr. Pink-Whistle Stories and decided that I would start collecting them again. So whenever I go past a charity shop, I take a little detour into it and am often lucky enough to find one or two books to add to my growing collection.
So, once again, I have a bookcase full of Enid Blyton books and I cannot wait until my grandson is old enough so that I can share with him the magic of her world. I am quite envious that he is soon going to hear her stories for the very first time!