Riverside Lodge

Riverside Lodge

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Old Tree Hill

"Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, 1917"

Have you ever heard of the mysterious case of the Cottingley Fairies?

A long long time ago, in 1917 to be precise, in a village in West Yorkshire, two cousins (nine-year-old Frances Griffiths and sixteen-year-old Elsie Wright) claimed to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the Wrights' garden.

Their story captured the attention not only of famous personalities such as theosophist Edward Gardner and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, but of British society as a whole. Everybody wanted to know whether the photos were real.

Even nowadays, many years after the case has been debunked (the fairies in the photographs had allegedly been "inspired" by illustrations taken from "Princess Mary's Gift Book"), certain questions remain unanswered and some people still ask: Were there really fairies along Cottingley Beck?

I wonder whether we will ever know the truth...

On a sunny spring afternoon, in a town in Sylvania called Riverside, two girls (Jemima Periwinkle and Tamara Babblebrook) are walking home from an Easter basket hunt. James and Julie Periwinkle, Jemima's parents, have gone on a romantic date, which is why they have engaged the oldest daughter of the Babblebrooks, Tamara, to take little Jemima to the Easter basket hunt and then back home.

At the hunt, Jemima found a basket filled with a large bar of Easter chocolate and two different kinds of sugary sweets. She is very pleased. Her yellow rubber duck Quackie is also pleased, after all, she was allowed to come along today and she is already mentally unpacking the crinkley wrapping of one of the goodies.

Suddenly Jemima hears a sound. It is a strange sound, as it seems neither of Sylvanian nor of animal origin. There is a rustle and a whisper and then a tiny bodiless voice, just loud enough for Jemima to hear, chants:
"Bonbons are tasty,
Bonbons are nice,
Creamy and fruity
Are bonbons - my vice!"

Jemima sees the squirrel that was sitting next to the tree scuttle off in a hurry. I guess the girls were getting a little too close.

Jemima shakes her head awkwardly. Did she just imagine that strange voice? Quackie seems to have heard something unusual too, though...

"Tammy! I heard some-ting weird... Don't know what... an animal, maybe?" says Jemima to her older friend.

"Hmm, I didn't hear a thing, my darling. Just the rustle of the leaves," says Tamara happily.


Before they can continue walking, Jemima hears something else. First there's a soft whistle and a ripple of laughter like wind chimes and then someone recites:

"Candies are yummy,
Candies are sweet,
Sug'ry and juicy
Are candies to eat!"

"What was dat?" asks Jemima wide-eyed. "I tink a ghost is talking, Tammy!"

"I didn't hear a thing, my dumpling! Just a bird cawing in the trees," says Tamara dreamily, while gently pulling Jemima by the hand and further down the hill.

Quackie has decided to play it safe and scrambles up Tamara's dress to sit inside the Easter basket. Maybe the tree on Old Tree Hill is haunted??

Down and down they go. But what is that, behind them? A little round, turquoise ball...

It is one of Jemima's candies. It must have fallen out of the basket when Quackie jumped inside. Neither of the girls notice.

A little pink creature standing on a tree branch watches them leave while down below the red squirrel is the first to inspect the wrapped sweet. It decides that it does not like the smell of sugary things.

All the better for "Little Pinkie" who is slowly making her way towards the tiny round treasure, singing:

"Nothing better
North or south,
Than tasty sweeties
In my mouth!

I challenge you
This moment right,
To cook a more
Supreme delight!"

Then she pauses, picks up the candy and takes it with her up into the tree. 

"Nutters, you never know when you might need an especially sweet sweetie, my sweet!" she announces to the squirrel. And with that she sticks the candy onto the mass of fluffy cotton-like hair adorning her head.

Squirrel crunches in affirmation before her friend resumes singing:

"Round sweeties are the sweetest thing,
They make me smile and laugh and sing.
I'll keep this drop for times much harder
Inside my cotton candy larder!"

Not long after the Sylvanians have left the sight of the old tree, the rest of the fairy family come out of their hiding places. Because that is what they are - tree fairies. The baby is put to sleep on the large branch underneath a blanket of moss. Grandma stomps to and fro, fussing about noisy Sylvanians traipsing up and down the hill far too often a day and Grandpa pokes around in the soil with his walking stick, hoping to find another piece of candy.

"Useless Sylvanians..." he grumbles. "Could've left the entire basket here, hmph! But Sylvanians never think of us tree keepers, do they? Hmph. Loud and pesky folk, hmph..."

The little pink fairy giggles. She knows her grandparents act much more ill-tempered than they really are...

I'm not nearly as acquainted with the fairy realm as Elsie Wright or Frances Griffiths were, but I was lucky enough to get a picture of all of the fairies of Old Tree Hill together, underneath their ancient tree. "Little Pinkie" is actually called Candy - a very fitting name, if you ask me. From left to right you can see Grandma Baldine, baby brother Jelly and Grandpa Wrinkles.

"The Fairies of Old Tree Hill"

Perhaps this is all an outrageous lie or a sort of fever dream you are having in front of your computer... Maybe there is no such thing as fairies on Old Tree Hill and Jemima was having a daydream or suffering from heatstroke. Very possibly there never were fairies at the bottom of the old tree and this photograph is just a fake, based on illustrations somebody once saw in an old book...

I wonder whether we will ever know the truth...

🌸 🌸 🌸

***The fairy family was made by me out of Fimo.***

 Have a magical week.


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mother's Goodnight Ritual

Ralfie Hazelnut is spending a night at the Peachblossoms'. He and the cubs have spent the afternoon playing games and now it is time to get ready for bed.

As you can see, Portia's sheep are fast asleep.

Orangine Peachblossom has already placed Ralfie's cozy sleeping bag onto the floor between Paul and Portia's beds. 

The only one who doesn't seem ready for bed is Ralfie.

"Stop wiggling and hitting me with your legs, Ralfie!" orders Paul. 

"Doing parent stuff is harder than I thought..." he says to himself. Ralfie is so energetic! Paul didn't imagine it would be that hard to take the clothes off a baby squirrel.

In the meantime, Portia has taken off her dress and placed it on the chair in the corner.

She lets Ralfie hop into her bed while Paul takes off his dungarees.

"Do your mommy and daddy read you stories and show you picture books and give you hugs and kisses and warm glasses of milk and tuck you in at night at all??" Ralfie asks Portia with very little hope. He is suddenly missing his parents very much...

"Why of course they do. I mean, not exactly all of those things. But Daddy sometimes reads us stories and Mummy has a special goodnight ritual for us," Portia replies.

"Huh? Goodnight what?" asks Ralfie.

Instead of an answer, Portia walks to the dresser and takes a large cardboard box off the top shelf.

Paul lays his clothes on top of Portia's dress as tidily as possible. Then he pauses. His red scarf looks like a curled up cobra about to pounce...

"Here, look," explains Portia to Ralfie. "Before we go to sleep, Mummy tucks us in and gives us our magical key to Dreamland. The key with the pink gem is mine."

"Ooooh!" says Ralfie intrigued. "And what happens then?" 

"Then," Portia continues, we lie in our beds and imagine the door to Dreamland. It is right in front of you, you know. You just have to close your eyes. Once you see it, all you need to do is use the key to open it and then you can walk around Dreamland the entire night and do whatever you want."

"Wow!" whispers Ralfie in amazement. "Whatever I want..."

Paul has managed to free himself from the red cobra's deadly stare and give his stuffed animal a goodnight kiss. Now Portia tucks him in.

"Thanks Portia," says Paul. Then he adds, "Porsh? Where are you going to sleep tonight?
"What do you mean?" His sister replies.

Then she realizes what Paul is talking about. Ralfie has fallen asleep in Portia's bed with his fuzzy little paw around her key.

She didn't even have time to explain to him that after ten minutes Mummy comes back in, puts the magic keys back into the box and gives them a goodnight kiss...

"He looks like he's unconscious, Porsh! It must be from all that wiggling and jiggling around when I undressed him. That would wear anybody out!" says Paul.

Suddenly Mrs Peachblossom enters the room.

"Hello, my dears!" she says with a smile. "I see you have all gotten ready for bed!" she praises them.

"Mother, I'll have to sleep on the FLOOR tonight!" wails Portia. "Ralfie fell asleep in my bed!"

Orangine lifts up the pink blanket and takes the gold key out of Ralfie's hand. Then she and her daughter stand and stare for a moment at the chubby little squirrel lying on his tummy and breathing so peacefully.

"Aren't babies lovely?" says Orangines quietly. "You and your brother's legs were just as short when you were little!"

"Yeah, Mum, he's adorable, but WHERE am I going to sleep tonight??" urges Portia.

"Don't fuss, darling," says Mrs Peachblossom while gently picking Ralfie up into her arms and sliding him into his sleeping bag. 

"You don't need any magic to handle a baby squirrel once it's asleep."

"See?" she says while carefully laying the Ralfie-cocoon onto the floorboards. "Easy peasy."

Portia cuddles up in bed and watches her mother give Ralfie a tender goodnight kiss. She is happy to have such a gentle and calm mother. Hopefully she can become like her some day.

"Goodnight my dears! I love you!" says Orangine before turning off the lights.

Dear friends, have a wonderful week!

(And if you ever find a baby squirrel sleeping in your bed,
please retrieve it as gently as Orangine Peachblossom.)

🌜   🐹 🍼  🌛

Portia and Orangine's dresses were made by Jill
Penguin bedding set and carpet made by Kathy.


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Easter Surprise

What is going on in Riverside? Are the Periwinkles hosting another Easter Brunch?? 😲  
Well... let me explain!

First of all: Hello!! It's me, Fudge, and here is my little companion Pickles. 

Last Saturday Pickles and I, ...oops, I mean, NINA received this wonderful package from Birgit, my dear former mommy in Northern Germany. 

 Look how BIG this parcel is...


It is positively ENORMOUS

I bet it's filled from top to bottom with deliciously soft, sweet and creamy caramels for Pickles and me... Maybe Sahne Muh-Muhs! Aaaaah, Sahne Muhs... Or Toffifees! Oooooh, Toffifees... 😍

Where was I? Oh yes... Nina, my Mommy, loves unpacking things and drinking coffee and celebrating Easter, so she decided to do it all at once and invite the Periwinkles and the Hogwarts. What better occasion for a party, than to celebrate the unpacking of a huge box filled with toffees for little Pickles and me... aaaaaah... 😋

So here we are. Nina has made coffee for the grown-ups and warm milk and cocoa for the children. The Periwinkles have brought fresh pastries from the Water Mill Bakery.

I am feeling really happy sitting in front of my milky coffee, imagining all the sweets my dear Birgit has sent me. Will they last for the entire rest of the year? Well... perhaps. Perhaps, if Pickles and I don't share too many with other people, they will last... forever! 😳

The Periwinkles are enjoying themselves. James is eating a cinnamon roll, his wife is drinking coffee and little Jemima is sipping a cup of cocoa. She has brought along Quackie, as always, and in celebration of Easter her two rabbit dolls. Quackie isn't happy about this at all, but at least she is allowed to sit next to Jemima while the other dolls are not. The cats Pip and Molly are there, too. They are relaxing inside James' wheelbarrow.

The Hogwarts are having a whale of a time. Especially Hamish was more than happy to join the party, since he is as hungry as only a wild boar can be.

There is no getting rid of these rabbits lately. Fortunately, Riverside's bunnies are very friendly creatures and the triplets don't mind having them around.

What's this? Looks like a giant bubble bath for me and Pickles! 😄 Oh, silly me, it's my Mommy's coffee! 

So much milky foam, and she even sprinkled it with cinnamon and placed an Amarettini biscuit on top!

Let's all enjoy our drinks! 

The Periwinkles are tucking in. James is munching another cinnamon roll. Jemima is just starting hers and Julie is having a delicious rabbit bun. 

The Sylvanians really are in good shape today... Hamish Hogwart is drinking his third coffee already. Yum, the croissants smell good!

Hester is having a cruller now and little Hattie has decided her croissant will taste better on the floor. Henry is trying to reach his cup of cocoa. If only a baby boar's legs weren't so short and stubby! 😄

Aaaah! This is my fourth.... oopsy, I mean second cup of coffee... 😆 It's really gooood and I am glad the giant coffee pot is right next to our table so I can have a refill any time I want... 

Pickles becomes totally uninhibited whenever you put a sweet, warm drink in front of him. I don't know where he gets it from. And I wouldn't be seen with a moustache like that. Really, Pickles. 😏

Being the responsible dragon owner that I am, I help him clean his snout before letting him say hello to the Hogwart triplets.

The Periwinkle parents are still busy eating. Kittens Pip and Molly are gnawing on what's left of Julie's rabbit bun.  

"I wanna play wid da piggies, mommy!" says Jemima.

Hope, Hattie and Jemima are having a great time with Quackie and the cats, while a rabbit is watching them from one of the chairs.

Finally, it is time to open the parcel!!!

The contents of the blue box is for Pickles and me, but I am sure that Nina will give us a few of her beautiful, chocolatey, shiny Lindt eggs as well...

These two golden beauties are for us, together with a letter from Birgit!! We read it very carefully... Thank you so much, Birgit! 💗

Aren't we the luckiest Riversiders you have ever seen??  

Pickles seems a little overwhelmed at first... It's that strange moment when your lunch looks you straight in the eye and is a lot bigger than you... 😓

But soon Pickles "conquers" his rabbit while I give mine a passionate kiss

In the meantime, Julie is listening with great interest as Hamish explains his work to her. I try to eavesdrop, but it's really hard when a scrumptious chocolate rabbit is taking up all my mouth... ummm, all my attention, I mean. 😁

At the other table, James and Hester are discussing Riverside's school system, while baby Henry is sitting on James' lap. Oh dear, looks like somebody spilled all the sugar!


A rabbit sits underneath the third table as if guarding all the empty cups and saucers.

Pickles and I are now ready to play!

"Come here, little piggies, I'll tell you a story!"

Jemima is walking about, searching for her dolls. 

There they are! Quackie is inside the wheelbarrow, trying to stab Pink Sally to death with a teaspoon. Oh dear...!
"Stop dat, Quackie!" orders Jemima. "Bad duck! No more yummies for YOU today!" she adds. Sometimes she has to be very strict with her yellow friend.

In the end, all the children and rabbits and me end up admiring Birgit's card and letter and presents.  Such a wonderful surprise! 

💗 Thank you, Birgit! 💗

And thanks to everyone else 
who was curious enough to read about our
Easter Surprise Party!