Nature Study with Enid Blyton, Part 2: Wind and Rain

March 19, 2010 at 12:02 am | Posted in Anne, Fashion, George, Julian, Learning Stuff, Timmy, Uncle Quentin | 1 Comment
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‘Is it a windy day? I do hope it is, because I am going to talk to you about the wind and its work – and if you can see through the windows what the wind is doing, it will be a great help’. So begins Enid’s chapter on ‘The Wind and its Work’ (Round the Year with Enid Blyton: Spring Time). ‘Where does a wind begin? It must begin somewhere, mustn’t it!’ Yes Enid, it must. But where? Unfortunately this appears to be a question without an answer, but luckily she can tell us why it begins. I do hope you are paying attention:

‘When air is heated over any place it becomes lighter than the colder, denser air round about; the cold air rushes in and pushes the warm air before it. When we feel the cold air rushing in we say, “How windy it is!” The current of cold air has made a wind, which we feel on our faces, and which we see stirring the trees.’

Enid goes on to discuss weather vanes, the different winds (north, south, east and west), where they come from and what they bring us. The west and south-west winds bring rain. They come from across the Atlantic Ocean, collecting moisture on their way. As she notes, ‘it is the west wind that piles up the big grey clouds and brings out our umbrellas’.

There is a superb description of a bracing rainy morning in Five on Kirrin Island Again. It’s the Easter hols and because Uncle Quentin has commandeered Kirrin Island for an important scientific experiment (and erected a tower on it no less – a potent symbol of his uncompromising patriarchal power over poor George), the Five are land-bound.

As we know, the children are hardy types and don’t let the rain keep them indoors: ‘They never really minded the weather. In fact Julian said that he really liked the feel of the wind and rain buffeting against his face’. They don their mackintoshes and sou’westers (presumably so named because they offer protection from south west gales) and set off for an invigorating walk along the cliffs with Timmy: ‘At the top it was very windy indeed. Anne’s sou’wester was blown to the back of her head. The rain stung their cheeks and made them gasp’.

Because the day is so wet, the Kirrins are forced to wait until half past ten that night for Uncle Quentin’s signal to indicate all is well on the island (at night he signals with a lantern; by day he uses heliography aka a mirror and the sun). Aunt Fanny won’t let the children stay up so late, and although Anne and George fall asleep, Dick and Julian do manage to stay awake. I like to think that they stave off sleep by perusing (in a supremely postmodern gesture) Enid’s chapter on ‘The Wind and its Work’, and follow her suggestion to read the story Æolus and the Winds (‘it is an old Greek story, and you will find it in the story of Odysseus, or Ulysses’).

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  1. This article must have coincided with the publication of my book on Enid Blyton, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com), after all, I cite her book, Nature lover’s Book no.2 in which she recreated her ideal “state of nature” environment she wished the world had, an aspect not dissimilar to what the modern environmentalists wish for the world. You also mention Kive On Kirrin Island Again. Despite Uncle Quentin’s shortcomings, it is in this book that we learnt about Uncle Quentin’s and probably Enid Blyton’s plans to rid the world of three key global pollutants such as oil, coke and coal. Although Uncle Quentin’s intentions were to replace these three pollutants with nuclear energy, which to some is very controversial, some leaders in the developing world, including the Presidents of Uganda and Kenya, have supported the replacement of these three key pollutants with nuclear energy. Therefore, this aspects suggests that in foresight, Enid Blyton may have seen the effects of these pollutants on the earth six decades before the current debate on global change. Ironically, it is former Vice-President al Gore’s urge to replace thre three pollutants that won him the Nobel prize. Probably, in hindsight, Enid Blyton should also have been awarded the Nobel Prize, since she had advocated in Five On Kirrin Island Again more or less similar solutions to the global energy crisis as Al Gore i.e. even long before he was born!!!
    Stephen Isabirye


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