I've got so much to share with you, so many bits of inspiration that I can't possibly do it all at once. Instead, I'll share things here and there over the coming weeks.
Today I'd like to tell you about the Elfin Oak, a magical old oak stump in Kensington Gardens.
It's easily missed and doesn't look like much from afar: an old tree in a cage behind a fence.
But, if you look closely, there's a whole lot happening on that stump.
It is covered with animals...
... and faces...
... and activity...
There are elves, fairies, witches and imps carved all over the old oak.
Mystics peek out from the bark.
An old fox sits at the base.
The entire surface is covered with figures hiding, sneaking, playing.
There's even a bit of kissing!
Originally carved in 1911, the tree underwent restoration in the 1960s, and then again in 1996.
It's such a fun thing to look at and explore.
So many wee folk with stories to tell. The makers wife wrote about the stump and had this to say:
"for centuries now it has been the home of fairies, gnomes, elves, imps, and pixies. In the nooks and crannies they lurk, or peer out of holes and crevices, their natural windows and doorways. It is their hiding-place by day, their revelry place by night, and when the great moon tops the bare branchless tree the Elfin Clans come out to play and frolic in the moonlight."
If you're ever in Hyde Park/Kensington Garden, you'll find this treasure next to the Diana Memorial Playground. Be sure to locate it on a map and get oriented before you go because we had a heck of a time finding it. Kensington Garden staff had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, but it was well worth the search.
Glad to be back to home to my bed and the quiet, and I'm looking forward to running with all of the inspiration I've bottled up.
Hope you've been well and not tooooo well behaved.