Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Pesky Pixies in the garden
I often post about Fairies and Pixies, they have been a fascination and inspiration all of my life. Once upon a time I thought I was growing out of them, they retreated to the shadows, behind day to day life, but they remained.

My childhood was spent in a series of uninteresting mass produced houses with white interiors and a constantly changing selection of modern furniture and objects.

My imagination was freed by the old china and books which were left forgotten on my Great Grandmother's display stand which had somehow managed to end up in a dark corner of our house. It's gnarled wood and chipped paint with it's 'one of a kind' bits and pieces had a terrific pull for a small curious child. Convinced as I was that the Fairies at the bottom of the garden had put it there just for me, I kept my passion for it secret. Those objects created a lifelong fascination for vintage items and later gave me a career. 

Our houses were devoid of personality but the gardens were always enchanted and full of wildlife. Father had green fingers and loved all living things, and they loved him back. Each time we moved he would begin again the process of planting trees for the birds, flowers for the Bees, Butterflies and Moths, vegetables for us and a pond which would magically become inhabited by insects, newts and Fairy Folk. He worked in a sawmill and had a bond with anything wooden. When I was 7 he built me a play house complete with running water. It was my own cottage in the woods of our back garden in suburbia. We had no money but Fairies really did live at the bottom of the garden, there was a white Wolf in the Woods, and the Pesky Pixies caused all kinds of havoc but would upon occasion agree to help with household and garden chores.

This enchanting image is from Here:
Grandparents lived in old houses filled with china, dark wood and paint colours, patterned carpets and overstuffed upholstered sofas and armchairs. When I visited I slept on a velvet drop arm sofa under antique handmade quilts.

It is funny how our past forms our future and makes us who we are today. I thank the teacher who gave me a great love for books, and those in my family who showed me that treasure can come from unexpected sources, and does not always have to cost a fortune.

As for those Fairies and Pesky Pixies ...... they are still with me, on china and at the bottom of the garden.

postcard by Lorna Steele published by Salmon Ltd England


  1. Hello:
    This post is such a wonderful evocation of childhood and of special memories which have been retained over the years. And what an idyllic time you must have had as a small girl weaving new tales around the fairy people as they became established in each new garden. How sad that as adults we lose so much of that innocence which fuelled our days.

  2. A lovely story! The first time I walked in the woods alone in Canterbury, I almost felt that pixies and fairies existed. I remember the story of Peter pan, so I clapped the hands and said loud that fairies exist although I was already grown-up. But I always remain child at heart.

  3. What a magical post..I love your little cottage..I have always had fairies in my gardens too!
    Thea x

  4. Delightful post! Brings up many memories for me, as I played in our back yard among shrubs and trees with brownies. The fairies lived in the next yard over. I love the last graphic, so perfect.

  5. My father built me a wendy house at the bottom of our garden with a little veranda, not quite as pretty as yours but I loved it! Suzy x

  6. What a wonderful recollection and testament to reading, imagination and appreciation of nature and "old things". I am enchanted that your father created such wonderful gardens for you to play in as a child. And it is true, great beauty and learning come from things and people from the past - those that can't understand that are missing something, I think. Ann

  7. This is really lovely. I am a great believer in fairies, they live in my garden. You had a wonderful father by the sound of him. The pictures are gorgeous too, thank you so much for this post.

  8. How wonderful to have your own playhouse, with running water no less! Books, imagination, and the ability to believe in a little bit of magic and fairy dust are the keys to a happy world! Doesn't matter if you are young or old, you just got to believe! :)))

  9. What a lovely story it is! The story evoked nostalgic memories of the books which I read in my childhood.
    I think in the olden days people would live with mythical and magical beings like fairies or pixies. Their houses had a lot of shadow. But nowadays our houses are too light for them to live in. Also it does not fire our imagination at all.
    I love the house of your grandparents. Cozy and aesthetic!! Beautiful door knob!!
    Have a great week.

  10. Nice to meet you ! and thank you for your comment on my cat blog. Loved to read your post and this doll house is just a little "Buckingham Palace" your father did a wonderful job ! I also had one handmade, (now in the attic) but it was one to be put on a table with two rooms the best was I could cook on the little range !
    I collect cats and over the years they are about 400 (Mr. G. counted them a couple of years ago, since he is retired, he has time for that, lol) I also paint cats.
    I grew up in Germany and moved with my parents to Brussels in 1959, ever since I am living in Belgium. My main blog is Writer's Cramps

  11. Lovely post! Like you I was fascinated with old things in relatives houses when I was a child and loved playing in the garden..imagining all sorts of small people living there! Thank you for your blog visit, may see you at the sale! Lizzie x
    PS Have you heard about the new event we are running in Devizes?

  12. I loved Cicely Mary Barker's flower fairies. I used to think that I was fairy Columbine, Fushia or sometimes mischievous Ragged Robin.

  13. I loved this post. My parents also had most things modern in the house although this is now classed as retro and I do now like stuff from the 1970's but the real pull for me were all the old things that my grandparents had - large dressers covered in blue and white china, small glass cabinets containing odd curios and pieces of china collected over the years - all of which had a story to tell. I wasn't a firm believer of fairies but was fascinated by the red fox who apparantly lived at the bottom of the garden although I never saw him!

  14. Ahh ~ nothing better than growing up in an enchanted world as a child and have it follow you into adulthood !
    I have always loved enchanted gardens and fairies .
    For Christmas a lovely friend gave me a copy of Beatrix Potters'~ The Fairy Caravan ...I will be reading a bit more before I put the light out.

  15. Making fairy houses was my and then my children's favourite pastime. I'll never forget the joy of creating a tiny home out of sticks and leaves and flowers.Thank you for reminding me! Jane xx ps I LOVE your backing painting

  16. My grandparents were in an old house with glass doorknobs. I had a friend who had one of those little houses in her backyard that her father made for her. We played in that little house for hours! Even though it was not mine, the memories of it are mine and much appreciated.

  17. I also grew up in a 'box'(!) and in some way I wonder if that encouraged my imagination? I remember the inside covers of some books that I had looked just like your first picture - not sure if they were Enid Blyton ones. Did you ever read The Magic Faraway Tree - that was a whole tree full of fairy folk and I always wanted to go and live there!

  18. Dear Minerva,
    such a lovely playhouse your father made! Firing the imagination, as a garden does (gently). Do you know that in Iceland there is an elf-commissioner, Erla Stefansdottir - she has a saying when roads are built that might destroy elf-livings (no joke! - 60% of the Icelanders believe in elves).

  19. J`aime bien l`assiette pour les bebe!! ;0)

    Bonne semaine!!

    xxx Maria xxx

  20. Oh yes... definitely there are pixies up to mischief!!!..what a wonderful Daddy to make you that house....its beautiful..xx

  21. Ah, what a delightful post on a beautiful blog!

    I don't know quite what to say - I'm a little overwhelmed - I adore this space that you've made.

    I shall be back to breathe again all these wonders and delights!

    Thank you - and here's to the Good Neighbours, too. :)


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