Archive for Guernsey

Being Inspired

One of the many gifts that Elizabeth has bequeathed to us is the desire to make a collection of “little things” such as cousin Mary makes in The Scent of Water.

I have a collection myself, some inherited, some given as gifts, others found by browsing second hand and junk shops. They don’t live together, but have found their own niches in our home.

This little cat came from my husband’s childhood home, and is currently, like most cats , enjoying a patch of sunshine. A bronze boxing hare stands on the frame of an ink drawing of a Hare caught hiding in a Welsh cwm. An owl blinks down from a beam.

After my last post, Jana Jopson got in touch with a selection of photos and stories about her own collection, so that she could share them with other readers and collectors.

The following is taken from her email to the group:

“The collection is a work in progress, some arrive as gifts and some I find.  I imagine it will continue to evolve.  It lives in a glass-fronted bookcase on the shelf with all of my Elizabeth Goudge books and warms my heart whenever I see it.

The top shelf holds small rabbits, the smallest being made of brass and only 3/4 of an inch in length.  I appreciate rabbits of all sorts, in nature, story, and myth.

  • Second shelf includes a handmade clay squirrel (winsome and devious creatures!), a bluebird of happiness, and a sea turtle (another animal that has my admiration).
  • The bottom shelf has a figure of collie dog because I couldn’t find a Shetland Sheepdog (I’ve been companion to three), and a wild duck figure purchased for me by my father at an outdoor fair decades ago
My kindred spirit friend and I once saw a tiny coach-and-six with an elegant woman inside in a display cabinet at an antiques shop.  When we went back the next time, it was gone and we still say one of us should have purchased it.  I have had tiny tea sets but they have gone into shadow box creations rather than my tiny things collection, but I do watch for one made of blue glass.”
I wonder if we will be able to see some of her intriguing “shadow box creations” they sound wonderful.
I know very little about Elizabeth’s collection, beyond knowing that they still exist. Some pieces may have come from Guernsey where her Mother lived, like this exquisite silver writing desk, which currently belongs to the family of the late poet Anne Lewis-Smith who was Elizabeth’s neighbour in Dog Lane.
The value of any collection for me and I suspect for others who collect too, is the connections and tales the objects tell.
If you too collect and would like to share, we would love to know about your favourite “little things.”





A Fresh Perspective on Green Dolphin Street

This is a great article, accessible from the link below by Stephen Foote, which he wrote for the Guernsey Literary Festival to celebrate the fact that Sebastian Faulks is the headline guest in May.

It traces the connection between his novel “On Green Dolphin Street” back to Guernsey via Elizabeth Goudge’s novel.

Elizabeth’s Legacy

by Ruth St Clare.

Thank you so much for the web site of E Goudge.  I have respected and admired her since childhood.  Now I admire her even more.

I am sure that had computers existed and had I not been a slow learner then ( not now)  I would have been one of the  people who  came  to look at a person who could so well reflect the spiritual in a world of war and suffering.

This lady was the key to my visiting Guernsey ( the copy of Green Dolphin Country was damaged so I did not know where the Island was), seeing Mont St. Michele and St Malo.

I finally worked out that it must be Guernsey.  When I left the ferry I met an elderly lady and ask her if the family even existed and she  snarled at me.  I knew then I had found the right place …. so instead of upsetting anyone else I went off to the cemetery.  I smiled and wondered who they were and if they had any real relationship to the book.  It did not really matter to me… I found the place and names

The only name I did not find was William Ozanne and then sitting in an open air cafe and musing to myself whether on not he existed I looked across the road and saw  William Ozanne Hall.

I believe my life was touched for the better because I was privileged to read Elizabeth Goudge’s books.   Many years ago a paper back of Green Dolphin Country was available and I bought a copy and loaned it to a friend.  They never gave it back… forgot they had it…..sigh… not all people with brains know how to use them.

My friends found the same book in New Zealand  in a second hand book shop and they sent it to me.  How wonderful of them and I have the book today and I use it for any of my senior  English students who show that they are  of the thinking nature.

A fourteen year old French lass is reading it now.  I am not sure yet how she will cope with it as she is still at an intermediate English level.

Maybe you could condense Green Dolphin County or Island Magic ( this may not need condensing, I can’t remember!) and try to have  Miss Goudge’s work  included in school children’s texts for English.  They did this with Nicholas Monserrat’s  Cruel Sea.  If you could do this I think you would be doing a world service.

Ruth St. Claire

Dear Miss St Clare,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me, I’m pleased that you enjoyed the visit to the site.
I agree that Elizabeth’s work should be on an English Literature Syllabus but have a horror at condensing any writers work, especially one of my favourite authors. Which bits would you leave out?

I think that most of her books are compact, with the exception of Green Dolphin Country and Child From The Sea, so probably wouldn’t need much editing. Its the themes of her work which our state run schools might have a problem with.
regards Deborah

Hi Deborah

Yes I would hate task of trying to edit Elisabeth Goudge’s work.  It seems a colossal cheek.  On the other had if some one could manage the challenge perhaps young people would be inspired to find and read  her work (unabridged), as adults.

I suppose it is just the desire to share with others. Young people would have the chance to see a “master” English writer.   I teach English now so I suppose I think about it from the perspective of  some of the students here ….. especially the  young teenagers… sigh they might not be permitted to read Green Dolphin Country unabridged.

It was literature that educated me until I reached a stage where I could think and retain  what I learned and now I help others to find joy, delight,  and the rewards of reading.

Best wishes,