A few weeks ago my daughter asked if she could deliver my party invitations to the neighbours just like Milly-Molly-Mandy when she goes on errands for her family. This reference to one of my favourite children's books by my six year old daughter made me very happy.
The Milly-Molly-Mandy stories are well over 80 years old but they are being enjoyed just as much by this generation of children as they were when they were first published. I can't have been the only one to trace the map, follow where Milly-Molly-Mandy walks to get her sweeties or to Billy Blunt's house. And to see where Milly-Molly-Mandy and Little-Friend-Susan did not go blackberrying. And the Nice White Cottage with the Thatched Roof. If you could dive head first into a story book then this is the one I'd start with.
Milly-Molly-Mandy was feeling very disappointed. She was supposed to be going on a visit and staying overnight. The first time she would have been way from home on her own. But at the last minute it was cancelled. She was incredibly dejected. Her mother, or Muvver, as Milly-Molly-Mandy calls her, says: "there are nice things happening all the time, if you keep your eyes open to see them."
And how right Mother was. Because not long later Little-Friend-Susan's mother came to ask if they could look after Susan. And mother said yes, and she'd better stay the night. A sleepover? With Little-Friend-Susan! Milly-Molly-Mandy perked up at once. They set up their bedroom, placed their toothbrushes in the right place and decided which side of the bed each one wanted to sleep. Then after a bath together, Mother made them lidded potatoes, which they ate next to the fire.
"First Mother took two well-baked potatoes out of the oven. Then she nearly cut the tops off them – but not quite. Then she scooped all the potato out of the skins and mashed it up with a little salt and a little pepper and a lot of butter. And then she pushed it back into the two potato-skins, and shut the tops like little lids."
Now that sounds delicious. Simple, basic. But scrummy. Perfect for an autumnal evening by the fire.