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Sunday, December 18, 2005

We went for a walk in the 100-acre wood today - in Ashdown Forest, which, just 40 minutes from here, is the real-life setting of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

It was quite magical; E.B. Shepard captured the countryside perfectly in his illustrations, to the extent that I almost felt that I was walking through the pages of one of our books. The countryside still looks as it must have looked 70-odd years ago when the books were written; mercifully, there's been no attempt to inflict commercial cutesiness or intrusive signposting on it. One can get free maps from the tourist information centre, though, which suggest walks past various key spots from the stories. We picked one up, and enjoyed the walk very much. It was perfect winter's day - icy air, but deep blue sky and sunshine.

Some more pictures from today:

Bobby on top of the plaque that marks The Enchanted Place.

People in a tree that looks strikingly like the one that Pooh climbed in search of honey.

Realising that we're no longer on the path

Eeyore's Sad and Gloomy Place. It was a happy place for the kids, though, as they had a ball experimenting with the ice on the pond. But it did turn out a little gloomy for Bobby, though, because he ended up getting one foot a bit wet. (Over-ambitious experiment in balancing on the biggest, iciest, log ... Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the accident.)

Girls and me in front of the gorse. That stuff really does prickle.

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