The “Wonder of Memory”
One of my preparation walks is a 30 kilometre (20 mile) circular walk that takes me from my home in Brushford via the Haddeo Valley to Wimbleball Lake, where I complete a full circuit of the lake before returning to Brushford back along the Haddeo Valley. Wimbleball is a water supply reservoir constructed in the 1970s and completed in 1979. Its supply comes from the river Haddeo and the lake now provides a leisure resource for walking, sailing and fishing
I mentioned in an earlier post about the “Wonder of Memory” and whilst on a recent walk around the lake I came across one of those spring time wonders, a bluebell wood. In 1950, when I was just 7 years of age I moved with my parents to a brand new house provided by the local council. It was part of a new housing estate that had been built on the very edge of the boundary of Maidstone, my place of birth. We had moved from the town to the country. Beyond the boundary of our new home were green fields, apple orchards and mysterious woods. The woods were my favourite playground – there were ponds and small lakes, the occasional deer and in the spring time the most beautiful carpets of blue – Hyacinthoides non-scripta – bluebells. In the past the sap of the bluebell was used to bind pages into the spines of books, to set feathers upon arrows, known as fletching, and during the reign of Elizabeth the First, the bulbs were crushed to provide starch for collars and sleeves. When I was young these woodland glades were a source of enchantment. Legend says that a wood of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments.
So back to the beginning, the walk, the bluebells and the “Wonder of Memory” – I think I will forever be enchanted by bluebell clad woodland glades.