The big Jill quiz

With many thanks to Janet Rising, whose epic work this was

What I learned from the Jill books 

Below are 70 pearls of wisdom from Ruby Ferguson’s Jill books. Can you tell which one features in which books?

Part one

1. If you ever see a mauve-coloured pony loose in the New Forest, it is probably Happy Dawn

2. Tschiffely’s Ride is a book you ought to read

3. An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory

4. A double show number was usually lucky for Jill

5. If you see a stranger coming, throw a brick at him

6. The onlooker sees most of the game

7. Mrs Crosby is no relation to Bing

8. January is not a flush month for eggs

9. Mirabelle didn’t get a pony because her mother decided it turns children into hooligans

10. You will be Less Good When Showing Off

Part two

11. Blue is an acceptable colour to paint a stable, providing you know when to stop

12. A boy always shows off when he is with girls

13. Look-you-now is Welsh for Gosh! (This would probably be considered border-line racist now)

14. There are horse people and there are dog people

15. Should a judge ask you how you’d know whether your pony had a temperature, it isn’t a good idea to say, I expect my groom would tell me

16. Pea green with yellow squiggles does not a thing of beauty make

17. If Jill were Mrs Crosby’s girl things would be different, that they would

18. A gift of a book token shows the giver has the right idea.

19. You could learn an awful lot by watching the show jumping at Harringay on the television

20. James Bush had a mare called Maureen

part three

21. You shouldn’t spend money on yourself that you mother has given you for something else

22. Having a ‘milk-chocolaty voice’ is actually a thing

23. There isn’t much to be said for living a life of sordid deception

24. Not all wheat flakes are the same

25. Never assume that the gallons of fruit cup that is just standing about in the larder is just waiting for you to drink it

26. It is bad manners to write Xmas

27. The Three Fats was a perfectly acceptable chapter title in 1952

28. Ponies don’t like having their names changed

29. If George wanted an ice cream before a competition, he just had to have it

30. You can look as glum as a penguin

part four

31. It was rumoured that Clarissa Dandleby had planned to ride at a gymkhana in a pink shirt with an orange tie

32. The Cholly-Sawcutts had a girl groom called Pansy

33. The height of richness is a stable yard with an archway and a clock

34. In 1949 the local police would happily track down a man who had legitimately bought a Paisley shawl and a Pyrex dish at a Bring and Buy Sale, and make him return them

35. Waist-long ringlets are no longer considered de-rigueur when riding

36. Fish is Mrs Darcy’s way of saying Rot

37. Ripping out all the rubbish from your garden shed, hoping to discover a cobbled stable with a manger and hayloft hiding there, doesn’t always end in disappointment

38. It isn’t just stable doors that need bolting to prevent equine escapes – the same principle applies to open windows and purple-ringed ducks

39. People who muck out stables and groom ponies have not the sort of hands that manicure sets can do anything for

40. You can’t hide a parcel of six woollen vests under a hedge for a few days without them succumbing to damp

part five

41. There will be wet Saturday afternoons, during which there is nothing to do except sit around and argue about what you are going to do

42. However improbable it may seem, it is perfectly possible for a letter to knock over a coffee pot

43. It is always easier to see The Bright Side for other people than it is for yourself

44. Even though there may be millions of paddocks lying around doing nothing, it doesn’t mean someone will want to let you use one of theirs

45. Psyche is not pronounced fish

46. People used to leave all their horses in India

47. Jill’s mum is a member of the Women’s Institute

48. Even at forty, you may not be too old to enjoy life

49. At five bob, Dinah Dean’s first half-hour’s riding lesson cost exactly the same as mine did

50. Nobody actually thinks that he or she is a drip

part six

51. Clarissa Dandleby looked like the sort of person who would win any war single-handed, being a born shover

52. A girl can’t learn too young to run a house. Apparently

53. A 30-year-old Suffolk Punch with a moustache ain’t no use for fancy riding

54. People with hair like a badly thatched cottage are not fond of animals

55. Ann Derry once won the Best Dressed Rider class

56. It takes a good eye to win a potato race

57. Never put a damp red scarf anywhere near a white jumper

58. Swinging a bucket when you have a gymkhana coming up is just asking for it

59. Peter is not a good name for a pony…

60. … and neither is La Blonde

61. If you don’t bother a wasp, it won’t bother you

part seven

62. The best Liquorice allsorts are the little black swiss rolls

63. Wendy Mead’s Aunt Poppy was once the Dairy Queen of Britain

64. Jack Heath keeps Colonel Llewellyn’s autograph wrapped in silver paper in a cigar box, and only shows it to special people

65. There are times when your goodness of heart will let you down

66. Never assume the person hogging the bathroom is who you think they are

67. There is no such thing as bad luck, only bad judgement

68. Gamoosh may be a made-up word

69. Grown-ups always seem to think you’re short of something to do in the summer holidays

70. It is frightfully bad form to wear your second-place rosette on your hair.


How did you do? Here’s a link to the answers

The Peculiar Made-up World of Henrietta Marshall by Janet Rising is out now, price £7.99 paperback.