I don’t know if Swallows and Amazons thimbles are still on ebay
I am not sure Arthur Ransome’s Literary Estate know about them. They do recommend this pair of bone china coffee cups feature exquisite designs incorporating Arthur Ransome’s own illustrations from the Swallows and Amazons books and are currently reduced by 40% here:
You could give someone an activity, such as a sail in Swallow, the original dinghy used in the 1974 film ‘Swallows and Amazons’. She is currently in Kendal so you could ask to go sailing on Coniston or Windermere. This can be booked through SailRansome.com
A member of the Arthur Ransome Group on Facebook is asking for a new DVD that has just come out on the location described by Arthur Ransome in his book ‘Secret Water’. It is available here.
Nothing to do with Swallows and Amazons but I have a short piece in this Christmas book, which might prove useful if you need to hold a carol service and are looking for some new readings. It makes a good present for anyone who loves stories. Check it out on Kindle, order a copy from your library or buy one online here.
Holding a party with a Swallows and Amazons theme is a great idea, especially if you can be under canvas. A campfire and either swimming or archery with geo-cashing or a treasure hunt would keep your guests occupied. Everyone can dress up as explorers or pirates. If it’s wet you can always show a DVD of the film, the BBC serial of ‘Coot Club’ or organise a cinema outing to see Swallows and Amazons.
There have been some wonderful cake designs. This impressive creation was put together by Evie and Sam Rose:
Over the years the most amazing ‘Swallows and Amazons’ creations have risen to fame. I have put up a few more ideas on Pinterest here
The cookery book writer and ‘Great British Bake Off’ finalist Miranda Gore Browne transformed her garden into Wild Cat Island, served iced buns and a cake worthy of a pirate feast, sending everyone home with old-fashioned sweets in a tin mug. You can see some of her wonderful party ideas here
You could hang ‘Swallows and Amazons’ flags or bunting. The Gingerbread House show you how to make these:
Pippa Middelton and her family, who are related to Arthur Ransome, have a company called Party Pieces who have loads of ideas for Pirate Parties on their blog here. They cater for the younger age group but do sell chocolate pieces of eight and a retractable telescope very like Titty’s on their website for only £2.99. I liked the idea of an inflatable parrot, although properly it should be a green one.
I found these 38mm badges and fridge magnets for sale on eBay. They’ve used my own drawing of the crossed flags, without permission, but never mind. They might be something fun to award as prizes for games such as ‘Walk the Plank’ or catching crabs, which you could do literally if you live by the sea. You might find a few ideas for party games here.
I’ve been collecting further ideas for Swallows and Amazons presents. The Nancy Blackett Trust shop has some great ideas. They used to stock these small porcelain mugs:
and dishes, so may have some left.
They have T-shirts and hats for Amazon pirates of all ages:
The Nancy Blackett Trust have a shop, the proceeds of which go towards the upkeep of Arthur Ransomes’s favourite little ship. Their new items including beautiful coffee mugs and lovely tea towels – can be viewed by clicking here.
If you know anyone who has pierced ears you can find appropriate Literary Gifts here They also sell Swallow broaches.
‘Little bookish things can make up pendants featuring your favourite book cover, please click here for the site. There are cufflinks, pendants and makeup bags can be found on Esty here.
The Arthur Ransome Trust can make up ‘Swallows and Amazons’ T-shirts
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, StudioCanal offer a selection of mugs, puzzels, prints, mousemats and film posters on their website here. If you search around the site you can find stills from the film made into similar merchandise, click here for an example.
Otherwise, why not give a year’s membership to The Arthur Ransome Society. For information please click here.
It has been handmade out of recycled materials with pages from old books and can be purchased direct from House of Ismay
A small brown paper package tied up with string arrived in the post today, stamped in red with the words Thank you and containing four wooden postcards featuring Arthur Ransome’s illustrations. I think it makes a wonderful stocking-filler or thank you gift from The Wooden Postcard Company
‘I very much enjoyed reading about all the background and stories of what is one of mine and my children’s favourite films.’ David Hambelton, Oxford
‘…an absolutely fascinating account…about a film we all thought we knew so well. Like so many members of The Arthur Ransome Society I am an utter devotee… I’m finding the background to filming quite fascinating, and if I had thought it possible, yours is the book I have always longed for to exist. I’ve been absorbed in it ever since it arrived, forcing myself to take it slowly and not gobble it up in one go. Of course I’ll be back to it soon, dodging back and forth in tune with your narrative, indenifying particular scenes.’ Jeremy Gibson, Witney
‘If you liked the film, you MUST read this book. “Titty” is enthralling, and the story of the film is almost as exciting as the real story by Arthur Ransome. Essential reading for devotees.’ Chloe Randall, Scotland
Children still ask me questions that never occurred to me:
‘How did it feel to be on the island by yourself?’ Alex aged 7. The truth of course is that I was never on the island by myself. Perhaps I should have been left there for a while so I could experience it. I would have relished the chance.
Another boy asked, ‘How did you do the water?’
This took my breath away for a second. ‘How did we do the water? The water was real, and it was very cold,’ I replied, explaining that we actually shot the film on four different lakes in Cumbria, all of which you can discover for yourself.
Have your children any questions? I’d love to hear them.
For some time now, I’ve had a Swallows and Amazons mug at home, which I use to keep my pens in. Featuring the design of the Jonathan Cape book jacket, it was given to me by Scruffie Buchanan who stocked the full set of Arthur Ransome mugs in her shop in Malta, aptly called The Museum of Childhood. I treasure it as a part of mine. It is really difficult to find these now. Thy have become collectors’ items.
Not long ago I was presented with this handsome mug from Hill Top cottage at Ealinghearth, by Stephen and Janine Sykes when they showed me around the Ransome’s last home, which they have been restoring in the Lake District.
I’ve just discovered that it is possible to buy mugs depicting scenes from the film of Swallows & Amazons (1974). This one (above) is quite fun as it resembles the cover of ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons (1974)’ There are others:
There are various scenes, but if you want to drink to Captain Flint walking the plank, you can.
My favourite design shows the film poster of Swallows & Amazons, which comes in two ways.
There are a variety of other stills from the film to chose from. These mugs and other movie merchandise such as mouse-mats, jigsaw puzzles and framed prints can be purchased from StudioCanal, the film’s distributors, who have an online shop.
The most beautiful range of Swallows and Amazons china including these small coffee mugs featuring the map from the book (above) and this plate, were once available from The Nancy Blackett shop You might find they have sold out.
They do stock these larger, more practical mugs depicting ‘Swallow’, and the ‘Nancy Blackett’.
Meanwhile, Jago Silver has designed these Expresso mugs that are great for camping.
Just when I was wondering if there were any more ‘Swallows and Amazons’ inspired mugs, I was sent this beautiful depiction of Hill Top near Haverthwaite, showing the view Arthur and Genia would have enjoyed in their twilight years. Here are two views of the same mug: