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Five Photos … with Jane Badger

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Huge apologies for the late post today, due to a technical hitch. All sorted now and on we go! My guest today is Jane Badger: author, blogger, proofreader, editor, woman of many talents! I “met” Jane many years ago through her wonderful website and pony book forum. My passion for pony books had reignited as my children grew up and I couldn’t believe how many people there were who loved them as much as I did. Jane’s forum brought us all together and we had many fabulous discussions about our favourites, having a great time as we swapped notes on sparky heroines, beautiful ponies and gorgeous (or hideous!) covers. I’m really delighted today that Jane is here to share her five photos with us and not in the slightest bit surprised to find a horse in the mix! Over to Jane.

I’ve read Sharon’s blog for a while now and always enjoyed the five photos feature, so much so that I borrowed the idea for my own blog, adapted as five pony books, and you can read Sharon on her choice later on this week.

If I thought choosing five pony books was hard, it’s much harder choosing five photographs. Choosing a book usually means choosing an entity that exists and is complete in itself. Choosing a photograph means trying to recapture something – some memory, or event, or something that covers all sorts of aspects of your life, like family. I was then faced with whether I wanted to choose photographs that reflected particular things, or whether to choose the photographs and make them fit whatever brief I had in my mind.

As ever in my life, what I’ve done is a complicated muddle of those things.

Me and Dad

First up is the only photograph I have of me with my father – he was generally behind the camera. I’m still better off than my sister, as there are no photos of her with our father at all. He died when she was a few months old and I was two. I have a particularly good memory, so am lucky enough to have a (very few) memories of him. But photographs are especially precious as we have so little else – I was going to cheat and put in a video of him that my lovely godfather gave me this year, as my father was his best man and there was some film taken of it!


I would be nowhere without my own family and here they are. I realised that, as like my father I’m always behind the camera, there are no recent photos of us all together (make mental note to sort this out at Christmas) so I’ve cheated and done a composite one.

The Sea

I love the sea and this was taken at Dunwich this year on holiday. We were blessed with the weather, as it was just before Britain heated up to furnace levels, and I would take the dog out every morning at 7.00 am and go down to the beach. We generally had it completely to ourselves. Dog didn’t find the beach as scintillating as I did, so we would go down for five minutes or so for me to just stand and listen to the pebbles scrambling up the beach and watch the waves, and then retire to the marshes, which had much better smells.


And talking of smells, this very faded picture is of the geraniums in my grandmother’s conservatory. The smell of geranium leaf throws me back, every single time, to my childhood. I spent a lot of my holidays with my grandmother, but rather than choose a photo of her, I’ve chosen this one of her geraniums, as it’s them that keep my memories of her most alive. I love geraniums myself, and I always think of her every time I move them and that unmistakeable green scent of geranium leaf wafts up.


Lastly, here is a generic photograph of a horse. This is not a horse I own: I’ve never had one (and actually don’t think I will now – that urge seems to have passed). I was a pony-mad child, and I’ve never lost the love of horses. Even though I don’t have one, I’m still part of that world, though as a writer about pony books, and horses in history. Whenever I pass a horse box on the road, I have to have a quick peer inside to see if there’s a horse; if I walk past a field with one in, I have to stop and commune with it. And I still ride mental steeplechases over the fences I see out of the window as I travel down to London in the train.

Thank you very much, Sharon, for this opportunity – it’s been a lovely thing to do.

Thank you so much for taking part, Jane. It’s been lovely to look through your photographs and read the stories behind them. I think the urge to own a horse has passed me by now, too, but it was lovely to dream of the day while it lasted.

Jane Badger is the woman that all pony book lovers turn to for information about their passion! If you ever thrilled to Jill’s Gymkhana, rushed to WH Smith for the latest Pullein-Thompson, or raided the library for a KM Peyton book, you’ll know who she is. Jane published a wonderful guide to pony books called Heroines on Horseback: the Pony Book in Children’s Fiction, which is currently out of print (although you might find second-hand copies). I believe (I hope!) that it’s going to be republished in the near future. She’s also very good at fan fiction, and you can read her latest offering – a Jane Badger “Jill” story on her website here. She is also a proofreader and editor so she’s a woman of many talents.

Find Jane on Facebook here.

Or read her wonderful blog, Books, Mud and Compost. And Horses. here.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hywela Lyn

    What a fascinating series of photos, Jane, with such lovely memories. (Must make note to myself to get a copy of your book) As a pony mad youngster I think I devoured every pony book in the library that I wasn’t able to buy or beg for myself. I was twenty one years old before I turned my dream of horse ownership into reality, with my first horse, Flikka, and it took five years to save up for her, but she was worth the wait, and I’ve had horses ever since. I know that makes me incredibly lucky, but I have had to sacrifice things like holidays and other luxuries, but the sacrifices have been worth it. I’m off to find your blog!

    1. sharon

      You’ll love it, Hywela. Thanks for commenting. X

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