Do you know Brambly Hedge? Totally and incredibly sweet. Jill Barklem created a world of mice living in a hedgerow at the edge of Blackthorn Wood. The mice are all very community minded and slightly old fashioned. They live wholly and completely off what they gather from the hedgerow and are very seasonally attuned. And they are totally adorable.
In short. they are marvelous!
Summer Story, published in 1980 is the story of Dusty and Poppy's wedding.
Take a moment to admire my fairy rose.
And these thingies which I picked from beside the road that I can't figure out a name for.
Each Brambly Hedge book starts with a map of the hedgerow's world.
And a little blurb about Brambly Hedge mice to set the scene.
Lazy days of summer.
Little mousies trying to bug their elders.
These pictures are in every book. Well almost every book. It is always of a different stump or place, but the detailed and intricate drawings are incredible. Barklem researched extensively before she began any work on these books, so there are a lot of technical details of bygone agricultural processes that are simply fascinating. I could spend hours wandering through these stumps in my imagination.
This particular picture is of the Dairy Stump, which was overseen by Poppy Eyebright, the bride-to-be.
Dusty miller, the groom-to-be looked after the flour mill stump.
Dusty popping the question.
Ohmyword! Furtively embroidering her wedding dress in the shade of tall kingcups. Oh the delight!
All of Brambly Hedge was in on the preparations. Here the wedding cake is being constructed. I swoon over every page of cooking/food pictures in Brambly Hedge. They are so delightfully yummy and elegant looking!
Gathering huge baskets of wild strawberries.
Primrose, meadowsweet, and elderflower wines and hanging them in the water to cool....
Poppy getting ready for the big day.
And another picture of my rose because I was distracted by its loveliness.
The wedding party approaching.
The ceremony. Do you see how magnificent the wedding barge is?
The wedding guests in their best suits and hats.
The detail, people! The detail!
Then in the name of the flowers and the fields, the stars in the sky, and the streams that flow down to the sea, and the mystery that breathes wonder into all these things, I pronounce you mouse and wife.
Lyrical and poetical.
They danced and feasted on the barge. The enthusiastic dancing wore away at the ropes Dusty had made to keep the barge in place.
The raft/barge floated gently past fields of buttercups and meadowsweet, and the voles tending the fires in the pottery came out to wave as the wedding party drifted by.
Finally they were caught in a clump of rushes and forget-me-nots. They tied the ropes and the dancing resumed.
At last, the party had to come to an end. Sleepy kids were helped home by their tired parents as the sun set.
The honeymooning couple.
Wasn't that perfectly marvelous? Yes, yes it was.
Also, I found Jill Barklem's perfectly adorable website this morning.