File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #33/52.
As I think I’ve mentioned around these parts before, many years ago (many indeed), I think I first came across the work of Alan Garner via having part of the book The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen read to me at my then institute of learning (if memory serves correctly, the imparter of knowledge in question would read part way through a book and then stop, hoping that we were intrigued enough by the story to go and find the book and keep reading… a somewhat cunning ploy to instill a fascination and yearning for the printed word).
Around the same time I seemed to come across/be introduced to in a similar manner a fair few other books which took as their setting otherly/supernatural/mythological takes on English garden idylls, the landscape and edgelands (well, dumps as they were known then)…
As the years have gone by I’m not quite sure which I read and which I just think I did… some of them have become mixed up in my memory: Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Secret Garden are particularly intermixed, Marianne’s Dreams which became Escape Into Night upon transmission through the airwaves and then Paperhouse via celluliod (see Day #79/365) also strikes a bell but I’m not sure if I actually read it or just its cover seems familar… remembering them via such transmissions may have come to make me think that I’d sat down and perused their pages…
…all seemed to promise late night journeys into other lands, accessed via the backs of wardrobes in the walls of gardens where we feel secure… more than a little intriguing and irresistible back then (and now?).
That perusing is something that I’ve thought about/planned on doing/re-doing but I’m not sure if I want to ruin the memory of being read a story about mythological stone related goings on in a newly built school extension building (which even to this day, seems like a curious juxtaposition of the old and the new)… I’m not sure if I would be able to recalibrate myself correctly to appreciate them now (see Day #33/365 for more on such things).
But I still find myself drawn to them. In particular the cover art and the way it sums up and reflects the time of its arrival in the world and the travel of their stories through time (and see Day #176/365 for more on those such things).
…and while we’re talking of curious things and juxtapositions between the old and the new, when searching for those aforementioned book covers, I came across a recent somewhat “posh” reissue of The Owl Service. It would require the breaking open of a piggy bank or two to be its owner but it’s looks like a lovely and lovingly created edition… the illustration of the owl design being cut out makes me think of the impossible glamour (in the modern-day and archaic sense of the word?) of Gillian Hills character from the series having tumbled forward through the years and then stumbled into the here and now, changed and reinterpreted via contemporary minds and the pen and paper tools of new fangled adding/counting machines.
…and while we’re on the subject of she who would be flowers, stumbling upon this (left) made me think of the glorious days when jumble sales and charity shops still seemed to hold the promise of unique, hard sought finds… ah, we can but dream.
Some other owl flightways and pathways:
Early morning sustenance amongst the ruins: here.
Construct your very own nocturnal strigiform here.
Debates around the existence/non-existence and visitations of spectres here.
More on precious crockery here.
Audiological namesakes via Day #30/365.
Tomato soap and lonely stones at Day #202/365.