swallows and amazons

My mum read them to me when I was little, the series beginning with Swallows and Amazons, and now I’m reading them to Sam – until – and this is happening now – he’s so wanting to read on that he does. I’m enjoying reading it though, discovering them for what seems like the first time.

Here’s the synopsis of Swallows and Amazons from the Arthur Ransome website:

Swallows and Amazons begins with the four Walker children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger, holidaying with their mother, infant sister Brigit and a nurse at Holly Howe, a farmhouse on the shores of an unnamed lake in the English Lake District. Receiving permission from their absent father, Commander Walker R.N., they set sail in the dinghy Swallow to camp on a deserted island further down the lake.

Camping, sailing, fishing and exploring is soon interupted when the Walkers (the Swallows) are attacked by Nancy and Peggy Blackett, the self-styled Amazon Pirates. The Amazons live at Beckfoot on the shores of the lake and claim ownership of the island, which they call Wild Cat Island. The Swallows and the Amazons soon form an alliance, united in opposition to the Amazons’ irrasible Uncle Jim, who is living on his houseboat whilst writing a book. They conclude that Uncle Jim is a retired pirate and henceforth call him Captain Flint.

The new allies decide to hold a private war to determine whether Swallow or Amazon should become their flagship. As their war reaches its climax, it coincides with the burglary of Captain Flint’s houseboat, during which his trunk containing his manuscript is stolen. Captain Flint believes that the Swallows are to blame, a misunderstanding that Nancy soon puts right. Realising his mistake, Captain Flint is quick to apologise and, thinking his book is lost, he makes peace with the allies before challenging them to battle.

At the appointed hour the allies attack and seize Captain Flint’s houseboat, strengthening their new friendship by making him walk the plank. However, the friendship is truly sealed when Titty and Roger find his lost trunk, thereby saving his book.

Swallows and Amazons concludes with a great storm on the lake, after which the Swallows and Amazons have to return to life ashore and a new year at school. They part with promises to meet again next year.

Sam likes it that it’s a series, and that the people are going to carry on in the next book. He couldn’t read the third part of Lord of the Rings because he saw, flipping to the last few pages, that the heroes part forever. That was just too much. I’ve tried to persuade him, but he’s not having it.

So here’s to molasses and a barrel of grog, to raising the halyard and tacking into the wind. Swallows and Amazons forever!


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