There’s a huge oak tree in the middle of the garden at Fishponds. I think it is truly magnificent, and it has provided us with much needed shade throughout this fabulous summer. It is now however, providing us with the endless task of raking leaves and acorns. The number of acorns is astonishing, and watching “Countryfile” at the weekend it seems that this year the trees are providing a bumper crop for the squirrels and birds. I can concur.
It’s a job that needs doing but thankfully one that I quite enjoy. As I was filling the fifth or sixth wheelbarrow last weekend I really felt that these wonderful acorns were wasted in the compost bin and my mind started wandering to all those imaginary little people that might make use of an acorn cup or an oak leaf.
I’ve always liked fairies. Not many people know that, but those who were at our wedding might remember the Brian Froud illustrations we had on the invitations. As a child I also loved Jill Barklem’s “Brambley Hedge” books. The detail in the illustrations is wonderful and provided me with many hours of entertainment as I studied every millimetre of those pictures. Her interest in natural history and rural customs is evident and this has stuck with me.
So it’s been unsurprising that as we’ve explored the land at Fishponds I’ve often noticed little mossy spots, or interesting tree trunks and have remarked to Maddie and Saffie that the fairies or mice must live there. As we’ve been toadstool spotting, we’ve noticed fairy rings, fuelling their (and my own) imagination even more.
Inspired by the fruits of our oak tree, I collected up a bucket of acorns. I also foraged some pinecones, beech nut cases, sycamore seeds, honesty seed heads and a few other twigs and leaves. With the help of my hot glue gun, and a little inspiration from the internet, I let my imagination run wild and created a family of autumn fairies.
I then set about hiding them on a wonderful, twisted, mossy tree trunk in the corner of one of the fields. It looked truly enchanted with it’s new inhabitants. I let Maddie in on the secret and together we enticed Saffron out to hunt for fairies. As you can imagine, she squealed with delight when she saw them and insisted on bringing a couple back to the house with her.
I’m sure there were more productive things I could’ve been doing with my time. Do we really need acorn fairies when I have huge piles of both ironing and filing? Judging by Saffie’s reaction, yes we do!