poetry and prose about place

in a yellow caravan

with 6 comments

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame was published in 1908 and has defined the relationship of people to place for four generations.  The story of animal friends and their lives along the river is a magical yet down-to-earth tale.  It solidifies ideas of home, adventure and longing.  It captures (or doesn’t) the insubstantial voice of nature:

… it passes into words and out of them again – I catch them at intervals – then it is dance-music once more, and then nothing but the reeds’ soft thin whispering.

One of the memorable characters of the book is Toad.  He is reckless and arrogant, and constantly gets into trouble, but I think his appeal is the adventurer in all of us.  Some of his adventures are in a bright yellow caravan …


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2003 ‘Toad’s yellow cart, Wind in the Willows’ Jane Tims



 … there, drawn out of the coach house into the open, they saw a gipsy caravan, shining with newness, painted a canary-yellow picked out with green, and red wheels.

‘There you are!’ cried the Toad … ‘There’s real life for you, embodied in that little cart.  The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows … The whole road before you, and a horizon that’s always changing …


My copy of Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 2007, Vancouver: Blue Heron Books) was illustrated by Robert Ingpen (what a name for an artist!).  I will leave you with his illustrations of Toad’s yellow caravan …






Copyright  2015  Jane Tims





Written by jane tims

March 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

6 Responses

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  1. I just finished reading this book for the first time a few weeks ago. I don’t know how it escaped me when I was younger. I’m so glad to have finally read it, although I must admit I’m a little like Badger and find Toad exasperating at times. I like your painting. The yellow is so cheerful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    March 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    • Hi Robin. I am so happy to hear you have read the Wind in the Willows! I identify so strongly with Toad (in my obsessions), although I don’t usually get in trouble! I’m glad you like the painting! Jane


      jane tims

      March 26, 2015 at 4:46 pm

  2. Makes you want to hope right into the seat beside him and ride along. Wonderful painting!

    Liked by 1 person


    March 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm

  3. It is another one of those books I would like to reread. I read it aloud to my class of 5th graders over 40 years ago. They enjoyed it very much. I am sure I would read it with a completely different perspective today. Alas it will not be. 😦
    How wonderful it must be to be able to draw and paint. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    March 13, 2015 at 10:35 am

    • Hi. Thanks. I imagine they have it in an audio format. How lucky your students were to have had you read to them. My grade nine teacher Mr Leblanc read Catcher in the Rye to us and It remains one of my favourites. I can still hear him reading! Jane


      jane tims

      March 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

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