I had given no thought to Biggles for many a year - nor his colleagues Ginger and Algy and the others whose names I don't remember. It was a passing comment left on her Facebook page by my cousin's daughter (which makes her my cousin, too) that brought him to mind. The BBC had created a list of 100 books of which they believe the "average" reader has read only 6. She scored 48, whereas my score was only 26. (You can check it out here if you're interested.)
On the list was Swallows and Amazons, bu Arthur Ransome. Mr Ransome wrote quite a few books in that series and I think I read them all as a boy. They introduced me to a life I could never lead, one with a degree of wealth. The books were about a group of children and the adventures they enjoyed when they got together during the school holidays. It was only during the holidays that they could see each other as they were all at different boarding schools. They had a couple of sailing boats and their adventures always centred on those boats and the lake on which they sailed.
I borrowed the Swallows and Amazons books from the library but the Biggles books were all mine.
The author was Captain W E Johns, himself a former pilot in the Royal Flying Corps and the the Royal Air Force. James Bigglesworth (Biggles) was also a pilot in World War I, and after the war carried on flying in a commercial capacity, before again becoming an ace fighter pilot in Word War II. Nowadays it would stretch my credibility, but as a teenager I was unaware of any apparent inconsistency and lapped up the tales of adventure and daring-do.
Perhaps it is partly due to Captain Johns that I enjoy reading so much even now.
A glorious day here on the English South Coast. This morning I suddenly decided on a change in my usual routine. Instead of walking along pavements to our local park, I put the dog in the car and drove to Stanmer woods. And what a pleasure it was. The sun was shining fit to scorch my eyes out.