From: Judy Mills
Posted on:Thursday, 28 Dec 2006 03:25
Where do I start? It must be some years since I typed 'Monica Edwards' into a search engine, so I was thrilled to find the website when I tried again tonight, in a moment of boredom.
About 35 - 40 years ago I started reading Monica Edwards books. Wish for a Pony may have been my first - a Sunday School prize, and in hardback. If anyone gave me a 10/- note for a present, I could buy FOUR Armada paperbacks with it! As a result, I have most of the titles that were printed in Armada, sometimes 2 or 3 copies of them, and my original Fire in the Punchbowl, Spirit of Punchbowl Farm and Black Hunting Whip are somewhat poorly! I loved the books because I could identify with Lindsey (which I may be spelling wrong - please don't tell me!), so the Punchbowl series were my favourites. In my teens my best friend and I lived and breathed Monica Edwards, though occasionally we were perturbed when cats changed names or appeared in two books but not the book in the middle. Also Lindsey started as older than Dion but then he caught-up ... or perhaps we're mistaken? I'm sure if I had time to read all the guestbook comments it will all be in there.
My books have for the past few years been packed in boxes as we have been living in temporary accommodation, but I carry around in my purse a list of which ones I and my best friend (we're still in touch) both have, so that I can add to them. I was not originally bothered about the condition or edition of the book, I just wanted to be able to read it, but as time has gone on I am looking for better quality and non-abridged editions. Most of the more-recent acquisitions were from charity shops, so I was horrified to find the prices the bookshops in Rye wanted for their copies. I have bought one of the reprinted ones (1986 Goodchild Strangers to the Marsh if I remember correctly) but I found the updating incongruous.
I met Monica Edwards once at her bungalow in around 1979 when I was visiting the Punchbowl. She was gracious but a little reserved. It must have been tedious having people turn-up on your doorstep. She also wrote me a lovely letter some years before that when the same best friend sent her a short story I had written.
I must now unpack my box of books, and also find the list of characters' ages, species, breeds and colours that I once made, and I shall be back looking at the website soon!
From: Joyce Bailey
Posted on:Tuesday 9 Jan 2007 07:55
Happy New Year to you. Just a quickie to say that I was looking at the Children's Film and Television Foundation catalogue and came across the entry for The Dawn Killer, which states that the story is by ME, screenplay by Vivian Milroy and the story is told over 8 episodes (you had a question mark agains how many episodes in your index entry). I must say I feel slightly confused: was ME's story written first and the script based on her book or did she, as you suggest, base the book on the film script? Does that make sense?!
By the way, do you happen to know what's happening with the Society ?
Best wishes - Joyce
As for 'From the Punchbowl' I have no idea what Richard is doing. I've had several worried comments from those who, like me, sent subscriptions almost two years ago and have had nothing for their money. It's all rather worrying.
From: Claire Lee
Posted on:Wednesday 10 Jan 2007 19:14
I don't know if you already know but work has begun on the tunnel that is to be built in order to 'bypass' the Devil's Punchbowl and Hindhead crossroads. In addition to making the A3 a much easier route for traffic this will also enhance the natural beauty and peace of this beautiful part of Surrey. I have been for walks in the Punchbowl before and it really is a breathtaking place as you probably know although it is sad that it is cut in half by the A3. It will also be nice to turn into the car parks there without fear of being rammed up the back by someone not paying attention. An exhibition is being held at Grayshott village hall detailing the plans for the development which I am hoping to go along to.
I am very sure Monica would have approved.
From: Henrietta Chew
Posted on:Wed, 10 Jan 2007 19:39:30
John, the link on the Guestbook isn't working and I notice that there haven't been any contributions for a while. I haven't been on the site for a while so am a bit out of touch. I looked today and saw that there were a lot of ME books on Amazon at quite reasonable prices. Do you know anything about Richard Wright and From the Punchbowl? The site seems to have ground to a halt in 2005 and Richard isn't answering emails. Yours sincerely
The Society ? Yes, it's almost two years since anything appeared, I fear the worst . . . - John
From: Amanda Bush
Posted on:Fri, 19 Jan 2007 21:06
Dear Mr Allsup
I am writing to tell you how very much I enjoyed looking through your excellent site. It gave me a very pleasant half hour.
I would like to congratulate you on, and thank you for, the hard work which has evidently gone into the site. It is well-organised, informative and a pleasure to consult. Best wishes,
From: Alison Phillips
Posted on:Tuesday, 30 Jan 2007 09:31
last year you were kind enough to put a note on your site when I was (reluctantly) selling some ME books on ebay. I was so pleased that nearly all the ones I sold went to real fans, several of whom mentioned your site.
Over Christmas I had time to turn out more boxes of books in the loft
and found three more titles - I knew I had more - and I have just listed
Frenchman's Secret, No Entry and Operation Seabird, all with really
lovely dustjackets, on ebay. If you could put a message on your site to let
real fans know I'd be grateful - as before, I'd so much rather they went to
fans than to dealers.
One result of starting to dispose of some books is that I had to
re-read them all and am now collecting the new pb copies as they come out, as
my daughter has fallen in love with them too!!!!
From: Sue Winn
posted on: Tuesday, 13 Feb 2007 15:59
What a shame about Richard and the 'From the Punchbowl' society. For a long while now I'd been wondering what was going on. I'd contacted Richard a couple of times with information I thought he might be able to use, but hadn't received an answer. I also asked if he needed a hand with the magazines but again heard nothing. I found it particularly frustrating as I've been waiting for the concluding half of an article about Monica he'd started in the last magazine printed, and am disappointed that it now seems it will never be printed. Perhaps someone else could take over the producing of the magazines if he is too busy to do so? It would be a shame for the society to have to fold after all this time.
From: Anne Hand
posted on: Thursday, 15 Feb 2007 11:03
I'd also been meaning to contact Richard and offer help with the magazine if wanted. I'd still be willing to if he hasn't totally given up or, if he has, to co-operate on reviving it if anyone else is interested. All good wishes to the website.
From: Sean Edwards
posted on: Saturday, 17 Feb 2007 09:18
Just a quick reply to Claire Lee (10 January).
Yes, of course Monica Edwards would have been delighted about the tunnel. She fought vigorously, as you can imagine, against the 1987-proposed 'Red Route' that would have cut right across Barn Field, Lower Six Acres, Upper Naps, Valley Field and of course have bridged over Smallbrook Valley that was the eponymous Badger Valley of that book.
The six-lane embanked road would have run not 100 yards south of both Punch Bowl Farmhouse, and also Cowdray Cross where she then lived. Smallbrook Valley is an SSSI, containing probably the best stand of Small-leaved Lime in Surrey, several species of scarce plants including the only known site in the world for a variety of moss, not to mention the badger setts of course. The Valley was donated to the Woodland Trust after her death. Her contributions to the anti-Red Route campaign were significant, based (almost) entirely on the environmental value of the ancient Valley. The tunnel had been mooted for some time before its announcement in 1992/3, and it was her favoured option, though she was understandably cautious about expecting that it would ever happen.
She would certainly have toasted the victory with a (small) glass of decent claret.
From: Susan Stannard
posted on: Wednesday, 21 Feb 2007 15:51
What a marvellous website. I read ‘Wish for a Pony’ in primary school and ME’s last book,
‘A Wind is Blowing’ was published when I was in my first year at University.
I have read every one of ME’s books, many more than once.
They had a huge influence of me. My interest in environmental planning,
my subsequent career, stemmed from ‘The White Riders’ and one of my earliest
destinations on my first trip to the UK was Romney Marsh. The decision by my
husband and I to leave Sydney for the NSW Southern Highlands was based in part
on my desire to give our girls a ‘Punchbowl Farm’ childhood. I did treat myself
to a couple of first editions a few years ago, but the prices became too high.
I am now completing my collection through the Girls Gone By editions.
I remember being particularly disappointed that ‘A Wind is Blowing’ did not
contain illustrations, as I considered them works of art in their own right.
As I read the book though I wondered whether ME had deliberately done this
to emphasise the impact on Meryon of the loss of his sight. Like her readers,
he had to rely on his imagination to provide the ‘illustrations’ in his life.
I’d be interested in what other ME fans think, or perhaps ME herself offered
some explanation, although the Companion suggests otherwise.
Thank you again for an excellent website.
Susan Stannard, Australia.
From: Joyce Bailey
posted on: Wednesday, 21 Feb 2007 08:03
I've often wondered about the lack of illustrations in AWIB. Perhaps the explanation is as simply prosaic as cost concerns playing a part; perhaps the publishers felt the story was moving into a more grown-up sphere so illustrations not so appropriate or, maybe it's to emphasise Meryon's blindness, as Susan has suggested, and as Brian says in the Companion, the lack of illustrations is very fitting whatever the reason.
Imagining what the illustrations would have been (assuming GW is the artist) and where they would have been placed in the text is something I still daydream about and have to confess that when I was younger and spent hours drawing horses and characters I actually did my own illustrations! (wish I'd kept them!)
Best wishes to all - Joyce
From: Margaret Lewington
posted on: Wednesday, 21 Feb 2007 22:04
I've just read the first issue of "Ferry-Hut News"; what a great idea. I've also recently received a copy of "The Romney Marsh Companion" for my birthday and am enjoying it hugely.
When I noticed that Brian had included a recipe for Fat Rascals, I quickly looked up "h" to see what he said about huffkins, but they weren't mentioned. Then I remembered that I had a recipe in a book by Florence White called "Good Things in England", originally published in 1932 and in paperback in 1974. There was a Folk Cookery Association in the 1930s and the book grew out of that. The recipes were 'Contributed by English Men and Women between 1399 and 1932'! I've attached a scan of the section on huffkins.
I can remember huffkins being on sale in Ramsgate in the 1950s.
From: Claire Gilbert
posted on: Friay, 23 Feb 2007 20:06
At last I have remembered to look up Monica Edwards on Google and I came across your website. I have always loved the books of Romney Marsh and Punchbowl Farm, read in my younger years in the 50's and 60's. I have kept all my books and even my daughter (now 22) read them with the same interest as myself.
There are some books that I was never able to buy or get from the library, and I shall now try to get them to make my collection complete.
I was so sorry to hear that Monica Edwards died in 1998. I always meant to try and get in touch with her to let her know how much I loved her books. Being pony mad at the time, I lived my dreams in her books.
Please keep the site going, there must be many more people like me who would find it a fitting tribute to the life of a wonderful lady.
Regards, Claire Gilbert.
posted on: Sunday, 25 Feb 2007 18:44
I had the pleasure of running round the Punchbowl and the farm this morning (change from our normal route) and have to say the beauty of the area still amazes me even after living near here for a year now. I would recommend anyone to visit as you really can put images to places mentioned in the books. I am currently rereading "Fire in the Punchbowl" and so was looking at the farm in a totally different way!
From: Judith Wilson
posted on: Thursday, 19 Apr 2007 08:55
having received every reprint Monica book from ggbp, and thoroughly enjoyed reading them, I am hoping to travel down to the Rye area this summer ( whilst husband watches dressage at Hickstead.) I know that B&B is no longer available at the vicarage, but wondered if anyone knows of a B&B whose owners either know the books well ( and could give a good insight into locations etc) or knew Monica ?
I think it would be lovely to meet people who are equally enthusiastic. Any info welcome
Can anyone help ? If so, Judith's email address is www.sinnington**manor.co.uk - Miss out the asterisks (**) when you type it.
From: Claire Everett
posted on: Friday, 20 Apr 2007 13:38
I discovered your site a few months ago when I idly typed "Monica Edwards" into a search engine, after spending a few days cruising E-Bay and looking for her books there. Your site has been of enormous interest and help to me, as I had no idea of the number of books Monica had published, having only read a few of the Romney Marsh and Punchbowl stories. I am now building up quite a collection of her books, having loved Wish for a Pony as a child. I also told my mother I was collecting Monica Edwards books and she became very excited, having read many of the books as a child when they were first published.
Having grown up in Bolton in Lancashire, and then emigrating to Australia at age 15,
she adored the Punchbowl series, and identified very strongly with Dion, as she would
have loved to live on a farm. She said she had never identified very strongly with
Tamzin and Rissa and the Romney Marsh stories, as being a pony-mad girl who never managed
to have her own horse until after she was married and had children, she found it annoying
to read stories where one of the main characters, apparently quite poor, was given a pony
and all the required saddlery, and then miraculously had the room and necessary resources to keep it!
I have loaned my collection to my Mum, and she spent an enjoyable few weeks re-acquainting
herself with the stories.
I find the section of your site which lists the titles and various editions of each book to
be very helpful, as I use it to determine what edition a seller is offering. I just wish
there were more copies of the later books about - I have asked GGB if they intend to publish
an edition of A wind is blowing, as at current second-hand prices it is going to be a long time
before I can afford to read it, especially since the majority of copies for sale are in the UK.
At the current rate, of two books a year, you may only have a couple of years
to wait for Girls Gone By to publish A Wind is Blowing.
I'm glad you find the bibliographic material useful, sellers often describe books for sale badly. The information is as correct as I know, but might not be 100% correct so if anyone spots errors do tell me !
From: Irene Gowan
posted on: Tuesday, 24 Apr 2007 00:49
I came across your website while researching some drawings which recently came into my possession.
I love this site -- the dedication and clearly genuine affection for the subject is quite heartwarming, and it's so nicely designed and full of useful and interesting information. It was lovely to find articles about each of the artists who have illustrated Monica Edwards' books - including Geoffrey Whittam, whose work I came across quite by chance.
I bought a lot at my local auction house which had been miscatalogued as a "collection of prints, magazines etc". I had noticed that among the "prints" were a few original drawings, some of which looked vaguely familiar... I found the words Frenchman's Secret written on the backs of 5 drawings, so I bought a copy of the book (Armada paperback 1965) from a lovely ebay bookseller who goes by the username mitchfamuk, who I recommend very highly.
Anyway... I was delighted to find, when I compared the pictures, that the 5 originals I have are the actual published versions which appear in Frecnhman's Secret!
Since I think these lovely pictures ought to belong to a true fan, I have listed them on eBay (if I'm allowed to say this without it being considered advertising, the item number is 250107973942 and the auction ends on 3rd May. If that information isnt allowed, please delete it).
I hope the eventual owner will be as excited as I was when I discovered what I have - I was like a kid when Santa's been!
Keep up the good work. I thoroughly enjoyed having a leisurely wander around your Monica Edwards site.
Love, light and peace,
I know I'm going to regret passing this on . . . 'cos I want to bid as well . . . but fair's fair
From: Susan Winn
posted on: Thursday, 10 May 2007 14:15
Does anyone have a copy of either 'Wind Blown November' or 'In Lasting Loveliness' by Monica that they could photocopy and send me? Perhaps I can reciprocate with something in my collection?
Has anyone had any more thoughts about starting up a fan magazine to replace 'From the Punchbowl'? I'd be interested in getting together with others who also feel that it would be a pity to see it stop. And has anyone heard any more from Richard?
Sue's email address remove the brackets is email@example.com
I have heard nothing from Richard since the beginning of February.
From: Brian Parks
posted on: Monday, 14 May 2007 16:06
If you can bear to wait for the Biography (which is nearing completion) the full text of Wind Blown November will be included therein - and an earlier poem which you probably already have...!
In Lasting Loveliness? I'm working on that but if anyone has a copy I would appreciate it...
Brian's address is
Brian Parks, 12 Wolfmere Lane, Greatham, LISS, Hants. GU33 6AL
and his email address: (Remove the brackets) is BTParks51@aol.com
From: Brian Parks
posted on: Wednesday, 30 May 2007 04:46
As postscript to the above, after searching for nearly two years on eBay I now have a copy of In Lasting Loveliness. A full transcript of the article will appear in the Biography, of course.
Well found, Brian. Er . . is your computer's clock adrift, or did you send that email to me at a quarter to five this morning ?? ----
From: Bettina Vine
posted on: Thursday, 31 May 2007 17:17
I had been wondering what had happened with the Monica Edwards society, as I'd had nothing since my renewal for 5 and 6 (though unlike others, I did receive my back issues 1 and 2). I've just returned from 7 months away so had let such things slip a tad.
I have emailed Richard requesting a refund. If I have not heard anything within 30 days, I plan to take action by getting details of as many unpaid people as possible and seeing if it is possible to then proceed with a collective, small claims type legal complaint. Perhaps even the threat of this will be sufficient to stir him into action.
As it took him 2 months to cash my cheque, there may well be people
whose cheques have not been banked. Perhaps you could mention on your
Extra page that if there are people who are awaiting recent orders,
suggest they cancel any uncleared cheques. If they paid via Paypal,
then they have (I believe) 45 days to open a dispute and potentially
receive a refund.
The following may also be useful.
If anyone is trying to follow up with Richard, I suggest that they should email (or write) again, giving the following information:
- the date their cheque was written (or Paypal transaction)
- the date the cheque was cleared
- what they ordered and did/didn't receive (eg back issues 3 & 4 received, but not issues 5 & 6)
- give him 30 days to refund (and specify the amount)
They may wish to mention that the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations are clear that when goods or a service is unavailable, the seller must reimburse any payment.
I think it's whistling in the dark, but we'll see! This is one of those things which really makes my blood boil. I wonder how Tamzin would have dealt with it!
From: Bettina Vine
posted on: Tuesday, 5 Jun 2007 08:17
Just to let you know, I received an email and a refund from Richard. His email is pasted below.
It's a matter of fact I regret that since my job here altered some two years ago I have just not had enough consecutive spare hours together to enable me to concentrate on the Society, or even to respond to correspondence. It's intensely frustrating for me, as well as for everyone who's taken the trouble to join.
I'm hoping that the last half-term of this academic year will prove less frantic than the rest of it. I'm also hoping that over the summer holidays the workload will prove that I can at last take some of the many hours I'm owed in order to put a magazine together. Goodness knows I have enough material for it.
However, I'm honouring your request to refund the subs for issues 5 and 6, and a cheque will catch the post tomorrow. Once I have a new edition at the printers I will contact people and tell them; if you want the issue at that point you need only let me know and I can arrange a payment/
Well done Bettina !
Maybe I'm cynical, but Richard has found time to set up a book dealing business whilst claiming no time to pay back money owed.
Maybe we all should follow your example and, with a bit of luck, regain our lost money.
From: Penelope Barge
posted on: Tuesday, 05 Jun 2007 11:20
Following the information on your excellent website I have purchased
Operation Seabird and the Romney March Companion from GGB. I am
delighted with both and with the prompt despatch from GGB.
I collected most of the earlier Romney Marsh books as a child/teenager but I am delighted to see the Companion indicates that GGC will be publishing the ones I missed, especially A Wind is Blowing. which I have never seen, much less read.
Thank you for your good work,
From: Elaine Estall
posted on: Friday, 22 Jun 2007 09:08
I was browsing on Amazon recently and came across the Brian Parks book The Monica Edwards Romney Marsh Companion. It arrived in the post yesterday, leading me to this wonderful website. I still have my Monica Edwards books, mainly purchased in Armada Paperback in the 1960s for the princely sum of 2 shillings and sixpence each, but some in hardback, purchased secondhand in the 1980s when I wanted to make up the full set. However, I've only just found out about the existence of A Wind Is Blowing, so I'm now looking out for it.
I think the first one that I read was The Summer Of The Great Secret, purchased at a school jumble sale for a few pennies. It's a Collins hardback edition with the delightful Anne Bullen illustrations. My favourite of the Romney Marsh books in the 1960s was Cargo Of Horses. I also have all the Punchbowl Farm books and, certainly in the 1960s, preferred them slightly as I identified with Lindsay more readily than Tamzin. All the books are still very dear to me and it's a delight to spend a cold winter afternoon curled up in the warmth of a favourite armchair and reading my way through as many as I can.
I was a pony mad child and I'm still a horse owner now, although I don't ride any more. I've kept some of my other "pony paperbacks" by the Pullein-Thompson sisters, but the Monica Edwards books were special because although the ponies were an integral part they didn't necessarily dominate the storylines, and books such as Storm Ahead and Fire In The Punchbowl had a great deal of excitement in them.
From: Henrietta Chew
posted on: Monday, 25 Jun 2007 15:16
In reply to Judy Mills:
Apparently ME was involved in the "updating" of the Goodchild editions. Did she cringe whilst doing it? Half the draw of the Romney Marsh stories when I was very young was that the children were allowed to do things I wasn't.
I bought a Goodchild version a few years back and howled with laughter at the altered illustrations showing R & T in hard riding hats. It wasn't until I cut my head open in a fall from a horse in 1967 that my mother insisted on a hard hat and I was very much laughed at by my peers for wearing it! (OK, horse and 'elf 'n safety people - I always wear one now and must admit that I owe my life to it.)
From: Henrietta Chew
posted on: Monday, 25 June 2007 16:56
Just read the Ferry-Hut News No 2.
Re the Kentish Huffkins recipe:- If anyone is thinking of re-enacting the smugglers party from The Summer of the Great Secret they would do well to be careful with their huffkins. The recipe requires appprox 2and1/2 gills of milk and water. Officially, a gill equals a QUARTER of a pint but if you are a northern girl like me you may know a gill as HALF a pint. The recipe requires the former interpretation - if you use the northern measure you will have a horrid mess to contend with!
Incidentally, I've tried this recipe, which is quoted in one of Eliizabeth David's books, and it makes rather good huffkins.
From: Heather Wilkinson
posted on: Monday, 2 July 2007 23:03
I was at a loss this evening, not being able to find what I needed and decided to look for some of the authors I enjoyed so much as a young girl. How thrilled I was to come across your website.
My very first Monica Edwards book was Wish For a Pony which I received for Christmas from my parents. I was a real pony devotee at the time, living in the country and being about 12 at the time (1966). I must have read it a hundred times, so much so that I could remember whole passages by heart!
As a slightly older teenager I borrowed the Punchbowl series from the school library and loved them all. I loved the way that the friendships grew and developed. The relationships between the characters is what really shines through and I much enjoyed the beautiful and often dramatic settings of farm amd marsh, my family being from both in Notts, Derbys, Cambridgeshire, the Lincolnshire fens and Norfolk.
It's wonderful to learn that Monica's work is still appreciated and is being reprinted.
From: Gaie Brown
posted on: Sunday, 8 July 2007 07:50
All seems to have gone quiet on the next book to be published by Girls Gone By - any ideas what it might be and when?
Great to keep seeing more people who love the books like I do and Ferry-Hut news is a lovely addition to the site - many thanks for the continued hard work
I don't think it will be a surprise if the next book published by
Girls Gone By is Strangers to the Marsh.
I guess that it will be intended for publication in about September - but can't be sure
until it's announced on their site. See 'Links' above. The next Ferry Hut News should be out in August, unless there's a Special Edition
for any exciting reason !!
The next Ferry Hut News should be out in August, unless there's a Special Edition for any exciting reason !!
From: Gary Burgess email: Gary)(firstname.lastname@example.org remove the brackets
posted on: Sunday, 8 July 2007 07:50
As someone who appreciates children's books, do you know anything about the author R. J. McGregor who wrote about the Mackie family. I have been trying to track down a book I read in the sixties and at last came across the name "The secret of dead man's cove" which I recognised. Having just purchased it I am looking forward to reliving childish memories. I know there were two other books, I think in the series - The secret of smugglers wood and the young detectives.
Do you know if there were others or where I might find something about the author.
I know not a Monica Edwards topic but I thought you or some of the other ME fans might recognise it from their youth. The original books were written in the thirties but were reprinted by puffin many times in the fifties.
Indeed - I have both The Young Dtetectives (1934) and The Secret
of Dead Man's Cove (1937) as 1950s paperbacks with attractive colour covers
by William Grimmond who also illustrated the first book. The latter title has no
illustrations, at least in the Puffin edition.
I've read and enjoyed both - but I have no information about the mysterious R J McGregor. A search has turned up the third title - published by Puffin (number 105) back in 1957, illustrated by Elizabeth Andrewes. This info is from the British Library Catalogue which also expands RJ into Reginald James. - can anyone help with further info ?
If you reply to Gary - please copy me as I'm curious too. Thanks, john.