I returned home with Ringo and set out again, this time in running gear with the intention of getting well and truly lost in the woods. As I went off the main tracks taking me further and further into the woods I was transported back to my childhood wonderment in woodland scenery to a time when a whole day might pass in the simple pleasure of building a den.
It's little wonder that so many of our favourite children's stories are set in woodland. Even as an adult the feeling of not quite knowing which path will lead you back to the familiar can be slightly unnerving and yet in that 'uncertain' moment lies new discovery... you begin to rely on your senses and your memory in a way that we're not often called on to do in a highly technical world.
In the afternoon I was joined by a wonderful group of people with their children who had come to hear me reading. I read from 'Artichoke Hearts' and then the heat of the day helped to transport us to Kolkata where the young people took roles in a scene in the children's orphanage in 'Jasmine Skies'. Finally I returned to the woods, giving them a sneak preview of a woodland scene in my next book 'Kite Spirit' which is set in The Lake District..
Thanks to the lovely team of people at Sherwood Forest Pines for planning such a special residency.
A Radio 4 journalist making a programme about wonderful experiences in the British countryside asked why this was such a special holiday. 'Does the sun help?' She asked ... the sun is definitely helping but the best thing come rain or shine is to remember the joys and excitement of being well and truly lost in the woods...