View From The Glen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flambards


One of the first "real" books I remember reading when I was about 7 or 8 was Flambards by K.M. Peyton. The book is the first of a trilogy, and I read it because 1) it was about horses and I was horse-mad; and 2) it had been made into a UK mini series and my parents had let me watch it. Thirteen half-hour episodes of absolute delight. As for the books, I love them still, though my copies are stained, dog earred and falling apart. I adore them all: Christina, her cousins WIll and Mark, her crusty uncle and sweet Dick (who actually rather annoys me a bit now). I love the horses and Will's flying machines, and Dorothy and Sandy. And while everyone I knew cried buckets over Black Beauty, my tears were all for Sweetbriar. I still skip that chapter sometimes.

Somehow, and I can't explain it other than to say in that weird way connections are somehow forged, I forever associate the books with a certain smell, and the smell with a certain feeling. On cool fall or spring mornings when the ground is wet and the air is still, the country gets that aroma. If you've experienced it you'll know what I mean. It's wet leaves and rich earth, new life and decaying vegetation, mellowed aromas and sharp pungency all mixed together in an intoxicating brew. It reminds me of stables and sawdust and barns and gorse bushes. Of horse sweat, and horse hair, and the damp tendrils of hair that tumble down your back when you take off your bowler. It's oak and meadows and the silence in between hoof beats, and the dew on the grass and the glistening cobwebs along the fencerows. It's sodden leaves sticking to your boots, and the smell of leather reins and saddle polish, and lamb roasting in the kitchen.

Yes, somehow mine and Christina's Flambards life got all mixed up and to this day I can go outside, get a whiff of that smell and think to myself, It's a Flambards Day.

6 comments:

kwrites said...

How is it that I've never heard of these books!!! Hmmm... perhaps I'll have to do a library search...

Christine said...

How evocative!! I have never read those books, but I know just how you feel. The very sense of a book, and how it pervades your whole life with an aura. It's a spectacular thing, which you depict quite vividly here. Well done!

Leanne Haines said...

I remember you talking about those books during one (or two or more) of our lazy cafeteria days (how is it we had so many of those?) I never thought to run out and find them before, but this description has me dying to get my hands on them! I had never heard of them either, just assumed they were a British thing I guess. Here in Canada it was all about Charlotte's Web and Anne of Green Gables at that age. I think I'll do a library search, too. Janelle does love horses these days!

Finola said...

I am going to see if I can get these for my daughter too. I think she would love them. Thanks for writing about them.

Denise Nielsen said...

What's funny is that my kids haven't read them - though they are horse mad too. They are too busy reading their own books - guess it's time to dust off the old covers, maybe do some emergency surgery, and pass them on to Anna and Grace.

Andrea said...

Flambards! Such a romantic name. I've never read them or even heard of them, but I absolutely loved reading your description of your experience of them.
It's strange the way some books can just seep into us and fill every pore and then return again and again throughout life under certain circumstances. I wonder if kids will one day have a sudden memory of the Twilight series on rainy, dark and gloomy autumn days when vampires could lurk behind every tree and...oh, getting carried away The Flambard books sound wonderful, and I so appreciate the way you wrote about them here.