Well there's a turn up (off) for the books

It's check mate for chess and no happy ending for Snow White.

Following Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti decision to ban chess as it could be a form of gambling, an international school in Qatar has now hastily taken Snow White off the library shelves after a complaint of indecency from one of the parents (it's all that apple eating and kissing by princes - tut tut, Mr Disney).


Any other games or publications you would personally add to the list ...?

Lewis and Tolkien were close friends who both worked in the English faculty at Oxford. What is deep down beneath and behind both is a shared vision of a changing world where they saw human beings losing connection with fantasy. Lewis agreed to write a 'space travel' story and Tolkien a time travel' one in response to what they saw as the dehumanising trends in contemporary science fiction. That gave us Lewis's 'Space Trilogy', however Tolkien never completed 'The Lost Road' that would have linked his Middle Earth to the modern world as it was then.

Down beneath all of that was both were admirers of James George Frazer's 'The Golden Bough'. It is actually a study of comparative religions but is actually more of a widerange study of mythology and religion with emphasis on the former, written Frazer who was an early social anthropologist, frequently described as the 'father' of the discipline even finishing his life as a lecturer in Cambridge where we still have a Frazer Lectureship in Anthropology.

My younger daughter read her first Harry Potter before we came to France, so was five, she has read them all several times over, ditto the who Narnia series and The Middle Earth books, not just the two best known ones at that. Now at 12 she is ready for The Golden Bough. Try it yourselves. It is big and fat and tedious but for a young, enquiring mind that is both taking in and trying to process to understand fantasy it explains an awful lot. It certainly begins to reveal what Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling and various other fantasy writers have stuck their noses in because so much of it seems to be foretold by Frazer.

I adored the Narnia books. The first, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, to me was by far the best because, having no idea really what it was about, I almost went along with them as they discovered the hidden world, pushing through the old fur coats and suddenly feeling the cold and the snow. It was glorious stuff. Of course, once I'd read all the fun of the discovery and meeting Aslan etc in the first book the rest didn't quite compare and were simply follow-up stories to me.

And yes, I might have a look at hola because Last Kingdom sounds good - thank you Hilary and Howard, you little problem solvers you.

I urge you to take it down and read it....Actually, the whole series gets better and better and like the Narnia books (CS Lewis), are a good read for an adult......J k Rowling is easily a match for him, I think..

But I know what you mean.....I tried hard with 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings',but for some reason, they didn't grab my attention and at about the 6th attempt, I gave up.

There are quite a few free VPN's like Hola that let one view iplayer.....After using Hola for a while I opted for a more reliable paid for service

Valerie, you can play iplayer programmes on the bbc website using hola if you are outside UK.

I was a great Voltaire fan myself, having read him in my youth. Candide was a favourite book of mine and “that is well said, but now we must tend our garden” a favourite quote. Having read him in English it hadn’t occurred to me to reread him in French now that I can :slight_smile: I am also a great fan of Bill and Ben being of the Watch with Mother generation. “Was it Bill was it Ben that… just then?” If I remember correctly, “flobaglobaglob” would have been one of their most famous quotes. A statement still hard to argue with today.

I don't have iPlayer - I wonder if any of that's on YouTube. It sounds well worth a search around.

I really must read a Harry Potter book. I never have! I bought I think the first one for my son and it has sadly never left the shelf.

Moi aussi Valerie,

Did you catch the wonderful 'Last Kingdom'....(available now on Iplayer)...fantastic with the same feeling of authenticity as Sharpe....no wonder, both written by Bernard Cornwell...

Once I've finished the 'Harry Potter' boxed set (half way through & fab), he is next to be devoured.

I don't remember reading anything by Dickens at school, except perhaps Oliver Twist, which made a great film/musical of course......

Recently TV has produced a truely excellent, Bleak House and I do hope if youre that much of a fan Norman, that you are enjoying the fantastic 'Dickensian'.....Such a great idea to have all the Dickens characters from all the books, interacting with each other...wonderful casting too....I'm loving it....well worth the effort of catching up, if you haven't seen it.

Prime social concience of our time...but his personal life, I believe, fell a bit short of his own perported standards, I think, sadly...

Do you mean this 50 shades Grey hair


Probably still my favourite author Brian. Difficult to find my favourite title however though David Copperfield with it's Yarmouth connections is high on the list (there is even an estate dedicated to the characters ie Peggoty Avenue etc in town !) though I think Martin Chuzzlewit takes some beating. It has everything in it including a great 'baddie' Seth Pecksniff who makes Scrooge look like a pussycat !

Bon courage

Bleak House is one of the finest social commentaries of the Victorian age. Jo the crossing sweeper has featured in several pieces of work on street children I have written or collaborated on as the child who 'don't know nuffink'. The people in Brazil fully understood when I was teaching and saying that the phenomenon they are proclaiming uniquely bad and so on was there in Victorian England. It is very present in those countries on a banning spree. They will not admit it but outside of Riyadh there are plenty of street children in Saudi Arabia, let alone the others.

It's a mixture of comedy and being thick. It was meant to be humorous with a mistaken assumption they'd travelled north to south.

And yes, Obediah is a Hebrew name. I wouldn't have fancied being called Penitence - Hope or Charity would have been much, much better. Then there was also the flower phase with Rose, Lily, Petunia, Daisy. I would have been Little Weed. Oh no, that was Bill and Ben.

Valerie, I'm not sure if you are just making a humorous comment or are unfamiliar with this period in history. In fact, they were walk/marching/fighting through Spain in order to reach France, as the Sharpe novels took place in the later stages of the Napoleonic wars.

Obediah sounds biblical. Wasn't there a fashion for parents in 19th century to give their children names like Patience, Charity, Penitence (if you were unlucky)?

Yes, Saudi women covered in black at home but topless in St. Trop.

Certainly is but there is a "Club Echeangiste" in a nearby village for those in need. My old ticker just wouldn't take the strain these days. In any even I'm in for a hernia op on the second of February. Just wouldn't cut the "Deash".

As, presumably, is life in Brittany

Having seen arab businessmen "at leisure" in London and the south of France over the years you can only laugh. I was at a party near Nice (with my wife please note!) when a coach load of Russian hookers turned up to "entertain" our Muslim "friends". My late wife, literally being a vicar's daughter did not immediately realise what was going on. The vintage champagne was flowing, there was an ice sculpture of a swan in one of the pools (Leda looked like she was getting excited) while the band rocked! We "made our excuses" and left. It turned out that our host had done time for under age sex and later went bankrupt for £1.6 billion pounds. Chess seems a bit tame!

Maybe they all suffered from seasickness so preferred to walk through France to reach Spain. Could have taken probably 6 months so definitely enough to learn Bonjour but I don't know about reading Voltaire!

Great name, Obediah. I should have called my son that. But then he may have hated me for life.