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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Monday, 10 May 2021

"Coot Club" by Arthur Ransome

The Ds (Dick and Dorothea Callum) whom we first met in Winter Holiday skating on the Lake with the Swallows and the Amazons, are in the Norfolk Broads, hoping to learn to sail. They meet the members of the Coot Club: Tom Dudgeon the doctor's son, the twins Port and Starboard, and the 'Death and Glory' pirates Joe, Bill and Pete, Tom casts adrift a motor cruiser full of noisy tourists (the 'Hullabaloos') because they are moored across a coot's nest and then has to flee from their revenge, taking refuge with the Ds. The Hullabaloos then hunt Tom through the Broads as he and the twins teach the Ds to sail. 

Lots and lots of yachtsmanship, therefore. The usual meticulous detail. And some wonderful Norfolk characters. But the excitement in this book comes principally from the boats: tidal rivers present dangers and challenges the Lake never did, such as lowering the mast to get under a bridge, hitting the bank or running aground, fog, or being caught by the tide and being swept into an obstacle and wrecked.

Some great moments:

  • "Takes all sorts to make a world, but fare to me as we could do without some of 'em." (Ch 8)
  • "When the 'Come Along' says "Come Along," they got to come along." (Ch 28)

May 2021; 346 pages

This review was written by

the author of Motherdarling 

and The Kids of God


The Swallows and Amazon series contained twelve books:
  • Swallows and Amazons: Children camping on an island in a lake have sailing based adventures
  • Swallowdale: More sailing adventures are threatened when the Swallow sinks
  • Peter Duck: The Swallows and Amazons and Captain Flint sail on a big yacht into the Caribbean in search of pirate treasure; pirates pursue
  • Winter Holiday: the lake freezes allowing a sledge-based expedition to the 'north pole'; the 'D's are introduced
  • Coot Club: The Ds join the Death and Glory kids in the Norfolk Broads but the excitement is just as great when birds have to be protected from rowdies.
  • We Didn't Mean to go to Sea: The Swallows accidentally find themselves at sea in a yacht they scarcely know: for my money this is the most dramatic and exciting book of the series.
  • Secret Water: The Swallows are joined by the Amazons in an expedition to map some tidal mud-flats
  • The Big Six: The Death and Glory kids have to be cleared of accusations of crime; the Ds help.
  • Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons and Captain Flint are shipwrecked near China and captured by a lady Chinese pirate with a taste for Latin.
  • Pigeon Post: The Swallows and Amazons and Ds search for gold in the hills above the Lake; one of my favourites
  • The Picts and the Martyrs: The Ds have to hide in the hills when the Great Aunt comes to stay with the Amazons
  • Great Northern: The Swallows and Amazons and Ds and Captain Flint are protecting birds in the far north of Scotland

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