Friday, 26 November 2010


The first time I realised people were using the ancient myths and fables as an inspiration for their work was when I read The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. I was probably about seven. The world of Ancient Greece was a mystery to me.

When John Midas buys the chocolate with his special coin he has no problem, initially, with the surprise results: chocolate toothpaste and bacon and eggs. I remember laughing and loving the idea.

At that time, growing up in a large family, treats and sweets were not freely flowing. My Mum once cut the single sweet my teacher had given me – a reward for good work – into four, so my brothers could share in my good fortune too. (In retrospect, I could just have offered to hog-tie them and get them to do a little more learning.) The idea of endless amounts of chocolate seemed like a great idea.

 I remember the moment it occurred to me it could all go very wrong. When John started to feel thirsty, I knew he was going to have a problem. I tried working on methods of getting water into his mouth, without getting his lips too close to the stream of water. My brother and I experimented at the school fountain, just to check it couldn’t be done. I grew up during that dinner time; realised that not everything is possible or even desirable (I think it every time I hear the call of chocolate in the night when I’m writing ;) )

I loved the book, but never once did I ponder the perfect piece of revenge it would be: turning your mother into chocolate because she enforced the sharing rule with the smirking brats who had been eyeing my sweet all the way home. 

 I got over it. You can tell that? Right?

This is a funny, and moral, book. It made me laugh out loud. It opened up the world of Greek myths and legends for me too.

We are packing to head to the frozen north into the snow: preparations. All is endless preparations ;) That snow might be at least two inches deep and this is England where that is dangerously deep. :)

I've been saving Kate Mosse's The Winter Ghosts since earlier this year. It is cold enough to start reading it now ;)


  1. Hi Elaine! I love reading classic books...and also books that teach a lesson or two.

    Same here about chocolates and sweets when I was a child, they were very little supply when I was a child *sigh* But then I can eat all the sweets I want now...only the calories are worrying! LOL!

  2. I'm heading to the North as well, however, I'm going to Canada. Brrr. From thirty degrees above to thirty below. I'm not excited about that.


  3. Hi Elaine! Arrived here courtesy of Talei ... nice to meet you! Good luck with that snow ... two inches is close to paralysis levels! I think we are going to escape in Kent ... fingers and toes crossed. (Not that I don't like snow, but it costs me over £5000 a day!)
    I'm rambling again aren't I?! I tend to do that.
    Loved that take on Midas ... I hadn't heard of The Chocolate Touch before.

  4. Elaine
    You've been such a reader your whole life. Wish I could borrow your eyes for a while. My poor eye sight has made my reading slow down ( and make lots of typos). That's why I love to read book reviews..... Thanks.... you made it great. I hope your brothers are now sharing their chocolate with you. Enjoy that snow. Wonderful weekend to you and family.

  5. The book sounds charming.

    I hated sharing chocolate as a youngster. I still eat it, but I find that my sweet tooth is waning.

  6. We had a snowfall of about 10 inches on Friday night - it's all melty and slushy now!

  7. Hi Len
    Worry is such a strong word when it comes to chocolate ;) I find worrying after so much more satisfying.

    Hi Clarissa
    30 below? That sounds scary. Hope you had a great time with the snow. I think it hit 8 below during the night, that was crisp enough for me. Low sun on a white world was hard work.

    Hi Dominic
    Thanks for dropping by and stopping. I'm very pleased you did. Feel free to ramble a few thoughts by, when ever you like. :)
    Kent is due heavy snow soon. Hope it is the right kind of snow for you. Pretty but not deep. :)

    Hi Manzanita
    Thanks for your kind words. I'm sorry your eyes are causing you such problems. Reading is a joy, it must be hard to find that limited.
    I read anything up to 5 books a week when I was younger. The whole of the Lord of the Rings in three days: the same days included a trip to The Houses of Commons or I'd have finished it quicker :s

    Hi Medeia
    Sharing :) The most wonderful thing, but the hardest to balance. Why does it sound like sisters? I imagine you being younger - with older sisters.

    10 inches?! The best part of a foot of snow - do schools open when the snow is that deep?
    With thermals and the right clothes, I love snow. I packed every emergency requirement I found on the AA's Precautions for Travelling in Snow list. I take no chances. :)