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8.2.10

Wombles and Moomins

Posted by Jeanne

I was a Wombles girl myself.






The Wombling Song

Mike Batt

Underground, overground, wombling free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

Uncle Bulgaria,
He can remember the days when he wasn't behind the times,
With his map of the world.
Pick up the papers and take them to Tobermory!

Wombles are organised, work as a team.
Wombles are tidy and Wombles are clean.
Underground, overground, wombling free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we!

People don't notice us, they never see,
Under their noses a Womble may be.
We womble by night and we womble by day,
Looking for litter to trundle away.

We're so incredibly, utterly devious
Making the most of everything.
Even bottles and tins.
Pick up the pieces and make them into something new,
Is what we do!

Underground, overground, wombling free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.
The Wombles were ahead of their time – recycling vegetarian environmentalist greenies, and I loved them. They were terribly, terribly British. Orinoco’s dream shop was Fortnum & Mason...oops, I mean Fortune & Bason. Great Uncle Bulgaria’s read The Times. The Serpentine and of course Wimbledon Common were the settings for their very delightful adventures. Oh my! I get this pleasant little feeling inside just telling you about them.

I tried reading Elizabeth Beresford's original books to Jemimah recently, but they didn't go down very well. A bit twaddly, to be honest, although I had a bit of a nostalgia trip out of them. The videos were more appealing, and I must admit that the TV series takes prominence in my fond memories also, although I did read (and still have) the books.

Not so the Moomins. While I was a Wombles girl, my Beloved was a Moomins boy.






In contrast to my little nostalgic memories for the inhabitants of Wimbledon Common, Jemimah's Daddy has a fondness for those from Moomin Valley, and his eyes nearly bugged from his gorgeous head when he caught sight of the Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson in Readers' Feast just before Christmas. Imagine my Beloved wanting to buy a children's book that I'd never heard of. Preposterous!! I bought it of course.

Now there are three Moomin lovers in our household. In fact, today we are in mourning because yesterday we finished the last chapter. What shall we do? Our lives are bereft. Meaningless. Empty. It helps that there are more in the series, I suppose, but right now we are wallowing in a mire of depression. Actually, we're not. I wonder why I wrote that?!!

The Moomins. Twaddle they are not.

The Finn Family Moomintroll is great as a read-aloud at seven, and it continues to inspire at fifty. Which is almost where Jemimah's Daddy is. It is delightful. It is whimsical. It is cheerful and chubby like the Moomins themselves. The Moomin family are furry troll-like characters with round white faces and big noses that make them look sort of like hippopotamuses. They're nice. And they love each other.That's cool. They celebrate their 65th anniversary in 2010, which means that they've been round since 1945. Phew. And they're still keeping us enthralled.

I love the way Moominpapa and Moominmama are kind and caring and easy-going. Fun and yet tough. They are parents who discipline their kids when they deserve it. The characters in this book genuinely seek to bring out the best in each other. They are kind and good, but not sickeningly so. Their friendships are good friendships.

When Moominmama sees what she thinks are a pair of mice scurrying into her cellar she sends someone up with a platter of milk for them. Then she makes up two very little beds. When the Snork Maiden's hair is burned off her friend, Moomintroll tells her he likes her better without it. When the Muskrat gets into a rage and wants to leave to be by himself, Moominpapa asks whether he should send up some furniture and food. When Snufkin goes away on a journey alone they are sad but respect his wishes and wonder whether he will be coming back.

In the Finn Family Moomintroll, the Moomins find a big hat. But it is no ordinary hat. It is a magical hat, and it belongs to the Hobgoblin...

You've gotta get hold of this book to find out what happens next, because...well, because I recommend it. I say it's a goody no matter how old your kids are - no matter how old you are.

You can get an idea of what the books are like by reading the introductory story of the Moomins, The Little Trolls and the Great Flood online. Don't dismiss the series if you don't like it though, since this is is often considered Jansson's weakest work and it is still worth giving the rest of the books a go. I really can't imagine that anybody could dislike the Moomins. We love 'em.

So now I'm a Moomins girl too. I still like the Wombles, mind you, but I like the Moomins better. Sorry Orinoco.

15 comments:

Ruby said...

but right now we are wallowing in a mire of depression. Actually, we're not. I wonder why I wrote that?!!
You wrote that because you know how we all hang off your posts like a soap opera! If you didn't use the dramatic language that we expect we would be very disappointed ♥
Moomins? did we have them her in Oz? I haven't heard of them. I actually don't think I ever saw the Wombles as a child either but got to know them well when I had my own.
Lovely nostalgic post, Jeanne! Ta

Jeana Marie said...

I was first introduced to the Moomins when we had a Finnish exchange student come to live with us for a year...tho I haven't read the books...will have to have a look at yours someday!

I'm going to watch me some youtube now ;) Have a good night!

Sue said...

We are big Moomin fans here (never heard of the Wombles, sorry). I had never heard of them until I came to Japan, and I fell in love with them with my kids. I must confess, however, that I have never read the books, only seen the cartoons.

We found that we could watch them for free on Yahoo Japan back when Spanky was a newborn and I was nursing round the clock. We alternated between reading the Lord of the Rings together and watching Moomin. Good memories!

One more confession... since I first watched Moomin in Japanese I can't stand hearing them speak English. It sounds too strange. Weird, huh? (In Japananese it is pronounced "moo-meen", and our favorite little imp, My, is pronounced "mee", just in case you were wondering ;o)).

Emily said...

The Moomins are part of our family, too, Jeanne. My kids have a Finnish heritage thanks to their Gramma (Mummu in Finnish) and they love the Finn Family Moomintroll books.

Amy said...

"You wrote that because you know how we all hang off your posts like a soap opera!"

Nicely answered Ruby! :) I'll second that.

I am a Wombles girl myself. My sister went to England many, many years ago, and she brought back a real live cuddly Womble for me. Alas, my children have only ever cuddled the doll, but never seen the show.

Jeanne said...

Haha, Ruby, How perspicacious of you!

Mind you, I wonder whether it is a compliment to be described as having similarity to such wonders as 'Home and Away' and 'Neighbours' or an insult. I shall ponder.

Ponder...

Ponder...

Ruby said...

All in fun Jeanne. We love the drama and expression is all :-) Too much pondering brings about unnecessary angst!

Footprints Diary said...

Hi Jeanne,
Wombles and Moomins??? - now I have heard of the Wombles, but Moomins? Are they native to your state?

Have a wonderful week,
Blessings,
Jillian

J's mom said...

I also did not hear about Finn Family Moomintroll until I came to Japan. Our city library carries their book in English. Our prefectural library has a model of the Moomintroll home.

I would love to hear how you decide what to read next to or with your daughter. Do you let her choose, or do you choose (and how do you choose?)

caz1975 said...

Never heard of the moomins but was a big wombles fan as a child. My hubby has never heard of them and I inform him that he is therefore uncultured :-P

Sylvia said...

The moomins are new to me too - but I one of my nicknames at high school was Womble - I didn't like it much!

Footprints Diary said...

Hi Jeanne,
I have an award waiting for you on my blog:
http://footprintsdiary.com/awards/sunshine-award-from-shakira/
Blessings,
Jillian

Mama Squirrel said...

We like the Wombles, twaddly or not--both the books and the show (our Apprentice used to watch it on TVOntario)--I especially like the Christmas part of the first book, where they invite a lonely old guy to celebrate with them. I had a cousin who used to watch the Moomins...I don't think they caught on so much around here though. Our Crayons has a copy of Finn Family Moomintroll that I found her the Christmas before last.

Sara Mac said...

A very timely post as I sit here listening to my beloved converting my 1976 Best of the Wombles album into mp3 format :D Whilst I was a definite Wombles gal (I have fond memories of being a 3yr old taking a rubber squeaky Orinoco into the bath) I was also a big fan of the Moomins. I never knew there were books of the Moomins! You're making me get those book buying urges again LOL. After all, who can't resist the urge to inflict, errr, introduce our children to our childhood favourites :)

Books For Breakfast said...

I'd heard of the Moomins but not the Wombles. When I first saw the picture on your FB page, I immediately thought of the Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer, but I couldn't fathom why. The illustrations aren't even similar. But it's about a family of unidentifiable creatures. And the Wombles is probably a long running, seemingly endless series of twaddly but loveable books about family life, sharing, and caring. Much like Little Critter.

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