Monday, 12 December 2016


It's all go in The House of Stories, or at least I think it is. I'm hardly ever here just now, what with work, children's stuff at church, Aged Parents and I Know Not What. And on Saturday, one of my lifelong dreams happened. I went to Narnia. More than that, I was a Narnian.

It was the idea of our Education Officers. This Saturday was the Christmas Fair, which is always massive, and we always do craft activities for children. The two aforementioned ladies really did do magic. One of our rooms was transformed into a wintery forest with fir trees and a lamppost, leading to Mrs Beaver's kitchen where the craft tables were laid out with all the bits to make stars, lanterns, angels, and all manner of tree decorations. All three of us love dressing up. We had the White Witch (who had to be nice because her bad magic doesn't work in our lovely holy building) and Mrs Beaver, and I put together a grey dress and some odds and ends and floated about being a Dryad. (You might get a picture at some time, but we were all too busy to take any on the day, so I'll have to dress up again.)

From time to time I pulled up my roots and drifted about through the crowds, meeting families and telling them, 'Hello, I'm from Narnia. Did you know that Narnia has come here today...' and guiding them up the stairs where they could walk through the wardrobe into the forest and then into Mrs Beaver's cheery kitchen. The lovely thing was the response, the awe in the faces of the children and quite a few of the adults, too. We had a lot of grown-ups who just came to see Narnia.

And just in case you hadn't discovered this - every woodland is as enchanting as a Narnian woodland. The Pevensey children are humans, like us. We have our Aslan. In these senses, we never have to leave Narnia.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Much and the Mistmantle Hedgehogs

Two things you may as well know about our Missus.

One, she's right soft about Advent calendars. Loves 'em. I don't mean the choccy ones, I mean Advent Calendars like the ones she and 'er sister 'ad when they were little, what just has pictures. In them days there weren't much in the way of Advent Calendars in this country, but 'er 'ad relations in Germany what used to send 'em. 'Er loves 'em, gives 'em to loads of folks and always 'as one or two for 'erself.

The other thing you need to know, is that 'er has a 'ole in 'er imagination. That's why this 'ouse is full of stories. Them people in 'er stories, especially them animals, they drop out of 'er 'ead and you find 'em running around the garden. We've 'ad Mistmantle 'edge'ogs 'ere this morning, eating the windfall apples. 'Ibernate, I told 'em. You 'edgies, you're supposed to 'ibernate all winter, look, er's even got a 'edge'og 'ouse for you to 'ibernate in. It's got leaves in and everything, look, I'll 'elp you find it. They're Mistmantle 'edgies, they said. We are Myrtle, Furtle and Ouch, and we don't do 'ibernating.

I took 'em for a look through the window and there's Missus opening her Advent calendar and bouncing about like a little kid because 'er got a picture of a trumpet. Them little 'edgies wanted to know what that were all about, so I told 'em. Next thing was, them little 'edgies are running round the garden saying it was their Advent calendar and all them fallen leaves are the doors, and they had to find the first one. They did all right out of it, too, they found two beetles and a woodlouse. Good news if you're a small 'ungry 'edge'og. I reckon we'll have 'em back every day until Chrsitmas Eve now. What are they going to think when there's a tree in the 'ouse?