ONE of the joys of my childhood was the annual arrival of Arthur Ransome's latest book on the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons.

Year after year mum went to London to bring us the latest.

How we delighted in the innocent adventures of the children in their sailing boats, initially in the Lake district, later elsewhere.

How nice all the children were to each other! "Aye, aye sir," rang out cheerfully over the water. Even Captain Flint turned out to be a good guy. Parents kindly and supportive, somewhere in the background. As a result as children we urged our rather reluctant father to learn to sail and off we went on our own adventures. Later, films were made that kept very much to the original.

Now what? Arthur Ransome must be turning in his grave. I've just watched an update of Swallows and Amazons, the first book and it's a total travesty: gangsters with guns abducting Captain Flint, children behaving as they do, sometimes unkind and sometimes loving, the absurd rescue of Captain Flint (which is not in the book).

We all know children can be unkind. Sadly we all know of guns and robberies and abductions. But leave these lovely innocent stories alone for our memories! Haven't we enough of the other kind?

Brenda Knopf