Noah’s Castle

Yesterday, I read in the newspaper of the death of the children’s author John Rowe Townsend.  I used to enjoy his books and was particularly keen on ‘Noah’s Castle’, his 1975 novel about a Britain that is disintegrating through unrest and riots.  At that time in the 70s, the news was full of strikes and hardship so a novel about a country where society becomes increasingly selfish to protect and feed itself was not that far fetched.

Simon Gipps-Kent

Simon Gipps-Kent

The book was turned into a television series at the end of the 70s.  Mike Read, who was then principally known as a stand up comedian, was a threatening black market presence while the main character of Barry was taken by Simon Gipps- Kent.  Back then, I had a crush on him so was glued to every episode.

BlogNoah2The story is about one family run by a stern father who starts hoarding food against government advice so that they can survive the troubled times ahead.  Barry and his sister become involved in a group trying to provide poor families with food to live on so they experience a crisis of loyalties; both disagree with what their father is doing but feel too powerless to disobey him.  Their younger brother, meanwhile, admires the strength of purpose shown by their father.

Things take a turn for the worse when their father’s boss, knowing what his employee is up to, moves in.  The government turn their advice into a law: anyone caught hoarding food will be punished.  This provides the boss with the perfect blackmail device enabling him to move in and enjoy the home comforts he would otherwise miss.

BlogNoah

I knew all along it would end in tears, but was not sure about how or whose tears.

BlogNoah3

‘Noah’s Castle’ is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?

 

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