Surrey, England: Great Countryside and Famous Writers

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Some infantile amusements do not make it beyond childhood. Meccano units, My Little Pony, Barbie dolls and teddy bears generally tend to get left at domestic once you develop up (and reader, by no means date a man who has a teddy undergo – I promise you, it is a absolutely horrific concept). But to nowadays, I can in no way resist playing a game of Poohsticks on any bridge that occurs to be within grabbing distance of a respectable-sized twig.

It’s simple. You take your twigs (you and your buddies) and also you throw them in on the upstream side of the bridge. Then you rush to the other facet of the bridge (possibly excellent now not to play this sport on a main street!) to peer whose stick emerges first.

It’s quintessentially English, like Pooh Bear himself. Best to play it on a touch tumbledown timber bridge over a fast-flowing chalk move, within the lee of big gnarled okay or tall stately beeches, as you could in case you wander the hidden valleys below the sharp slope of the North Downs in Surrey.

Poohsticks changed into genuinely invented in East Sussex (and you can nonetheless play it on the original Poohsticks bridge in Ashdown Forest); however EH Shepard, who drew the captivating snap shots, lived within the charming Surrey marketplace city of Guildford at the time. And I’m satisfied he constructed the local panorama into his illustrations (he donated his archive to the University of Surrey).

Guildford also carries the final resting vicinity of any other tremendous English kid’s author, Lewis Carroll, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson to offer him his proper name. A mathematician,  up the 2 – and selecting an funding based totally on in which they would love to stay – and selecting for instance Retirement Village Surrey Oxford don and Anglican deacon in addition to a author, he died at his sister’s house here, and is buried within the Mount Cemetery – with each his names at the easy pass that marks his grave.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of Sherlock Holmes, lived at ‘Undershaw’, a huge Victorian house at Hindhead that he had built as a place of healing for his invalid wife. A lodge and restaurant for a few years, it now stands empty – but a band of indomitable fanatics are lobbying to have it restored as a homage to its writer – with Mark Gatiss, creator of the latest BBC series Sherlock, on their side.

Some of Surrey’s literary hyperlinks had been less lengthy-lasting. Who could be greater English than PG Wodehouse, author of the inimitable Bertie Wooster and his faithful manservant Jeeves? He became born in Guildford and also you’d think that could be an excellent backdrop for his us of a-house comedies – but in truth, he arrived quite (nearly like a plot flip from one of his own novels), and lived right here all of two weeks before starting his itinerant childhood in Hong Kong, Croydon, Guernsey, Dover and Dulwich.

Beatrix Potter also had alternatively tenuous links with Surrey; she became a everyday visitor to her aunt and uncle, Sir Henry and Lady Roscoe, at Woodcote Lodge. But she’s better recognized for her links with the Lake District wherein she sooner or later settled, and labored with the National Trust to preserve the precise Lakeland panorama.

Even so, once I examine the animals in her energetic illustrations, I usually marvel if she’d been looking out for rabbits in the fields round Woodcote or watching hedgehogs within the Surrey nightfall.

All those authors are excellent for one element; they’re a part of most English childhoods, whether it is thru the books or, increasingly more, via movies and tv diversifications or maybe the Royal Ballet’s Tales of Beatrix Potter. In many approaches they outline Englishness of a positive kind – the Edwardian summer time of the church fete, of maiden aunts, bicycling vicars, wherein gamekeepers and gardeners combat unceasing wars against the rabbits and crows, and youngsters play Poohsticks earlier than going domestic for tea.

And the adorable thing is that when you get out of town and into the Surrey geographical region, you would possibly nonetheless be in that misplaced land of innocence. You might not meet the Red Queen and I doubt you’ll find a Jeeves, however Squirrel Nutkin nevertheless jumps from bough to bough within the beech forests and you may nonetheless play Poohsticks before it is time for scones with jam and a cute pot of hot tea.