It’s eight days until Christmas Eve and already I am in a muddle. I had thought I was doing so well with organising, but I’ve realised I’ve mislaid two presents for friends, and they are the best of friends who are always so generous and imaginative with their gifts. Hmm, I must have a proper search another time when I have my thinking head on. That phrase, ‘thinking’ head comes from the character Worzel Gummidge who was a scarecrow in a series of children’s stories by Barbara Euphan Todd. Like many people of my age, I first heard Worzel Gummidge on the radio in Children’s Hour and it was later that I found the books in the library. Later still the stories were adapted for television with Jon Pertwee as the anarchic and eccentric scarecrow. There were ten books altogether but I don’t think I read them all.
Barbara was born in 1890, and although she was born in Doncaster, she grew up in Hampshire. She was forty-two when she married, but her husband died leaving her with a single step-daughter. As well as her Worzel books, Barbara wrote poetry, essays, and other stories for children, as well as a single novel for adults. ‘Miss Ranskill Comes Home’ was published in 1946, under her married name, Barbara Bower and is about a woman who returns to England after being stranded on a desert island during the Second World War. Apparently Rosamund Lehmann described it as ‘a work of great originality … a blend of fantasy, satire and romantic comedy’. It was reissued in 2003 by Persephone Book – I wonder if it’s still available, it sounds very interesting!
I have no pictures of scarecrows, mangelwurzels, or desert islands so my featured image is of a tiny Tintin.