Ladybird: How it works The Hovercraft

Wherever I go I keep my eyes peeled for Ladybird books. You just never know when you are going to come across one. Most often I find the ones I collect in charity shops or car boot sales. Every so often though I see that familiar shape somewhere when I’m really not expecting it. That’s what happened with the Hovercraft title.

Ladybird Hovercraft Hovertravel

The latest example of this was whilst on the Isle of Wight for a quick trip with my boyfriend B. He was over there for a work trip and as I couldn’t tag along last time I made sure I did this year. After a trip up and down the Island line we then popped into the Hovertravel terminal building to find out how much a return ticket to the mainland costs. Our plan being that we could factor it into our schedule for when we next returned to the island.


There, sat in a basket in front of a load of other hovercraft related souvenirs were a huge pile of copies of the old Ladybird title The Hovercraft. This was originally part of the “How it works” series. Picking up a copy quickly showed me that whilst the interior pages are an exact copy of the original 1969 title, this version of the book was actually published in 2011, specially for Hovertravel.

Ladybird Hovercraft Hovertravel

Their logo and website address appear on the back cover, along with the following text:

“Hovertravel, the only scheduled hovercraft operator in Europe, was launched in 1965 and is the fastest Isle of Wight service across the Solent, with a journey time of under ten minutes. It is also the world’s longest-running commercial hovercraft operator.”

This is then accompanied by the following “Hover Facts” and how Hovertravel:

  • carry over 850,000 passengers per year
  • operate up to 72 journeys per day
  • their hovercraft travel at 45 knots, faster than any ferry
  • also operates the fastest freight service

The inside cover of the book also notes that Hovertravel will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2015. I’m guessing that when the book was published in the hope of it being popular as part of the anniversary celebrations. However, the pile of them still available to buy now in 2018 suggests maybe not.

Isle of Wight

It’s a shame really. The Hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight is one of many lovely little quirky things about the Island. Whilst the technology behind it may now be a bit old, it’s still fascinating to geeks like us. The How it Works Hovercraft book explains everything beautifully, even if the context of it all is a bit dated.

Ladybird Hovercraft Hovertravel

These Ladybird How It Works books may have been aimed at children, but they’re actually excellent for adults who want to learn about a new subject too.

If you want to find out more about the Hovercraft service over to the Isle of Wight then look out for a post very soon over on Penny Travels.

If you want to get your hands on your own copy of this Hovertravel version of the Ladybird book How it Works The Hovercraft then just head over to  Hovershop, the Hovertravel website shop.

Ladybird Hovercraft Hovertravel

Flight Four: India

The weather here in the UK is freezing cold at the moment, so I’m letting myself think about things further afield and taking a trip with the Ladybird Travel Adventure series to India. I originally came across series 587 when I found Book Three which takes the reader to the USA, and since then I’ve also managed to add Flight Two: Canada to my collection. Flight Four: India jumped out at me from a charity shop shelf recently and I was delighted to pick it up and add to my Ladybird travel collection.

Ladybird Flight Four India

Originally published in 1960, Flight Four sees Alison and John again accompany their father on a business trip, but this time to India. Their father has business in Bombay to start with, so that is where they head on a luxurious Air India flight, stopping in Rome on their way. Once again there is no mention in the book of Alison and John’s mother, or any other family members that they might be leaving back home.

Ladybird Flight Four India

Not only do Alison and John start to experience Indian hospitality on the Air India flight over, but they are also charmed to be welcomed at the airport by the Chand family (Mr Rand Chand being a business contact of their father’s) who greet them with traditional garlands of flowers which their father placed around their necks.

They spend a week in Bombay where they stay with the Chand family and in this time were shown around the city as well as the surrounding countryside. They also became familiar with the size of India and the feel of the country. Once their week in Bombay was up they bid farewell to the Chand family and boarded a second flight to the smaller city of Aurangabad where their father has some time sightseeing with them. They then take the train to their father’s next place of business – Agra. However, it is obvious that the children and their father are travelling in luxury on this business trip as it’s not a traditional hot and dusty Indian train, but instead a sleek new one with air conditioned carriages and a separate dining car.

Ladybird Flight Four India

As well as Agra’s old fort Alison and John were also taken to see the Taj Mahal, before heading on to the Indian capital Dehli, where they father had to spend another week on business. This isn’t the end of their trip though as Dehli is followed by Jaipur, Chandigarh, Kashmir and the Himalayas, Benares, Darjeeling, the Ganges, Jorhat, Calcutta, Madras and Trivandrum. At one point the children ask their father to draw a map of India showing all the places that they have been to, and when he does so you realise just how much of the country they have covered. They were exposed to a huge amount of Indian culture and as well as visiting historic sights also got to see everything from tigers and elephants through to tea plantations.

Like in Book Three, the journey felt a little bit contrived. Whilst I fully appreciate how much Alison and John must have learnt whilst on their travels with their father, I am also left wondering just how realistic a trip like this would have been. Would a father have taken his two children on such a long business trip with him back in 1960? Was this because their mother was no longer on the scene for some reason, or was she left at home with other children? Maybe I need to go away and do some more reading up on Alison and John and just why they travelled so much with their father.

If you want to read about other books in my Ladybird collection then please make yourself a cuppa and head over here.

This post originally appeared on Ladybird Tuesday on Being Mrs C.