So I have moved from Collingwood to St Kilda East which is not really a real suburb is just calls itself that because for some reason it doesn’t want to be associated with the suburb of Ripponlea which is where it is really.
Ripponlea is a suburb in between Balaclava and Elsternwick and has it’s own station and everything but for reasons I don’t know, doesn’t seem to exist in the Melways. The Melways, for those of you who don’t know because CLEARLY I have such a wide international fan base, is the Melbourne street directory.
So I live in St Kilda East that is really Ripponlea that doesn’t exist. Good times.
Anyway, so I’m unpacking all my boxes and I unearth my complete collection of The Famous Five, by Enid Blyton.
Some things you need to know about The Famous Five if you have never read them. The Famous Five consist of Julian, Dick, Anne, George who is really Georgina and who wants to be a boy, and Timmy the dog. The Famous Five have an exciting adventure every single holiday. There are 21 books or something, there is a different summer holiday in each one, but somehow they all stay the same age and George never hits puberty and can go on convincing anyone she meets she’s really a boy.
If you would like to be part of The Famous Five, it’s very easy. Just follow these simple rules:
1. Always carry a torch in your pocket. Even if you’re going swimming.
2. Try and use the words ‘Smashing’, ‘Wizard’, or ‘Super’ to describe anything good, especially in regards to a picnic lunch you are particularly impressed with.
3. Start eating the following foods: tinned tongue, ginger cake, sticky buns, macaroons, tomato sandwiches, potted meat, and make sure you drink ‘lashings’ of ginger beer. Talk a lot about how eating things outside makes everything taste nicer. If you have no ginger beer, don’t worry. There is usually a convenient spring nearby.
4. Insist that Timmy, but any dog will do, can understand ‘every word you say’.
5. Carry around notepaper and a pen. You will need these when you are being kept prisoner in some underground caves and need to write a note to attach to Timmy’s collar. Don’t worry. He will be able to find an extra large rabbit hole to squeeze through and carry the note to someone who can help.
6. Have no parents. Or, if you do, make sure they understand the importance of going on hiking, camping, boating or biking expeditions completely unsupervised even when you are under 13.
7. It is imperative that you find a secret passage every single school holiday and be surprised that such a thing could exist no matter how many times you find one. If you don’t find a secret passage in a house, a quarry, a lonely tower, a farm or beach caves, then you’re not really ready to be part of The Famous Five.
8. Don’t try and be ‘all of sudden, quite grown up.’ That’s Julian’s job.
9. Julian is the boss. Do not defer to Dick, George or Anne. In special circumstances, Timmy the dog may be the boss instead of Julian.
10. When George does something particularly outdoorsey, make sure you exclaim loudly she’s ‘as good as boy!’
11. If you are a girl, you must help Anne wash the dishes. It is probable she has found a rocky ledge/hollowed out piece of rock, in whatever cave or secret passage the Five happen to be camping out in. Do not help her arrange the tins of biscuits on the rocky ledge/hollowed out piece of rock. That is Anne’s job alone. However, you can help her collect heather to make beds.
12. If you are a boy, you must collect firewood and go to the stream to fetch water at Anne’s request. You are allowed to spill some water because it is ‘just like a boy’ to do this. Remember Julian is still the boss. Feel free to wink to each other in a patronising fashion in regards to Anne ‘keeping house’.
13. When seeing Timmy for the first time when holidays begin, make sure you say that his tongue is ‘as wet as ever’.
14. Gypsies are decidedly ‘un-British’ and usually up to no good, but circus folk are good to make friends with. Make sure you are very condescending. However, be prepared that both gypsies and circus folk can neither read or write, have proper manners, or smell very nice. Circus folk however, ‘have good hearts.’
15. You can change the name of your Cook from Joanna to Joan as you see fit.
16. Make sure you have an Uncle or Father who is very hot tempered, famous and learned in science. Be prepared that whatever adventure you fall into probably has something to do with the secret scientific plans your Uncle/Father is working on. Make sure you know that the baddies who are stealing the scientific plans/kidnapping your Uncle/Father, are always foreign.
17. Remember, there is always a farm a short walk away where you can buy all you want while camping. The farmer’s wife is most probably fat and a marvellous cook. If you are a boy, make sure you say ‘super’ a lot, and joke about wanting to marry said farmer’s wife when she presents you with the food. This is okay. She will laugh and probably give you a simply enormous chocolate cake as a present. In which case you should respond with ‘you’re a brick!’
18. Anyone with a big nose is probably going to be a baddie.
19. Have very strict ideas about ‘snooping’ and ‘prying’. However, if you have to stalk someone in the middle of the night or break into a cottage to solve a mystery, then this is okay.
20. If you are a girl, you have to stay and look after Anne while the boys solve the adventure. This is even if you think you’re as good as a boy. You’re not.