Rather than having our eyes glued to playboxes or xstations our heads were full of phrases like "better drowned than duffers" (call child protection services NOW!) and "we didn't mean to go to sea" (honest mum!) before being pushed out of doors to get some fresh air while parents reveled in the peace and quiet.
There was even a film (trans. movie for you yanks) of the first book which was ok but not great, partly because it's the first of the books and you got the feeling Ransome was learning the writing ropes and discovering his characters.
While the children, their mums, the lake and the boats were all as I imagined them, the uncle, aka retired pirate Captain Flint, wasn't quite right.
But according to an ebook recently published by the woman who was Titty (above front, titter ye not) it turns out he was channeling the pirate spirit all right with numerous drunken sessions. The grown up multi-talented Sophie Neville said:
“The film ends with Ronald Fraser playing 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor?' on his accordion. As a twelve-year-old I noted in my diary that he was completely sloshed at the time.”
There's more over on the Telegraph web site and some real gems on Sophie Neville's site including a catch-up with the actor who was Captain John. She asked how he spent the fee they earned and he replied:
‘Oh, sailing dinghies. It was good to know I had £500 in the bank around the time I was heading towards the British Championships. You know, at first we had ply board hulls but the time came when I needed to buy a fibreglass boat.’
It was with this that he became the National Optimist Champion.
Ransome would so have approved!