We didn’t have the Easter Bunny when I was a child and my recollections of believing in Father Christmas are limited. My childhood magic was fairies, I wholeheartedly believed in fairies. Fairies lived at the bottom of our garden. On one side of the shed, was where they sheltered from the rain, under the wide leaves of the rhubarb. On the other side of the shed was an apple tree and the fairies especially liked the blossom and low branches.
Flower Fairies of the Spring was a favorite book from my childhood, it’s still one of my favourite books and I believed it to be an authentic guide to fairies, the illustrations based on real fairies. Bluebells have long been my favourite flower and it was always a slight disappointment that the bluebell fairy was a boy. I think I wanted all fairies to be girls. Mother nature and a small collective of female fairies with power over all the flowers and trees seemed the perfect utopia. I really didn’t need another area where boys muscled in or maybe I wanted my favourite flower to have a girl fairy and then we could be friends.
Boy fairy or not, bluebells seemed to be fairy magic invoked. The wood near our house would be transformed in Spring. Out of nowhere bluebells everywhere. It could only be the work of fairies. Just out of the corner of my eye, I’d imagine they were there, leaping and dancing between the stems. Tiny fairies wearing the petals as hats. Bluebell season was fairy party season.
We walked home from primary school through the woods and picked armfuls, I can remember carrying them home, huge bunches grasped with both hands. I don’t pick bluebells anymore, you aren’t supposed to. They last longer in the wood than in a vase, but I still miss them at home in Spring. My tattoo is bluebells, a permanent piece of Spring. I have strong views on Spanish bluebells, which include burning them, before they trample all over native bluebells.
Because Easter is late this year, I have been able to combine it with one of my moments of the year, my must do thing each Spring, a walk in a bluebell wood. A bank of bluebells never fails to melt my heart. I love the tiny details of the flowers, the depth of colour and the delicate frills where the petals tips curl, as much as I love the swath of purple across a woodland floor. Every Spring since I was a child I’ve taken a walk in a bluebell wood. Bluebells are my sunshine flower, they are the flower that heralds warmer weather and a life outside. I am still utterly memorised by thousands of them. I still don’t quite understand how they suddenly appear so en masse. My happy place is to stand knee-deep in bluebells, breathing in the colour as much as the scent. They never fail to cast something magical across a woodland. I challenge anyone to take a walk amongst bluebells and not believe in fairies.
We walked in Prior’s Wood, Portbury. Just outside Bristol. We found the wood via the Avon Wildlife Trust. It’s a varied wood, with beautiful bluebells and a neat circular walk which worked perfectly for our 6 year old.