Tulgey Wood in Plymouth, UK, is a truly magical
place with a little secret path that inspired these stories.
If you take five little steps to the right of the path, there is a pebble with an arrow pointing inward to the wood, follow it down ….you will hear little tinkering sounds as you walk down. Don’t be afraid , it is only Digger Mole and his pals digging…..you will notice the grass seems to grow higher and when it reaches about near the top of your head you will see an opening, all grassy, and you will know you have reached the little village of Tulgey and all it’s magicalness ….such lovely and merry and unbelievableness …..off you go in merriment. Find Misses Mole and Mouse and Sly Cat. Talk to the whispery trees, and Blue Owl and anyone else you will meet in this secret magical village.
The Fashion Show
The first little house you will notice when you visit the tiny village of Greeny Green belongs to Miss Mouse the laundress. You will notice the little roses round the door also the very lovely smell of freshly washed clothes. Miss Mouse is a kindly person and goes out of her way to help all and everyone who seeks her advice.
One day she received a call from her friends, the belfry bats. It concerned the belfry mice, who were planning to hold a fashion show.
“It’s a one night only fashion show”, explained the bats, “The mice say they will need all the belfry space for the event, and they have asked us to spend the night somewhere else. We are hoping you’ll allow us to stay here with you.”
Miss Mouse was very pleased to be asked this.
“Oh yes of course you can, you are good friends of mine. Yes of course you may sleep here for the night. I am very pleased to help out.”
The bats gave her a wonderful thing; a ticket for a seat at the fashion show, the very best seat of all; the top seat in the very middle of the rafters!
“Thank you and please remember Miss Mouse that we sleep upside down”, they called as they went on their way.
The mouse blinked in astonishment…..Had she heard right? Sleep upside down? Whatever did they mean, sleep upside down? How peculiar!
She paid a visit to the carpenter cat, who was busy making wooden doors for the mouse holes.
“Mr. Cat, do the Belfry Bats sleep upside down?” she asked shyly.
“Don’t know much about the bats”, replied the cat. “Sorry. Can’t help you, try the Optic Owl. She may know.”
She paid a visit to the Optic Owl, who was very busily making binoculars for the Meer cats.
“Miss Owl, do the belfry bats sleep upside down?” she asked shyly.
“Don’t know much about bats”, replied the owl. “Sorry. Can’t help you, try the mad march hare. He may know.”
So Miss Mouse paid a visit to the mad march hare, who was very busy making for himself a new gum shield.
“Mr. Hare, do bats sleep upside down”, she asked shyly.
“They do”, he replied, “very upside down. From rafters and things.”
With that he hopped off to the meadow to try out his new gum shield.
Miss Mouse ran home, and began searching for rafters and things. She searched upstairs and downstairs and all around but couldn’t find anything suitable for upside down sleeping bats.
“Well, the bats will have to make do and sleep on the clothes line for the night” thought the mouse. “I do hope they won’t mind.”
The belfry bats said they would be delighted at this novel and exciting arrangement!
They arrived at her house very early on the evening of the fashion show, and laughed delightedly as Miss Mouse pegged them gently to the clothes line.
She sang a soft little mousy song to them until they fell asleep. Then she made her way to the Belfry to watch the fashion show. From the very best seat! In the middle of the top rafter!
The fashion show was a huge success, in spite of one or two fashion mice tripping over their tails whilst they were dancing around in their fashion dresses.
Miss Mouse returned home quite happy, and went to have a peep at her sleepover guests.
They were sleeping side by side and upside down! Snoozing quite peacefully.
“How very odd”, she thought.
She sat down at her little table and sharpened her little green pencil.
“This has been a most unusual day”, she thought sleepily, “and I must try to think of something that will help the fashion mice from tripping over their tails.”
“I have plenty to write about”!
She opened her diary, and began to write in her best writing, but only managed to write these few lines …
"I pegged them safely to the line. Snoozing side by side The fashion show went with a swing. And all were satisfied…"
….before her eyes felt heavy and she fell asleep.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She went to work in the mills at the age of 14 before meeting and marrying a soldier and becoming an army wife. Florence and her husband went on to have 3 children, one born in Accra Ghana, one in Bunde Germany and one in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
In 1979, once the children were grown up, Florence achieved her early ambition of becoming a nurse and she worked in Riyadh Saudi Arabia for two years
After the sad loss of her husband 22 years ago, Florence began writing poems and stories, although she had always enjoyed weaving tales for her children when they were young.
Four years ago, Florence visited Tulgey Wood in Plymouth, UK, which had just been bought by her son. She was so enchanted by the ‘magicalness’ of the strange paths and by the general atmosphere that she wrote poems and stories based on her entrancement of Tulgey. Tales from Tulgey Wood is the result and is the first book published by Florence. It will not be the last and there are already plans afoot to publish a volume of her poetry.