Friday, 17 July 2015

Borsetshire v. Barsetshire

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Since the unexpected demise of both my portable radios recently, I have got very behind in listening to the goings-on in Ambridge. And I am feeling that I don’t care anyway, Kate is acting like an irresponsible teenager, and Kenton is so grumpy, and Ruth is so stressed about her Mum [Ooh Nooooo!] I think that after the winter floods, and the change of actors for Tony and Tom Archer, the scriptwriters of Borsetshire are lacking good plotlines.

So I decided I probably ought to get a little more cultured. One of the Free Books for Kindle last Wednesday was the complete Borsetshire Chronicles by Anthony Trollope. It his bicentennial this year. I read ‘The Warden’ years ago, and have completely forgotten it. So I downloaded the lot, and felt very virtuous in doing so. Not sure if – when – I shall get round to reading them though.


I know just two things about Trollope – he wrote books, and he worked for the Post Office. In fact, he was responsible for introducing the pillar box to our streets.


I am pleased to read that steps are being taken to preserve our post boxes  -  often described as ‘the red heart of the British landscape’ They have been around since 1852. I love them – the little ones set into the walls, the odd shaped ones, the gold Olympic Celebration ones, the insignia of the different monarchs. But initially the public were not at all sure about the concept. In fact, Trollope himself wrote of a character, Miss Stanbury, who “had not the faintest belief that any letter put into one of them would ever reach its destination. She could not understand why people should not walk with their letters to a respectable post-office instead of chucking them into an iron stump as she called it out in the middle of the street with nobody to look after it."

Quite how Mr Trollope found time to write all those books and hold down a fulltime job, I really do not know. I guess he did not get distracted by Facebook, Wimbledon, or the arguments at Brookfield!

Is anyone out there a Trollope Fan ? [I believe they call themselves Trollopians] if so, which is the best of his books, do you think? And Archers Addicts – where do you think the storyline will go over the summer? Personally, I think Robert Snell is greatly under-rated and deserves more lines of dialogue!


  1. Never read any Trollope, and haven't listened to The Archers for years......

  2. I used to listen to the Archers but when it turned into a soap with weird stories and no farming I gave up - several years ago now.

  3. Big Trollope fan here too! As for the Archers - I think it is undeniable that the quality has really deteriorated and it has got so shouty lately.

  4. I gave up on the Archers years ago, when it stopped 'being' the Archers and became Eastenders with a farming motif! Post Nelson Gabriel I think.
    I love Trollope though - *and* Angela Thirkell, who developed the Barsetshire families but with a lighter hand :-)


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