Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A late night revelation.

Oh my stars, I had an epiphany moment last night.

  • Reading book - currently Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder ( though I'm sure this wasn't entirely written by her ). I can't remember if I told you but my amazing HG bought me the box set for Valentine's Day after I'd been hankering after them for years. I absolutely adored these books as a lass back int black n white days and when it was televised, my life seemed complete! I have found kindred spirits on Twitter, namely the fantastically funny and adorable Hannah who blogs in a much better way here >>> and the highly hilarious stunning example of womanhood Nicole who writes perfectly here >>>>         Please note Hannah and Nicole,  that in as much as French and Saunders have ruined any chances of me watching Lord of the Rings or Whatever happened to Baby Jane or Titanic seriously due to their parodies.... I found myself laughing out loud as I read through this book recalling conversations about Ma, Pa and their little family! Thanks Ladies! It adds to the pleasure experience ( as does keeping Michael Landon in mind as Pa )!! Ahem.... 
I got to chapter 1 page 3 and a thought started bumbling about in my brain.

  • Wolves - " Sometimes, far away in the night, a wolf howled. Then he came nearer, and howled again."  This sentence made my blood lose a few degrees of body heat. Laura is awake in her little trundle bed. She knew( just as I do did ) that wolves would eat little girls.  Her Pa, picked her up one night and carried her to the window so she might see them. ( I can feel the panic rising in my fingers as I type this! ) she saw two of them.  WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHILD ABUSE WAS HE DOING????  She might have believed that she was safe inside the log cabin. But I KNOW that a HOUSE OF TWIGS does NOT keep wolves out AT ALL. I know this from another true story from my childhood.....

  • Childhood fear - what did you have under your bed.? I'm not talking about the old suitcase full of comics and crayons. The old massive record player. The board games and all the other stuff I crammed stored under there ( as being in the box room meant I had NO space for stuff ) I'm talking about the monster that would be lying in wait to GRAB your ankle as you dived into the safety of your bed. Everyone knows once you are in bed, under the covers, NOTHING can touch you. But if ANY arms or legs protrude out of the sheets and blankets ( black n white days dear reader, 1970's Britain - continental quilts were not even INVENTED yet! ) then prepare to meet a horrible and violent death at the slavering, snapping jaws of the monster that lives there.  I had a wolf under my bed. In the dark, I could see his red eyes . I could hear the low, warning growl. He lay in wait. I had perfected leaping from the landing onto my bed because I was so scared. Realistically I should have been an Olympic jumping star because I never missed a jump. I never missed. I couldn't. The consequences were dire. So THANKS A LOT LAURA AND PA!  It's a wonder I grew up alive at all, what with the wolf under my bed and the witch that hid behind the bathroom door waiting to catch me if I went for a wee in the night. Oh and the tigers/panthers/rhinoceroses .... Next bullet point. 

  • Recurring nightmare - I had this a lot in my youth and very occasionally I still do. It's one of those real nightmares that wake you up with your heart pounding out of your chest, sweat glistening on your brow, alert ready for fight or flight ( or lie in bed and think about butterflies and fairies and nice things till you go back to sleep )!  The general scenario - It's always in my childhood home. It's ALWAYS a tiger or a black panther. It circles the house and gets in and stalks me room to room. There's only the wooden doors of the dining room keeping me safe.....
Cut to 2014, a '28' year old Rachel reading little house and Ta dahhhhh. Suddenly my nightmare is explained! Page 40 - the story of Grandpa and the Panther. A heartwarming bedtime story Pa told Laura how his Father was chased and hunted down by a terrifying Black Panther. Though this isn't the nightmare trigger - I think that delight came from Chapter Four - Christmas. Where they are told the TRUE story of how a panther kept Aunt Eliza prisoner in her own home. The two saviours in these stories were the family pet dogs. I was never allowed a dog. NO WONDER I WAS A QUIVERING WRECK - and I'm still such a scaredy cat now!!  So, some of you who are still paying attention and know the LH books may be querying the rhino. I think that comes from years of watching Survival with my Dad on a Sunday. Rhinos are dangerous and can charge into Landrovers to get at people. Therefore in my dreams, they charge at houses! 

So, I have explained some of my own neuroticness ! I am thoroughly enjoying these books. But reading them as ( an alleged ) grown up, I question some of the idyll which is painted almost sickeningly chocolate box like in the chapters. 

Overcrowding - it's a one up one down  teeny shack type house. Two adults, three children, a cat and a dog all reside here without a care in the world. A whole family come to stay at Christmas. It surely must be a
Stinky house - Ma has got all manner of meat and dead animals hanging from the rafters. Fruit and veg stashed like a permanent harvest festival display.

No one can be that cheery - especially Ma. If I had to do all the stuff she does, I'd be one crabby bitch. Churning the butter is written like it was a piece of cake! Also the children got the "good buttermilk" to drink afterwards. Have you ever had buttermilk? It's truly rank stuff of epic proportions to drink. She never gets pissed off. Mind you, she must feel very appreciated because the mittens she knitted for everyone for Christmas are admired by everyone ALL DAY.

I'm putting my blog down now to eagerly pick up my book. My favourite book of them all, as a child was The Long Winter. I cannot wait to get to it again. I hope it doesn't disappoint!!

Have you read them? Do you have any recurring nightmares that you can explain? Looking forward to hearing from you.

Rachel IngallsWilder  Radiostar xx


  1. Mine is that people won't forgive me for a mistake made over a year ago. due to ill health.

  2. This made me laugh out loud several times. I also wondered about the terrible smell in that house! You forgot to mention that they only bathed once a week...

    Ma never loses her temper in the entire nine-book series. I suspect laudanum. HOW ELSE IS THIS POSSIBLE??

  3. I remember the TV series and I thought it was sickeningly full of pretend people, growing up on a smallholding I knew that it was so false. I did see the books and thought them as bad. Later on it was that Walton,s lot of goody goodies. Mind you I saw the real deal, an old recording of Laura when she was very old, it was fascinating. I still couldn't read the books though.

  4. I live in a forest with the sound of wolves howling at night...bears peering in the windows...cougars (the furry sort) roaming the backwoods..but nothing would frighten me as much as a whole family staying for Christmas. I'd be hiding under the bed with a bottle of gin and some sandwiches.
    Jane x
    PS Never seen a rhino here though.

  5. The Long Winter was your favourite? I'll be interested to see what you think of it now. These Happy Golden Years was my favourite, along with the super-depressing On The Banks of Plum Creek.

    Ma was a saint of epic proportions!

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  7. I've just happened upon your blog by chance - and this was an interesting post. I am very familiar with all the Little House books so I really enjoyed this! I'm also in Lancashire and used to work in education so I'll look forward to reading on a regular basis.
    PS have you any idea where fostermummy's blog - my beautiful life - has gone? It seems to have vanished again.

    1. Hello and welcome Harriet :-) hope I don't disappoint! Fostermummy's blog is now Frugalmummytwo and her link is on my previous post x

  8. Thanks Rachel, I am very grateful for that. I'll be back...x


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