Wilde to Ransome

The Arthur Ransome Society

The purpose of this site is to raise awareness and encourage appreciation of the literature given to the world by Arthur Ransome and Oscar Wilde.

This is especially appropriate in 2017, Arthur Ransome’s fiftieth anniversary year.

I am a north west poet,  film maker and member of The Arthur Ransome Society (TARS) with a published first collection Pathways.  For more about my book follow the link below,

Much of my poetry collection was inspired by these great writers.

I  started this project in 2014 about the little-known connection between the two writers.  I wrote and directed two films,  The Genius and the Rebel and Wilde-Douglas in co-operation with Lancaster Film Makers’ Co-op and Lancaster Royal Grammar School.



















Music, Drawing and Music with the Wilde and Ransome Touch.

Ransome and Wilde offered a bridge to other forms of art in their writing.  Both were fine artists in the sense of an ability to draw.

In fact Wilde thought of being an artist before deciding to be a writer.

His drawing of his youthful first love Florence Balcombe is beautiful.

Ransome also contributed illustrations for his books.

Yet music is an important part of their work.  The old folk favourite such as the well-known Blow the Man Down finds its way into Swallows and Amazons.  This piece is sure to be found in a book of folk songs with simple arrangements and is excellent for beginner accompanists.  The family can help young or amateur pianists by singing after practise!

Signals,  TARS magazine reports that Arthur Ransome Society events are rich with song at family friendly gatherings, a great way to improve community spirit and bring everyone together!

Chopin was the musician of significance who made his way into Wilde’s work.  He is mentioned  in Intentions, (also the title of the Oscar Wilde Society publication for memebers!) where the character Gilbert passes comment on this piano mastro’s majestic works.  Chopin also makes an impression on the character Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Did you know Wilde’s brother was a very good amateur pianist with a particular love of Chopin?

I could add a page about music and include reviews about music or musicians relating to both artists.

Would readers like this?

I shall be reviewing Julian Lovelock’s Swallows, Amazons and Coots for my next post.  His introduction is intriguing.

Look forward to your comments!




On the Slow Boat to China




Arthur Ransome and Oscar Wilde understood how important it is to build bridges between countries and cultures.

China is a country that was significant to their work.

Wilde  talked of the beautiful cups the people of China use with  which to drink tea in one of his American lectures The Decorative Arts which highlighted the importance of art in everyday life.  This lecture is in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde by Harper Collins.

Arthur Ransome travelled to China as special correspondent to The Manchester Guardian in 1927 and like his amazing auntie made it to Peking!

Ransome in China 1927 by TARS’ publication Amazon gives a detailed account of his experience of the orient.

This episode of his life inspired Ransome’s 1941 novel Missee Lee.

More about his aunt is in a local publication  The Thorns, produced by the Slyne-with-Hest Historical Society located near Morecambe Bay.

For an example of Chinese culture appreciation in the Western world today click the link below to see the work of the local music centre More Music in Morecambe.

The Long Walk Chinese Orchestra



Arthur Ransome Revealed





Did you know that you can still ride on The Gondola, the  steamer in use on Coniston Lake when the world famous Swallows and Amazons author was a child?

The beauty of this ride is captured above.  These photos were taken in summer 2017!

Fans of A R who want to know more about this famous restored boat and the Ransome-Ruskin connection should visit their local library.

Christina Hardyment’s The Life of Arthur Ransome is a delightful work.

Easy to read, informative and a visual dream, this book introduces the places which captivated the author throughout his life and relate them all to his work along with the people he adored.

Don’t miss this!










TARS Tart for Outlaws




Did you know that The Arthur Ransome Society publication Signals includes a section for children?

The organisation welcomes junior members.

Young pirates can breeze through competitions, quizzes,  news of extraordinary events,  lots of glossy photographs and even simple recipes with clear instructions.

Why not learn the secret of good pastry making via literature?

This gooseberry pie featured in no. 54 of The Outlaw has a twist and it’s good too!

A whirlwind of fun, feasting, imagination and family fun awaits!

Join The Arthur Ransome Society.











Halloween Humour

This is the last of the Halloween related posts.

Thanks go to Mr Chris Wright of UpFront Theatre in Lancaster UK for filming the attached video and to The Friends Meeting House in Lancaster for permission to film.

Though the supernatural was not to Arthur Ransome’s taste, an important writer who lived at the time Ransome was a young man and whose work had a definite taste for the macabre was Saki, also known as H H Munro.

The countryside, animals and nature are central to his famous collection of short stories which satirize the Edwardian era and display a Wildean-type wit.

Born in 1870, Saki became a casualty of The Great War and died in 1916.

One of his tales has a title which would surely have struck a chord with Arthur Ransome is The Open Window.

If you want a taste of the Halloween spirit on the day itself, just click the link.

It’s good to remember  that fun is central to enjoyment of this season.

So – till next year


Happy Halloween!







Schumann on Film: – A Tale to Haunt




Adieu with Love – A Ghost Story

As we all await the Halloween spectacular on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing,  perhaps followers of this blog would like to watch a video which tells a Victorian-style story set in the modern age through the use of movement and classical ballet.

Just click the link above!

The film, made in 2006, was inspired by Richard Schumann’s hauntingly beautiful Kinderscenen, in English, Scenes from Childhood .  It is for the family, like Wilde’s Canterville Ghost.  (See below)


Adieu with Love is about a brilliant ballerina  who dies before she can reap the benefits of her talent.

The family, who keep the girl’s room as a shrine,  try to turn their younger daughter into a replica of her dead sister.

The older sister comes to visit her younger sister in a dream, dances for her and says “Goodbye with love,” to the whole family through dance.

For more Wilde stories for children see




The Wilde Spirit




The Oscar Wilde Society

More about this society devoted to the appreciation of the work of Oscar Wilde is above.

For Wilde’s example of how to write a ghost story follow the links below.


Thanks go to The Oscar Wilde Society for help with this post.


There will be extras on this site over Halloween.








Lakeside Lovers

Dance with a Difference

A lot of people in the UK will soon eagerly tune  in to Halloween week on the BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing.

This is always great fun and surely a season favourite!

After the show I personally won’t “Keep Dancing!” as advised by the ultra-glam presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman!

Personally blessed with two left feet I stick to poetry or else it’s the CD Basic Yoga for Dummies with Sara Ivanhoe! (Recommended).

So for my Thursday post here’s my own poem with a Victorian feel on video inspired by Lake Windermere, the heart of Arthur Ransome country which is also related to Oscar Wilde with his celebrated play Lady Windermere’s Fan.

Believe it or not after the sun goes down and the tourists disappear Lake Windermere can be quite spooky.

Hope you enjoy this work from my first collection Pathways!  Just click the link above!

Also take a look at Wilde’s ghost dancers in his poem The Harlot’s House!

Happy Halloween!




autumn treejpg

October is the month of Oscar Wilde’s birthday; surely the best time to join
The Oscar Wilde Society  and celebrate his genius?

To do so, just click the link above!

The society’s’ publications for members are Intentions and The Wildean.

There are some charming titles and articles to savour in the most recent editions.

Examples are Cider with Bosie, and Constance Wilde in Yorkshire!







The Mistletoe Haunting Legend of Minster Lovell

As we settle into autumn and enjoy the feast of ghost stories on offer, take a look at this elegantly written novel by David Slattery-Christy which moves between 1893 and the present day.   It will also make a wonderful Yule tide stocking-filler.

This great tale transports the reader to a gothic manor, in the grounds of which, is a sinister lake surrounded by swirling mists.

The familiar characters are present associated with this genre; the vapid suitor, a jealous schemer and the loyal, middle-aged housekeeper.  However, what makes this well-paced book stand out is the refreshing individuality and originality of all the characters including the supporting ones.

Nevertheless, Mr Slattery-Christy’s greatest achievement is in the portrait of his heroine.  Lady Ellen Forsyth, a Christmas bride, is surely the most engaging, delicate and feminine protagonist ever created by a man.

He also masterfully creates an insight into the limitations and paradoxes of Victorian society which led to many leading an unfulfilled life or risking a life of deception for success or survival.

As this story of betrayal and deceit unfolds, this work becomes a page turner as the pieces fall into place.

It is a work of distinction.  Don’t miss it.