Wilde Reflections





Why not visit Garstang library on the evening of Thursday 11th January?

It is opposite Booth’s superstore at 45, Windsor Road, Preston PR3 1EX, UK.

From 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm there will be an evening of poetry and traditional music  that will celebrate the poetry of Oscar Wilde.

Tickets are £4 including refreshments.  Cakes, coffee and tea will be available.

Other poets at the event include The Quantum Poet Dean Fraser and Bryony Rogers, also a film maker.

Dean has his own radio show with over 300,000 potential listeners in the UK.

He is also the author of a book titled YOU, but Happier, Healthier and More Successful and has written for major magazines.

His articles have featured in Take a Break, New Age Journal, Living Now, Wisdom, and many more!

For Dean click the link.

His book Beyond Poetry has a focus on many themes which were dear to Arthur Ransome.

Bryony Rogers is a poet of thirty years’ experience.  You will find her work in Take Five Poets, a collection by ID Books, as well as South Magazine and Earth Pathways Diaries and Calendars.

Much of her work is inspired by her deep love of Nature and sense of the sacred she finds there.

Why not take a look at her website,www.songofawakening.org.uk?

See also www.movingessence.net ,www.facebook.com/natureasmedicine  and  www.facebook.com/songofawakeninguk.

At the end there will be an open mic for local poets to read their work.

See you there!












Oscar Wilde and the Solstice Symbol

The Winter Solstice, a time when the moon is of central importance, is surely the perfect time to appreciate Wilde’s work, in which the moon is often significant.

It certainly is in his play Salome, which Al Pacino not so long ago turned into a superb film in which Jessica Chastain gave a tour de force performance in the tragic central role.

However, many are not used to thinking of Wilde as a poet, which is a shame as he was a very fine poet.

The moon often makes its appearance in his eloquent verses.

As an example why not take a look at his poem Endymion, subtitled  (to Music)?

Happy Christmas!


For related events click the link



A Review of Swallows, Amazons and Coots by Julian Lovelock


For your Christmas stocking!

A work of distinction

In this analysis of Arthur Ransome’s novels, Julian Lovelock establishes them as belonging to a tradition of island literature from Shakespeare to Stevenson, while cementing Ransome’s significance in the history of literature as the man who changed the direction of children’s books by introducing the adventure novel.

Readers learn how Ransome’s novels relate to his own life while also reflecting the trends in thirties literature like the detective novel and the thriller.

Mr Lovelock challenges common perceptions that Ransome’s works uphold outdated, colonial ideology.  His work makes it clear that the Bolshevik sympathising Ransome was no imperialist and that the empirical games the Walker children play in his books reflected a time when schools celebrated Empire Day and allowed children to dress up as island ‘savages’ with black faces.  (We can be glad that age is past!)

We learn how Ransome uses satire and parody to express his own distance from the old world (eg when writing about the Lady Bracknell-like Great Aunt Maria) while his characters Nancy, Titty and Missee Lee smash female stereotyping.

The work instead gives testament to how Ransome was in touch with his country’s past and his own times.  It highlights the recurring themes of continuity and renewal which reflect Ransome’s own views set against the threat of invasion by an insensitive, urban community and tourist industry of which these latter serve as a metaphor for the darkening prospect of approaching war and loss of childhood innocence.

This book also offers a fascinating insight into Ransome the writer.

Most important however, is the recognition that comedy and optimism are central to Ransome’s work, tempered with the triumph of humanity.

Even Great Aunt Maria holds onto her sense of dignity.

Today’s Internet-savvy reader is left in no doubt that Ransome is a shining light for our time.

To read an interview with the author just click here!

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