Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sorry, Queen’s Wood.

We took the kids to Queen’s Wood at the weekend, for a bit of fresh air and a run-around.

Luke taught us a new game. Forty-forty-oh. It didn’t seem to make much sense when he explained it, but when we started playing it, everything slotted into place. It’s like a cross between Hide and Seek, and It.

I love Queen’s Wood. It’s one of my favourite places in London. Especially in the autumn or winter. And having a certain kind of mind (twisted?), I always imagine dark and macabre happenings taking place amongst the mossy boughs. Of course, I put one such happening in my book.

It was strange going there on Sunday. I felt a little shame-faced, as though I owed the wood an apology. Because, actually, it is innocent. The terrible event took place in my head, not there. And now, as the book’s release date approaches, I wonder what impact my betrayal (for it feels like a betrayal) will have when it becomes public.

Will the wood be over-run by hordes of literary tourists? I very much doubt it. And it wasn’t really that that bothered me. It was the sense that I had used Queen’s Wood for my own purposes.

I had the distinct impression that the trees had the hump with me.

1 comment:

Edward Charles said...

Now there's a name from the past.

It must be forty five years since I spent much of my mis-spent youth in Queens Woods. I spent the rest of it in Highgate Woods (best for football) and Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace to you) which was THE venue for fishing.

But Queens Woods was brilliant because it belonged to Hornsey Borough Council who let it go wild, whilst the City of London kept Highgate Woods so perfect, there was no undergrowth and therefore (apart from squirrels) no wildlife.

I was brought up as a country boy in London and Queens Woods made it possible. Butterflies and moths were plentiful (I developed a specialism in hawk moths and found lime hawks, poplar hawks, and even one elephant and one bedstraw hawk).

I also developed a large collection of birds' eggs and in a typical year probably knew the whereabouts of two dozen nests.

Happy postwar days, now no doubt gone. But thanks for the memories Queens Woods.

Edward Charles.