Day two of our supermarket ban and I have been to the butchers for a dozen eggs first spend of the week. We normally buy our eggs in the village so no change there suspect it will be the weekend when things will get interesting.
Today’s blog though is about the Wombles. I loved the Wombles when I was young and can remember almost word for word all the songs and had fond memories of Great Uncle Bulgaria and Bungo. My Aunt even made Womble toys and I remember mine being a very treasured possession as a young child. I suspect that my cousin and I when we visited them on the Isle of Man even played at being Wombles but the memory is a little bit fuzzy on that one.
That is my memory of the Wombles a fond memory of my childhood. Until a friend gave my son the original Womble book for his Christmas. I read to my son every night but must admit that his reading interests and mine don’t always match. Harry and his dinosaur adventures I liked, his train books especially Thomas the Tank Engine (the originals a very important point) I loved. But dinosaurs going off in Space I didn’t get, Horrid Henry scared me though not as much as his saintly brother and Luke and his football adventures were ok on the first book but then it became a bit repetitive. So when he asked if we could read his new Womble book I readily agreed and we have both enjoyed the adventures of the Wombles a lot. So much so we have already bought the second and third book and intend to read the whole series.
As well as re finding the Wombles again I am in awe of Elizabeth Beresford the author. She started writing the books in 1968 which makes the Wombles one year older than me. The lessons in the books though are what has intrigued me since reading the books with my son. Such modern ideas written over 40 years ago and I feel that today we have much to learn from the Wombles.
Firstly they re- cycled everything picking up all the litter on the Common dropped by Humans. Who they can’t believe just drop so much material. This is then re-cycled by Tobermory in his marvelous workshop and used by the Wombles. This also extends to food not a piece of food is wasted all made into wonderful meals by the Chef Madame Cholet. A lesson to our society today who have taken the throw away society to a new level and only now through economic restraint are realising that we need to conserve not throw away. This is also relevant to food where there is a new interest in home cooking and leftovers are the latest cuisine find. If you want some tips read the Wombles.
Like any car owning person in the UK and especially those of us who live in rural areas where we need cars as transport is non-existent I am very aware of the price of fuel. This has been made worse by the political uncertainty in the Middle East and its been a top story on the news this morning. The Wombles had a solution. Tobermory made a car out of re- cycled materials and then used nettle and acorn fuel to run it. Peter Carrol on the BBC today was pointing out that we need to look at new fuel sources that are less expensive and kinder to our planet. I give you the Wombles.
The Wombles also built a family and community that many of us would love to be part of. Great Uncle Bulgaria was the leader but he did take time to listen to all the views of the Wombles from the young to the old, the wise to the daft and therefore had a loyal team around him. Equality was there when it came to sharing as well. The Wombles who went out to the Common to collect the rubbish were expected to share equally and not keep the best for themselves. As poor Orinoco found to his cost and it wasn’t punishment from his fellow Wombles that upset him and caused him to run away but his own guilt. The rest of the Wombles carried out a search party and there is a great chapter when Bungo is sent out incognito to the centre of London to bring Orinoco home. The Wombles a great sense on community and love for each other.
Finally as a marketer the words of Great Uncle Bulgaria in the last chapter of the first book caught my eye. He tells young Bungo as he comes home with two bags of what we would call rubbish. “Well done young Womble every bit helps.” It is indeed the strapline for Tesco’s which has had me wondering did the marketer at Tesco’s who came up with that strapline read the Wombles? And it also shows that there is nothing new in the world but perhaps rather than it being a strapline for a big supermarket it should be a strapline for us all. It’s a child’s book the Wombles one for me that brings back lots of memories. But I have also realised that it also has lots of lessons for us. So Underground, Overground Wombling free the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we. I salute you.