EXTRACT FROM: Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle 1999  Molesworth London: Penguin Books, pp 196-7, illustrations p193.
HOW TO COPE WITH GROWN UPS: GRANDMOTHERS
Grandmothers are all very strikt and they all say the same thing as they smile over their gin and orange.
It’s a grandmother’s privilege to spoil her grandchildren GET OFF THAT SOFA NIGEL YOU WILL BREAK IT.
Grandmothers are very tough when you get them in a bate so it is better not to zoom about among the dresden china or direct space bombs at the best tea set.
You usually get parked on grans when your mater can stand you no longer or go abroad to winter sports (such a change from the kitchen). So you get left behind it might just as well be with jack the ripper for all they care.
Aktually grans are not bad. Gran you know our gran is a wonderful old lade hem-hem she made munitions during the war and was also a lade porter. Now she fly round the world in comets stiring up trouble, so pop says, and beating black men on the head. Pop says why bother about an atomic bomb if you can drop gran over rusia. She would soon tell them how to manage their affairs e.g. you simply can’tbe a communist mr malenkov. That’s quite beyond the pale.
All grans show boys the tower of london and westminster abbey and think it so amusing when molseworth 2 says ‘So what?’ when told that the crown jewels are worth five trillion pounds. After that they take you to st. pauls science museum national galery madam toussauds statue of peter pan buckingham palace and wonder why their feet hurt. Mine were simply killing me, my dear. Madam tussauds is not bad as gran says there is a man who murded 3 people. Molesworth 2 says thats nothing I hav done 5 already he is a swank and a wet.
One chiz about gran is that she hound and persekute all shopkeepers. She take you along and you have to listen while she send for the manager. She says I have dealt here for 30 years why can you not deliver on tuesdays ect while I try to pretend I am not there chiz, also the gorgonzola is not wot it was. Personaly I think no gorgonzola is worth sending for the manager for but it must be diferent I supose when you are 723.
END OF EXTRACT
The Molesworth books were written by Geoffrey Willans (creator of the St. Trinian’s books), illustrated by Ronald Searle, and first published in the 1940s by Punch. Willans went to Blundells School in Tiverton and later became a schoolmaster there. According to Searle, he was delighted that masters, far from feeling offended by his books, were giving them away as school prizes. He died tragically early, at the age of 47, in 1959.
Searle, who was from Cambridge, studied at Anglia Ruskin University and served in Singapore during the war, being taken prisoner by the Japanese and made to work on the Siam Burma ‘Death Railway’. He served as a courtroom artist at the Nuremberg trials and later had a long distinguished career as a cartoonist for the world’s top magazines (he was one of Matt Groening’s influences). He died on 30 Dec 2011.
In the book’s Introduction, Phillip Hensher sees Nigel Molesworth as the quintessential post-war cynic. “You can never rely on Molesworth not to start joking about Proust, trade unions, the Welfare State or Stalin’s show trials”. Yet, poised as he is, in the late 40s, on the threshold of a new age, this self declared ‘young Elizabethan’ looks forward optimistically to space travel and all that atomic energy has to offer.