A child's Ransome

Next time I’m cross-tacking with you please don’t hiss, but I am no fan of Arthur Ransome. While I think his actual story ideas are bewitching I find his dialogue wooden, his “characters” barely even two dimensional and his prose like spaghetti the following morning.

No-one I’ve ever discussed this with agrees. They are all huge fans, but then they have all read them as children and there is a strong sense of misty-eyed nostalgia when they recount them which seems more to do with their own lost childhood than the books’ merits.

I did not read them as a child, but tried to read them to my own children. As I waded through page after page of: ” ‘Morning Roger,’ said Titty, ‘Morning Titty,’ said Roger. ‘Are you going down below Titty?’ said Roger. ‘Yes I am going down below, Roger’, said Titty,” my kids were asleep before Goblin had even dropped her mooring.

Maurice Griffiths once told me that Ransome had said to him his life was plagued by disciples arriving at his home ‘with their pestilential offspring.’

No-one can blame the poor man for that but he needn’t have taken it out on the rest of childkind.