Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I seem to have spent - -

- a considerable amount of time in the small square of earth outside the cottage door this last weekend - this small woodland clearing has felt like my own secret garden since we moved here. It is tucked away - enclosed on three sides - and is a flight of ten steps below road level, warm and sheltered, full of bluebells, aquilegia, california poppies and lavender - it is my own small sanctuary of tranquility and always full of birdsong. All the little birds were in and out of the hedges - but robin was flitting and bustling about so busily, feeding nestlings I suspect, cocking a bright beady eye at me to make sure I was behaving quietly - that I found myself thinking of this -

- - - " and there, lo and behold, was the robin swaying on a long branch of ivy. He had followed her and he greeted her with a chirp. As Mary had skipped toward him she felt something heavy in her pocket strike against her at each jump, and when she saw the robin she laughed again.
"You showed me where the key was yesterday," she said. "You ought to show me the door today; but I don't believe you know!"
The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off--and they are nearly always doing it.
Mary Lennox had heard a great deal about Magic in her Ayah's stories, and she always said that what happened almost at that moment was Magic.
One of the nice little gusts of wind rushed down the walk, and it was a stronger one than the rest. It was strong enough to wave the branches of the trees, and it was more than strong enough to sway the trailing sprays of untrimmed ivy hanging from the wall. Mary had stepped close to the robin, and suddenly the gust of wind swung aside some loose ivy trails, and more suddenly still she jumped toward it and caught it in her hand. This she did because she had seen something under it--a round knob which had been covered by the leaves hanging over it. It was the knob of a door.
She put her hands under the leaves and began to pull and push them aside. Thick as the ivy hung, it nearly all was a loose and swinging curtain, though some had crept over wood and iron. Mary's heart began to thump and her hands to shake a little in her delight and excitement. The robin kept singing and twittering away and tilting his head on one side, as if he were as excited as she was. What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her fingers found a hole in?
It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to do it, but it did turn.
And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly--slowly.
Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.
She was standing inside the secret garden."

This extract for The Secret Garden - by Frances Hodgeson Burnett was still is a favourite book of mine - it is still in print but if you might like to read a bit more it can be found online here

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood which you still class as a fovourite? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Thanks for stopping by.
'til later

Bannaghtyn J x


  1. I loved that book as a child too. Folk of the Faraway Tree was my absolute favourite. I read it to my daughter when she was younger and she loved it too. I still have the original hardback copy!

  2. That was my favorite as a child. I also loved Heidi.

  3. 'The Secret Garden' is one of DD's faves- like Cheri,'Heidi' was one of my faves! I LOVE your aquilegias and Californian poppies-two of my favourites!
    Alison xx

  4. Great post, I love the way you have illustrated it. I was also glad to hear your comments over on the social network prompt at BBFS.


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